Can a dog and cat become friends? And what does it depend on?
“They live like a cat with a dog” - they often talk about relationships based on irreconcilable hostility. However, is this statement true about our pets? Can a dog and cat be friends?
In the photo: kitten and puppy. Photo: flickr.com
What are the similarities and differences between cats and dogs?
Cats and dogs have both similarities and differences. What do they consist of and how do they affect relationships?
Both the cat and the dog - predatorspossessing a hunting instinct (its severity varies both between breeds and within the same breed). But cats and dogs hunt in different ways: if dogs drive their prey in a pack, then the cat makes an ambush jump.
Both the dog and the cat protect their territory from strangers.
Both the dog and the cat - domesticated animalswho live next to us for more than a millennium (however, dogs were domesticated much earlier). In the process of domestication, animals remained most close to humans, the most tolerant of both humans and other animals. As a result, domesticated cats and dogs acquired infantile features (that is, adult cats and dogs behave somewhat like cubs, which allows them to be managed and live comfortably with them).
Dogs, unlike cats, are essentially animals socialfor which the flock and the relationship in it are important. Cats by nature lonershowever, they are ready to endure near relatives, if there is no strong competition for resources and there is a centralized source of food (for example, a person gives it out).
For both the dog and the cat is important security basewhich the animal resorts to when it feels insecure, and which helps to satisfy important needs. If there is a safety base, animals can explore new territory and feel more confident in an unfamiliar situation. However, the security base for dogs and cats is different. For a dog, a safety base is a beloved owner; for a cat, it is a territory that she considers her own. Therefore, affection is not as pronounced in a cat as in a dog.
Dogs and cats have different body languages, and some signals are directly opposite. And if a dog, for example, wagging its tail most often is a sign of friendliness, then in a cat it is a signal of irritation, and a raised tail in a cat is a signal of friendliness, while in a dog it is a sign of arousal and tension. There are many such signals, and such confusion can cause misunderstanding and conflicts between animals.
However, if a cat had experience with a dog in childhood (and vice versa), then most often animals read correctly language of the body representative of another species, which helps to avoid many conflicts.
What determines the relationship between a dog and a cat?
The relationship between dogs and cats is influenced by genetics, socialization and previous experience, as well as the age at which they met, the behavior of the owner and the distribution of resources.
Concerning genetics, then dogs of the so-called primitive breeds (for example, malamutes or husky) are much more likely to perceive cats as prey than shepherd dogs (such as, for example, border collie or sheltie).
It is important whether the puppy communicated during socialization with cats (and vice versa) and how this communication was. For example, if a puppy has learned that chasing cats is great and fun, he will strive to do this further. And if in early childhood he calmly interacted with cats and considers them as neighbors in the apartment, it is likely that in the future he will treat them calmly.
Is important past experience. If, for example, a dog was severely scratched by a cat, or a cat saw how the dogs killed its relative, this will not help to establish a warm relationship.
It is also important to introduce the dog and the cat correctly.
Best dating age option - This is a puppy and a kitten, that is, two cubs. The ideal age for dating is up to 4 months.However, the chances that everything will turn out well are still high if the cat is less than 6 months old and the dog is less than 1 year old.
In the photo: cat and dog. Photo: pixabay.com
Who should you take first if you decide to have a dog and a cat? Scientists conducted a series of experiments and came to the conclusion that it is better to take a kitten first, and after about 1.5 months - a puppy. In this case, the chance that the dog and cat will make friends or at least be indifferent to each other is much higher.
The sooner a cat and a dog get to know each other, the more opportunities they have to learn a language of a different kind, which means that they can avoid misunderstandings related to the difference in “mentalities” and establish peaceful coexistence.
Resource allocation includes, first of all, competent distribution of the territory. Both the cat and the dog should be able to safely and freely move around the house and have access to resources important to them (food, water, tray, claw-claw, sunbed, owner, etc.)
In vital places, animals should not overlap. If you notice that there are “hot spots” in the room where conflicts regularly occur, you should think about how to solve the problem (for example, equip a cat for the second tier where it constantly encounters a dog).
It is important that the cat tray is where it is not at a standstill when a dog appears. It is also important for her to have a 360 degree view. A closed tray in this case will not work.
It is important not to allow competition for resources (food, place and attention of the owner).
Feed your cat and dog in different places. If they compete for food and protect it from each other, feed them under supervision, and then remove the bowls - at least the dog’s bowl that is on the floor.
If animals protect their places from each other, think about why this is happening and offer them an alternative. For example, if the cat takes the place of the dog, remove it from there, but at the same time think about why the place of the dog seems more attractive to it, and equip a more comfortable place on the second tier.
Allow enough time for both animals; do not cultivate jealousy of a cat in a dog.
Paradoxical as it sounds, a cat with a dog is easier to introduce than two cats. After all, a dog can include a cat in its flock, just as it included people, and a cat often does not perceive a dog as a competitor, especially if it has the ability to move along the second tier, which, of course, is worth equipping. But, of course, it all depends on the individual characteristics of the cat and dog.
Is it necessary to make a dog and a cat friends?
No. If they coexist peacefully on the same territory and do not try to kill each other, it is not necessary to try to be friends. Yet these animals are too different. Enough if they remain neutral (not armed).
In the photo: dog and cat. Photo: maxpixel.net
How to understand that a dog and a cat are friends?
If the cat is friends with the dog, it plays with it, rubs against the dog, tends to sleep or sit next to it, purrs and generally looks relaxed in the presence of the dog.
The dog, which has friendly feelings towards the cat, also seeks to be near it, flirts (including making bowing to the game), sniffs, licks, wags its tail when it meets and looks relaxed, not excited.
It is important to distinguish joint games from battles.
If the dog and the cat are playing, it is clear that both are happy to join the game, chasing each other in turn, and if they bite or scratch, then not much, without causing discomfort to the partner in the game.
If you see that one of the animals is trying to hide or run away, screaming in pain, the dog growls, and the cat hisses or screams, then most likely this is not a game at all, and it is better to interrupt such communication.
What should i avoid?
- It is advisable not to take an excitable dog into the house where the timid and shy cat lives.In this case, the cat is guaranteed chronic stress and subsequent problems - both behavioral and health. And you are waiting for a "fun" life.
- Do not take a kitten to an elderly dog. Dogs in old age become quite irritable, as they often feel bad and are not ready for the harassment of a young minx. Have pity on your faithful friend and protect him from such trials.
- Not the best option is to take the cat to the house where the dog lives with a strongly expressed hunting instinct. Such a neighborhood could end in tragedy.
- You should not bring a cat to the house where the dog lives (or is planning), which already has a sad experience with dogs.