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Q I’ve recently moved to a house in the country and would love to get a dog, but I already have a cat and I’m worried about upsetting him. Are there any breeds that are better than others when it comes to living with cats?

Paul Manktelow advises…

This is actually a question I get asked quite a lot and I’m by no means a breed expert! I’ve actually seen dogs and cats of all shapes, sizes and breeds living together, so I think you can make it work. However, there are definitely steps you can take to try to make life for your co-habitants as harmonious as possible.

Firstly, I’d recommend either getting a puppy, or an adult dog that has previously lived in a household with cats. These are going to be the easiest to integrate into your home.

You should introduce a new pup gradually to your cat. The majority of cats would be indifferent or would avoid curious puppies. Be careful, however, as over-eager advances can be met with ferocious swipes that can injure young pup’s eyes. The trick here is to introduce the two gradually and calmly, preferably holding your pup while making sure your cat has an escape route should she need it.

With adult dogs, it’s important that you keep a very close eye on any interaction and closely supervise any introductions with your dog restrained. Gradually allow your dog to have sight of your cat, but distract or remove him from the room if he becomes over-excited or overly vocal.

This could be a long process and I’d avoid leaving any animals unsupervised until you are absolutely confident that they can be calm and non-aggressive in each other’s company.

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