Can Cats and Dogs Be Friends? Yes, they Can
What is the natural relationship? Can Cats and Dogs Be Friends? Yes, they can- I just found it at home!
Mangaluru: “They fight like cats and dogs.”-This saying reflects the commonly held belief that dogs and cats just can’t get along because they are natural enemies. People who share their homes with both species, or who have read “The Incredible Journey”, know that this is not true. Dogs and cats can form fast friendships. It is life experiences with members of the other species, and not an inborn animosity, that determines how cats and dogs feel about each other. And I just found out- where our cat “Pussy-Doll” was having some fun and close encounters with our newly added to the canine dynasty, two country pups named “Cocoa” and “Coffee”.
Last night as I walked into the kitchen, I couldn’t resist clicking some pictures of our cat having some intimate fun with the two puppies. I have never seen like this before, although at home we have four other dogs, who literally hate the cats, and they can’t stand each other–but here we have a different story. The way this cat and the puppies were getting along was so cute and funny, I started clicking the best shots that I could. It is life experiences with members of the other species, and not an inborn animosity, that determines how cats and dogs feel about each other. One of the confident, pushy puppy “Cocoa” approached the cat with its tail held high, like a “Go ahead, Make my day” type of challenge, and the friendly, confident cat approached towards the dog with tail held high, like it was saying “Hey, let’s be friends.”
Now I guess it’s the turn of “Coffee” to try its luck to be friendly with the Cat. He puts his paw , and then slowly chin on the cat’s back, stands very tall and growls at the cat. The cat liked it and they both started playing with each other. This will frighten the cat, and the cat will run away—or stand and fight. Either way, this dog will have an entirely different impression of cats than the dog who just wants to get along. But there are instances sometimes innocent puppy’s misinterpretation of the tail wag can result in a lot of hissing and a bloody nose-but here it wasn’t the case. It is noted that tail talk can cause inter-species confusion in another way, since dogs generally wag their tails as a sign of happiness and willingness to play or interact. The harder the wag, the happier the dog. The cat, on the other hand, does not wag his tail, he “switches” it. The faster the switching, the angrier the cat. An innocent puppy’s misinterpretation of the tail wag can result in a lot of hissing and a bloody nose. Dazed and confused, the puppy will not see cats as potential friends or playmates.
The scenes that I witnessed between the two puppies and the cat support this statement that appeared in a pet animals magazine- A last major difference in dog- versus cat-speak is when they roll over. Dogs roll over to show submission; puppies are especially likely to do this. “Please don’t kill me, I’m a baby.” Cats, on the other hand roll over to take on a defensive position. Fighting cats do the most damage with their rear claws, and it is the cat on its back that is dominating the fight. Pity the hapless pup who sticks his nose in for a sniff of a cat going belly up. Even though they differ in some major areas, there are other areas where cats and dogs are similar. Displacement behaviors such as grooming, yawning, lip licking, and sniffing the ground are exhibited by both species in response to feelings of conflict. A fierce show of teeth and fluffing out of fur has the same meaning for both species. Hissing and growling seem to be universal signs of warning that even the smallest kittens and puppies know how to produce and interpret instinctively.
Consider the situation when the confident, friendly cat marches up to this easygoing, submissive dog, tail flying high, head in the air, and with a confident step. The dog, not wanting any trouble, offers a polite greeting or backs off to see what the cat wants to do next. Response is reinforcing for the cat; he learns that this approach to a dog works well. Now I knew that this type of cat will make friends easily with most dogs, because dogs misinterpret the friendly tail flag and are careful not to cause offense on the first meeting.
It’s true with this instance, that Cats and dogs living in the same household generally figure out a way to get along; they learn about the other through experimentation and observation. In the cat’s case, observation from on high was the preferred approach. A dog and a cat may develop a close friendship, sharing a bed, eating each other’s food, and playing together, or they may develop a grudging respect and just stay out of each other’s way. Thus we come to learn about pet animals through experimentation and observation.
So in conclusion, although we’ve all heard the phrase “fighting like cats and dogs,” mainly to describe two animals (or humans, for that matter) that are always at odds with each other. However, relationships between cats and dogs are possible, depending on their personalities and their owners’ patience and understanding. And while the initial introductory period can be tricky, this unique relationship that I observed between “Pussy-Doll”, “Cocoa” and “Coffee” can be quite rewarding both species. And remember, just as with humans, friendships take time to develop; don’t be upset if your animals don’t become pals right away. Regardless, it’s important to give equal amounts of attention to all your pets so no one feels left out.