We all have heard it before, how dogs hate cats, but is this really true?
It seems that the main issue that dogs and cats have with each other lies in their communication methods. Think about this. When a dog wants attention, you will see his ears up, tail wagging, wide eyes and an open mouth. Now imagine if a cat were to look this same way. These mannerisms in a cat would show a completely different situation going on. This is the way that a cat would behave if she wanted you to go away.
When a cat greets another cat, they move carefully past each other and smell gently. When a dog greets a person or another dog, he runs up to them, eyes wide, teeth showing and tail wagging. The dog may then want to sniff the bottom of the cat, which is a natural way for the dog to introduce himself. A cat is generally not accepting of this and she may run off or even attack the dog for doing this. The dog may think the cat running off is a game and the chase begins. It is easy to understand why these two opposite creatures can misunderstand each other with opposing body language.
Bestselling author Pam Johnson-Bennett explains the difference between the two species when she says, “There is a reason there are no cat parks in the world. Cats like to hang back and assess the situation. Cats are not antisocial or mean, they just take a lot longer to warm up.”
Anthropologist John Bradshaw reminds us that dogs are descended from a wolf, which is very social. Cats are a descendant of the Arabian wildcat, which is highly unsocial. Dogs and cats are both carnivores, which mean they eat meat and will hunt to find it. However, this doesn’t mean that they need to try and eat each other, unless they are in the wild such as with coyotes and alley cats. However, in general the two species would prefer to avoid each other and mess with prey that is easier to catch.
Things may unfold differently between puppies and kittens, since they are learning about the behavior of each other from the very beginning. Some even end up becoming the best of friends.
Perhaps you have cats and are wondering the best way to introduce a new dog to them. The first thing you need to do is provide a controlled, safe way to expose them to one another. The dog should either be inside of a crate or on a leash in the house at all times, for quite some time. A remote controlled collar is another viable option. The dog can be allowed to be off of the leash whenever you are able to control your dog as he becomes distracted. For example, if you are calling your dog but he is too distracted by your cat to listen, you need to keep him on the leash or in a remote collar.
While your dog is on the leash, if he acts calm around the cat, reward him with a treat. If he comes at the cat, lead him several feet away until he is able to relax. Then, slowly move back toward the cat. This is how a dog learns not to attack. It also helps your cat understand that the dog isn’t going to hurt her. The cat can be rewarded for being around the dog as well. This will help the two understand that they are better off when they are sharing the same room with each other.
In conclusion, dogs and cats don’t hate each other, they simply misunderstand one another for the creature that each of them is inherently designed to be. Many dogs that live with cats will end up becoming lifelong friends with them.
The cats will end up becoming lifelong friends with them.