Can cats and dogs living together work? The answer is…a qualified yes.
Tel Aviv University in Israel recently conducted a study to determine whether cats and dogs could get along. The study found that about two-thirds of cats and dogs do get along when they share the same home. About 25% of cats and dogs living in the same home were indifferent to each other. About 10% of cats and dogs probably weren’t safe to be in the same room with each other.
One theory is cats and dogs have problems getting along because they use different body language to express themselves and can’t read the body language of the other species. For instance, a wagging tail in a dog means he’s happy, a cat’s swishing tail indicates you shouldn’t approach.
Researchers involved with the study suggested that cats and dogs got along best when the animals are introduced when they are young. In most cases, cats and dogs do best together when the cat is present in the home first. Cats do best with dogs when the cat is less than six months old; dogs do best when meeting cats when the dog is less than a year old.
Cats and dogs can live together amicably but you need to begin early. Allow a kitten to become established in your home before introducing a puppy. Once you have a cat in your home who is confident around dogs (and able to put them in their place if the dog becomes too pushy), then you may be able to introduce another puppy later.
You may have problems if you have a cat and you bring in an adult dog that has not been raised with cats. They may view cats as prey and try to chase and harass them. In these cases you can end up with your cat living on top of the refrigerator and your dog constantly barking at him. The best you may be able to achieve is a dog area of your house and a cat area.
The same is true if you have an adult dog that has not been raised with cats and you bring in a kitten. Your adult dog may view the kitten as something edible and never be able to safely leave the cat alone near your dog. The dog will always have the advantage in terms of seniority and confidence and may bully the cat even if you have a small dog.
Introduce a kitten and a puppy when they’re young and on equal terms. Growing up together will be the best guarantee that your cat and dog will get along throughout their lives.
Have you had a good experience with cats and dogs living together? We’d love to hear your story. Please leave a comment and let us know how it worked for you.
Actually I have a cat and a dog that ADORE each other.
When I adopted Cody (our cat) he was about 10 wks old. He had lived in a foster home that had cats.
We got Dakota 3 mos after Cody arrived. (Dakota is our Sheltie, BTW Shelties are known for being one of a number of dog breeds that do QUITE WELL with cats) Dakota was 8 months old when he arrived and he had lived with 4 cats prior to his arrival.
When introducing them to each other I REFUSED to use the separation technique.
I researched on the internet and found a method of introduction that was fabulous and worked like a charm.
You put a tiny bit of perfume on each family member (and the cat and dog). We left Dakota in his crate when he first arrived (for about 10 minutes) and let Cody walk around and check him out. Cody hissed once and never hissed at him again.
What I DID do was I baby gated half the condo (Cody’s toys, litterbox and food are in a “Dakota-free” territory) I wanted Cody to have a “haven” to escape to to get away from Dakota if he wanted to. Dakota is also not allowed in the kitchen (where Cody eats)
My boys are super attached, they kiss each other, sleep in the same vicinity and the vet even marvels at the incredible bond that they have.
Cats and Dogs CAN get along!
Very cool! Thanks, Caren, for sharing how you made it work. I’ve not heard of the perfume technique….interesting