A Cat and a Dog - How to make it work May 18, 2016
There is a common misconception that dogs and cats will never get along. While some of them might argue and not be a good fit to be in the same home, some of them do well together. It all depends on the temperament of that cat or dog as well as how early they are exposed to one another. The breed of dog will play a major role in this. Golden Retrievers, Pointers, Pits, and Bulls may not do well because they are bred for hunting.
Never introduce an almost feral cat into a household with dogs. It may bring out the wild side of the dog if they are being too defensive to hisses and growls. Having a cat outside with a dog in the yard is another problem too. Outside cats in the yard will be seen as prey and not given the same amount of control from the dog as inside cats do. So if you do mix the two make sure to keep the cat inside.
Controlling the environment is the best way to go about introducing them. The new cat may have to spend a few nights in a bathroom and you can have someone let the dog in on a leash so they can be controlled if they have a bad reaction. Keeping them separated by a door is a safe way for them to get used to each other. Slowly introducing them over the course of a few days to weeks if needed will be the best way to show your dog that the new cat is a friend and vice versa. Cats and dogs are smart. You will be able to know what progress they are making by their behavior.
I have actually introduced a fully feral cat into the house before and that was done the exact same way successfully. While she was getting used to the house, the dog was getting used to her, however, there was another cat in the house that the dog already was used to and knew the rules. She was raised from a puppy with cats so it is a little better that way. If at all possible, if you plan on having both in the home, get the cat first and then a puppy. The cats will train them to listen to them and maybe even open a door or cabinet for them. Puppies can be a little rambunctious and cats sleep around 18 hours a day, so make sure that your cat has a way out or a place to hide if they don’t want to be bothered.
Baby gates can also be a good territory barrier for safe integration. Own your home or have an awesome landlord? Some people cut kitty doors into pantries and closets to keep food, litter, and a good hiding place accessible to the cat and away from the dog. Separating their food and keep the litter away from the dog is needed. These things need to be planned out in advance. If your home does not offer hiding places for kitty and separation of food than it might not be a good idea to have a cat and a dog together in the same home.
As for everything else past training, conditioning, and feeding, the combination can be rewarding if the chemistry is there. You do not know what the dog or cat may do before they are together. Some animals react differently to the same breed of animal but a different one so you never know. Just because your dog gets along with the neighbors cat does not mean they will with one in their home. Make sure and introduce slowly.