How to Get Two Animals to Start Liking Each Other

Three Methods:Getting Two Cats to Like Each OtherGetting Two Dogs to Like Each OtherGetting a Dog and a Cat to Like Each Other

Despite our best intentions sometimes our pets don’t get along the best. Whether it’s two dogs hating on each other, or two cats or a cat and a dog sometimes we need to get involved to keep our pets from fighting and hurting each other. It can be a headache to have two warring animals in the house and in the case of mismatched sizes (big vs little) or two large animals (big breed dogs) it can be dangerous. There are strategies that you can use to help ease the tensions in the house and keep everyone—pets and humans—safe and sound.

Method 1
Getting Two Cats to Like Each Other

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    Keep your cats in separate rooms if necessary. If you have two cats that do not like each other, you may need to provide each one with his or her own room. If the two cats act aggressively towards each other (growling, hissing, fighting, etc.), then keep them in separate rooms while you work on easing the tension and prepare for a reintroduction.[1]
    • Take turns letting them have access to the rest of the house. Keep one cat in its room while allowing the other cat access to the house. Leave that cat’s room door open so that he may come and go from his room. Switch every 12 hours or so each cat can have plenty of time to roam the house.
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    Provide separate resources. Cats can and will fight over resources such as a litter box or even a prime space, such as a sunny spot near a window or a good hiding spot. Cats will also fight over food and water dishes if they want to eat or drink at the same time.[2] Instead of forcing the cats to share space and resources, provide separate resources while you work towards reintroducing them and after the reintroduction as well.
    • Provide each cat with his or her own food and water dishes. Place one cat’s food/water in one room and the other cat’s food/water in another room and keep them there for life.
    • Provide separate cat towers or hammocks near windows in different rooms so each cat can have his or her own space to lounge.
    • Whenever there is more than one cat in the house, provide one more litter box than the total number of cats to prevent litter box guarding. For example, if you have three cats, then you should have four litter boxes. Place each litter box in a different area of the house and allow the cats open access to all the boxes.[3] Keep all the boxes clean by scooping out used litter daily and washing all of the litter boxes once a week and replacing the old litter with new litter.
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    Use pheromones. Animals produce chemicals that they use to communicate with one another. Cats produce a specific chemical that has a calming effect on other cats.[4] Scientists have managed to reproduce these calming pheromones into a product called Feliway, which can be used to calm cats.[5]
    • The pheromones come in sprays, wipes, collars and diffusers. Try a pheromone diffuser to help ease tensions between your cats.
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    Make a gradual reintroduction. After a week or so of being in separate rooms, you can gradually reintroduce the cats to each other. Keep the reintroduction sessions short (about 1-2 hours) and have them in a “neutral” room, like the family living room.[6]
    • Bring both cats into the room and allow them to roam the room while you monitor and play with them.
    • Spritz some Feliway throughout the room before they come in, provide some toys, and try to maintain a quiet environment. Keep the TV volume low, speak in low voices, and turn off your phones to avoid startling the cats.
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    Separate the cats again if necessary. If your cats get along well during this initial getting reacquainted phase, you can keep the kitties together. If one or both of them act aggressively, separate them and put them back into their rooms. Try another reintroduction in a week or two.[7]

