To help your dog befriend the family cat, begin by establishing the roles both the dog and cat are going to play within the family unit. As dogs are pack animals, teach your dog that the cat is equal to, or above him or her in rank. Dogs who assume leadership, will not always tolerate cats, let alone befriend them. However, when they understand they are not the boss, they can begin a life long friendship with their feline counterparts.
When introducing your dog to the family cat, let the cat roam freely, but keep your dog under control. Let your dog see that your cat has free reign, and don't make a big deal out of their first meeting. Instead remain relaxed and casual, so that your dog and cat don't get too anxious or excited.
Dinner time is an important event for dogs and cats. Dogs who are pack leaders eat before anyone else. Feed the family cat before your dog gets fed. This way, he or she will start to understand that they don't hold a dominant position over the cat.
Continually assess how your dog and the family cat seem to be getting along. If your dog wants to chase your cat, you have some work to do. When this is the case, don't leave your pets alone together just yet. Begin feeding your cat physically at a higher level than your dog is situated, such as on a window ledge.
Have your dog sit by your side, while you hold his or her lead, while your cat eats. Make your dog be patient, until your cat has finished completely, then feed your dog.
Dogs are generally bigger than cats. Therefore during playtime it's essential that your dog doesn't play with your cat in the same way they would with another dog. Give your dog and cat separate toys to play with, making sure to give your cat his or her new toy first. Let them play at the same time, but separately.
This will help them to feel relaxed and happy in each others company, as well as getting them to establish a pattern of respect when it comes to play time.
Some dogs and cats like to snuggle up together for warmth and comfort. This is a lovely sight to see, but in the beginning of their relationship, your dog and cat will need to know who sleeps where. They need to have their own separate beds, and your dog shouldn't be allowed to sleep on your bed.
When dogs sleep on their owners beds, they tend to believe they are assuming a role of dominance, and a happy dog and cat relationship thrives on balance, and your dog should never be in charge.
In time, your dog and the family cat will probably become good pals. They will cherish their bond together, especially if you only have one cat, and one dog, as they will enjoy each others company.