How to successfully create a dog and cat-friendly household

The old myth that dogs and cats can't get along has hung around for generations, but most pet parents will tell you that both animals have a chance to become fast friends if they are placed in the right environment.

Whether you're looking to introduce a cat to your household with a dog or vice versa, there are a number of considerations you should take into account before you take the plunge. With a little luck and a good amount of patience, you can have the best of both worlds when you choose to adopt. Here are a few ways to get started.

Start from a young age

According to, ideally the best time to introduce cats and dogs is when they are both young so they can grow up together. If you're going to be introducing a new furry friend when your cat or dog is older, there are a few things to keep in mind. For adult cats with a new canine housemate, your cat should be socialized to a point that they don't fear overactive puppies or dogs, and they can respond positively to a new animal in the house. For dogs expecting a feline companion, make sure your dog is at a point where he or she will respect commands like "stay" and "leave it," so they can learn to understand the cat's limits and both of them can grow into their roles in the house.

Finding the ideal fit

The personality of each pet is extremely important when choosing a housemate, so make sure you find a dog or cat that can adapt easily to your pet's lifestyle. For instance, if you currently have an adult cat, adopting a middle-aged or older dog who is far more sedate could help speed the transition. Pay particular attention to each pet's activity levels, understanding play behaviors and their overall demeanor is the key to finding the ideal pairing for your dog or cat.

Study proper introduction techniques

According to the Animal Humane Society, your cat and dog may not get off on the right foot from the get-go, which is why you need to keep them separate from one another for a period of time while they get adjusted to one another's presence. The cat should have a safe area where the litter box and food dishes can be kept where a dog can't access and you can gradually increase the amount of time the two of them spend together in a supervised manner until you can leave them alone on their own.

This article is brought to you by the pet behavior experts at Hartz. When it comes to training your dog and cat, our knowledge and experience is guaranteed to make the process easy, smooth and fun!