The Cat-Dog Condundrum: Sharing A Harmonious Home - The Trupanion Blog
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The Cat-Dog Condundrum: Sharing A Harmonious Home

Are you an animal lover who wants to bring a furry new family member home, but you’re afraid a new cat or dog might fight with your existing pet like . . . cats and dogs? Seventeen percent of Americans own both a cat and a dog, according to a Gallup poll, but it’s not always harmonious. The most common type of pet injury, according to WebVet, is a laceration or bite wound caused by another cat or dog. If you dream of creating a haven for dogs and cats, but you want to ensure their safety and a smooth transition, start by taking it one bark at a time— and they’ll be purr-fectly behaved in a jiffy.

scared dog and cat hiss
Photo by Peretz Partensky via Flickr

Provide a Slow Intro

When you bring your new dog or cat home, keep them separated initially. The experts at Purina advise letting the new dog or cat become accustomed to all the new smells and sounds of the house very slowly. In their first meeting, separate the new cat or dog with a crate or kennel. A kennel will help diminish their chances of lashing out or behaving erratically. It can also help them feel some security in an unsure situation. When they meet for the first time, at least two adults should be present to ensure that each animal can be properly sequestered, should a problem arise. Cat Channel expert Jean Adlon recommends bringing home an adult dog instead of a puppy (for dog adoption), or bringing an item with the dog’s scent to the shelter (for cat adoption).

cat and dog friends snuggle
Photo by Flickr user Yukari

Learn Their Language

Animals have unique dispositions, just like humans: some are divas, some are tomboys, some are wallflowers. Your dog or cat’s personality has a lot to do with what type of companion they’ll live happily with, and it’s up to you to decipher it. A tail wag means happiness to a dog, but displeasure to a cat. Your failure to recognize animal communication signals could end in injury or territory disputes. According to, terriers and herding dogs’ natural instincts might put your new cat in danger, and feral cats are likely to see dogs as a natural enemy. Jean Adlon remarks that most shelters will be happy to work with you to find compatible animals.

cat batting dog on couch
Photo by Robert Huffstutter via Flickr

Prioritize Potty Training Solutions

Dogs like to feast on the contents of a cat litter box like it’s the the Old Country Buffet. Although there is little you can do to dissuade most dogs from this disgusting proclivity, you can minimize the gross factor. The cat’s litter box should be placed in a closet, or an enclosed area that the dog can’t access. A Petsafe self-cleaning litter box will do the work for you if separating the litter box isn’t a feasible solution for your home. A self-cleaning litter box works continuously to clean and scoop the litter without disturbing the cat— a godsend for those who don’t want to be disturbed by the putrid side effects of letting your dog near “litter lumps.”

smiling puppy kitten outside cute
Photo by Nguyen Hoangnam via Flickr


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