Dog and Cat Dynamics

Understanding Dog and Cat Dynamics 

Do dogs and cats get along or are they sworn enemies as cartoons, movies, and books would indicate? The old saying ‘fighting like cats and dogs would have you believe that dogs and cats have a long, hate-filled relationship, but in most cases, this is simply not true. Many dogs and cats are best buddies. 

The Differences Between Dogs and Cats 

Dogs and cats vary in behavior but also share similarities. The dynamics of the two are not completely clear cut. 

Aloof vs. Sociable 

Cats are often aloof and dogs more sociable. However, many cats do seek out the companionship of not only their owners but other animals. It’s not unusual to see a dog and cat lying next to each other in companionable silence and friendship. 

Wild Canine and Calm Kitty 

Most dogs love to play but they are usually a little over-the-top with their enthusiasm. A young pup will jump and become rowdy which can scare a cat. Cats have a strong prey drive which is why they like to chase a string or bat a ball. Dogs also have the same prey drive, but they are more aggressive in the way they go after something. 

Dog and Cat Play Time 

Even in a household where the dog and cat get along, it’s rare to see the duo actually play together. On occasion, a kitty might enjoy pouncing on a dog’s twitching tail. A young pup will also chew in play on a cat, but most kitties don’t care for such behavior and prefer not being ‘mauled’ by a slobbery canine. 

The Aggressor and Antagonizer 

Many people mistakenly think that their dog is going to be the aggressor and antagonizer in a dog and cat relationship, but usually the leader is the cat. Most dogs are happy and friendly. They want to play but a cat will use its claws to bat a dog’s sensitive nose and hiss without hesitation.

Often the cat is the aggressor in the relationship and will send the dog running in fear. As the pooch runs out of the room, sometimes the cat will even follow behind chasing the dog for good measure. 

When a dog and cat live together in the same household, a balance is usually achieved. Typically, the cat is in charge, and the dog gives the feline its way. 

Tips to Ensure Your Cat and Dog Get Along

Below are a few tips on how to ensure your cat and dog get along:

  • Give them time to adjust. Never force an interaction. Most dogs and cats will work things out in their own time and eventually either co-exist in peace or establish an actual friendship. 
  • Offer both the cat and dog ample praise when they behave and get along.
  • Take all introductions slow and easy. Always oversee their first interactions.
  • Let your dog and cat smell each other so they become familiar with one another’s odor which can help form a bond.

Dog and cat dynamics might seem dramatically different but the two can coexist in a household with remarkable success. 


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1 comment

I’ve had 3 different dogs with the same cat. The ShihTzu played with him w/no problem. The Silky Terrier & Cat ignored each other. My Dachshund puppy barks at the cat & wants to play. The cat responds by fighting or running away. Everything changes at night when they both sleep with me together quietly. I think there’s no fast rule and it’s different in every situation.

Lisa Centofanti

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