Many believe that dogs and cats are natural enemies. That’s not true – whether a cat and a dog will get along or not depends on the individuals, but also on the socialization they’ve received earlier in life. Many cats and dogs are great friends.
Whether your cat and dog will get along or not usually depends on the dog. Many dogs will chase small animals that run, and this is particularly a problem amongst herding breeds and those with strong prey instinct. Of course, the cat won’t appreciate being chased, and the more kitty runs, the more the dog will give chase.
- Make sure the cat can get away and hide if it wants to. It’s great to give kitty access to an elevated resting place the dog can’t reach.
- Keep your dog restrained during introductions. He or she shouldn’t be able to chase, even if the cat runs.
- Baby gates are a great way to gradually introduce dogs and cats.
- Let them take their time.
Don’t force physical closeness. If you pick up the cat and hold it in the dog’s face to introduce them, odds are the cat will scratch the dog, and the dog won’t like the cat. Let introductions be slow and supervised, and watch for any potential problems.
It can take weeks for a cat and dog to get used to each other, and to learn to communicate. If they don’t seem to tolerate each other even after a few weeks, consider seeking help from a professional trainer.