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Picking A Dog That Is Cat Friendly

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John Griffin is the director of shelter services at the Women’s Humane Society in Bensalem, PA. They are committed to the humane and compassionate treatment of animals and are distinguished as America’s First Animal Shelter.

How do shelters evaluate if a dog is cat-friendly?

Part of our evaluation we don’t introduce all dogs to cats. Not every dog is going to be adopted to a home with cats and putting a cat through or a room full of cats, through a dog who may do poorly is not worth it. If there is a cat at home, we will do a cat test.Unfortunately, it’s not perfect you know. So our cat test right now consists of walking a dog into the

Unfortunately, it’s not perfect you know. So our cat test right now consists of walking a dog into the cat room, you know and seeing how they react. That is not a cat moving around loose, that is not a cat in a home, that is not a dog in a home, but we might be able to catch those ones that are just out right, this is just not going to work and we counsel those adopters on like, although we did this is doesn’t mean much. And you want to make sure that if you see anything bad that you contact us or if you’re concerned obviously you can bring the animal back. But this test isn’t like we are saying… stamp of approval this animal is good with cats.

How to make sure to adopt a cat-friendly dog?

It is possible to have dogs and cats in one home and get along. I promise! When you are deciding to adopt a dog, it is important that you take extra precaution if you have a cat at home:

  1. Make sure your cat is dog tolerant! Ask a friend to bring a friendly dog over to see if your cat likes dogs. Your cat has lived in the house and should be the first to make a choice if you should add a dog into the family.
  2. Have a hiding place for your cat that the dog can’t get into! Make sure that before your new dog comes home, your cat has a safe hiding space that the dog can’t get into.
  3. What kind of personality does your cat have? Is your cat a crazy wild animal that might be annoying to a dog? So you would need a dog who is patient. Or is your cat an old man and would hate a young puppy bothering him?
  4. Meet the dog and see if he is a good fit for your family and cat. Meet the dog and take into account everything that you know about your cat to see if the dog is going to be a good fit for the family.
  5. Hire a professional! Hire a professional positive dog trainer to meet you at the house to help you facilitate a positive first impression between your new dog and your cat.

Here are some registries of behaviorist and dog trainers in your area:

Stay in contact with your shelter if anything is not going smoothly. They will be able to help you with the introductions and if things are not working out.