Make dog and cat live together
“They are like dog and cat“: when you hear this expression, you certainly assume that it is not about the best friends in the world. Where does this myth that cats and dogs come from are sworn enemies? Can this cliché give way to misunderstandings? Is it possible for a dog and a cat to live in the same house and be happy as well? At first glance, cohabitation between dog and cat does not bode easy, but following the advice of your Quizfunn Magazine, your efforts and those of your companions will quickly bear fruit!
Are you more like a cat? Or do you prefer to have a dog as a pet? For many animal lovers, it is not easy to answer this question. On the one hand, they love the independence of these domestic tigers, On the other they enjoy the faithful company of dogs. Do you think you have to choose between a dog and a cat? Do not slap! Many people with experience with pets prove that dogs and cats can become good friends. But on the condition of good socialization and adaptation step by step! Let’s go for a successful dog and cat cohabitation!
A question of evolution?
The history of cats is diametrically opposed in comparison with that of dogs. Dogs belong to the “canids”, a family of mammals. In this family, we find not only wolves, but also bears and even walruses. They are not very close to cats … which belong to the family of “Felidae”. It is not surprising then that dogs and cats need time to befriend each other and that you have to accompany them so that everything is going well.
Why are cats and dogs so different?
Have you ever heard of the saying “dogs have masters and cats have servants”? The quote of the writer Kurt Tucholsky more or less reflects the reality. Dogs have been accompanying humans for over 100,000 years. In the past, our ancestors hunter-gatherers lived alongside wolves. They were looking for particularly aggressive wolves and mating them to tame them. The breeding of modern domestic dogs was born! These four-legged companions have always been of great help to humans: they helped during hunting, were used as draft animals and watched over houses and farms. Today, dogs bring us much more than that, they have become family members in their own right.
On the contrary, the Man did not try to approach the little wild felines! They are the ones who have spontaneously approached the Man. These four-legged animals feasted and hunted in the attics and storerooms of humans, filled with mice and vermin. Humans quickly realized that cats could be very useful to them. About 9500 years ago, they began to tame these four-legged hunters. The story between Man and Dog is therefore about 90,000 years older than that between cats and humans. But that does not stop cats from being so close to us.
Why is it easier for the dog to approach the Man? Why does he let himself be tamed when he has no direct advantage in living with Man? Dogs are pack animals. They live, hunt and eat with their families. In contrast, cats are solitary hunters. The lion is the only cat that hunts in a group. Small cats hunt and live most of the year alone. This loneliness is explained by the size of the prey they hunt. Mice and birds are often small snacks for them! If they had to hunt in a group, then these small snacks should be shared between the different cats of the group. Not surprisingly, not all animals could eat their fill.
This way of life is also reflected on the behavior of the cat. Collect a few cats for a moment or draw the cats of the neighbors in your garden and you will observe that unlike a pack of dogs, there is no predefined hierarchy. Who dominates the gathering of cats and who on the contrary, undergoes? It depends mainly on where and when.
Are cats still lonely? Not necessarily. Stray cats often congregate in groups, and wildcats often raise their young together. The life of a domestic cat, however, differs from that of a wild cat. Cats are active animals that need to be stimulated. They adapt to new situations and manage them very well, most of the time. Life with humans is often rather monotonous and boring, especially for apartment cats … In this case, domestic cats enjoy a four-legged roommate or cat toys! We must not forget that they are solitary hunters. Conversely, packs of wolves or dogs find their place according to a well-defined hierarchy. Dogs seek proximity to congeners or active people.
The body language of dogs and cats
The social behavior of cats is incomparable to that of dogs. This is reflected on their body language, based on instincts and habits millennia. We humans have come to appreciate dog enthusiasm when wagging their tail, which we consider a “friendly” sign. This sign is to be differentiated from the irritated wriggling of the cat’s tail. Dog and cat react so instinctively. Learning “foreign languages”, the languages of one and the other, is relatively difficult for them. They must first understand that their roommate cat or dog belong to other species and they do not communicate like them.
While dogs are able to make themselves understood with their facial expressions, the cat’s face remains relatively neutral. Cats communicate with the movement of their tails, their ears and their eyes. These weak signals are easily negligible whether for dogs or cats! Most of the time, the cats meow when they want to communicate with the humans, but do not use their voice to communicate with their congeners.
A dog uses clearer signals to be understood by a whole pack or by humans. A cat will interpret this differently, knowing that his body language works totally differently. While the dog shows kindness when his tail wriggles, the agitated tail of a cat indicates aggression, as when the latter takes the form of brush and he does the round back. A cat with a spiked, upward-looking tail wants to appear the biggest and most dangerous possible: it reacts to a threat. Exactly like for dogs, the gaze is a sign of dominance. Cats bear it very badly. An inexperienced dog in cohabitation with cats can quickly confuse these signs, neglect them or ignore them.
In addition, here is a detail that makes all the difference: the dogs are on average much larger than most cats. To be licked friendly or receive a paw as invitation to the game will be quickly perceived by the cat as being aggressive gestures.
