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My Cat Hates My Dog, What Can I Do? 5 Great Tips

Ed Malaker

By Ed Malaker

cat hissing on dog

Cats are extremely territorial animals that are often fine with animals that were in the household first but can be extremely slow to make friends with any pets that join later. If you recently got a new puppy and your cat is giving them a hard time, you are likely looking for ways to help the two get along better. Keep reading as we list several tips and tricks that you can try to help ease the tension and create a friendlier environment.


The 4 Reasons Why Your Cat and Dog Don’t Get Along

1. They Are Protecting Their Territory

One of the most likely reasons that your cat is acting aggressively toward your dog is that they are protecting their territory. Cats are territorial, especially males, and will often fight with any invaders, whether it’s a friendly puppy or a new kitten.

2. They Don’t Know What a Dog Is

If your cat didn’t spend much time with dogs as a kitten, there is a good chance that they don’t know what a dog is and will see them as a threat, resulting in aggressive behavior.

cat and dog fighting
Image Credit: Esin Deniz, Shutterstock

3. You Introduced Them Too Quickly

Cats can take a long time to adjust to change, and introducing a new pet too quickly can lead to hostile behavior. Cats like routine, and a new pet running around is an abrupt change that can make the cat unhappy.

4. The Cat Had a Previous Bad Experience With a Dog

Many hunting dogs like to chase after small animals like cats. If your cat had a bad experience with a dog in the past, they will likely try to avoid meeting any new ones and will probably be hostile if one gets too close.


The 5 Ways to Get Your Cat to Like Your Dog

1. Introduce Them Slowly

If you have not yet introduced the dog to the cat or if the initial introduction led to fighting, a slow introduction can help bring them together. Use doors, pet gates, and crates to keep the animals separate at first. This will enable them to get used to each other’s scent while helping them feel safe. Supervise all face-to-face interactions, and leave the barriers up until it’s clear that the pets are starting to get along. This process can take weeks or even months in some cases, especially if you tried to do a quick introduction that backfired, making the cat afraid.

a grey cat and a labrador dog staring at each other
Image Credit: Nata Runa, Shutterstock

2. Provide Safe Places

Once the cat and dog share the same space in your home, set up several safe places in each room that the cat can use if they get into trouble. Window perches work great because dogs aren’t good climbers, but you can also use cat tunnels, crates, and other items to help provide a quick escape or hiding place in each room, which will help the cat feel more comfortable when the dog is around.

3. Provide Extra Playtime

A great way to help your cat feel more comfortable around a new pet is to provide the cat with plenty of affection and extra playtime to let them know that they are still important to you. The playtime will help strengthen bonds, relieve stress, and tire out the cat so they aren’t as aggressive. Keep the dog and cat separate at first, but bring them together for playtime as they get used to each other.

4. Use Pheromones

Cats and dogs emit specific pheromones, which are scent molecules that humans can’t smell. You can purchase pheromone sprays or diffusers to use in your home to help your cat feel more comfortable and relaxed. Manufacturers state that these pheromones can help reduce spraying, scratching, and fighting, though actual results can vary significantly from one cat to the next.

water spray bottle
Image Credit: Squirrel_photos, Pixabay

5. Break Up Fights Peacefully

When your pets start to fight, it can be hard not to get in the middle of it or start to yell at them to stop. However, doing so can make you part of the problem for the cat or the dog, so it’s better to break up the fight with a spray bottle or a loud noise that the cat might not associate with you.


Other Tips and Tricks

  • Place more than one litter box around your home that the cat can use. Putting one in an area that the dog cannot access can go a long way toward helping the cat feel more comfortable.
  • Clean the house thoroughly before a new animal arrives to help neutralize odors that can confuse the animals.
  • Try to keep your new dog in one part of the house at first, so your cat can associate the area with the animal and make other arrangements for themselves.
  • Placing the dog blanket and toys in the cat’s area temporarily and vice versa can help the animals get used to each other’s scent faster while staying comfortable in their private place.
  • Offer treats to both animals when they interact peacefully to help both parties associate time together as a good experience.
  • Try to develop a daily routine to help both animals feel more comfortable.
  • Be patient.
woman playing with her pets
Image Credit: Josep-Suria-Shutterstock


Final Thoughts

If your cat was the only animal in the house for a while, and you suddenly bring home a new dog, you can expect the cat to be unhappy about it. Introducing them too quickly can scare the cat, making them permanently hostile. Instead, bring them together slowly by ensuring that each has a place to call their own until they are more comfortable with each other. Provide plenty of safe areas that the cat can use to get from one room to the next while staying out of reach of the dog, so they don’t get too stressed out. Spending more time playing with your cat and using a commercial pheromone spray can also help ease tensions and create an atmosphere more conducive to bonding and forming friendships.

Featured Image Credit: Reshetnikov_art, Shutterstock

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