and cats can often coexist happily, particularly if the dog is raised around
cats. There are even many cases where cats and dogs become good friends.
However, there are several considerations when bringing a new dog into
a home with cat(s). The first step is choosing your dog wisely. Dogs that
have a high prey drive are a riskier choice for homes with cats. Dogs that
were originally bred for hunting can still have a strong hunting instinct,
which can be problematic for cats. Terriers for instance are typically
not as well suited for living with cats. They have been bred to hunt small
animals, and many still have a strong prey drive. There are exceptions
such as Boston Terriers whom are typically better with cats than other
terriers. Also sight hounds such as Greyhounds are prone to chasing cats,
as it is hard for a sight hound to resist chasing any quick moving object,
cats included. Also breeds that typically have dominant personalities can
be a riskier choice. If adopting an adult dog, choosing a dog that has
already lived with cats is wise. Also, a calm and non-aggressive
demeanor in an adult dog is good both for the safety of the cat and to
help with a smooth introduction. Be aware that a dog may react differently
towards a cat indoors versus outdoors, and may chase or harm a cat outside
that is left alone indoors.
The introduction of dog and cat can sometimes be challenging. First, protect
all pets involved. Puppies may be at more risk of getting hurt than a cat,
as a slap from a cat with claws out is not that uncommon if an over-eager
puppy (even if well intentioned) comes bounding over to the resident cat.
Give pets a place to escape too. For cats it is wise to have a room with
a baby gate that the cat can cross, but the dog can’t. Bring the
new dog into the home restrained and don’t force the introduction.
Correct your dog if he either wants to chase or shows signs of aggression.
Let the animals slowly approach each other, but separate if either shows
signs of fear or aggression. It can be effective to leave the dog in his
crate or carrier and let the cat come over to the crate to sniff and inspect
it. It may be necessary to repeat the introduction process until the two
pets can calmly and peacefully stay in the same room together. Don’t
allow the cat and dog around each other unsupervised for several weeks.
They may react differently around each other when alone, and until there
is clearly no threat it is best to keep them separated when alone. Take
it slow, don’t force the issue and give your pets time and space
to adjust to each other and likely your dog and cat will adapt to their