Cats and Dogs: Can they get along?

Cats and Dogs Can they get along

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Cats and Dogs: Can they get along?

Fighting like cats and dogs: a common expression used to describe people who just don’t get along. And indeed, it often seems like cats and dogs just can’t get along. Dogs chasing cats up trees, cats lashing out at curious dogs’ noses and hissing: everything from “Tom and Jerry” to the children’s film “Cats and Dogs” suggests that for these two species, it’s hate at first sight.

But it doesn’t have to be! We have a few tips for how to help your cat and dog get along. With a little help from our handy guide, you won’t need to choose between your canine companion and your feline friend.

Dogs and Cats don’t automatically hate each other

Not all dogs and cats hate each other. A lot of the time, this animal animosity is just a case of misunderstanding. Cats and dogs use different body language to communicate. A wagging tail in a dog shows excitement and often means that the dog wants to play. A wagging tail in a cat, on the other hand, can mean that the cat is grumpy or even very angry. It’s all too easy for these animals to misunderstand each other. If they are going to get along, your pets will need time and some help from you.

Slow and steady

Take things slowly. If you have a dog and want to introduce a cat, or vice versa, then rushing is probably the worst thing to do. Initially keep the new animal confined in a medium sized room. Make sure there’s a bed, food and water, and a litter tray or similar.

Once your new cat or dog has settled in to their room, it’s time to slowly start introductions. You want your cat and dog to associate each other with positive things. One of the best ways to do this is with food. Place your old pet’s food bowl near the new pet’s room. Every day, you can move the food bowls closer to the door. This will help your cat and dog to get used to each other, and to associate each other with a good experience: a tasty meal. Eventually you can start leaving the room door partly open, so that your dog and cat can see each other.

You can also start exposing your pets to each other’s scent. Take your new pet’s sleeping blanket and leave it near your other pet’s bed, and vice versa. Your cat and dog can learn each other’s scent. Scent is very important to cats and dogs, as it is one of the ways they can recognise each other. You can also let your pets swap rooms for a while. If your cat is the newcomer, let your cat explore the house while your dog stays in the room for a while. This will allow the animals to get familiar with each other’s scent, and allow your new pet to explore their new home and become more confident in their surroundings.

Face to Face

If everything is going well, it’s time for a supervised meeting. Take your dog for a walk first to work off excess energy, and keep him or her on a leash to meet the cat. If you are introducing an adult dog to a cat, ideally he or she should know “sit” and “stay”. This is useful if your dog approaches the cat too quickly or enthusiastically, as you can simply ask him or her to sit calmly, allowing the cat to approach the dog. If your dog behaves well; for example, sitting calmly and allowing the cat to sniff him or her; reward their good behaviour with praise or a treat. You can also reward your cat. This way, both pets will learn that good things happen when they encounter each other.

As your dog and cat gradually get used to each other, you can start leaving them alone together for short periods. If either animal shows signs or fear or aggression, separate them, and go back to the previous step. Make sure that the cat has somewhere to hide or climb up to, as even the best-natured cats need a break and a chance to nap.

When it doesn’t work

Unfortunately, sometimes even if you do everything right, your cat and dog still won’t get along. You can consult a trainer or a vet for further advice and help. If your pets still don’t get along, you may have to rehome one of them. Some dogs have a high prey drive, with a strong instinct to chase, and a cat will seem like a prey animal to them. Some dogs are friendly but much too rough, and can inadvertently hurt cats. You may also find that your cat is aggressive towards your dog or wants nothing to do with him or her.

Sweet rewards

But if you are successful, the rewards are sweet. Your dog and cat may become playmates, playing chasing or pouncing games. If your pets are introduced at a young age, they are more likely to learn each other’s body language and get along. An older cat may take a puppy under its wing, or an older dog may happily allow a little kitten to boss them around. Your cat and dog may cuddle up together cold nights, or team up to take over your bed!


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The following is needed to bring a puppy into Dubai:


  1. All dogs entering Dubai from a low-risk country at least 15 weeks old, and those entering from a high-risk country must be at least 27 weeks old.
  2. Microchip – All dogs entering and residing in Dubai must be equipped with either a 9 or 15 digit microchip.
  3. Import Permit – All dogs entering Dubai must be equipped with a Special Permit from the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment. Valid for 30 days.
  4. Vaccinations* – Depending on the country of origin, your pet might need a rabies shot on top of all the age appropriate vaccinations. Dubai specific vaccinations: Canine Distemper Virus, Canine Parvo Virus, Infectious Canine Hepatitis, Leptospirosis, Rabies.
  5. Rabies Titer Test * – All dogs entering Dubai must be tested for rabies no later than 14 days before the planned travel date. ( Only from specific
  6. Parasite check - All pets travelling to Dubai must receive preventive treatments against internal and external parasites in the 14 days before travel by an authorised and competent vet.
  7. Health Check – A Health Check by a veterinarian is mandatory in order to obtain permissions to enter Dubai.
  8. Pet Passport – This document verifies that the puppy is fully healthy and up-to-date on their vaccinations.


