The stereotype of cats and dogs is that when they get together, they fight like — well, cats and dogs. But this isn’t necessarily the case; felines and canines can live harmoniously under one roof. It’s important to choose a cat and a dog who will get along, though. While there are certain dog-friendly characteristics to look for in a cat, the best place to start is with your dog.
Assess Your Canine Candidate
Dogs who are exposed to cats during their primary socialization period, from about two to nine weeks of age, are more likely to be relaxed around cats in their adult life. Breeds with a lower occurrence of predatory behavior may also be less likely to chase after a cat. Keep in mind, though, that while one dog may be fine with a cat, two or more dogs living under the same roof may feed off of each other, creating an increased chance of multiple canines chasing, seriously injuring or killing the cat. If your dog has a tendency towards predatory behavior — meaning he likes to chase after other animals — or if he has injured or killed other animals in the past, a multi-pet household is not the best option for you.
Keep in mind that the risk doesn’t only extend to the cat; there can also be a danger to your pooch if your cat and dog start scrapping away. Brachycephalic dogs, for example, have an increased risk of eye injuries. Because of this, when I was looking for a cat to add to my two-Pug home, my father, veterinarian Dr. Marty Becker, was adamant that I look for a relaxed cat who would be unlikely to swipe out in fear, since it takes only one hit from a claw for a dog to lose an eye, especially for dogs with bulging eyes and shorter noses.