Can my cat and dog get along? White kitten kissing a white puppy

Can My Cat and Dog Get Along? 5 Ways to Help Them Do So

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The phrase “fighting like cats and dogs” is probably one of the oldest idioms in the world, which often describes angry disagreements or bitter battles between two extremely differing groups or persons.

Interestingly, though, science says that these bitter, sworn enemies can also be the best of friends in the right environment.

Natural frenemies? Why do cats and dogs seemingly hate each other?

Nobody knows who, when, or where the belief that cats and dogs hate each other originated, yet the assumption that cats and dogs are the worst rivals is widely accepted in popular culture. So, it almost seems like a miracle whenever we see cute videos of cats and dogs getting along.

Essentially, it all boils down to miscommunication between the two species. Most veterinarians blame it on the dog’s instinct to chase anything smaller than itself and the cat’s prerogative to run whenever there is a perceived threat—like the sudden presence of a much larger dog—which leads to ugly (and sometimes bloody) fights.

Another type of miscommunication is how these two creatures use the same body language to convey vastly different emotional states. For example, most dogs wag their tails if they are happy or excited, while cats will only swish their tails if they are irritated or frustrated.

So, imagine a cat swishing its tail to express wanting to be left alone, which the dog mistakenly interprets as an invitation to play. It’s no wonder almost everyone believes cats and dogs hate each other.

Cats and dogs living in perfect harmony: Reality or a pipe dream?

Studies show that these beloved pets are more than capable of getting along, given the right circumstances. Surveyed pet owners in the UK and the US who lived with both cats and dogs in the same household claimed that their pets had “pretty good” relationships with each other.

Moreover, although dogs are social while cats are aloof, animal experts found that cohabitating cats and dogs can sleep and play together without fighting.

Just like people who manage to tolerate each other despite their differences, cats and dogs can also learn to live in a shared environment, depending on the animals’ personalities, surroundings, and the owner’s ability to manage the cohabiting space.

How can your cat and dog happily coexist in the same home?

Personalities matter

It all seems easier if you can just get a definitive list of dog and cat breeds that are most likely to get along if forced to live together and share the same space. Unfortunately, even if you manage to get the calmest dog to live with a low-maintenance, playful cat, they will still end up fighting if their canine and feline personalities do not match.

1. Raise them together

According to animal experts, if you want to own a cat and a dog, things will be easier if you get them young. Studies show that puppies and kittens are more likely to become friends as they grow older if they are introduced to each other between the ages of 0 and 6 months of age.

Furthermore, animal behaviorists claim that puppies and kittens are more willing to learn each other’s body language and various ways of communication, which solves many of the cohabitation problems between cats and dogs.

The learning period is extremely important since puppies (and dogs, in general) are more gregarious and energetic than their feline siblings. It helps for both animals to be able to understand and interpret each other’s body language to minimize the possible sources of fights.

2. Consider their ages

If getting them young at the same time is not feasible, consider the animals’ ages before trying to make them live in the same household. For example, if you have an aging dog, they would probably not be thrilled to be introduced and share their space with a playful kitten, or vice-versa.

3. Consider their history

Another factor that you must consider is whether you are looking to adopt or shop. Animals that live in rescue shelters are sometimes territorial and skittish (sadly, for very good reasons), so you must consider whether the pet you are looking to adopt has a history of living and getting along with other animals.

4. Introduce them properly

As with humans, you cannot force an interaction or instant connection between two very different animals. You need to give them time to sniff each other out. The goal is to make them familiar with each other’s scents and eventually decide that the other creature is a non-threat.

This might mean initially keeping both pets in separate rooms where the other is not allowed, while at the same time giving each of them something that would introduce the other’s scent, like a well-used blanket or bedding.

You can even try switching their rooms every so often to help with the scent introductions. Also offer treats whenever this happens so that their memory of the other’s scent is reinforced with something they look forward to. Gradually decrease the physical barriers between them, such as leaving the door to the other room open or using a pet gate to separate them. This way, they can try to physically interact with each other on their terms.

5. Give them their own space

Even after your pets become friends, it also helps if you give both of them their own spaces to sleep and chill in. It’s not healthy to coop them up in one space and force them to constantly interact. Even human siblings need their own space to recharge and recuperate away from each other. A possible exception is this cat, who made a valiant effort to move in with the dogs.


Here’s the full length video of Charlotte brining her bed out to the porch to be with my puppies. Once she gets to the gate she needs a little help from her bestie, Wednesday to pull it the rest of the way 🤣 she does run away for a few minutes but does come back and gets comfy in her bed. Never a dull moment. #deafcatsoftiktok #deafkitty #shelovesdogssomuch #adorable #caughtoncamera #germanshepherdsoftiktok #furmom #mykidshavepaws #tuxedocat #shessofun #rescuecat #lovemyfurballs

♬ Cartoon-like rhythmic jazz – Kohrogi

What’s even cuter is that the dogs helped her move in!


Part 2 of my cat Charlotte brining her bed out in the porch to be with my dogs. Wednesday is trying to help her pull her bed all the way under the gate for her while Lucifer sits back and watches ♥️So cute! They love eachother so much. #catanddogfriends #deafcats #deadcatsoftiktok #part2 #adorable #mykidshavepaws #germanshepherdsoftiktok #lovethem #mybabies #crazycatlady #tuxedocat #resucecat wednesday&Lucifer

♬ Cartoon-like rhythmic jazz – Kohrogi

And here, she’s finally settled in 🙂 I really love this story! 🙂

A Word of Caution

Although it’s endearing to see cats and dogs that get along, and yes, there are many stories of those on the Internet, you have to keep in mind that dogs and cats are individuals and are unique in their own ways. As such, observe your pets’ reactions to each other and don’t force them to get along if they seem hostile towards each other. Just as you can’t force yourself to like every person you meet, you shouldn’t force your pets to like each other either. Doing so may cause them stress or even physical harm.

Also, even if they do get along, it’s still important for you to supervise their interactions, especially if you have a big dog and a tiny cat. Dogs can suddenly become aggressive, so make sure to look after them.

Read here for tips on how to keep your cat safe and healthy.

Final Thoughts

I feel that animals do a better job than humans at getting along with others who are different from them. However, it’s also true that they have their own personalities and quirks that influence who and what they like. Nevertheless, if you can put in the effort to research, plan, and manage your pets’ shared living space, then it’s possible for your pet cat and dog to happily coexist, in turn bringing more love and happiness into your home.

First-time cat owner? Click here for a complete guide.

RELATED ARTICLE: Can Cats and Dogs Have Babies? De-Bunking The Curious Myth of Cat-Dogs

Featured Image Credit: JACLOU-DL / Pixabay

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