Cats and dogs getting along.

Dogs and cats get along like oil and water. If you’re a devoted pet parent with a heart for cats and dogs alike, however, you’re probably wondering how to raise a cat and dog together. Is it possible? What can you do to help your dog and cat get along? We’ll help you learn how to get a cat and dog to bond.

How to Raise a Cat and Dog Together 

1. Take Age and Maturity into Account

It seems natural to bring home a puppy and a kitten at the same time. Maybe you’re dreaming of watching your fur-children romp through the yard, the best of friends. Instead, you get a rambunctious puppy chasing a terrified kitten. It’s chaos.

A fully grown cat or dog may possess the socialization skills to tolerate a puppy or kitten. On the other hand, a kitten’s desire to play may awaken a younger dog’s primal prey drive, resulting in disaster. 

Take note of your animals’ maturity and age, and adjust your expectations accordingly. 

2. Give Your Cat a Panic Room

Your kitty needs a safe room that’s 100% dog-free. She must be able to retreat there on her own when Fido gets out of hand. Supply your feline panic room with toys, a water bowl, food, a scratching post, and a litter box. 

Make sure to keep a cat tree in the house, too—one that your dog can’t reach or knock over. If your cat feels uncomfortable, she can climb her way to a safe haven. 

3. Keep Your Dog and Cat Separate

For the first few days of bringing your new dog or cat home, keep the animals separate. Keep your kitty in the panic room that’s fortified against your dog. How will this allow you to raise a cat and a dog together, you ask?  

Because it’s all about baby steps. Even if they can’t see each other, your furry friends will be able to smell and hear each other. This can help them start to get used to one another before they meet face-to-face.

4. Feed Fido and Kitty on Opposite Sides of a Door

Every morning and evening for the first several days of their life together, feed your cat and dog on opposite sides of the same door. Sneak a special treat into both their food bowls. 

This trick helps your animals associate happy things—like food and treats—with their new fur-sibling. 

5. Meet on Neutral Territory 

It’s time for your cat and dog’s first face-to-face meeting. Finally! Choose a common area of the house—not the area where you’ve set up Fido’s doggy bed and water bowl. And definitely not your cat’s panic room. 

Stock your pockets with treats for both of your fur-babies. Keep your dog on a leash. Let your kitty come in at her own pace. Reward both your cat and your dog for positive interactions. End the session at the first sign of anxiety, aggression, or stress.

Repeat this process every day until your animals seem comfortable with each other’s presence. 

6. Let Them Loose(ish) Together 

Once Fido and Kitty seem happy to spend time in the same room, let go of your dog’s leash. Let your dog and cat move around without restraints—but don’t take your dog’s leash off just yet. You might need to step on it or grab it if he starts chasing your cat. 

If this does happen, go back to leash-only interactions until things calm down again. 

7. Always Supervise Your Cat and Dog

No matter how close your two animals seem, it’s important to keep your dog and cat separate if you’re not home to supervise them. This may feel disappointing after the work you’ve done to learn how to raise a dog and cat together, but safety comes first. 

If you feel at your wits’ end trying to figure out how to get your cat and dog to bond, reach out to the knowledgeable team at Androscoggin Animal Hospital. We can help you walk through the highs and lows of raising a cat and dog together.