ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Can Cats and Dogs Live in Harmony?

Updated on February 21, 2015
VladimirCat profile image

Vladimir is a former champion ratter (retired). His hobbies are bushwalking, birdwatching and nature studies

Cats and Dogs can be Friends
Cats and Dogs can be Friends

Cats and Dogs can be Pals

Who said we fight like cats and dogs? If you bring a strange dog near me you will quickly learn about angry cats, but that aside, I have been known to tolerate the odd dog or two over the years. At one time I had a friend who was a dog!

So I can say in all honesty that it's possible to have a cat and dog living in the same house and it's also possible to have these very different creatures being good friends to each other.

It all depends on the dog.

Cats and Dogs in Harmony
Cats and Dogs in Harmony

A Lesson for World Peace

We are two different animals with two different distinctive personalities and we won't necessarily get along together harmoniously. But with a good dog, proper planning, patience, hours of training, and your strong commitment to provide a loving home, most cats and dogs can live together in perfect harmony.

This concept of amicably sharing the same spaces can extend beyond cats and dogs. It can be applied to people who don't get along, like your neighbours and world superpowers.

Surely, If ordinary cats and dogs like us can learn to get along, you people stand a good chance.

Cat and Dog making friends
Cat and Dog making friends

Crossed Signals

Communication Difficulties

The main problem I find with dogs is their slow learning process - particularly in the area of communication.

Dogs don't understand that we both use very different signals to show our feelings. I've come across many a dog with inter-species signals crossed. I must admit it took me a little while to read canine body cues so it's understandable that a dog, being of a less intelligent disposition, will take a long time.

For instance, I tend to lash my tail about when something has displeased me. Dogs do the same when they're in a good mood. Curiously, dogs show their anger by growling and arching their backs which is pretty close to what I do when my back is really against the wall.

Crossed Signals Again!

More Communication Difficulties

The position of the head is an odd one too.

When I avert my head I am giving you clear signals of aggression while, in a dog, that very same head position signals submission.

There's no getting away from it, dogs are strange creatures and find it hard to learn another language. (They find it hard to learn anything much at all).

It beats me why you humans spend so much time training a dog over and over, but even such poor clay as a family mutt can eventually be turned into a passable production.

Why won't dogs purr?

This would save a whole lot of trouble. But try and explain that to a willful dog.

Recipe for success - Timing

Cats can get along with dogs (and vice versa)

  1. If the cat has adopted the humans before the dog arrives
  2. If the cat and dog are introduced when still young (less than 6 months for kittens, a year for dogs)

Never leave a cat and dog alone together until you're ABSOLUTELY certain they're really comfortable with each other

Planning - Bringing a Dog into a Cat's Home

How would you feel if some new person just showed up one day, moved into your home, started stealing your food, messing around in your private bathroom and sleeping on your bed?

When you have decided on a safe breed of dog to suit your cat, then please ensure these conditions in the home are met

Cats and Dogs can be Friends
Cats and Dogs can be Friends

  1. Make sure the cat has a "safe place" where the dog can't follow. This is vital!
  2. Separate the eating areas. Cats shouldn't eat dog food anyway.Apart from that, dogs have a habit of guarding their food often in a particularly nasty manner. Put the cat's dinner up high where the clumsy dog can't jump.
  3. Block the dog's access to the litter box. If you don't, you'll soon discover why I recommend this step

If a dog already lives in the home

f you already have a dog and you're planning to bring a cat into your family, then you have a fair bit of training to do with the dog first.

I assume that your dog already has basic training and will obey simple commands like 'Sit' and 'Stay'. If your dog doesn't know these basics it's beyond my scope to explain dog training here.

Recipe for Success - Choose the dog wisely

If you already have the honour of a cat sharing your home and you intend to add a dog to the family, you need some proper planning.

First research the dog and choose wisely

Obviously a dog which humans have selectively bred for a thousand years to hunt small creatures isn't going to find it easy to live with one of these smaller animals. We look like prey. (I shudder when I write that)

To be brutally honest I don't recommend a doberman. If anyone has an example of a cute kitteh and a gentle doberman laughing it up together, please feel free to send me the happy snap. I dare you!

There are plenty of dog breeds exclusively honed for killing - unless you want murder in your living room, don't get any of them!

If you're getting a dog from an Animal Shelter you had better find out first if the dog has any experience with smaller animals and whether the experience has been positive.

  1. Use a leash, Make sure that the dog is comfortable on leash in the house, so that you can have easy physical control over the dog if you need it.
  2. Introduce your dog to other animals, especially smaller animals, there should be plenty around your neighbourhood or in a nearby park. Observe how your dog reacts - if he's aggressive, stop him straight away.

When first introducing a cat and a dog

You will need a few minutes several times a day to give the cat and dog some carefully supervised time together.

  1. Leash the dog
  2. Make sure the cat is at the same eye level as the dog.
  3. Keep a firm grip on both animals. You may need two people here.
  4. If the cats is frightened, immediately remove the cat.
  5. If the dog is aggressive, immediately remove the dog,

A pair of friendly youngsters

This pup knows how to treat a kitten

On Talking Terms with Dogs

There is a fashion in USA to train dogs with operant conditioning.

Reinforcing behaviors, like the 'clicker training; is all very well and good, but you have to understand what the dog is saying before you start any training.

A no-nonsense introduction to canine communication and interpreting dog communication signals.

Every human with a dog should have this!

Surely if cats and dogs can get along then people can too.

© 2009 Vladimir


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)