cats living with other pets

Cats Living with Other Pets

A lot of people ask, if I get another pet will she get along with my pet? There is no simple answer to this question, but there are some facts to consider that might help forecast the results of such interspecies interactions:

Cats and Dogs

Former President Clinton found out that bringing a dog (Buddy) into the White House where there was already a cat (Socks) was not as easy as balancing the U.S. budget. The two fought like, well, dog and cat. But do all dogs and cats hate each other? The answer is no. The relationship between these traditionally acrimonious species can range from good friends, to indifferent, to positively hostile.

There are genetic influences on the relationship. Dogs, by nature, are predators. Predators tend to chase rapidly moving and furry things smaller than they are … and that is the job description of a cat.

So there is a potential problem. But dogs and cats, like humans, are not driven by nature alone. There is also a learned component to what they do. For a dog and cat, there is a sensitive time period when they learn who their friends are. This time period spans the first 2 to 3 months of life.

A puppy that is raised with cats during this time, and experiences no adverse consequences of the interaction, will likely grow up to regard cats as benevolent domestic fixtures. The reverse is also true. It may be slightly easier to introduce a new kitten to a resident dog than to introduce new puppies to a resident cat because of the highly territorial and antisocial nature of some cats.

But you can also have your work cut out introducing kittens to a highly predatory species of dog. Both situations can be managed by proper chaperoning and protection of the most vulnerable species. Time spent together may even result in a level of mutual tolerance, if not mutual admiration. If puppies and kittens are raised together, neither party should present a problem when integrating with the opposite species, unless the incumbent is particularly mean.

Cats should not be introduced to a home with dogs that have chased and tried to kill cats. These dogs will probably find it difficult to see cats as anything other than prey, and even if they do not actually manage to catch the cat, may make her life pretty miserable. Likewise, a puppy may have to be protected from a territorial bully of a cat that has, by virtue of prior experiences, or lack thereof, a lifelong hatred of dogs or wishes to walk alone. Sometimes a dog in such a situation will learn to avoid a dangerous cat. In other instances, the cat may spend her life in trepidation of the dog. Neither of these situations is desirable or reasonable and they should, if possible, be avoided by prevention or rehoming of one or other of the feuding parties. That’s what happened to Socks.

Cats and Pocket Pets

Mice, rats and other small critters should only be kept in a home with cats if you can guarantee to provide for their welfare. However interested and benevolent your cat may appear to be toward the rodent or rabbit, don’t believe it. Cats just can’t help themselves. Nature has programmed cats to chase after and pounce on small animals that run quickly. If you do want to have mice or rats in the same house as a cat you have to make sure that: