Pets that get along well with cats are few and far between. Most felines don’t like each other, let alone other species of animals. Perhaps a more realistic goal is to find pets that cats won’t kill. Indifference to other pets is as good as affection where felines are concerned.
Compatibility depends on the age and temperament of your cat. Dogs and cats can become friends if their personalities mesh. Small pets should be avoided because felines are hardwired to chase and kill them. Cats and rabbits aren’t always a good match, as both animals fight for dominance. Birds and fish are also incompatible, so you’ll need to take active steps to keep them safe from harm.
Before getting a second cat or pet of any species, think about how your cat will react. Most felines don’t relish competition for their owner’s affections. An anxious cat can become aggressive, which doesn’t bode well for other pets. We’ll look at whether pairing second pets with cats is advisable.
Do Cats Prefer to be the Only Pet in a House?
Cats have a reputation as antisocial animals that will only flourish if they live alone. There is an element of truth, but there’s also a caveat.
It just applies to adult cats, which have grown accustomed to a particular lifestyle. Kittens are adaptable. If you introduce another animal to a kitten, she’ll likely want to play.
This doesn’t mean that you can never consider another pet if you have a cat. What it does mean is that you’ll need to think carefully about which pet you bring in to your home.
Things that you’ll have to take under advisement include:
- The size of the other pet. Cats have certain hardwired instincts. She will be compelled to chase and kill small, fast animals. However, she’ll also be scared of large animals.
- The temperament of the other pet. Cats have variable moods. She may be curious and calm one moment, and aggressive the next. How will another pet react to this?
- The lifestyle of the other pet. Cats want to be left alone, unless they initiate contact. Will another animal respect this or get in your cat’s face?
Consider how much work a second pet will be. Do you have time to care for them without your cat being neglected? Cats do not like being second best.
If a cat feels that a new pet is taking ‘her’ attention, she’ll react adversely. You must ensure that your cat gets the same amount of one-on-one time that she’s always had.
It can be tough to introduce a second pet to a cat’s house. Tough does not mean impossible, though. If you’re prepared to tolerate annoyance from your cat, it can be done.
Can I Get a Dog if I Have a Cat?
There’s an old saying about dog and cat compatibility, and their predilection for fighting. Is that true, though? The reality is that cats and dogs can get along well if the circumstances are right.
You must ensure that the two pets have compatible personalities. They both need to be calm, laid-back, and confident. A nervous dog and anxious cat will bring out the worst in each other.
Think about the size discrepancy, too. Introducing a Great Dane to a munchkin cat will leave the latter terrified. This will only be magnified if the dog instinctively chases the cat.
This means that energy levels and play styles must also be compatible. If both pets enjoy rough play and wrestling, then that’s great. If one is sedentary while the other is boisterous, that’s less good.
Dog Breeds That Get Along with Cats
Some dog breeds are better with cats than others. According to the American Kennel Club, the following breeds can live with cats without too many problems:
- Basset Hound
- Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
- Golden Retriever
- Labrador Retriever
Introducing a Dog to a Cat Home
First impressions are pivotal when introducing dogs and cats. You only get one go to get it right. If you do, your two pets can become friends.
Vet Street has explained how to introduce dogs and cats. What is most important is that you do not rush things. It could take anywhere from a week to a month for a cat and dog to accept each other. Pivotal steps in the process are as follows:
- Ensure that the dog has undergone basic obedience training.
- Set your cat up in a single room for a few days. Ensure that this room is filled with familiar and comforting items. Your cat should have her favorite bed, toys, litter tray, and scratching post.
- Once your cat has settled into this room, set up a baby gate in the doorframe.
- Introduce the cat and dog through this baby gate. This will allow them to sniff each other without any opportunity for hostility.
- Give both pets a treat to create a positive association with each other.
- Over the coming days, arrange more of these interactions. Upgrade to feeding both animals on their respective sides of the baby gate.
Eventually, you can let your cat out of the room. Don’t give both pets complete free reign immediately, though. Your cat will always need to have an escape plan.
Consider keeping your dog on a lead until the two animals interact freely. This will essentially be when they can be in the same room and show no interest in each other. Any friendship that follows this should be considered a bonus.
Do Cats Get Along with Rabbits?
Cats and rabbits can be friends, according to the House Rabbit Society. The living arrangement must be managed carefully, though.
A common issue with cats and rabbits co-existing is both animals wanting to rule the household. It may surprise cat owners how bossy a rabbit can be. Although they are technically the prey in this dynamic, a rabbit may chase the cat.
Don’t allow these two animals to chase each other. That’s going to create a troublesome precedent. Keep a rabbit in her hutch or run until the two pets are comfortable.
Do Cats Get Along with Ferrets?
Perhaps surprisingly, ferrets and cats can make for contented housemates. Although ferrets are much smaller than cats, they are not typical prey animals.
Despite this, ferrets and cats must be carefully supervised until they get to know each other. A feline may still attack a ferret from a position of fear.
In addition, the ferret may be the antagonist. As Pet Coach warns, ferrets may think of the cat’s tail as a toy to attack and bite. The ferret may also try to climb on a cat’s back.
The safest approach to cohabitation is keeping the ferret in an enclosure the majority of the time. Ferrets spend even more time sleeping than cats, so they’ll be happy this way.
When you let a ferret out for playtime and exercise, observe your cat. Most felines will get out of the way and watch.
At the first sign of aggression from ether animal, separate them. Your cat will tolerate being kept out of the room for an hour. Take them somewhere else and ask a family member to give the cat some one-on-one attention.
Do Cats Get Along with Birds?
Bringing birds into a cat’s home is a risky business. It’s unlikely to be a relaxing life for the bird. Your cat will see birds as prey. This means that your cat will likely cause the bird a lot of stress.
Even if the bird permanently dwells in a cage, the cat will stalk them. At the first sign that the bird will be set free, the cat will be ready to strike. The same even applies to larger, more exotic birds. A parrot is no safer than a budgie.
In some cases, the two animals may get along. This is the exception rather than the rule, though. Birds can be somewhat naïve, and try to instigate play with a cat. Feathers will likely fly.
Do Cats Get Along with Reptiles (Snakes and Lizards)?
Snakes and cats are natural enemies. These two animals have a healthy fear of each other. This means that, should they come into contact, neither will enjoy the experience.
Granted, most snakes will stay in their habitat almost exclusively. They can escape, though. This will invariably lead to conflict.
Let’s take ball pythons as an example. If these popular pets feel threatened, they could constrict a cat. This will lead to attempted asphyxiation if the python is strong enough.
Likewise, a cat may stalk a snake. Their instincts will kick in, and she’ll scratch and bite. The snake will react in kind and both pets will end up getting hurt.
Other lizards, such as geckos and iguanas, are natural prey to cats. This means that they’ll never live in harmony. These lizards also have claws and sharp teeth, leading to painful confrontations.
Do Cats Get Along with Small Animals (Hamsters and Mice)?
Keeping pet mice and cats in the same house. What could possibly go wrong? For the small animal in question, just about everything.
Cats will chase small animals. They can’t help it. It’s just in their nature. Your cat may even have every intention of being nice to the rodent. This doesn’t mean that her natural instincts won’t take over.
In theory, you could keep pocket pets if they live entirely in a secure cage. Life can be crushingly dull for a hamster or mouse. They can only run on their wheel so many times.
Being let out to explore the house is the highlight of any small animal’s day. Even if they’re not officially released, most hamsters and mice are master escape artists.
This exploration can take a deadly turn when a small animal bumps into your cat. A chase will ensue, and it usually ends one way.
Even if your cat doesn’t eat the small animal, it’s unlikely to survive. The pocket pet will likely be batted around like a toy. This will crush its spine.
This also assumes that the small animal does not die of heart failure. Such a fate often befalls mice and hamsters that encounter cats.
It’s best to keep small animals and cats in different homes. Introducing them will usually result in one pet becoming a snack for the other.
Do Cats Get Along with Fish?
Your cat will not have any real reason to interact with fish. They live in vastly different circumstances. However, an aquarium or fish tank will fascinate your cat.
On the one hand, this could be a good thing. Many cats can sit and stare at fish for hours. Anything that keeps your cat out of mischief has to be called a win.
The trouble will arise when your cat decides to take a closer look. Your cat will try to get up close and personal with your fish.
This may be entirely innocent. A lot of cats like to drink water from a fish tank. When they reach the aquarium, your cat may decide to attempt a spot of fishing.
You’ll need to keep your cat out of a fish tank for the safety of both species. If a cat falls into the water, she can swallow excessive water and develop hypothermia. The fish, meanwhile, will get the fright of their lives.
If you’re up to the challenge, getting a second pet can work well. If they get along, your cat will have a playmate to amuse her while you’re busy.