General Question

johnny0313x's avatar

What is your advice on bringing a cat into a household with a dog?

Asked by johnny0313x (1860points) September 3rd, 2009

I was considering getting a cat to keep my dog company since another dog would just be to much on me. So far my dog that I have ad for 10 months now seems to be the most loving dog ever lol, and has been around many dogs and never showed any aggression. He has been around a few cats and has done nothing more then chase them when they run fast otherwise he just wants to sniff them. Any suggestions, advice, etc? I am sure at first I might have to teach the dog that he needs to be nice, how can I work this out or is it just a recipe for disaster?

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21 Answers

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

it’s a recipe for disaster, cats are trouble. Buy your dog a couple of fuzzy toys that squeak, that is all the companionship they need. Works for our dog.

Insomnia's avatar

Sociliaze them beforehand?

If it were me I’d make sure to observe them around each other for a long time before I made the decision to leave them alone together.

johnny0313x's avatar

yeah actually i would like to even bring the dog around the cat a few times before I took the cat home if it were possible
I mean its just something ive thought about…not saying im gonna run right out and do it…I just feel bad for my dog sometimes because im at work all day and usually when i come home I spend all night with him but lately I have been going to the gym later at night and occasionally going out on the weekends. I feel like he is alone more then he should be. He still seems very happy and healthy, im probably just feeling guilt lol

YARNLADY's avatar

We had our dog for several years when my Grandson got his cat. He kept the cat in his room for several weeks, and only let it out for an hour or so at a time after that. Now the cat and dog are best friends.

The only issue we have to watch out is the cat is not allowed outside, and the dog is. I have to lock up the dog door when the cat is out of his room.

mcbealer's avatar

A lot would depend on what breed(s) your dog is and how high his prey drive is. It is definitely feasible, just introduce them slowly to one another, and supervise their time together for the first month or so. @YARNLADY‘s suggestion of confining the cat (while you’re at work for example) is a good solution.

I rescued a pit bull/black lab mix whose world was rocked when I added 2 cats to the mix over time. They became fast friends, and eventually the cats would actually spoon with him on the futon!

Buttonstc's avatar

When you first bring the cat home keep it in one room for at least a week and possibly more depending upon it’s personality. Some are very skittish while others are more bold. But give the cat time to get adjusted to you and the house before introducing it to the dog.

They will sniff each other under the door probably. You could also take some washcloths and rub one on each animal and then on each other.

The first time they meet the dog should be on a leash so you have some control. Keep the cat in its’ carrier till you see how they act. Praise the dog a lot and even give him a treat so he associates kitty with pleasant experiences.

When they seem to have settled down a bit with each other put up a baby gate in the cats room. This way you can safely leave the door open and give the cat a refuge if things arent going so smoothly.

You probably should not leave them alone with access to each other until you have had a chance to observe them when you are home with the baby gate up to see how they do. As long as the gate is up the cat can jump over it if she wants to get away from the dog and is free to interact with the dog on her terms and when she feels safe.

Don’t rush the whole process and have lots of patience with both of them and itshould likely work out ok.

During the whole adjustment period be sure to give the dog lots of positive attention and even more so than usual so he doesn’t feel jealous.

Slow and steady are the key words. You want to be like the tortoise not the hare.

YARNLADY's avatar

@Buttonstc Right! I forgot to mention the baby gate. The cat has the ability to go in his room without the dog, and the dog can’t eat the cats food.

Buttonstc's avatar

I’m just hoping he doesn’t have one of the larger breeds who could easily hop over. I’m not as worried about doggy eating kitty’s food as I am about doggy eating kitty.

Then doggy wouldn’t have anyone to keep him company.


rooeytoo's avatar

I have always had dogs and cats together. Never had any huge dramas. Maybe adopt an adult cat who is used to dogs instead of a kitten. But when I had kittens I would tie a rope around the door knob of the bathroom, just allow the door to open enough for the kitten to get in but the dog couldn’t.

Buttonstc's avatar


I am trying to picture this and am trying to imagine how that would work.

Where is the other end of the rope tied? Don’t your doors open into the room?

I am honestly not trying to be funny or anything. I’m just a little baffled.

