Three Tips to Introduce Dogs and Cats as Housemates

Learn how to keep the peace under one roof between dogs and cats. They may even become best friends!

It’s a common trope: cats and dogs hate each other and those who have both will never experience a peaceful moment. However, this is definitely not based in reality, and dogs and cats happily co-exist in many households. They can even become the best of friends.

So, if you’re considering getting a cat and a dog at the same time, take heart that it is possible. Here are some great tips to help create a harmonious feline and canine household.

1. Make introductions slowly

Whether you’re introducing a new pet to an existing one, or you’re bringing them both home for the first time, make introductions slowly.

To make this process smoother, try and get the pets used to each other’s scent first. You may also want to separate your house into two areas for a while, to give each pet time to settle and get comfortable with the other animal being nearby.

When it’s finally time for them to meet, try and do it in a neutral area, and take it slow. Keep a close eye on each pet and be prepared to intervene if it doesn’t look like it’s going well. Use a barrier and keep control over the pets – for example, using a leash or harness – as it makes it easier for you to control how far each pet can go.

2. Give them their own space

Once introductions are made and your cat and dog are happily cohabiting, or are at least tolerant of each other, you want to provide them with the opportunity to get some time to themselves. While cats and dogs can happily co-exist, and you may even catch them napping together, it’s a good idea to give them both a space that’s just theirs.

This could include having separate bedding and areas for them to sleep, their own place to eat, and their own place to toilet. And make sure you keep your cat’s litter box somewhere the dog can’t get to.

3. Give them one-on-one time

While it’s tempting to give your cat and dog attention at the same time – especially if they get along well together – it’s important you give them individual attention too. It’s a great opportunity for them to bond with you and for you to get to know each pet a little better. Cats and dogs have different needs when it comes to play, exercise, and relaxation, so you’ll likely find plenty of opportunities where you’ll be alone together.

The most important thing to remember if you have both cats and dogs is that they are still their own animal and have their own personalities. They have different needs when it comes to food, care, and socialising, so make sure you cater to their individual needs. And, if it doesn’t work out and the animals really don’t get along, make the decision that’s in the animals’ best interests.