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Watch the Dog: Introducing Cat to Dog

Stereotypically cats and dogs are some of the oldest villains. From cats stealing dog food to dogs chasing cats through the house, there is a reason people say, \”fighting like cats and dogs\”. Brute playfulness vs. trickster playfulness doesn\’t always translate the best. However, this does not mean they cannot get along. Whether you\’re introducing new dog to old dog or cat to dog, dog safety must be maintained to create a strong, lasting relationship. Here are some things you need to know when introducing cat to dog or vice versa:


How This Can Play Out

If your pets have never been around the other species, then it is especially important to evaluate the way they react to each other for cat and dog safety. They can react in one of three ways:

Play: Dogs may attempt to play with the cat. Cats can be alarmed by rambunctious behavior and become aggressive towards it.

Prey: Some dogs do see cats as prey, especially if the cat runs away from the dog. The dog’s instinct is to chase the cat as he would any other prey. This is also dangerous for the cat, as it can lead to its death.

Cautious: Older dogs may be intimidated by a new cat and will either approach cautiously or observe from afar.


So what should pet parents do to maintain dog safety when they are introducing cat to dog?


  • Make sure the cat has the freedom to hide and you have places where the dog can\’t get to. The cat should have perches or cubbies to hide in. Consider purchasing a baby gate the cat can jump over, but the dog can\’t.
  • Make sure the dog is on a leash when introducing dog to cat. Keep him from chasing after the cat for the pets’ safety.
  • Remember that, for the most part, dogs just want to be friends and don’t know how to express their interest in friendship. Cats are sometimes socially awkward and they don’t always know how to accept their friendship.


  • Force proximity between the cats and dogs. Let the cat and dog approach and introduce themselves at their leisure.
  • Forget to make the appropriate preparation before introducing cat to dog, such as moving obstructions and creating a safe environment for both. Make sure the cat and dog food is in their own safe area.
  • For the cat and dog safety, never leave them unsupervised until you know they are happy with each other and know when to stop.
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