(Closed) help with my dog and cat becoming a “family”!

posted 12 years ago in Pets
Post # 3
1221 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: December 2009


Is the dog animal-aggressive at all? Does he seem threatening (in your opinion – I’m sure the CAT thinks he’s threatening!) towards the cat or just more interested in a ‘playmate’?

If he seems friendly towards the cat, in all honesty I would probably just let the cat hide wherever it wants to, for as long as it wants to, and eventually it will probably venture out slowly out of curiosity. I would make sure it has food/water/litter pan available in the basement, so it doesn’t have to venture into the house until it’s ready, but pretty much just leave it be to adjust on it’s own terms.

My cat was an ‘only cat’ until I moved in with hubby, then she got a ‘brother’ kitty. The brother kitty did NOT like her at all at first, and spent most of his time up in the attic (we have a cat door that leads out into the garage and up in the attic). He did eventually start coming into the house more, and Katie (my cat) would follow him around and basically DEMAND that he pay attention to her (she’s just USED to attention and couldn’t fathom WHY he didn’t want to be her friend lol). Now they play, sleep, etc together and seem to be great friends.

Post # 5
513 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2010

You can clicker train your dog not to chase the cat. You could also baby-gate the dog in your kitchen or other room so the cat can get used to seeing the dog around without being chased. Hopefully the cat will emerge after realizing the dog can’t get her.

Post # 6
1278 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: January 2013

We have three cats and two dogs in my parents’ house.  When I am home, the cats behave exactly as you described (a lot like dogs).  But when the dogs are out, they also hide in the basement.  We have never convinced them to come up when the dogs are outside of my parents’ room, and it makes me really sad (it also makes them fat because they do a lot less moving around).  I would strongly suggest training your dog in some way to stay away from the cats, either with a clicker or a light stream (so it doesn’t hurt) squirt gun/bottle.  And this sounds cruel, but perhaps try locking your cat upstairs and petting her while she’s safely in your lap while the dog is around, having another person click/squirt the dog when he gets too near the cat.  She might get used to it eventually, but she has to learn that the dog isn’t a threat.

Post # 7
839 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2010

honestly it does just take time. i had my cat for 5 years before DH and I met – then when I moved in with him, my mom took my cat for about a year as I moved into his extremely small not even one bedroom apartment…so then when we moved to a bigger apartment, we got a pug. we moved my cat back in and at first they HATED each other because our pug is allll about needing attention. he’s such a momma’s boy! lol. and yeah – they both showed things such as puking, etc – but eventually, after time – they have gotten to the point, now (after two years) that they sleep next to each other on the couch and everyone once in a while even in the pug’s bed! now they’re not best friends, by any means – but they’ve gotten used to each other.


we also adopted a golden retreiver/golden lab mix who’s mostly outside during the day but inside at night – and she just wants to “play” with the cat…and the cat sometimes gives it back – but truly it really does just take time.

you may wanna call your vet, if you’re really concerned though.

Post # 8
105 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: May 2011

don’t know if you have tried it but start by tying the dog up somewhere. Stand near the dog, out of its reach while holding the cat. Pat the cat, feed the dog treats. Encourage calm, friendly behaviour in both animals by rewarding it with treats/patts. Then over time decrease the distance to the dog and also do it for longer. Positive reinforcement works best.

Post # 9
161 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: June 2010

It takes a lot of time—and sometimes never happens, so I’d have a backup plan to physically separate them if need be when you’re out of the house. We had a bunch of dogs and cats in various combos growing up, and the only truly successful relationships were where the dog and cat had been puppies/kittens at introduction (not necessarily to each other, but at least to the other species). Your dog is young enough that it might still take, but with the cat—don’t expect too much of her. Try to give her safe, dog-free space that is all her own. (Baby gates work well for this, since most dogs can’t get over them but cats have no trouble.) As someone noted above, reinforce any calm, positive behavior you see in the dog. Teach “leave it” if he doesn’t already know that command—you can use it for the cat as much as for a squirrel or hot dog. Grown dogs and grown cats are very difficult to mix—at best ours tolerated each other. With time, they’ll probably come to terms with each other, but don’t get hung up on wanting them to love each other…that will come with the next dog or cat who comes into your home where dog-cat peace is already established.

Incidentally, in our family’s experience, the same was true of cats and kids. The cats who were grown when we were born never did get much past “tolerant,” but the subsequent cats loved us to pieces. 🙂

Post # 10
120 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: July 2011

I second rachelss’s advice. The cat needs to be able to experience the dog without fear of being chased but without the ability to completely remove herself from the situation.

This could easily be accomplished with a babygate, although I would suggest something more infallible for when you are not home since the dog cannot be trusted alone with the cat yet. Baby gates can seem like small obstacles to a very determined dog. You could try crating the dog when you are away (or even sleeping) while allowing the cat free reign. This gives kitty the opportunity to be near and unafraid of the dog at whatever distance/frequency she pleases. You could accomplish the same thing by confining one animal to a room. You would be amazed at how much of a difference it can make it the cat just has the opportunity to hear and smell the dog without fear.

Unfortunately, oakster is also correct. It is hard to integrate animals into new relationships when they are already habituated, especially when it is an animal that the cat is naturally programmed to fear. Try your best to find a nonconfrontational way to acclimate your pets to one another, and don’t expect a lifelong friendship to develop.

Good luck, I know it is stressful… cats are strongwilled (see:STUBBORN) creatures!

Post # 11
516 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: March 2010

I also have a similar situation as you. It took my cat and dog a year to really get used to each other. My cat still hisses at him sometimes and the dog will snap at her if she is being a butt…..BUT at night the H and I have caught them snuggling….give them time. They will eventually learn that the other one is not going away! 🙂

*Edit* after I posted I remembered the dog is crated during the day and when we first had him he was confined to the kitchen with baby gates. the cat food was in there so she HAD to have some contact with the dog.

Post # 12
979 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2011

I would say give it time, don’t force anything in the way of introductions, and keep a watchful eye when they are together, esp. initially. Does your cat have claws? It will be especially important to oversee them “playing” together if so. Dogs have been blinded by cat claws, so it is important to be around initially, when they are near one another.

Post # 13
1884 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: April 2012

I second(third maybe fourth) the baby gate idea.  And just let the cat come around when she’s ready.  When I got my dog he was a four month old puppy and had never been around cats… my boyfriend’s cats had only been around small yorkies (which they didn’t like) so it was interesting to see how they reacted at first… Blue was TERRIFIED of the cats at first.  And Tuaca (our super friendly cat) was taking FULL advantage of it, he would scare him off the couch so he could sit in my lap instead etc.  But eventually Blue got braver and they actually became good friends… Now Blue is 50 lbs and Tuaca and him hang out all the time, Tuaca even follows him outside to wait while he goes potty and “observes”.  Stoli was a little harder to come around to him, he was really afraid at first, but then realized that Blue was scared too… So that helped build his confidence enough that Stoli can just chase him if he wants to be left alone and isn’t afraid to whack him when need be.  But i’ve even noticed lately that Stoli really likes to play with him outside.  He’ll get all crouched in the grass and wait for him to pass (while running around like a kook) and stoli will playfully chase him and then hide in a bush and do it again.

My advice, get a baby gate and let it happen naturally.  It will just take time. 

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