Dogs and cats being friends

Getting your cats and dogs to get along can be difficult. If you want to introduce a new pet to your family, here's some tips on how to help make this a smoother process.

It’s a commonly held belief that cats and dogs are always at war. This means a lot of pet owners stick to just one type of pet because they’re too scared of their pets ‘fighting like cats and dogs.’ However, with the right training, your furry friends can easily get along!

  • If possible, get your pets when they are still young. Puppies and kittens usually haven’t had bad experiences with the other species so if they grow up together they will form a bond. Make sure you still monitor their interactions though as sometimes a puppy’s play might be too rough for a kitten.
  • Get pets that are compatible with other species! The animal shelter / pet shop will work with you to pick the best pet based on their history and personality and how that matches with the pet you have at home.
  • Introduce them gradually. Increase exposure in neutral areas to assure them there’s room for both pets.
  • Keep your dogs on a leash during early meetings so if they do become 'overly energetic' you can better control their movement. Keep your pets out of range of the other's biting / scratching reach!
  • Offer your pets safe havens that the other pet can’t enter or reach. This area can help your pets feel more secure knowing they can get away from the unfamiliar experience of getting to know another pet. For cats in particular, this involves a safe high space like tall, sturdy cat furniture.
  • Use scents to your advantage. Even before your pets meet, you can use scents to get them accustomed to each other. You can do this by rubbing cloths with the scent of one pet and placing them near the other and vice versa. This will make their initial meeting less stressful because they will know that they aren’t total strangers.
  • Keeping your cat’s claws trimmed can reduce injuries to your dog if your cat reacts badly. You could also maybe use claw caps - yes, caps for your cat's claws! We are not so sure about the genius of these however and would certainly consider this option as a bit of a last resort!
  • Don’t let your dog near your kitten’s litter box - this can be stressful for the cat and you don’t want your dog seeing it as food!
  • Offer separate dining spots. Not only are cat and dog foods not nutritionally interchangeable but it can also stress your pets out if the other pet is able to swipe their food. If they do however end up at the same bowl, happily cleaning up the last few tiny morsels together, that can be a good bonding thing - and kinda cute to watch!
  • Until they are calm around each other, make sure you’re always supervising their interactions.

If they still don’t get along, it could be worth getting advice from a professional animal behaviourist. But hopefully, with the use of these tips, your pets will soon love each other as much as you love them!