dog and cat friends

As a dog, I’m expected to chase cats but let me share a secret with you: I like felines. If you’re wondering whether you can have a dog and a cat co-exist under one roof and not have us fight like dogs and cats, you can. I’m living proof.

Dogs are predatory by nature but we can be trained not to terrorize animals that meow. Some breeds, such as border collie, Doberman pincher and Jack Russell terrier, have a higher prey drive and may be more inclined to run after cats than the more tolerant breeds like Labrador Retriever, Cavalier King Charles and Dalmatian. But if the socialization process begins during the puppy-kitten phase, the chance of success increases greatly, regardless of breed. If a mature dog has terrorized cats outside for years, it’s hard to expect him to change his ways later in life.

Follow these steps below to help ensure a long-lasting relationship between canines and felines:

  • Don’t put them together initially. Instead, let the dog smell the cat’s blanket and vice versa for a couple of days.
  • After a few days, they are ready to see each other. If you have a big dog, you might consider having another adult on hand. With a leash on the dog, hold the canine and let the cat smell it. If your pooch becomes excited, rub him to calm him down and praise him when he does so.
  • Assuming your dog follows commands; put your pal on the floor in a sit/stay position. If he makes a move toward the cat, tell him no firmly. Give him a treat for following orders. Let the cat roam freely and approach the dog when it is ready. Do this repeatedly (it could take days, or weeks) until you are comfortable enough to remove the dog’s leash. By now the dog should know chasing cats is forbidden.

Sometimes, cats and dogs play together and other times we simply ignore felines. The most important thing is that we’re not hostile to one another.