Furry family members share more than just the love of their pet parents, they experience a place of play, nourishment, and sanctuary under one roof. But do they tolerate one another?
Often in our culture we place cats and dogs opposite one another - a myth of natural-born enemies which has passed down generation to generation. Though as species of domesticated pets commonly and historically kept within the same vicinity of each other, conflicts are bound to occur. Dogs are relatively larger than cats, and have a tendency called a prey drive that leads them to chase smaller animals - especially if these smaller animals are running away from them. In turn, many cats will respond to a large, unfamiliar dog by choosing a flight response.
Behavior and personality also affect the balance between both species. A cat will hold their tail up high in a curious, friendly approach, while a dog will hold up their tail in a challenge. Dogs will wag their tails if they're feeling playful, and cat swish their tails in warning. A submissive pup will roll over to show their belly, but for a cat rolling over signals a defensive position. These different types of behavioral cues can make or break a first meeting between the two. So what do cats and dogs have in common?
A friendly match-up depends on the individuality of each pet, along with shared social habits such as grooming and playing. Knowing your pets' personalities best will assure the right decisions when allowing them to interact. Cats enjoy high spaces and some time to themselves, so the use of cat perches in their environment allows them the chance to relax, observe, and feel secure instead of overly defensive. Certain breeds of dogs also have less of a prey drive and are therefore less likely to chase cats in their home. Just like with people, different personalities and circumstances will cause your pets to feel either like miserable roommates, or a happy family.
The key to a harmonious household may rely on first impressions! Raising a kitten and puppy together is one way to potentially allow your pets to build a bond, but when it comes to introducing a cat and dog, there are a few steps to follow. You can read on bestfriends.org an in-depth discussion on introducing cats and dogs , the most important variable being patience! Essentially, taking things slowly allows your pets to feel more comfortable, and associate a sense of familiarity with each other.
While many cats and dogs prefer to amicably respect the other, certainly there exists closely bonded friendships as well. So whether your cat and dog are well acquainted, or coming together for the first time, know that the potential for a furever friendship awaits!
ZG pro team