* The United Arab Emirates classifies all countries into two rabies categories:
  • Low-risk countries: Albania, Andorra, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Bahrain, Barbados, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Falkland Island, Fiji, Finland, French Polynesia, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, South Korea, Kuwait, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Maldives, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Micronesia, Montenegro, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Palau, Portugal, San Marino, Seychelles, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland, The Netherlands, UK, and Vanuatu.
  • High-risk countries: All other countries are considered high-risk countries.
** Only for puppies from high-risk countries
Travel Requirements

The following is needed to bring a puppy into Abu Dhabi:


  1. All dogs entering Abu Dhabi from a low-risk country at least 15 weeks old, and those entering from a high-risk country must be at least 27 weeks old.
  2. Microchip – All dogs entering and residing in Abu Dhabi must be equipped with either a 9 or 15 digit microchip.
  3. Import Permit – All dogs entering Abu Dhabi must be equipped with a Special Permit from the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment. Valid for 30 days.
  4. Vaccinations* – Depending on the country of origin, your pet might need a rabies shot on top of all the age appropriate vaccinations. Abu Dhabi specific vaccinations: Canine Distemper Virus, Canine Parvo Virus, Infectious Canine Hepatitis, Leptospirosis, Rabies.
  5. Rabies Titer Test * – All dogs entering Abu Dhabi must be tested for rabies no later than 14 days before the planned travel date. ( Only from specific
  6. Parasite check - All pets travelling to Abu Dhabi must receive preventive treatments against internal and external parasites in the 14 days before travel by an authorised and competent vet.
  7. Health Check – A Health Check by a veterinarian is mandatory in order to obtain permissions to enter Abu Dhabi.
  8. Pet Passport – This document verifies that the puppy is fully healthy and up-to-date on their vaccinations.


* The United Arab Emirates classifies all countries into two rabies categories:
  • Low-risk countries: Albania, Andorra, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Bahrain, Barbados, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Falkland Island, Fiji, Finland, French Polynesia, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, South Korea, Kuwait, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Maldives, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Micronesia, Montenegro, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Palau, Portugal, San Marino, Seychelles, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland, The Netherlands, UK, and Vanuatu.
  • High-risk countries: All other countries are considered high-risk countries.
** Only for puppies from high-risk countries
Travel Requirements

The following is needed to bring a puppy into Hong Kong:


  1. All dogs entering Hong Kong must be at least 3 months old.
  2. Microchip – All dogs entering and residing in Hong Kong must be equipped with either a 9 or 15-digit microchip.
  3. Import Permit – All dogs entering Hong Kong must be equipped with a Special Permit from the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department. Valid for up to 6 months.
  4. Vaccinations* – Depending on the country of origin, your pet might need a rabies shot on top of all the age appropriate vaccinations. Hong Kong specific vaccinations: Canine distemper, infectious canine hepatitis, canine parvovirus and rabies.
  5. Health Check – A Health Check by a veterinarian is mandatory in order to obtain permissions to enter Hong Kong.
  6. Pet Passport – This document verifies that the puppy is fully healthy and up-to-date on their vaccinations.
  7. Captain’s Affidavit – Document to be provided by the airline personnel confirming that your dog has not left its crate or interacted with other pets at any point during the journey.


* Hong Kong classifies countries into 3 groups. Vaccinations against rabies are only required from Groups 2 & 3.
  • Group 1: Rabies-free countries (at least 6 months of residency) Australia, Fiji, Hawaii, Ireland, Japan, New Zealand, United Kingdom, Bailiwick of Jersey.
  • Group 2: Rabies-controlled (at least 4 months of residency) Austria, Bahrain, Bermuda, Canada, Cyprus, Finland, Germany, Guam, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, Norway, Papua New Guinea, Seychelles, Solomon Islands, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan, Vanuatu, Bahamas, Belgium, Brunei, Cayman Island, Denmark, France, Gibraltar, Iceland, Jamaica, Maldives, Mauritius, New Caledonia, Portugal, Singapore, South Africa, Sweden, The Netherlands, USA (Continental), Virgin Islands.
  • Group 3: All other countries.
** Only for puppies from high-risk countries
Travel Requirements

The following is needed to bring a puppy into Switzerland:


  1. All pets entering Switzerland must be equipped with a 15-digit microchip that is compliant with ISO 11784/11785.
  2. Dogs must be vaccinated against distemper.
  3. Rabies vaccinations are mandatory. Dogs must receive their first rabies vaccine at least 21 days before entering the country.*
  4. The state veterinarian of the origin country must equip the dog with a valid Health Certificate.
  5. Import Permit – all dogs entering from a 3rd level rabies country must carry an import permit issued at least three weeks in advance. Entry points through Basel, Geneva, Zurich.
  6. Different regulations depending on whether it is a commercial purchase or individual and where the dog is coming from.


* Specifications differ for booster shots. ** Switzerland categorises countries by level of risk of rabies in three levels.
  • Level 1: All EU Member States and Andorra, Switzerland, Faeroe Islands, Gibraltar, Greenland, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Northern Ireland, Norway, San Marino, Vatican City State.
  • Level 2 (Low Risk of Rabies): Ascension Island, United Arab Emirates, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Aruba, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Barbados, Bahrain, Bermuda,Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba, Belarus, Canada, Chile, Curaçao, Fiji, Falkland Islands, Great Britain (including Crown dependencies), Hong Kong, Jamaica, Japan, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Cayman Islands, Saint Lucia, North Macedonia, Montserrat, Mauritius, Mexico, Malaysia, New Caledonia, New Zealand, French Polynesia, Saint Pierre and Miquelon, Russia, Singapore, Saint Helena, Sint Marteen, Trinidad and Tobago, Taiwan, United States of America, American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, British Virgin Islands, Vanuatu, Wallis and Futuna.
  • Level 3: All other countries are considered as having a high risk of rabies.
Travel Requirements