You have a dog at home and you also want a cat, or vice versa. But how do you make sure they get along? In this series of articles, we will show you, step by step, everything you need to do to become best friends.
In cartoons they are always shown fighting, while our people use the phrase: “Like a dog and a cat” when they want to refer to two people who are in constant conflict or cannot agree on anything.
But why is there a problem in the first place?
The problem lies in the typical nature of these two animals. Dogs and cats are both predatory creatures. They are genetically programmed to hunt smaller creatures, primarily for food. Then let’s not forget that some dog breeds have been bred and trained to hunt and kill other animals, something that over time becomes part of their nature. The sight of a cat can therefore trigger this instinct and lead to attack and pursuit. Of course, it is not easy for cats to see dogs as prey because of the difference in size. However, a puppy can trigger a cat’s predatory instincts. Cats can also misinterpret a dog’s body language and become defensive or fearful.
So how can we manage to have both species in our home in harmonious coexistence?
Despite what we know, dogs and cats are not always mortal enemies. The truth is that in most households they live together peacefully. But to achieve this, we need to take into account some things and act accordingly.
Conflicts usually occur during the initial introduction phase. This is due, as we said above, to their nature but also to their territorial behavior.
Territorial behavior is commonly exhibited by both cats and dogs. The current four-legged resident of the household may feel threatened by the new presence of another creature and become defensive. To send the message that “this is my space,” cats may growl at a new dog. Dogs may bark and growl at a new cat. Both species may urinate or defecate in unaccustomed places to mark their territory and gain attention from the people in the house.
In general, a cat is often more likely to display territorial and defensive behavior towards a new dog. Whereas a dog is more likely to see a new cat as prey and chase it.
Fortunately proper introductions and training may be able to change the way dogs and cats see each other.
In the next article we will analyze the ways to make their coexistence smoother…