You have probably heard the phrase “fighting like cats and dogs” and may wonder whether your tabby cat can get along with dogs. The reality is that millions of families have both a cat and a dog and most learn to get along together, sometimes becoming best friends.
Tabby cats are not a breed, but any cat with a distinctive stripe and swirl coat pattern. They come in many different sizes and colors including silver, orange, brown and grey. Many breeds have tabby markings including Maine coon and Abyssinian as well as the majority of feral cats. There is no distinct personality type, and an individual tabby cat's feeling toward dogs will depend on factors that include early socialization and past experiences.
Cats and dogs tend to get on best if they are introduced to each other at an early age. Whatever their age, you must supervise their introduction. Make sure your cat has a safe area he can jump up to, and have your dog on the leash. Do not try and make them interact but keep the dog calm and allow them to get used to the sight, smell and sound of each other. Reward them both with praise and/or treats if your dog does not try to chase your tabby and your cat does not have a hissing fit or take swipes at the dog. Bring them together over a period of time and give them time out in between where they each have their own space to go to.
Separate your tabby and dog at feeding times to prevent one stealing food from the other leading to rapid feeding and digestive problems. Pay attention to both of them to prevent rivalries developing and give each some one-on-one time. Make sure your tabby always has a safe area he can get to if he feels threatened , and place the kitty's litter tray where your dog can't get it as dogs often eat cat droppings, which is not good for them. Let them see from your attitude that you care for them both and want them to get along together.
Sometimes no matter how hard you try, your cat and dog will tolerate each other at best, or choose to ignore each other. Sometimes they will develop a unique bond and play together, sleep together and groom each other. Well-socialized pets that form a bond can be great company for each other when you are not around. The book “The Incredible Journey” is a story based on the strong friendships that can develop between cats and dogs.