Is your dog cat-friendly? Five tips to adding a cat to your home

Since this is a doggy blog, it’s not too often that I get a chance to offer tips related to cats. However, June is National Adopt-A-Shelter Cat Month. In shelters across America, 7 in 10 cats that get left behind are euthanized before getting adopted.

It surprises me how many people say – we’d like to have a cat, but we already have a dog and you know, they don’t get along. There are actually many dogs that do well with cats. So much relies on knowing your dog and selecting the right cat to fit in with your household. I know so many people with both and in many cases there were few problems when adding one or the other into the family.

If you’re serious about helping out by adopting a cat, here are some things to consider to help you along.

  • Find out if your dog is cat-friendly – If you are not sure how your dog may react to a cat, first consider how your dog is around other dogs. If your dog has issues getting along with most canines, adding a cat may not be the best move. If your dog has a strong prey drive or has issues with small dogs, it also may be a good idea to skip out on adding a friendly feline to the bunch. If you have a friend with a dog-friendly cat, they may let you do a quick meeting to see how your dog reacts.
  • Find a dog-friendly cat – Some people are cat people, some are dog people and some like both. There are cats out there that aren’t fond of other cats, but may like dogs and others just want to be around other cats. Visit a shelter and find out if there are cats available that have a track record with dog, that is a great starting place. Most cat rescues house cats in people’s homes and will also be able to let you know which once did well with dogs and which did not. They may even be open to a meet and greet with your dog.
  • Fostering the possibilities – I have several friends that stepped up to foster cats when their rescue was in a pinch and found out that their dog or dogs liked cats. That eventually lead to an adoption after a foster failure.
  • Train for success – If you have a dog trainer, have him or her assess your dog and write up a plan for a successful transition. Trainers are very good at targeting issues that you may not be able to see and helping you fix them. If you don’t have a trainer, it’s a good time to connect with one.
  • Easy does it – Once you adopt a cat, give him or her a place of their own (room or bathroom) for the first several days at least as they get used to their new home. Work on a gradual introduction, watching to see if the cat or dog is stressed or if there are other issues brewing. The rescue organization should be able to offer great tips for smooth transition.

It’s kitten season. While some kittens will transition very quickly with dogs, others may be overwhelmed by a larger, canine playmate. It might surprise you how many adult or senior cats will fit in well with a dog household if properly introduced.

In our house, we have a very outgoing male cat that is certified as a therapy pet. When we go to events with dogs, he’s not phased in the least by dogs of any size. So, if you’ve been thinking of adding a cat to your family, stop check out your local shelters this summer to see if there’s a cat that may be a good fit for you.

Kathy Mordini is a freelance writer that covers the Chicago animal rescue community and pet trends. She blogs for ‘Tails Media Group‘ and ‘ChicagoNow.’  Reach her via email at and follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

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