Can Dogs and Cats Make Best Friends, And Why Yes?

It’s already a well-known fact that they can.

The presupposed enmity between these two races has been proven to be a prejudice. At least when humans are around to supervise the relationship, it can turn out to be a very enjoyable experience.

Yes, these furry creatures might not get along at the beginning. Dogs are too rough for cats’ taste, whereas felines tend to be untrustful, and they sure have dangerous claws to defend with when they feel threatened (as they often do). But the Internet is nowadays replete with memes and gifs of adorable meowy furry balls with tails that don’t wag, which mingle with lovable barkers. Cats nest and sleep together with their bigger (and warmer) doggy friends. They eat together, they pet each other, they are even prone to confusing their identities.

It’s like a big brother/sister syndrome. Also, female cats are known to adopt puppies and treat them as they would their own children. In any case, dogs and cats make for a nice family, along with their humans.

That’s how my grandma’s dachshund developed a habit of hunting mice. Long after his cat mum’s death, he got a baby cat-son. Or was it a baby cat-brother? Nobody could tell for sure. Guess who chased mice? However, the dog was still a dog, and didn’t particularly like rodents’ taste. He practiced his hunter’s abilities, but was always mindful and brought mice to the lazy cat. That’s what happens when a dog was raised by a cat who takes good care of her offspring. It’s a classic catdog case.

However, things don’t always go so smoothly. There are definitely a few things that dog people who think about adopting a cat, or cat people who decide their feline needs a waggy companion, should bear in mind.

● Don’t treat one like you would the other. Yes, both of them need love, attention and care. But it’s a different kind of love. While even adult dogs are usually hyper-active, cats often prefer their time alone, as well as their safe zone. Don’t force them out of it just because you’re used to dogs’ sociable behavior. Let the cat decide for herself when she needs canoodle.
● Cuddling just isn’t done the same way. Cats like to be touched gently and snuggled softly. So stop doing whatever it is you’re doing if you don’t hear the purr. If he wags his tail, it doesn’t mean he enjoys! Consider it a warning sign, beware and don’t pet the cat. Calm him down and try to find another way of expressing your love.
● Felines have their own daily routines. They will accommodate to yours, but never completely. For example, you cannot expect the cat to share the enthusiasm for long walks, or to wake up and come to you whenever you feel like it. It just won’t work. However, their self-centeredness doesn’t mean they are incapable of loving you. On the contrary! But you will just have to learn to respect their independence. And so will your dog, unless he wants to end up with a scratch on the nose.
● Give them time to adjust. When introducing the newcomer, don’t force him or her to immediately spend time with the senior animal. You shouldn’t hurry them into a relationship. It just takes time. Both cats and dogs are territorial animals. The one that’s used to being the boss will probably act defensively when challenged by another adult animal. That’s why it is a much safer choice to adopt a youngling as another animal. However, if you do decide for an adult, you should install high places, out of the dog’s reach, where the cat can jump and hide if she feels uncomfortable. If the dog starts chasing her, don’t scold him too roughly. They are both confused and under pressure as it is. Your presence should appease the situation. It’s recommendable to reward both of them once they start making a positive contact, rather than punishing them when they don’t.

Posted by
Cheryl Wilson

Cheryl Wilson created Why We Wag in 2012 as her result of her lifelong love of dogs. After 22 years in the Educational sector, Cheryl utilizes her expertise as an award winning educator, to educate dog lovers, along with offering supplies that support a healthy, meaningful relationship with canines. Residing in Utah, Cheryl is celebrating her 5th generation with dogs and now her first generation of grand-dogs.