How to Ensure Your Dog and Cat Get Along

Black cat laying next to a brown dog.

If you’re a pet parent to both a cat and a dog, you know how important it is to make sure they get along. While some cats and dogs may naturally become fast friends, others may not be so eager to cozy up to their furry housemate.

But with a few simple tips and tricks, you can help your cat and dog build a lasting friendship. In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know to make sure your cat and dog get along.

Introduce them slowly

When introducing your cat and dog, it’s important to take things slow. Start by letting your pets sniff each other’s scents through a closed door. This helps them become familiar with each other’s presence without any direct contact.

After a few days of this, you can introduce them in a controlled environment, such as a baby gate or playpen. Keep the initial interactions short and supervised, gradually increasing the duration over time. It’s important to stay calm and patient during the introduction process, as your pets can pick up on your energy and become anxious if you’re stressed.

Supervise their interactions

Once your cat and dog have been introduced, it’s important to supervise their interactions at all times. This is especially important during the early stages of their friendship, as they are still getting to know each other.

Keep a close eye on their body language, and be ready to intervene if things start to get out of hand. Signs of aggression or tension may include growling, hissing, raised fur, or flattened ears. If you notice any of these behaviors, it’s important to separate your pets and try again later.

Provide separate spaces

While it’s important for your cat and dog to spend time together, it’s also important for them to have their own separate spaces. This can be a designated area for each pet, such as a bed or crate, or a separate room altogether. Giving your pets their own space allows them to retreat and feel safe when they need a break. It’s important to respect their boundaries and not force them to interact if they want to be alone.


Don’t force them to interact

It’s important to remember that not all cats and dogs will become best friends. Some may simply coexist in the same space without much interaction. Don’t force your pets to interact if they don’t want to. Instead, let them form their own relationship at their own pace. Keep in mind that some cats may prefer to be the only pet in the house, while others may be more social and enjoy the company of a dog.

Reward good behavior

Positive reinforcement is key when it comes to getting your cat and dog to get along. When your pets exhibit good behavior around each other, be sure to reward them with treats, praise, and affection. This helps to reinforce their good behavior and encourages them to continue getting along. For example, if your cat and dog are peacefully coexisting in the same room, give them each a treat or a toy to play with.

Avoid punishment

Just as positive reinforcement is important, it’s equally important to avoid punishing your pets when they misbehave around each other. Punishment can create a negative association between your pets and may even cause them to become aggressive.

Instead, focus on redirecting their behavior and rewarding good behavior. For example, if your dog is trying to play too rough with your cat, redirect their attention to a toy or treat and reward them for playing nicely.

Keep their schedules in mind

Cats and dogs have different sleep and play schedules, so it’s important to keep this in mind when trying to get them to get along. Make sure your pets have plenty of alone time, especially during naptime.

This will help them avoid getting cranky or agitated, which can lead to tension between them. Additionally, make sure your pets are getting enough exercise and mental stimulation. A tired pet is a happy pet, and a tired pet is less likely to be irritable or aggressive towards their furry housemate.

Provide plenty of toys and activities

Both cats and dogs need plenty of mental and physical stimulation, so make sure to provide them with plenty of toys and activities to keep them occupied. This can include puzzle toys, scratching posts, and interactive toys that they can play with together.

Providing your pets with toys and activities that they can enjoy together can help foster a sense of camaraderie between them. Additionally, make sure to rotate your pets’ toys frequently to keep them interested and engaged.


Consider a pheromone diffuser

If your pets are still struggling to get along, consider using a pheromone diffuser. These diffusers release calming pheromones that can help reduce stress and anxiety in your pets. This can be especially helpful if your pets are experiencing tension or aggression towards each other. Pheromone diffusers are available at most pet stores and can be easily plugged into an electrical outlet.

Be patient

Finally, remember that building a lasting friendship between your cat and dog takes time and patience. It may take weeks or even months for your pets to become comfortable around each other. Don’t get discouraged if progress is slow, and don’t force your pets to interact if they don’t want to.

Remember to reward good behavior, provide plenty of toys and activities, and be there to supervise and intervene if necessary. With a little bit of patience and effort, your cat and dog can build a lasting friendship that will bring joy to your home for years to come.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, making sure your cat and dog get along requires patience, effort, and a little bit of know-how. By introducing them slowly, supervising their interactions, providing separate spaces, rewarding good behavior, avoiding punishment, keeping their schedules in mind, providing plenty of toys and activities, considering a pheromone diffuser, and being patient, you can help your furry friends build a lasting friendship. With a little bit of effort, your cat and dog can coexist peacefully and bring joy to your home for years to come.