Can cats and dogs live together without constantly being at war? It seems that they very often can.
We often hear people claim to be a "cat person" or a "dog person", but browsing through the various pet forums it appears that there are many of us that equally like both cats and dogs.
My son has a beautiful Border Collie who was the only pet of the house until she was five years old. Then three part Burmese kittens were brought into the family. Mollie the Collie and the kittens were introduced to each other slowly, and Mollie was taught that the kittens were not to be harassed. Naturally she was given extra doses of attention and affection, just to show her that the kittens were an addition to the family, and not a replacement for her.
As the kittens grew they soon learned to dominate the dog, after all they are felines and a canine must know its place, besides there are three of them. Often when Mollie is snoozing, or just reclining chilling out, one of the cats will just walk right over her, forgoing the niceties of walking around the dog. Mollie gives the impression that this behavior does not bother her, but sometimes a little sigh of exasperation is heard. Rarely do the cats take any interest in what is in the dog bowl, Mollie on the other hand, will quite often take a sniff of the cats lunch, and if one of the cats is close by it will give a warning hiss.
I don't think that it can be said that the cats and Mollie are great friends, they never appear to play together. They live together in a state of tolerance, rather than friendship, but the relationship works OK, my son's house is free of cat and dog fights.
But from reading the posts on the pet forums, many people report that their cat and dog are the best of buddies.
A lady writes that her Boxer and tabby curl up together on the sofa. Another post from an elderly gentleman reports that his Persian often hitches a ride on the back of his Labrador cross. There are many posts about cats and dogs being taken for walks together, stories of felines and canines being absolutely inseparable, even accounts of dogs pining for cats that have passed away.
All this does not imply that any old cat and dog can be thrown together and get on like a house on fire. Some dog breeds are unlikely to put up with sharing their home with a cat. Hounds and hunting dogs, for example may not be a wise choice. Also not all breeds of cat are sociable enough to live with another species of animal.
When introducing cats and dogs to each other do it slowly and make sure that you are in control. Never leave your pets without supervision while they are learning to get along with each other. Feeding your cat and dog in separate places, and at separate times is probably best until they are used to one another.
Remember that two or more dogs are likely to have a pack instinct, and could see a new kitten as prey. If yours is a multi-dog household and you are adding a cat to your pet family, make the introduction one dog at a time. Remember also that it is not only dogs that can hurt cats, frightened cats can inflict nasty scratches to inquisitive puppies and dogs, and a scratch on the puppy's eyes could be serious.
So can cats and dogs live together as friends? Yes, they can, it may take patience and perseverance on your part, but the result will be worth it
Larry Chamberlain is the webmaster of www.best-cat-art.com and a lifelong cat lover. He lives in London England. Want to find that perfectCat Lover Gift?