Our best friends can be each other's best friends too!
For those of us who have the good fortune to live with both felines and canines, it may not come as a surprise to learn the following; More often then not these two species get along swimmingly well!
A survey by Tel Aviv University of 170 Israeli households that included both a dog and a cat yielded some interesting findings: Only a tenth of the the households reported canine/feline fighting, while two-thirds reported perfectly amicable inter-species relations. (One quarter reported indifference between the two species.) The study indicates that introducing dog and cat when both are still young made for especially positive relations.
A particularly interesting finding is that dogs and cats typically learned to understand one another's body language. This understanding even extended to body language that actually conveyed the opposite meaning if exhibited by their own species. For example, while a cat might flick or thump his/her tail to convey annoyance, a dog's wagging tail typically signifies happiness. Similarly, a cat who averts his/her head might be signaling aggression, a dog doing the same thing might instead mean submission.
The Tel Aviv study found that four out of five times, the animal's response demonstrated a correct interpretation of the other animal's species-specific behavior. This is quite remarkable!
Once animals of differing species become familiar with one another and essentially learn each other's language, they often greet each other nose-to-nose, play with one another, snuggle together and even groom one another. I personally get to witness such encounters between my feline and canine kids all the time -- and they are a joy to behold!
Be sure to share your photos and stories of inter-species friendships with us at the Daily Wag (email@example.com). We simply can't get enough of this stuff!
Dr. Pia Salk