Method 2
Getting Two Dogs to Like Each Other

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    Crate train your dogs to give each of them their own private space. Crate training your dogs is a great way to help them learn to get along and to keep them from hurting each other at the same time.[8] Keep in mind that a crate should never be used to punish your dog. Your dog should go into the crate voluntarily and view the crate as a safe, secure place.
    • Each dog will have his own crate, preferably in a separate room or at least out of sight of each other.
    • The crates should be large enough for your dogs to stand up and turn around without hunching over.
    • When you first get the crates, place a thick towel or blanket or a crate pad into each crate to give your dogs something comfortable to lay on.
    • Never leave a dog in a crate longer than 8 hours or for puppies never more than 3-4 hours.
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    Teach your dog that the crate is a good place to be. Keep the crate door open and call the dogs to their crates. Let them see you throw in a few tasty treats and allow them to go inside to eat them and explore. Then, at feeding time place your dogs’ food bowls in their crates and say “kennel.” Then let your dogs eat while leaving the crate door open.[9]
    • Repeat this process every day, but after a few days, begin shutting the door while your dogs are eating. When they are done eating, let them out to go potty.
    • After a few more days, do the same thing but after your dogs are done eating, leave the door closed for a few minutes. Only let your dogs out if they are calmly sitting or standing. If they are scratching or making noise, then wait for your dog to calm down first before opening the door.
    • Make sure before you put the food in the crate you are saying “kennel” so your dogs associate that command with going inside the crate.
    • Over the course of a week keep your dogs in the crates for longer periods of time. Eventually you will be able to skip the treats and feeding inside the crate after they have learned the “kennel” command.
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    Provide separate feeding and water places. Just like cats, dogs may go to war with each other over food and water resources. Feed and water your dogs in separate rooms with either closed doors or a barrier like a baby gate separating the two animals so each one can eat and drink in peace.
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    Use dog appeasing pheromones. There are also special dog appeasing pheromones which can create a chemically enhanced calm environment for your dogs. These come in the form of sprays, collars, wipes or diffusers. Try placing a dog appeasing pheromone collar on each of your dogs to help relieve some of the anxiety that your dogs may be experiencing.
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    Pay equal attention to both dogs. Dogs sometimes get jealous if they feel like they are not getting enough attention from their owners. In a recent study by researchers at the University of California-Davis, it was found that dogs experience jealousy when their owners showed attention to a stuffed animatronic dog while ignoring their pet.[10]
    • Consider whether you might be giving preferential treatment to one of your dogs. Does one of your dogs get more attention, treats, or talks than the other? If so, you may be contributing to the “not getting along” problem.
    • Work on paying equal amounts of attention to your dogs. If one gets a treat, give the other one a treat as well. If you pet and praise one dog, make sure that you pet and praise the other dog as well.

Method 3
Getting a Dog and a Cat to Like Each Other

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    Provide a separate room for your cat. In situations where you have a dog and cat that aren’t getting along, you will need to give the cat a separate room to get away from the dog. An easy way to provide a separate space for your cat is to use a baby gate to block your dog from entering into the room (or rooms) where the litter box, cat furniture, and cat food and water dishes are located. This will allow your cat to use the bathroom, eat and drink, and rest without being bothered by the dog.[11]
    • Make sure that your cat can get over the gate. If your cat is a senior, then it may be difficult for him or her to hop over the gate. You may need to place the gate high enough so that the cat can get under it, but so that the dog cannot get over it.
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    Pay attention to body language in casual interactions. It is important to pay attention to how your cat and dog act towards each other during casual day-to-day interactions. If your dog looks relaxed and playful and your cat seems relaxed as well, then this is a good sign. However, if either pet seems aggressive, then you should separate your pets right away.
    • Never put your hands in between two animals that are fighting or acting aggressively towards each other. Try clapping your hands loudly or throwing a pillow in between them to startle and stop them from fighting.
    • Some dogs may try to play with cats the same way that they play with other dogs, which can be dangerous for your cat, especially if your dog is large or if you have a senior cat. Do not allow your dog to pounce on your cat or engage in biting play because he may seriously injure your cat. If you dog tries to play with your cat, hold onto his collar and allow your cat to exit the room.[12]
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    Introduce your cat and dog to each other. You can use a similar strategy for introducing a cat and a dog as you would to introduce two cats. Use a neutral space, such as a living room and keep the introduction short (1-2 hours).
    • Keep your dog on a leash during the session so that you can control his movement, but allow your cat to roam freely in and out of the room. Your cat will feel more threatened if you confine her to a crate or hold her while introducing her to your dog.[13]
    • If either animal acts aggressively, end the introduction and put the animals into separate rooms. Wait a week or two before trying to introduce the animals to each other again
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    Use pheromones for the dog and the cat. Get the appropriate pheromones to help calm each of your pets. For example, you could get a cat pheromone diffuser for your cat and a dog appeasing pheromone collar for your dog. Having the right pheromones for each species should help to reduce anxiety for both animals and should contribute to a more peaceful environment.


  • Try to be patient. Getting two pets to like each other can take a long time. There is also the possibility that they will never like each other and you may need to keep them separated all of the time.
  • If nothing changes or if you feel the situation is getting worse, contact your veterinarian for help. Your veterinarian may be able to help you or may be able to recommend an animal behavior expert who can help you solve the problem.
  • Spay and neuter your cats and dogs. Animals that are not spayed or neutered tend to be more aggressive. If your pets are not spayed or neutered, make veterinary appointments for them as soon as possible.


  • Never leave two animals alone together if they do not get along. They may fight and seriously injure or even kill each other.
  • Leave your cat alone if he or she is upset. Do not try to soothe an angry cat or you may end up getting bitten or scratched.

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Categories: Pets and Animals