If you think that your pets will get along after the first meeting, then you are living in a dream. Cats and dogs take ages to bond. Therefore, patience is the key here. Do not overwhelm your pets with frequent interactions. Keep them separate most of the time. Initial interactions should last for a smaller duration. Slowly increase the time and frequency of the meetings. This should depend on how pets interact in each meeting.
Puppies and kittens
The best way to keep multiple pets is by raising them together. Getting kittens and puppies is preferred if you eventually plan on getting multiple pets. Kittens and puppies have no bad exposure related to each other. This makes the whole situation ideal. Introducing a puppy to a kitten is similar to introducing it to another puppy. Initial interactions should be guarded by you. Always stay around in meetings even if they get along in the first meeting. The bond formed is much stronger if the pets grow up together. Make sure that both learn to respect each other. Always supervise their play sessions to ensure that they are not hurting each other.
A home for your cat
Cats can be a little shy in the first meetings. Cats like to go back to their safe spot if they feel endangered or threatened. Cats are commonly not welcoming to new situations. Therefore, it is better to delay the meeting until you have a dedicated place for your cat. Your cat should be comfortable and cozy in that place before the meeting. This will prevent your cat from acting out emotions by simply running back to its haven.
Sniffing is healthy
A little sniff goes a long way. Cats and dogs develop familiarity with smells. Pet owners could always use this in their favor. Before the first meeting, swap the scents of the two. This could be done by letting them sniff through each other’s bedding and stuff. Let them play around each other’s stuff and toys. This would help in developing a sense of familiarity, which would then lead to an easier first interaction. Your pets will subconsciously get a feeling of belonging. Hence, no fuss in the first meeting.
Train your dog
Train your dog to combat the first interaction properly. If your dog is all pumped up, aggressive, or highly reactive, then a little training beforehand is mandatory. An untrained dog has the potential to start a chase game right after spotting a cat. This would create a fuss while scaring the cat. One way to handle this is through obedience training. Your dog should be trained enough to listen to you. This would help you in handling your dog during the first meeting. Your dog should also be trained to respect other animals and that it is unacceptable to chase cats.
Every interaction of your canine friend with your little furry friend should be under your supervision. You need to be vigilant whenever the two are interacting. Pay attention to them even if they are friendly as both animals have different stamina and tolerance.
The first interaction could easily turn into a chase and then a fight. It is better to properly trim the nails of both animals just to prevent injuries. Cats usually jump at their target and start injuring the target with their nails. Therefore, a cat might injure your dog with its nails if it suspects a danger. Trimming the nails is a good option to handle this situation. You can also use nail clips to make the claw endings of a cat blunt.
Both of your pets should have separate areas for playing, sleeping, and eating. If you have a large house, then both should be kept at different ends of the house. During meal sessions, both should have separate bowls. Cats and dogs fight over toys. Therefore, both should have separate toys and playing areas. This stops the competition between the two.
Judge the personalities
Several people follow the stereotype that certain breeds get along, and some do not. These have no concrete evidence. The degree of getting along depends on the nature and personalities of your pets. Your dog would not get along with a cat if the dog is aggressive and not welcoming. The dog might even scare the cat away. Similarly, if a cat is friendly, then any interaction with a calm dog would not be hard work. Hence, before getting a new dog or cat, judge if your current pet can adapt to this change.