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Socializing Cats and Dogs

If the ridiculously fun 2001 movie, Cats & Dogs tells you anything, it's that getting cats and dogs to get along can be, well, a little difficult. 

In the case of the movie, there turned out to be a crazy scheme between the two animals to get rid of each other.

In real life, while there may not be secret cat and dog spy groups, it can still be difficult to get them to get along.

My attention to this issue might be inspired by a current visitor in my household, a very energetic American Cattle Dog puppy named Rhea. Needless to say, my cat, Atticus, isn't too excited about her neverending curiosity. 

And that's how it is with a lot of cats. Puppies tend to make them nervous because of their enthusiastic nature. To avoid your cat lashing out at your puppy, you'll want to use these tips to socialize them a bit:


1. Always supervise new interactions

It's always a good idea to watch over the initial interactions since puppies can get too playful and cats can lash out with their claws.

2. If you're looking for a pet, look carefully

If you've just made the decision to add a new cat or dog to your household, make sure that you know the new member is cat- or dog-friendly.

3. Be patient

Since cats can be territorial, give both animals time and all the patience you have. Start with gradual, supervised visits and then work up to letting them spend more time together. 

4. Start with crate-to-crate

This might work better because the animals won't be able to touch each other. They can get used to looking at each other and smelling each other first. 

5. Give both animals their own space

Cats, especially, need a good amount of "me" time. So giving each animal its own space that the other doesn't have access to is a godo idea. 

6. Let them smell

Rub a washcloth or t-shirt over your dog and cat's face, then let them smell each other before meeting each other. It'll help them with recognition. 

7. Trim those claws

A cat swipes out when nervous, so make sure that you trim their claws to keep them from doing any severe damage. You can get kitty nail-trimmers in pretty much any pet store or pet section in a supermarket. 

8. Separate food areas

All animals are pretty protective of their food. Make sure that your cat and pup have separate and private eating areas.


Follow these tips and hopefully you'll be down a gradual road to canine-feline friendship!


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Jenna Gomes

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Jenna Gomes