Do dogs and cats really have some secret war that humans aren’t familiar with? Or their connection is just misunderstood?
It’s no secret that certain dog breeds get along with cats easily, while others can’t be with cats in peace for longer than three seconds.
So, do cats and dogs do get along or it’s just pretending?
Dogs and Cats As Historical Enemies
Domestic animals are many, and they have been around humans for as long as we can remember. However, that hasn’t been the case always. Dogs are direct descendants of wolves, and they (dogs) weren’t as social as they are today.
Dogs’ primary motivation to be next to people frequently was food. Since they are huge foodies even today, this seems logical – food could easily be their first reason to stay around humans.
Scavenging human leftovers is much faster and safer than having to hunt. Human food is to dogs something like a fast-food joint.
As for cats, they were descendants of the Egyptian Wild Cat, who wanted only food from us from day one. Cats’ ancestors are very individual animals who love to be independent and have things their way.
Scientists still have no idea how so shy animals as cats, could develop into lounge leopards and pet lions.
So, while humans enjoyed all the attention and love that both cats and dogs could give, these animals had a constant competition for:
- Attention, and
- Food scraps
So when you think about why cats and dogs don’t get along this is where roots for their ‘love-hate’ relationship rests.
Does this mean that dogs and cats historically dislike each other? Or that there is no way to change that? No. This just explains how things came to be the way they are.
The truth is that the true reason for the difficulties between dogs and cats lies in their fundamentally different behaviors. It seems as if these behaviors evolved over centuries of competition.
Simply said, dogs and cats speak entirely different languages. Here are their common behaviors and their differences.
Typical Dog Behaviour
- Dogs love to be part of an active pack
- Dogs greet each other by running around each other, avoiding eye contact, sniffing, and wagging their tail
- Dogs love to be active and to run
- Dogs wag their tail when they are excited or happy
- Dogs don’t purr
- Dogs bark and usually in negative situations
Typical Cat Behaviour
- Cats greet each other by walking right at each other
- Cats run when they are scared
- Cats usually don’t wag their tails
- Cats purr
- Cats meow in different situations
Now, after reading this list it seems more logical why dogs and cats have such unique relationships, right? At least, it becomes clear why they have such a hard time understanding each other.
Have you ever seen a cat and a dog meeting each other for the first time? What can you expect?
How Would A Cat React
If you are a dog owner already, you know how excited dogs get when they are introduced to something or someone new.
They jump, sniff, go around it, wag tail, sniff, maybe even bark, and so on…
Now, imagine that kind of behavior near a cat, or a kitten, that sees a dog for the first time. From the can side, this behavior may look as if she is about to be hunt down.
You may also see a cat’s tail going bush-style, which is a common sign in cats that you shouldn’t approach her because she is ready to attack.
In a nutshell, this kind of behavior from dogs, this excitement, cats will always see as a threat and aggressive, at least until they get to know each other.
How Would A Dog React
Similar goes for the dogs as well. When meeting a cat for the first time, your dog would be nervous as well. When being extra careful, cats would walk slowly toward dogs as if they are about to hunt their prey.
They would also watch the dog straight in the eyes, while dogs avoid eye contact when meeting someone for the first time.
This behavior of walking slowly and eye-pointing is seen in dogs who are ready to attack.
What Should You Do?
It’s clear so far that dog and cat miscommunication is complicated. They don’t have each other, but they have a long history of unusual communication and understanding.
However, with few tricks, the introduction between these animals can go smoothly. The most important thing here is patient.
You need to think about possible consequences and act as if a disaster is about to happen – just to be prepared.
Cats and dogs can co-exist as long as you are ready to work on their bond. The best way to adjust them to co-living is to have them while they are puppies and kittens, or at least for one animal to be really young.
As they grow up, kittens and puppies go through what’s called a ‘socialization period’ where they learn how to behave and what being alive is all about in the animal world. During this period they learn how to be cats and dogs.
They learn from their mothers how to eat, how to clean themself, and how to find food, and most importantly they learn how to interact with other members of their species and beyond.
If there are no strange, shocking, or harmful moments, they will learn to accept other species as well.
On the other hand, if they experience something disturbing from another species they emotions toward humans or another animlas will be long – if not forever, negative.
The socialization is usually at five to twelve weeks for puppies and four to eight weeks for kittens.
So, make sure that this period goes smoothly, without any unpleasant experience between, because you don’t want to develop hatred that may last for their lifetime.
Why Dogs And Cats Were Originally Domesticated
It feels like dogs and cats have been around us ever, right? In fact, these animals started being used by humans when hunting 15,000 ago.
As a dog owner, you know that canines are great as feet heaters during cold days.
Dogs love sleeping with you because they are custom to keeping people warm and safe – this is the main reason why they insist on sharing the bed with you.
As for the cats, people started sharing home with them 10,000 years ago and for a purpose.
Cats had one job – to eradicate mice, rats, and other pests.
Tips On How To Make A Dog And Cat Best Friends
Dogs and cats are two differnet species that have to learn how to live together. To do that, they need your help. Many households have both cats and dogs as pets.
In most cases, they are best friends and love snuggling together and playing all day long. However, they weren’t born as best friends, but their owners worked with them to introduce them to the best was possible.
Make Your Cat And Dog Get Along Easily
1. Obedience Training
Obedience training This is the first and most important part. Teach your dog basic commands, and go through early socialization both with your kitten and puppy.
Plus, your dog needs to learn that chasing cat isn’t acceptable behavior, so never encourage it. If you have children, talk to them about dog/cat rules.
2. Encourage Interaction
Allow your dog and cat to interact at first, only when you are around. Supervision is mandatory when they first met, so you can protect them both.
3. Create A ‘safe Spot’
Cats love to have corners of their own. For them, their place is their safe zone, where they can go whenever they feel threatened. Safe spots are usually in higher places that dogs cannot reach easily.
Also have separate beds for them, as well as food and water bowls. Both dogs and cats are territorial animals, so they need their corner of the territory.
4. Swap Scents
Humans rely on vision, while cats and dogs use smell and sight to assess their surroundings. Let your cat and dog recognize and accept each other, so they can get along easily.
You can swap their bedding, or rub a towel on your cat and place it next to your dog, and vice versa. This can speed up their process of accepting one another.
5. Go Slow
Being patient and taking it to step by step is everything. In some rare cases, cats and dogs can become best friends in a matter of only a few hours.
In other cases, it takes time for them to learn how to behave around each other. So, just be patient.
The Bottom Line
Don’t forget that dogs are too playful, while cats are too fearful. So, make sure that you act properly.
If you have one pet already, you might want to search for similar – if not identical – traits in your new pet.
For example, if your dog is a quiet breed, you want a cat that matches that personality and isn’t too vocal.
On the other hand, if you have an active and extremely playful cat, you would want a dog which friendly and active, so you can have a win-win situation. Match them!
So, contrary to popular belief, the world isn’t divided into cat person and dog person, but into people who are patient enough to introduce them, to each other properly and work with them throughout life.