How to Make a Cat and Dog Get Along?

Living with both cats and dogs can be challenging, but it is possible for felines and canines to live together in harmony. With proper introductions, planning, and training, you can create an environment where your cat and dog become the best of friends. This comprehensive guide provides tips and strategies for making cats and dogs get along peacefully.

Slow and Proper Introductions Are Key

The most important factor in successfully integrating your cat and dog is to introduce them slowly and carefully. Rushing the introduction process can create lasting tensions and make it harder for them to accept each other down the road. Here are some guidelines for proper introductions:

  • Keep Them Separated at First: When you first bring home a new cat or dog, keep them separated by closed doors and baby gates. This allows them to become accustomed to each other’s smells and sounds before interacting face-to-face. Take it slow.
  • Do Short, Supervised Meetings: After a few days, do short introduction sessions where you keep your dog on a leash and carefully observe their interactions. Make sure these early interactions are positive and calm.
  • Swap Their Scents: Rub a towel on one pet and put it near the other’s food bowl so they can get used to the other’s smell. This helps them feel more comfortable around each other.
  • Take It Slow: It can take weeks or months for pets to fully adjust to each other. Be patient and gradually increase the time they spend together under supervision. Rushing it will only slow the adjustment period.

Tip: Set up a baby gate so your pets can see each other but not interact directly. This allows them to observe one another from a safe distance.

Create Positive Associations Through Reward-Based Training

You want your pets to have positive experiences when interacting with each other. Use reward-based training to create good associations:

  • Give Treats: When your pets are calmly co-existing or playing together nicely, reward them with treats. This reinforces good behavior.
  • Use Food for Introductions: Feed them treats when they first meet each other so they associate each other with something positive.
  • Praise Calm Behavior: Verbally praise and give treats when your pets stay relaxed around each other. This motivates them to remain calm.
  • Do Joint Training Sessions: Work on basic obedience commands together, like sit and stay, and reward them with treats. This brings out their teamwork.
  • Play Together: Engage both pets in a game with toys so they bond over playtime. Always supervise their play closely.

Tip: Place treats around the floor near your new pet so your resident pet learns that the newcomer means good things.

Provide Separate Resources to Prevent Conflicts

Competition over resources like food, water and beds is a top source of conflict between household pets. Prevent this by providing separate resources:

  • Own Food Bowls: Each pet should have their own food and water bowls set up in different areas. Feed them separately.
  • Multiple Litter Boxes: Have a litter box for each cat, plus one extra. Spread them out in different quiet locations.
  • Individual Beds: Make sure both pets have their own beds to sleep and relax in. Place the beds in separate rooms or areas.
  • Different Toys: Buy separate toy collections so sharing toys doesn’t become problematic. Rotate toys to keep things fresh.
  • Set Up Safe Zones: Allow access to areas that are off limits to the other pet so each has a safe zone for themselves. Use baby gates or doors to control access.

Tip: Place multiple water bowls around your home so there are several access points instead of just one. This prevents issues.

Use Products to Help Keep Them Calm

There are useful products available that can help relax and de-stress your pets to make introductions go more smoothly:

  • Pheromone Diffusers: Feliway for cats and Adaptil for dogs release calming pheromones that promote relaxation when plugged into outlets.
  • Collars: Calming collars for cats and dogs gently release soothing pheromones that lower anxiety levels.
  • Sprays: Spray bedding, carriers and other objects with pheromone sprays to create comforting, familiar smells.
  • Anti-Anxiety Supplements: Supplements like Zylkene and Anxitane help improve mood when given daily according to directions.
  • Calming Treats: Treats infused with L-theanine or CBD oil deliver relaxation to anxious pets. Only buy reputable, vet-approved brands.

Tip: Use pheromone products in spaces where your pets spend the most time together like the living room or your bedroom.

Use Leashes, Crates and Gates to Control Interactions

To manage introductions safely, use tethers, crates and gates to control proximity and access between your newly acquainted pets:

  • Keep Dog Leashed: Keep your dog on a strong leash when interacting with the cat so you can control them. Let them approach calmly and slowly.
  • Use Baby Gates: Set up a baby gate with a pet door in it. This allows your timid cat to spy on the dog safely from behind the gate.
  • Create Boundaries: Use ex-pens, baby gates or leashes to establish boundaries between contacting areas so pets have a visual divide.
  • Utilize Crates: Use crates to establish safe zones. Feeding in crates side-by-side can be a good first step.
  • Have Escape Routes: Always leave doors to high places open so cats have escape routes to get away from dogs. Keep dogs away from cat trees and high shelves.

Tip: Keeping dogs leashed prevents chasing. Let leashed dogs carefully investigate the cat but don’t allow chasing behaviors.

Provide Vertical Escape Routes for Cats

Cats feel safer when they have access to high perches where dogs can’t reach them. Providing vertical escape routes helps cats avoid feeling trapped:

  • Cat Trees: Place cat trees, towers and shelves so cats can easily hop up high to relax and observe. Put them in dog-free zones.
  • Wall Shelves: Install wall-mounted cat shelves so cats can perch up high to scope out the room or take naps.
  • Child Gates: Fit child gates with cat doors so cats can freely enter rooms dogs can’t access and climb onto furniture.
  • Window Perches: Place cat beds on high window perches so cats can look outside from a safe vantage point.
  • Ladder Shelves: Mount shelving units with built-in ladders and perches at different levels for easy vertical access.

Tip: Even confident, dog-friendly cats need to be able to retreat to a safe zone away from dogs. Provide access to off-limit rooms or high shelves.

Redirect Aggression with Toys

If your pets get over-stimulated or become aggressive, redirect their energy with toys to shift them into positive play:

  • Have Toy Collections: Keep baskets of toys for your cat and dog so you can easily grab one to redirect aggression.
  • Use Interactive Toys: Distract them with puzzle toys, treat balls, feather wands and laser pointers to stimulate play.
  • Play Together: Initiate a game of fetch or tease them both with a cat charmer toy to get them playing in a friendly way.
  • Offer Chew Toys: Give your dog a chewing outlet for their energy like a Kong stuffed with peanut butter or a rubber bone to gnaw on.
  • Know Triggers: Figure out scenarios that trigger aggression like food or toys and redirect before tension escalates.

Tip: Pay attention to body language. Ears back, hair raised and tense postures signal rising tensions. Redirect behavior before aggressive displays occur.

Be Patient and Consistent

Creating dog and cat harmony doesn’t happen overnight. You need consistency and patience for pets to overcome their instincts and accept each other:

  • Commit to the Process: Understand that introducing pets is a lengthy process that requires dedication from your entire family.
  • Stick to a Routine: Feed, walk and engage with your pets at consistent times each day to establish a predictable schedule.
  • Reinforce Training: Practice obedience commands with your dog regularly so they learn to listen despite distractions. Reward them for being calm around the cat.
  • Allow Time for Adjustment: Your pets need weeks or months to adapt to all the changes. Allow enough time for the adjustment period.
  • Stay Calm and Patient: Your pets will feed off your energy. Remaining calm and relaxed makes the process smoother.

Tip: If introductions don’t go well, take a few steps back and slow things down. Seek professional advice if matters don’t improve.


Helping your cat and dog live harmoniously together under one roof is very achievable. With time, effort and commitment to the training and introduction process, your pets can become close companions. Utilize the tips in this guide to start things off on the right paw. Stay positive, patient and consistent, and your furry family members will learn to get along. With a multi-pet household, your home will have double the love and double the fun.