cat sleeping

How to Make a Dog and Cat Get Along

dog and cat coexisting

The topic of cats versus dogs might seem like a scene from a cartoon. However, the dispute has lasted for a long time. In fact, it’s so archaic that folklores from a variety of cultures have written about the feud. Stories from ancient Romania, China, and West Africa tell of dogs and cats fighting one another over table scraps.

Even though the lore of cats versus dogs might seem like a fictional tale for pop culture, there is actually some truth to it. While this isn’t a rule for every dog and cat, dogs and cats tend to naturally have conflicting behaviors. The good news is that while their behavior might make them more likely to hate each other, there are ways to change their behavior.

Dog and Cat Behavior in the Wild

Dogs and cats are both mammals whose ancestors are carnivores. In the wild, canines and felines are forced to hunt for food. With that said, the pecking order between canines and felines is either “eat or be eaten.”

In that sense, wolves are known to get in fights with wildcats, and coyotes are known to eat stray alley cats, and so forth. In these contexts, dogs and cats don’t dislike each other any more than other predatory species.

In fact, in most cases in the wild, they would probably rather not interact with one another than open the possibility of becoming prey - similar to how most sharks and humans feel about one another.

Dogs Versus Cats in the Household

In domestic situations, dogs and cats are forced to interact with one another in our homes. Sometimes these interactions can lead to miscommunications and scuffles.

Most dogs are prone to being gregarious and curious. Dogs will usually run right up to a new person or animal to check it out. Cats, on the other hand, might find this behavior threatening, leading them to run away. The cat’s reaction to run away triggers a chase response in the dog, which can turn into a classic game of “dog versus cat.”

In this context, neither the dog or cat means harm, they simply misunderstand the motivation of the other animal. From an evolutionary point of view, both animals are simply practicing their innate survival instincts.

What to Do When You Have Dogs and Cats in a Home

Do you have a household consisting of both dogs and cats? You might be tempted to give up on trying to get your cat and dog to get along, and instead try teaching your dog to leave the cat alone. Don’t give up just yet. Fortunately, domesticated dogs and cats are bred to be social creatures, and can be taught to get along in most cases.

One of the primary tricks for teaching your dog and cat to like one another is to control their introduction. When introducing your cat and dog, you will need to restrain your dog. Dogs tend to get overexcited in most introductions, so your dog will need to learn the cat’s introduction language, which tends to be much more finicky than dogs.

A good training exercise is to bring your animals into the same room with your dog on a leash. When your dog is acting relaxed, give him a treat. If your dog is acting bonkers or lunging towards the cat, then hold him back until he relaxes. Once you feel like your dog is calm, you can bring him back towards the cat.

The act of restraining your dog will show him that you will not stand for attacks. This will also teach your cat that she doesn’t need to run from your dog. Continue to praise your dog, give treats, and toys, when he is able to stay calm in the same space as your cat.

You can also give your cat treats, when she stays calm around your dog. Over time, your pets will be positively reinforced enough that they will enjoy being in each other’s company.

When to Keep Your Dog and Cat Separated

Keep your dog and cat separated, if you feel like they are overly aggressive in each other’s presence. Keep your introductions brief, until there is no sign of aggression from either side. Some dogs seem to actively hate cats and other animals.

This display of behavior is more common in especially territorial pets, or adopted dogs that have been abused in their past. While this isn’t a rule, some breeds are less likely to get along with cats. These “power” breeds, include: rottweilers, Pit Bulls, German Shepherds, and so forth.

At the same time, it’s important to remember that dogs are incredibly intelligent, and “old dogs can still be taught new tricks”. Even if a dog and cat weren’t raised together, most dogs and cats can be taught to become friends.

Best Flea Prevention Options

Author:Care Animal HospitalDate:2019-03-25
Fleas are annoying for both you and your pets. Learn our recommendations for Flea and Seasonal Pet Pest Protection. Call our vets in Temecula with questions.

Can Pets Get Cavities?

Categories:Dogs, DentalAuthor:Care Animal HospitalDate:2019-02-27
Although cavities are rare, pet dental disease is very common. Call Care Animal Hospital at 951-370-1200 to schedule a wellness visit or dental exam.

Is It Normal For My Pet To Have Eye Discharge?

Categories:GeneralAuthor:Care Animal HospitalDate:2019-01-28
Eye discharge in pets is fairly common. Some eye symptoms might be a bigger concern. Learn more about types of eye discharge in pets and when to call a veterinarian.

How to Treat Ear Mites

Categories:DogsAuthor:Care Animal HospitalDate:2018-12-31
Ear mites are common in pets and can cause a great deal of discomfort. Learn our vet approved approach for treating ear mites in pets.

The Dangers of High Protein Dog Foods

Categories:DogsAuthor:Care Animal HospitalDate:2018-11-30
There is a common misconception that dogs are carnivores and need a high protein diet. Learn the dangers of high protein dog foods here.

