Can a cat that has never lived with dogs learn to live with dogs?

I have a 2.5 year old female cat that has never really lived with other animals before. Is it possible for me to get a dog and have the two of them co-exist, even though she has never had proper socialization? I have seen multiple guides online on how to introduce dogs and cats, but none of them said anything about an unsocialized cat. Some context to my situation in particular: My cat has temporarily lived with a dog, but they were kept mostly separate. That being said, they did see each other frequently, and things seemed OK but not great. My cat is quite confident and is the type to walk right up to a stranger with her tail high, but she does have fearful tendencies and certainly carved me up good when a too-friendly stray cat ran into the house once. She has never been in a fight with another animal before, but I can t say she has ever had a truly positive experience with one. I plan to adopt an adult dog that is already socialized with cats.

Love my Newf

Sure as long as the dog you're adopting has a history with being around cats and being gentle with them. Do NOT get a puppy!!! Puppies are incredibly rough and annoying to cats. I have a 140 pound Newfoundland who is super gentle and calm and has always been very friendly to my cats. I adopted a 5 year old cat a couple weeks ago and she was initially terrified of him - like "OMG WTF IS THAT THING????" She stood there in my kitchen staring at him but he didn't hold her gaze he just put his head down. She steered clear of him at first but within two days was lying within two feet of him. A few days after that she even pawed at his tail. So it REALLY depends on the dog. Look for one that's quiet and calm. Bigger dogs tend to be a lot more calm than tiny dogs. Keep the dog on a leash inside the home to introduce it to the cat. One person with the dog, the other with the cat. Make sure the cat's claws are neatly trimmed so any swats won't hurt the dog. Keep a baby gate across one bedroom door that's low enough for the cat to jump so it has a dog free room before you're sure they get along. Do NOT allow them to be together unsupervised till you're sure that's the case.


That all depends on the dogs/cats personality and your management of the situation......... no one can tell you as that is impossible to say without seeing the interaction. I have a cat which I took on as a rescue some years ago, she was brought into a home with dogs and I had to be strict with the dogs to leave her alone and give the cat safe space to go if she needed to, they were all OK and my then youngest dog and the cat would play together. A year ago I purchased a BC pup who I had to train to be gentle with the cat, they snuggle together at night, play fight, wash each other and the BC also picks her up and carries her around, when the cat has had enough ( or I say leave) the BC does as she is told....... so there is no issue

Karen L

Yes. I've had 5 or 6 cats who had not previously lived with dogs. They did fine. The crucial element in a dog/cat interaction is the dog. The dog is the one who may want to chase and could kill or seriously injure a cat. If the dog is properly accustomed to cats, and by that I mean that the dog pretty much ignores cats, then the cat will eventually realize that the dog is not going to hurt it, come out from under the bed and act normal. And unless the dog is treating the cat as prey and means business, the average adult cat is quite capable of teaching a dog not to mess with it by using a swat on the nose. You occasionally find dogs and cats who are buddies, but far more common is that they live in the same household but really have little to do with each other.


Only way is to try. Bit of a one way road though as once you get to that point its gonna be hard to turn the situation back how it was. :)


even getting another cat may not work. just enjoy her by herself. if they don't get on she will spend her time avoiding the dog.