In households where there are cats and dogs, the cat is typically ‘the main controller in determining amicability in the cat-dog relationship’.
In other words the relationship will work out if the cat is comfortable with it and feels in charge.
A study published on the Journal of Veterinary Behavior website and conducted by a team from the School of Life Sciences at the University of Lincoln surveyed 1,131 pet owners who owned at least one cat and dog.
Cats are fussier about who they lived with. Owner’s felt that cats where more likely to influence the success of the relationship between cat and dog.
An important ‘variable’ or factor in the success of the relationship was the age of the cat when introduced. Younger cats lead to more successful outcomes. In other words introduce cats to dogs when they are young to improve the chance of a nice relationship.
Cats ‘sharing food with the dog’ helped the relationship (this does not mean they eat the same food. Cats should not eat dog food and vice versa).
The ‘amicability’ level of the relationship can be better predicated by observing the ‘comfortability of the cat’ i.e. if the cat is comfortable the relationship is likely to be more successful. It seems that dogs are more laid back about their relationship with the family cat.
If the cat is uncomfortable with the dog, the dog is more likely to reciprocate. Once again the cat dictates the relationship.
Pet owners should focus on the cat if there is a need to improve the cat-dog relationship.
My comment: This ‘cat controlling’ may be due to the inherited solitary nature of the cat’s personality despite thousands of years of domestication and a sociable life. The dog lives in groups and is therefore more tolerant of group living.
Source: Journal of Veterinary Behavior.
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