Tips for Living with Both Cats and Dogs

Updated On: Friday, December 10, 2021 16:01:33 PM America/Los_Angeles

After seeing adorable Instagram posts and TikTok reels of feline and canine BFFs, you might be wondering if adding one or the other to your family is a real possibility. At the same time, it may be hard not to have your reservations. Everyone has heard of phrases such as “fighting like cats and dogs” that may leave us with our doubts about whether or not these two species can actually coexist. 

Photo by Andrew S

Can Cats and Dogs Really Get Along?

The short answer is yes--it’s definitely possible for cats and dogs to live together in peace! While the two are very different, they also share many similarities. Both may bond over play, hunting, grooming and more. Of course, factors such as individual personality and training will play a huge role in determining how well they get along. 

Tips for Living with Both Cats and Dogs

While it’s very possible for cats and dogs to live happily together, there are some adjustments that may have to be made to accommodate their individual needs. 

  • Start off right: If you’re still deciding on bringing in a cat or dog into your home, take your current’s pet’s personality and preferences into consideration. Is your dog excitable and friendly? You may want to rethink adopting a senior cat who may be content to nap their day away quietly in the sun. Or perhaps your cat is known to do the zoomies at 2 a.m. An anxious and territorial dog may misunderstand that behavior, so you may want to adopt a dog who is not easily startled. 
  • Offer an indoor dog bathroom: Cats use litter boxes as a pet potty, and it may be tempting for dogs to try it out for their own use as well. It’s unlikely dogs will make a habit out of using the litter box, but the smells coming from the box may encourage pups to “go” near it. One option is to place a pee pad like DoggieLawn nearby so that they can take care of business on the pad instead of the floor.
  • Provide a cat- and dog-only space: Individual space is important for any multi-pet household whether or not this includes pets of different species. Having their own space can help reduce stress and provide a place to relax. If either pet is food insecure, feeding them in their own area can help tensions as well. For cats, a simple pet or baby gate can keep dogs out of a certain area. For dogs, a crate can be just the den they need to rest and recharge. 
  • Engage in play: The more each pet is able to expend their energy appropriately, the less likely they are to take it out on one another. Plus, play and exercise have been shown to reduce overall stress and anxiety, which can make cohabiting easier for everyone involved. 
  • Feed the same treat: It’s less likely that one or the other pet will make a fuss if both are being fed the same treat. Freeze dried chicken is a popular and tasty choice, but there are also plenty of other treat options these days that are safe for both cats and dogs.