Call Us! Button

Request an Appointment Button

Request an Appointment! Request an Appointment! Request an Appointment! Request an Appointment!

Can Cats And Dogs Get Along?
February 15, 2024

It probably won’t be a big surprise to learn that dogs and cats are the most popular pets here in the U.S. Many individuals have a strong preference for one or the other. However, you don’t have to choose between team Fluffy and team Fido. Many people have both! While our canine and feline pals have had a bit of a rocky relationship, they can coexist harmoniously. Read on as a local Oradell, NJ veterinarian offers helpful tips on keeping the peace between your furry companions.

Can I Have A Dog And A Cat At The Same Time?

In theory, yes. However, it really depends on the dog and the cat. The dog’s age, size, and temperament are the most important factors here. While Fluffy can definitely do some damage  with her teeth and claws, she is usually the one at greater risk. 

We can’t overstate the importance of choosing a cat-safe dog. Some pups just have an innate prey drive. After all, dogs survive in the wild by hunting small animals. Unfortunately, that predatory instinct is sometimes triggered by kitties. This can be very dangerous. It only takes seconds for injuries to occur.

Making the right match really is half the battle. 

There are a few things to consider here. It will usually help if Fido grows up with Fluffy. If you’re adopting a shelter dog, choose one that has been evaluated as good with cats. Adopting a puppy? Avoid breeds that are known to have a strong prey drive. 

It may help if your pet is a kitten. Even  Fido can’t resist an adorable baby cat! It’s also super cute watching a pup patiently letting little Fluffy pounce on his tail or nap on his back.

How Long Will It Take Dogs And Cats To Make Friends?

Don’t expect your furry buddies to hit it off right away. Most pets are wary and uneasy about one another at first. They may eventually get along, but this can take time.

Kitties tend to warm up to other pets rather slowly. In fact, Fluffy may take up to a year to adjust to having a canine roommate. If your feline friend is already used to being around dogs, you may not have to wait that long. 

If they tussle, don’t punish them. That may just add resentment. The key is to help them form positive associations with each other. 

Ask your Oradell, NJ veterinarian for specific advice.

How Do You Stop Cats And Dogs From Fighting?

Sometimes Fido and Fluffy become very close. Other times, they fight like, well, cats and dogs. If your pets are squabbling, separating them would be the first step. Then, start from square one and reintroduce them. Hopefully, things will go more smoothly the second time around. 

Here are a few things that will help:

Offer Lots Of Exercise And Playtime 

There’s also a lot to be said for burning off excess energy. Make sure both Fluffy and Fido are getting plenty of exercise and playtime. Just keep their toys separate: many cat toys can be choking hazards for dogs.

Get Your Dog Trained

Make sure Fido knows and obeys basic commands such as Sit, Stay, Come, and Lay Down. You might want to consult your vet about how to incorporate ‘Leave The Kitty Alone’ into Fido’s training.

Take Care When Feeding 

Dinnertime squabbles can quickly accelerate into brawls. It may be necessary to take a few steps to help things go smoothly. Feeding Fluffy in an area Fido cannot reach is one option.

How Do You Keep A Cat Safe From A Dog?

It’s very important for Fluffy to have a place where she can get away from her canine roommate. This is especially important in the beginning. Offer your feline pal a few places she can retreat to, spots where Fido can’t reach her. Vertical space is a great option. A cat tower with an enclosed level is another purrfect choice. You can also offer your kitty cat condos, kitty shelves, and/or spots under beds or behind sofas. Ideally, your cat should have at least one retreat in every room.

How Do You Introduce Cats And Dogs?

First impressions are a very, very big deal to pets. Take it slow here. It can be very difficult to reverse or undo the damage of a bad first meeting.

Here are some tips:

  • Keep your furry pals apart at first. Put the newer pet in a separate room. This will also give them a quiet place to relax and settle in. Provide all of the necessities, such as food, water, toys, and bedding. Then, just give them some time to adjust.
  • Avoid putting Fluffy and Fido in the same room right away. You need to ease them into things.
  • Get the all-clear from your veterinarian before letting them interact.
  • During the next few days, Fido and Fluffy will sniff around the door to that room. This will help them get used to each other’s scents. Feed them their meals on opposite sides of the door. This can help them form positive associations with being together. Spend time with both, so no one feels neglected.
  • Keep this up for a few days, until both pets seem to have accepted each other’s presence. Then, you can let them officially meet. Try putting a baby gate at the door, so they can see each other.  If that goes well, you can bring your cat out into the living room in a carrier. They may be a bit eager at this point. Your cat may also hiss a bit. That should taper off gradually.
  • Be sure to put safety first. Keep Fido leashed during this interaction. Also, don’t leave your pets alone together until you’re sure that it’s safe.
  • Give it time! There are few things more adorable than seeing cats and dogs snuggled up together. Just don’t expect that to happen overnight.

Ask your Oradell, NJ veterinarian for specific advice. 

What Should You Do If Your Dog And Cat Just Will Not Get Along?

Even if you do everything correctly, there are no guarantees. Sometimes Fido and Fluffy just do not get along. In these situations, the safety and well-being of your beloved pets should always come first. 

Keeping the two separated may be feasible in some cases. This just depends on your house setup. For example, if you have a two-story dwelling, and can put a baby gate at the stairs, your cat may be able to stay upstairs while your dog gets the downstairs. However, you’ll need to consider Fluffy’s quality of life. If people only go upstairs to sleep, your kitty may be quite lonely up there by herself!

At the end of the day, if your pets just aren’t getting along, you may need to revisit the situation. While rehoming a pet should always be a last resort, there are situations when it really is the only option. If keeping both pets means risking harm to one of them, it unfortunately may be your best bet.

Conclusion: In some cases, Fluffy and Fido can become best buddies. In other instances, they will never get along. By choosing the right pets and being careful and consistent, you can help reduce friction between the two. 

Please do not hesitate to reach out to us if you have questions about your cat or dog’s health or care. As your Oradell, NJ pet clinic, we are always happy to help!