Cats and dogs may seem like mortal enemies, but there are many examples that support the idea that they can coexist quite peacefully. Cats and dogs do not hate each other simply because they are cat and dog, and it more often than not comes down to how they were introduced and that crucial period where they had to get to know each other.
Both cats and dogs are similar in terms of their territorial instinct and we need to understand how they work. Wild cats, from which the common house cat was slowly bred, are generally quite solitary. Cats tend not live together in packs unless they are trying to bring up the next generation. Their territory is important to them and they will defend it as well as mark the boundaries with urine. Since cats have exceptionally high territory instinct especially at home, any additional members to the family will need to be examined in detail. Changes in a cat’s life including new additions to its territory can be very stressful, especially for a cat who leads a very static life.
Dog ancestors, unlike cats, prefer to live in big family units, and marked territory where they hunt and live. A dog might see all members within the family as part of the pack, it will still be cautious when there are new addition, especially an animal. With some time, a dog will realize that the cat is another member of the pack, maybe one that might ignore him totally.
Because a cat and a dog will approach a new addition to the family in a different way, a pet owner must consider this when allowing them to meet each other. A dog will want to hop right in and test the cat, sniff it, see if it wants to play or if it will try to be dominant over him. A cat on the other hand needs time to observe from a distance. Cats are naturally more cautious and are unlikely to dash towards unknown objects.
You should keep the dog outside the house first before you locate your cat. Once you have discovered the cat’s location, bring the dog in on a short leash. Enter the room with the cat and have your dog sit and stay or lie down. Your objective is to give the cat enough time to understand the dog a little bit and to get used to his presence. It is important to keep your dog calm during the introduction. You might consider to bring him out for a walk or play to exhaust his energy a little. Once the dog is sitting, reward the dog and the cat.
You can keep the first introduction short so as not to stress out the cat. Make sure you keep the dog on leash until the cat is comfortable with a calm dog. Do not unleash your dog before you feel that your cat is comfortable with the dog presence.