Most people assume that cats and dogs hate each other without taking the time to learn the facts. Dogs and cats can get along very well if they are raised together or if they come from a home where they were around other animals. Since dogs are bigger than cats, they may be a little rough on them when they are trying to play if they are not used to them. Cats that are not used to dogs will feel defensive and act aggressively. It is best to introduce your dog and cat at a young age so they can grow and be friends. However, if you have a dog that is friendly and mellow, you may have a good chance of introducing a cat into your home. If you have an older dog, it is best to choose a kitten to your dog as they will be more willing to get to know the dog than an older cat who has never been around a dog would.
Cats become stressed and react aggressively very easy, so it is best to train your dog well before you bring a cat into the home. You need to ensure that your dog knows to calm down and leave things alone when you tell it do so. It is also important that your dog knows the “stay” command so you can ensure that you can give the cat the space that it needs. You never want to leave your cat alone with the dog until you are absolutely sure they are comfortable and safe around each other. It is best to keep your cat in a separate room until you are sure of this, and this gives the cat its own space where it can feel comfortable and go when it needs away from the dog. Do not try to force the friendship between your cat and dog. If the cat is scared and avoids the dog at first, let it do so. Eventually they will become used to each other and spend more time around each other. If you use a baby gate between the rooms to allow them to see each other, but not touch each other, the transition may be easier. When the cat seems interested and does not run when the dog is near the gate, you can take them into the same room and see how they react to each other with you present. It is safest to keep your dog on a leash during this time, so you can keep your cat safe. If you continue these small moments of being together, eventually they will become comfortable around each other and may even become inseparable. You need to ensure that your dog does not have access to the cat’s food or litter box.
If you make the transition as easy as possible for both the cat and dog, having a home with both pets should be possible to achieve. It is always better to be over cautious rather than under, you do not want either of your pets to end up hurt. One bad moment could ruin any potential relationship between them forever. You should use rewards for your dog when you are in the transitioning process. Give him a treat when he listens and stays away from the cat and gives it the space it needs to give him an incentive to get along with the cat. It is easiest and safest to obtain a cat and dog when they are young and have them grow together. However, you can still achieve the same result with older animals as long as you are patient and work with them to get to this point.