Cat and dog: when to get acquainted?
Dogs and cats do not have the same body language. However, they can get along well if they have enough time and patience to learn each other’s language and interpret it in the right way. In order to adapt to their respective character, the “language barrier” must be overcome. For this, they must be very patient! The more attentive they are, the more likely they will be to become good friends. Socialization in haste often leads to failure.
In addition, the first impression plays a decisive role in animals! It will be difficult to achieve positive results if they have a bad impression from the start!
The simplest is to get the animals used to the presence of both at an early age. On the face of it, young dogs and cats have had few negative experiences. Presentations between dog and cat may seem odd at first, but as a general rule, the image of the “wicked dog” and “vicious cat” is not yet ingrained in the minds of both animals. Older animals can also get to know each other, but their good understanding will largely depend on their past experiences. Harmonious cohabitation will generally be more difficult to achieve.
There are cats who enjoy the company of dogs, and vice versa! But some dogs have already been kicked by their roommate cat. The opposite is also true: cats have sometimes been chased by their dog friend, one or even several times. Sometimes dogs and cats have a relationship that quickly switches from love to hatred!
Cohabitation between cat and dog: a short practical guide
Before the meeting
It is often much easier to educate a dog than a cat. Therefore, you should first put in place clear rules for your dog. It must be made clear to the latter that cats are friends: they must never be hunted, this is also valid during walks in the meadows or when they pass through the garden of neighbors. The sooner you make your dog understand that cats are neither prey nor enemies, the more this lesson will be anchored in his memory.
The more friendly your dog is to cats, the easier the pairing will be. It is you who know your dog best, have raised him up to now and congratulated him in your own way. When your companion behaves correctly and listens to the orders you give him, he receives in any case many compliments and rewards, whether with a Clicker or dog treats! Do the same when he is gentle and respectful with his feline companion!
It is often more difficult to make cats understand that dogs are neither offensive nor enemies. And yes, even cats can be educated! Try to reward your cat after each contact with the dog. It is essential to associate contact with something positive. It can be a gentle caress when your cat observes a stray dog through the window or a cat treats when he remains quiet perched on the hedge as another four-legged animal approaches. This is a crucial point. If the preparation has been carried out scrupulously, cohabitation will be all the more likely to prove to be a real success.
Give them enough space
When bringing dog and cat directly into your home, it is essential that both animals have their own corner and the opportunity to leave. It is often the easiest to separate them in two different rooms. During the first days, the animals must have no contact. By exchanging their blankets, toys and cushions, you give your dog and cat the ability to adapt to the smell of the other. For example, you can put a soft cloth on your cat and then offer it to your dog.
Ask for help
It is wise to make the first contact with a second or third person. In any case, it must be people in whom both animals have confidence and with whom they do not feel threatened.
Keep your dog on a leash
It should not be forgotten that, in general, the dog gets the upper hand because of his more massive physique. For more safety, keep your dog on a leash during the first contact. Depending on the behavior of your dog, you can also use a lanyard.
Suggest a fallback option
A large scratching post or a cat bed placed on a shelf or cabinet allows the cat to enjoy a quiet resting place, out of reach of dogs. In this case, your cat will feel safer. He will observe from above his taller companion and realize that he is not so dangerous as he may have thought at first sight.
Do not lock up dogs or cats
Above all, lock your cat in a cage under any circumstances! You thought to act so to reassure him? It is not so ! Without the possibility of leaving, he will feel threatened. This also applies to your dog, he should under no circumstances feel that he is competing with your cat.
In the following months, you will need to make sure that your animals find their place and have enough space. A cat litter is not a place to bury dog toys. The bowls will also be a taboo subject … It may be better to separate the food from the beginning of the two animals so that there is no rivalry. In addition, both cats and dogs should enjoy enough moments of tenderness with you, so that no one feels a sense of jealousy!
Sometimes it happens that animals step forward one day, and two back the next day. The process of cohabitation between dog and cat can last for hours, days or weeks, depending on the character and experience of the animals. Do not despair and remember that there is no urgency! The more relaxed you are, the easier it will be for your animals to trust each other.
Always “like dog and cat”?
Have you followed these tips to the letter, shown an incredible patience, without any result from your animals? In this case, your two hairballs may not be just one for the other. It can also happen when two dogs or two cats get closer! Maybe they just do not like each other. Your cat may not have enough patience to accept a dog and he can not ignore the fact that cats are good hunters … Or one of your animals is jealous. When in doubt, give equal importance to all your animals!
The cohabitation between dog and cat gives no result, even after several months? You even witness scenes of violence between them? So it’s time to let go and think of alternatives. Make a decision: is a harmonious home made of cats and dogs realistic? Or do you have to think about it again? A therapist in psychotherapy can help your animals, but do you still have enough patience to continue? This is a personal reflection and only you can make a decision. We are confident that you will make the best decision for you and your animals!
We wish you the best for the cohabitation of your hairballs!