Do Dogs and Cats Really Hate Each Other?

With international cat day being the 8thof August, I thought I would explore the relationships between cats and dogs. Stereotypically, cats and dogs are thought to hate each other, which have been portrayed through things such as films, like ‘Cats & Dogs’, with a plot that is centred on a war between cats and dogs. There is also that phrase that we’ve all heard before, especially if having a younger or older sibling, the idea of ‘fighting like cats and dogs’. We have built this conception that dogs and cats just naturally hate each other,

but I have explored the reasons for this conception and how to prevent it from actually becoming reality.

The Guardian reported statistics from an online survey of 748 homeowners from the UK, US, Australia, Canada and Europe that presented how 80% felt that their pets were comfortable with one another, therefore not conforming to this stereotype of just a hate relationship. Some websites believe that the reason hate relationships can form is due to the differing breeds of dogs which are more or less compatible with cats, whilst others believe it depends on the dogs’ own behaviours, and I feel that this is more likely the case given that a dogs’ breed doesn’t necessarily define their behaviours. Cats and dogs also have greatly differing meanings behind their typical behaviours, which may cause problems. For example, dogs wag their tails usually for playfulness or being excited, whereas cats wag their tails mainly as a sign of irritation or anger. Another reason for this misconception is how dogs quite often chase cats due to their hunting instincts, with dogs instinctively chasing any moving objects, regardless of whether it’s a cat or not.

Talking from personal experiences of owning two dogs and a cat, I know that dogs and cats can get along. They mainly left each other alone with their separate territories in terms of different rooms of the house and different outdoor areas that they occupied. If they did interact, they would be playing and it wouldn’t last for very long. Below, I will be listing some tips I have found online to allow your dogs and cats to develop at least a relationship where they tolerate each other if a friendly relationship cannot be established.

Tips:

– It is best if you are getting a cat to get it at a young age

– Make sure your cats introduction to your dog is slow- you should have a period where your dog and cat are kept separately.

– Linking to the previous point, your cat should have its own territory to be able to get used to first, such as its own room. For example, my cat had its own room downstairs that my dogs would not go into. This room is where things such as their feeding bowls and cat food should be, because it is recommended that you keep your dogs’ and cats’ food and toys separate to allow their own personal belongings.

– The first meeting between your dog and your cat is very important- try to keep this situation as calm as possible, such as by keeping your dog on a lead until you can assess that things are going well, or by holding your cat. These periods of separation and introductions should then be repeated around 2–3 times a day for the first few days

– Before the first meeting, it is also useful to allow yours pets to establish each other’s scents, such as via their toys or through the door

– Your dog should be trained

– Allow the cat to have climbing spots that are out of reach of the dog

For more information on this, check out this link from the Battersea Dogs’ and Cats’ Home- https://www.battersea.org.uk/pet-advice/cat-care-advice/introducing-your-new-cat-your-dog

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