Rocky’s Viewpoint

Rockys Viewpoint

A blog for people who treat their dogs better than family

Is It A Good Idea For Cats And Dogs To Live Together?

Dogs and cats are from two completely different worlds. The popular idiom “fighting like cats and dogs” exists for a reason. It’s in their nature to view each other with a certain degree of animosity; dogs perceive cats as prey while cats perceive dogs as a threat.

Most people would be wary of having both animals under the same roof because of this. Given that fact, there are still a lot of pet owners who have no problems in owning both animals. However, is it really a good idea for cats and dogs to live together?


The Verdict

Even though they seem to be in two different ends of a line, it is indeed possible to keep cats and dogs under one roof. In fact, APPA National Pet Owners Survey of 2017-2018 shows that 32% of pet owners own both animals and that this combination of pets is still the most common.

This shows that dogs don’t always hunt felines and that cats get along well with other animals.

If you’re one of those pet owners who’d love having both animals as pets, it’s not as easy as just lumping them together and expect them to get along right away. There are important factors that you need to consider so you and these polar opposites can live in harmony.


Introducing them to each other

Cats and dogs will most likely grow up as best friends if they’ve been together since they were just pups and kittens. Based on the 2008 study by Tel Aviv University that was also published in the journal Applied Animal Behaviour Science, younger animals warm up easier to other companions.

Jo Hardy, the expert vet from PurringPal.com also believe that having both animals within a short period of time can result in more successful bonding. For example, if you have a new kitten or puppy, introducing them to another pet just within a week or so can be beneficial

Letting them freely interact with each other gradually can also help. The best time to let them around each other is when they’re calm and relaxed, like after mealtime.

Both animals are also sensitive to smells and sounds. Let them get used to each other’s scents in their separate areas so they won’t be overwhelmed.

But what if you already have an existing, long-time pet?  Let’s say that you already have a pet dog, don’t let it engage the feline right away. Keep it on a leash and let the new cat go around it so that the feline wouldn’t feel like the dog is a threat.

It’s preferable if your dog has a good grasp of basic obedience training too. Commands like “sit”, “stay”, “down”, “come”, and “leave it” can go a long way, especially when your dog resorts to hunting.

When introducing both animals in the same space, don’t leave them unsupervised. Chances are, they’d

be at each other throats right away. Be sure to give both animals a treat for their appropriate behaviors.


Choosing the right breed

This is also a crucial part if you want to find the perfect balance inside your household.  Even if dogs can coexist with cats after some time, some dog breeds are really just not fit to live with cats and treat them as their companions.

It’s a disaster waiting to happen if breeds like Terriers, Border Collie, Bullmastiff, Doberman Pincher, and Greyhound are left with felines. It’s because these breeds love to hunt and they have higher prey drive compared to other breeds.

On the other hand, breeds like Golden Retriever, Labrador Retriever, Maltese, Papillon, and Cavalier King Charles can live perfectly with cats. Aside from lower prey drive, these breeds are friendly in nature, not just with other animals but with humans as well.

These dogs would also appreciate nap times with mellow cats.

If there are cat-friendly dogs, there are also cats that would enjoy the company of dogs and can most likely match their energy. Abyssinians, Scottish Fold, Siamese, Sphynx, Birman, and Bengal cats exhibit behaviors that are almost dog-like.

This means that they won’t mind a bit of play time with their canine counterparts. These cat breeds can also share some affection with your Fido.

Note that combining these dog and cat breeds don’t guarantee that they wouldn’t fight. After all, each animal has a different personality and it is best to still gradually introduce them with each other with supervision.


Additional Tips for Dog and Cat Owners

  1. Let both animals establish their own safe spaces, especially with cats. They can easily get overwhelmed with a dog’s energy and would likely run away to their own personal space once they feel that they had enough.
  2. Bring your cat or dog with you when you’re looking for another addition to your furry family. Before you can take home the chosen companion, visits with your main pet can help in acquainting them.
  3. Keep your cat’s litter box out of the dog’s reach. Felines are sensitive when it comes to this and a dog invading their privacy can stress them out. Dogs, on the other hand, have a bad habit of playing and sometimes snacking on cat’s boxes.
  4. If your dog has a leash to keep them from chasing the cat, felines should at least have trimmed claws. Do not declaw them since cats might feel defenseless around their canine companions.
  5. Keep their feeding bowls and spaces separate. Most cats will pay no mind to dog food but it might not be the case when it comes to dogs. When dogs regularly eat cat food that is higher in fat and protein content, it can ultimately result in weight gain.

The stigma of cats and dogs having the worst relationship should not stop pet owners to have both pets in the same house. Although it is true that some caution should be taken, remember that every animal has its distinct behaviors.

Their upbringing plays the biggest part in determining the success rate of both animals living in harmony. Just like humans, there may be times that they’ll fight. but that doesn’t mean that they can’t get along well. With enough preparation and the proper training, cats and dogs will eventually treat each other as their own family.