Or maybe it’s time for my fuzzy brain to go to bed. Its 4:30 am here

rooeytoo's avatar

@Buttonstc – The bathroom door opened into the bathroom. I looped the rope over the inside door knob. There was a plate over the hole in the door frame where the lock would fit into, it had two parts, one for lock the other for just the latch part, it had the 2 holes separated by a metal strip. I put a clip like on the end of leash on that end and hooked it onto that strip and there you are. Door would only open a couple of inches, kitten could get in and dog couldn’t. I would stick a book or something into the opening so it couldn’t go closed and pen the kitten in or out.

Little hard to explain, do you get what I mean?

MissAusten's avatar

@Buttonstc gave you the best advice above for introducing the dog and cat. I just want to add that you’ll need to think about where the litter box and cat dish will go so the cat can access them but the dog can’t.

We always had two or three dogs and several cats when I was a kid. They mainly ignored each other, but sometimes they seemed like friends. The only dog we had that never learned to be nice to the cats was a husky. My parents kept him outside all of the time (not a good idea, I know) and he never had the opportunity to learn that cats are not prey. The cats seemed to know this, because they avoided the dog’s kennel. The “kennel” was actually a fenced area the size of a small backyard. It would have been very easy for a cat to get in and out of, but the cats seemed to know they shouldn’t even try.

Our dogs never messed with the litter box, but they would eat the cat food. We kept the cat dishes on a part of the kitchen counter that was never used to prepare or store food. I’ve heard of some people putting the cat dish on top of the fridge.

dpworkin's avatar

I have always had cats and dogs together, and have never had a problem. By “always” I mean since I was emancipated in 1967, so that’s more than 40 years of canine-feline association.

sunshine123's avatar

If it’s a mature cat, from my experience, the cat will hide. Real stressful for the cat…
Cuz the doggies will constantly be sniffing for it out of curiousity… Again this is just my experience. It depends also if the cat or dog have been around others in the past..If it’s a kitten, it can work. One thing to do is take a small towel and rub the sent of the kitten/cat on it and put it under the dogs food bowls, and visa versa. this will trigger them to associate the scent of the other pet will “Survival”...and may help the process….
Good luck!

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

I’ve seen it work out well several times where the animals get used to each other and even play and sleep together but what also happened was they each started marking inside the house with pee and/or spray where they didn’t do that before. Grrrr

ubersiren's avatar

Growing up, we always had dogs and cats (and lots of other animals- my parents owned a pet store) in and out, and never had any problems with either species adjusting. If you’re really worried, I’d do as someone above mentioned and have your dog meet with a cat to see how he/she behaves before making a commitment. Good luck! And don’t believe @evelyns_pet_zebra- cats are not “trouble.” :P

YARNLADY's avatar

@MissAusten We keep the cat box, food and water dishes in the bedroom on a large flannel backed tablecloth used a floor rug, and lapped up over the corner walls. The baby gate at the door keeps the dog out and allows the cat to roam. The cat also takes advantage of going in his cat carrier whenever he wants privacy. We leave both carrier doors open.

johnny0313x's avatar

My dog is part pit and Jack Russell. He is male, would a male or female cat be a better option, thanks for all the great feed back as well!

YARNLADY's avatar

@johnny0313x There shouldn’t be any difference in whether you introduce a spayed or neutered cat. either one will work.

FujiokaHaruhi192's avatar

Well it depends on the nature of your dog and the cat you are thinking about getting. I’d say, that it’ll probably work as long as your dog isn’t violent in any way, boisterous or if it usually goes chasing after cats when you take it for a walk. If the dog is big and boisterous, and decides to “play” with your cat you MUST growl at it, it’s unlikely but it could very easily jump on your cat or something of the like and injure it, without intending to obviously. But anyways when you bring the cat home there will probably be some conflict at first but it’s nothing to worry about. The dog will learn what the cat dislikes after a few scratches and the cat should learn it’s place in the household after being dominated by your dog. I own both cats and dogs and there aren’t any problems except for the dog occasionally following my cats when they are trying to run away but that is it. Just make sure that you get a cat that you will be willing to let outside so it can have some away time from the dog. That is if your dog is an indoor dog, but anyway make sure they get some time apart if they don’t get along particularly well. Then everything should be fine! Hope I helped. :)

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