Pet Diets for Better Oral Health

Categories:DentalAuthor:Care Animal HospitalDate:2018-10-30
Like humans, a pets' diet can improve or hinder their oral health. Learn the best pet diets for better oral health for your dog or cat.

How to Care for Dogs After Spaying Surgery

Categories:DogsAuthor:Care Animal HospitalDate:2018-09-30
After spay surgery, dogs will need to rest, recovery, and have their wounds looked after. Learn more on how to care for dogs after spaying surgery.

Dental treats you can make this summer

Author:Care Animal HospitalDate:2018-08-31
Want to save money on pet dental treats? Learn about these easy dental treats you can make for your pet this summer that will improve their dental health.

Is microchipping safe for dogs?

Many dog owners are concerned with the safety of microchipping. Learn about pet microchipping, how it works, and how it can help keep your pet safe.

How to Get Rid of Fleas in Your Home and On Your Pet

Author:Care Animal HospitalDate:2018-06-30
Flea infestations can be difficult to eradicate, especially in warmer months in Temecula. Learn these tips for ridding fleas from your home and your pet.

What are common veterinary emergencies for pets?

Categories:GeneralAuthor:Care Animal HospitalDate:2018-05-31
Keep your pet safe by staying prepared for emergencies by knowing the most common veterinary emergencies for pets and when to seek treatment. Learn more here.

Tips for Treating Hairballs in Cats

Author:Care Animal HospitalDate:2018-04-26
As self-cleaners, hairballs are a common issue in cats. Learn the symptoms of blocked hairballs, and tips for treating hairballs in cats.

How to Choose an Animal Hospital

Categories:GeneralAuthor:Care Animal HospitalDate:2018-03-31
Choosing the right animal hospital for your pet can be a nerve-wracking process. Learn these tips on how to choose the best animal hospital for your needs.

Signs Your Dog is Constipated and How to Treat It

Author:Care Animal HospitalDate:2018-02-28
Constipation in dogs can often a sign of a bigger health problem. Learn how to tell if your dog is constipated, and how to treat constipation in dogs.

Parasite Prevention and Control for Pets

Categories:GeneralAuthor:Care Animal HospitalDate:2018-01-26
An important part of being a pet owner is making sure your pet stays safe from internal and external parasites. Learn more about parasite prevention here.

Importance of antioxidants in dog food

Categories:DogsAuthor:Care Animal HospitalDate:2017-12-29
One way to keep your dog in good health is by feeding it dog food that is rich in antioxidants. Learn more about the importance of antioxidants in your dog's diet.

What to Do If Your Pet is Vomiting

Categories:GeneralAuthor:Care Animal HospitalDate:2017-11-28
Are you dealing with a sick pet? Learn what to do if your pet is vomiting, and how to keep your pet healthy at Care Animal Hospital in Temecula, CA.

What Causes a Dog’s Stomach to Swell?

Categories:DogsAuthor:Dr. Joe AlcornDate:2017-10-26
A dogs stomach might swell from overeating, sickness, or more. Learn about what causes a dogs stomach to swell, & how to treat stomach swelling.

Pet Skin And Allergy Care

Categories:GeneralAuthor:Dr. AlcornDate:2017-09-12
Pet allergies are often caused by the same things that cause allergies in humans. Learn more about pet skin and allergy care here!

How to Know When your Cat is Sick

Author:Dr. AlcornDate:2017-08-25
Read more if your cat is sick or not and how to provide enough care for your loved pet. Give us a call and schedule an appointment today.

How to Make Your Dog and Cat Get Along

Categories:Dogs, CatsAuthor:Dr. AlcornDate:2017-07-11
Do your cat and dog hate each other? Learn why cat and dog behaviors don't mesh well, and tips to help your dog and cat get along,

How Much Should You Feed Your Dog?

Knowing how much and when you should feed your dog can be a hard routine to follow. Learn the healthiest eating habits for your dog.

Leia M. (Read More)

Categories:Success StoriesAuthor:Date:2017-05-25

Abigail (Read More)

Categories:Success StoriesAuthor:Date:2017-05-25

Why your dog is throwing up

Categories:DogsAuthor:Dr. AlcornDate:2017-05-25

What is the Best Diet For Pets with Dental Problems

Categories:DentalAuthor:Dr. AlcornDate:2017-05-25

Dental Sticks and Bad Breath in Dogs

Categories:DogsAuthor:Dr. AlcornDate:2017-04-26

Is Spaying and Neutering Safe?

Categories:GeneralAuthor:Dr. AlcornDate:2017-02-25

Why is My Pet Scratching

Categories:Cats, DogsAuthor:Dr. AlcornDate:2017-02-01

Exercising Your Pet More Often

Categories:Cats, DogsAuthor:Dr. AlcornDate:2017-01-17

Is Your Pet Not Eating Their Dry Food?

Categories:GeneralAuthor:Dr. AlcornDate:2016-11-29

Saving Your Pet from an Itchy Problem: Fleas

Categories:Cats, DogsAuthor:Dr. AlcornDate:2016-07-15