Start off the Right Way
This set of tips is designed for existing pet owners who are introducing a new cat or dog into their home. This process may require a few days of work – do not expect your pets to be best friends right away. Ideally, you should get your new pet from a home where it has already been socialized with other pets. This will ensure that your cat is not intimidated by your dog, and vice versa.
Regardless of where you get your pet from, try introducing them slowly. You can start by bringing the new pet home in a carrier and keeping him in the carrier while the other pet comes to investigate. Your new pet will feel protected in the carrier, and it will be shielded if the old pet tries to attack. This also prevents the new pet from trying to chase after the old one, which can instill fear early on.
You may also try introducing them through a doorway, where they can smell one another and potentially play underneath the door trim. Place your new pet in a room that feels quiet and secure so he can adjust to his new environment. Then allow your old pet to come up to the door to see what is going on. They may bark, meow, or hiss at each other at first, but that is to be expected with the new situation.
Once you feel comfortable with their interactions, you can let them be in the same room, under your supervision. If they start to fight with one another, see if the fighting is playful or aggressive. If it is playful, you will only need to worry about the animals playing too rough with one another. If it is aggressive, you will need to spend extra time working with your pets to make them get along.
Identify the Root of the Problem
If your cat and dog do not get along, there has to be a reason for the conflict. Oftentimes it is simply a matter of clashing personalities (playful pup versus lazy cat). You may be able to use obedience training and discipline to correct these issues and help your pets get along better. Common problems between cats and dogs include:
• The dog chases the cat
• The cat lashes out at the dog in defense
• The dog tries to play with the cat when the cat is not interested
• The cat is too fearful to interact with the dog in a stress-free way
• One pet is territorial over food, sleeping areas, or even you
• The cat or dog is not getting enough individual attention (or one is jealous of the other)