Can Dogs and Cats Be Friends?

'They're like cats and dogs.' This phrase is commonly used to describe people that don't get along. But, can dogs and cats be friends?
Can Dogs and Cats Be Friends?

Last update: 25 February, 2019

When people use the phrase, ‘they’re like cats and dogs’, they’re talking about people that don’t get along at all. This is based on the general idea that dogs and cats usually get along pretty badly.

However, it’s becoming more and more common to see dogs and cats living together in homes. You might also see a puppy affectionately greeting a kitten when they’re out for a walk.

So, is this actually an impossible friendship? Everything we know seems to indicate that it’s not. Let’s see where this idea came from and how true it really is.

Where does this expression come from?

You’ve probably seen a dog chasing a cat or a cat teasing a dog. However, when they live together, things seem to be different. Why?

Dogs and cats getting along.

Both animals are territorial. Because of this, they need their space and will defend it tooth and nail. Therefore, when a cat or a dog sees a member of another species approaching him, then he’ll feel threatened. He might even respond to the threat by attacking.

He’ll respond this way regardless of what kind of animal it is. The phrase about dogs and cats is just a generalization of any animal’s reaction to another animal invading its territory.

Why does this behavior change when they live together?

Like we said before, when dogs and cats live together, they end up getting along very well. However, this may take some time.

It’s interesting to note that even dogs that live with cats, and get along well with them, will react negatively to cats on the street. The issue is that animals don’t understand appearances. When they live with other animals, they become equals and they just see them as another member of their pack.

However, they’ll never forget the idea of going out into the street and feeling that another animal may try to invade their territory.

How to make sure your dogs and cats get along

Maybe you have cats and want a dog, or vice versa. Or maybe you already have both but they don’t get along. Either way, these tips will help you.

A dog and a cat in the window.

  • Introduce them to each other gradually. Don’t just bring the new pet home assuming that everything will be fine, because that might not be the case. Instead, enter the home with the new pet in your arms. Then, in an enclosed room, you can slowly present the two animals to one another. If everything goes well, you can put the new pet on the ground so that they can get to know each other. You could even try leaving them alone. If they don’t get along at first, be patient and keep them at a distance.
  • Treat them equally. We know that when a new pet arrives, you’ll want to give him a lot of attention, especially if he’s a puppy. However, if the pet that already lives with you feels threatened that he’s losing your love, then there will be problems.
  • Both need to have their space. It might seem practical to only have one water bowl and one food bowl. However, this isn’t a good idea. Each animal needs to feel special and must have its own space so they won’t fight over anything.
  • Two beds. The same goes for where they sleep. Each one should have his own bed or blanket in a certain area of the house. We’re sure you’ll want to fill your phone with pictures of your cat and dog snuggled together, but you’ll have to wait a bit for that.


It’s very important that you give both the animals time. With time, they’ll grow closer and, eventually, they might end up eating together and sleeping together. But make sure you let them do this at their own pace; don’t force them. 

As you can see, friendships between dogs and cats are very possible, but your pets will need your help to help them get along.

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