Though cats & dogs are considered enemies but still they can really behave extremely well with each other if introduced carefully. While introducing one pet to another pet it is important to have realistic approach to expect their friendly relationship. For instance even a grown up cat, say eight years old, can never learn to share her belongings, people and property with other pets in the household if she has never lived with other animals. On the other hand, an eight weeks old kitten can be friendly with other dogs and cats even if she has been separated from her mom and mates at an early age.
If you want to introduce pet cats & dogs then you must keep in mind that cats are defensive and have to be introduced very slowly to other animals so that they can take their time to be familiar to each other instead of starting to confront each other face to face. Introducing cats and dogs slowly can help in eliminating the problems of developing aggression and fear in them for each other.
It can be easier to introduce cats and dogs, if both or either of them has ever earlier lived with the other animals at some other location. But if they have never lived with the animals of other species even then they can be introduced safely to each other if the things are dealt slowly and gently instead of making it fast and ruthlessly. They can hopefully become good friends one day as a result of your consistent efforts.
At this stage one more thing to be kept in mind while introducing pet cats & dogs that one of them may signal to play which can be misunderstood by the other. Usually the situation can get aggressive if the other animal interprets such signals as aggression. In such condition you will have to handle the situation strongly before it gets aggressive.
So while introducing cats and dogs you will have to deal them slowly in a systematic manner. You will have to encourage them to meet each other face to face and eat in the same room at the opposite sides of the door. Though dogs can lead in such activities but still the things can take place as per your expectations. But before introducing cats and dogs you should ensure that both the animals are initially kept at opposite sides of the room and somebody should hold cat in his/her lap. You should also make sure that the pet dogs obey the command like Stay, Sit etc. Then you should spread some delicious pieces all around. You will have to create such circumstances repeatedly several times until the signs of fear and aggression exist in any of the animals, especially cats as they usually struggle to get away from the dogs. After a number of meetings both the animals can gradually and slowly be brought closer to each other.
While introducing cats & dogs, the obedient dogs should be rewarded and praised in the presence of the cats for their good behavior. They should never be punished in the presence of cats as they may consider cats as the main cause of that punishment. If the dog is punished in the presence of the cat then he can give it back to the cat, as he gets an opportunity.
The next step of introducing cats and dogs is that you will have to create situations for their meeting in the same room with closed doors. But you should allow them to take their time to be familiar to each other instead of bringing them closer forcefully. You must carefully watch the behavior of the dog which should be best, obedient and calm instead of barking or parading around in excitement. You will have to be patient while making such arrangements as you may have to create them again and again for several times but ultimately both of your pets will become friends and shake their paws like you shake hands with your friends.
Other things to consider
While introducing cats and dogs living in a homely environment you will have to keep certain things in your mind to get the best results. These things may include:
The safe haven and escape routes should always be available in the household to the cat. After facing a troublesome dog the first reaction of the cat is to run away and hide her instead of fight of the situation.
While introducing cats and dogs, you should always keep them away from each other, if you have to stay away from your home.
While feeding the cat you should feed her on a working surface or a shelf or some other higher place that is out of reach of the dog. Your cat will always feel content and safe if she is fed at some higher point, out of dog’s reach.
The litter tray of the cat should be placed at a location which is easily accessible to the cat instead of the dog. In order to discourage the cat to leave your home for her safety you should keep her flap locked until the situation is controlled by friendship and peace.
The dog should be fed alone and separate from the cat as cats cannot eat dog food. Moreover the dog can react angrily if a cat tries to eat a mouthful from his bowl.
You should keep the lead attached to the collar of the dog even in the house until he is completely unaffected by the existence of the cat. You should hold his lead in case the dog wants to rush out to urinate.
Sometimes it is sensible to provide separate territory to the dog and the cat. For instance you can keep the dog downstairs and the cat upstairs. At least initially none of them should intrude others territory.
While introducing cats dogs you should also keep in mind that the entire process may take up to three months or more, so you should not make haste.