Admittedly, the heading for this blog post is already a little misleading. To say “dogs and cats don’t like each other” is only half the truth – and a lot of cliché. In reality it should read “Why dogs and cats dislike each other in certain circumstances”, but in order:
Animals generally don’t like other species
In principle, animals often have an innate distrust of other animal species. The reason for this is very simple. In evolution, it has paid off if the animals are either fearful or aggressive towards other species. After all, any other animal species can potentially be a predator – a genetic legacy that still lives on in domesticated animals such as cats and dogs.
The thing with body language
Almost every dog owner should be known, but one cannot emphasize this dog knowledge often enough: cats and dogs have a fundamentally different body language, which inevitably triggers “misunderstandings””. A classic is wagging your tail. In dogs, wagging is usually a sign of joy, whereas cats are more likely to do this when they are excited or nervous. Staring is also a sign of affection in cats, but dogs like to see it as a threat. Last but not least, cats purr out of comfort, but in dogs, growling is a defensive behavior.
Cats and dogs – a hopeless case?
Of course, this reads first, as if the thing with the cats and the dogs was a hopeless case. Especially when you consider how easily a frightened cat triggers the hunting instinct in the dog through its flight reflex.
But: Often the aversion between cats and dogs is based only on the fact that they never really had the opportunity to get to know each other better – thank the body language. However, there can be no question of a hopeless case. Once you get used to each other, cats and dogs can even become really big friends.
The easiest way to get used to it is, of course, when the animals are still small. Both dogs and cats react completely differently when it comes to kittens or puppies. These are not perceived as a danger; In addition, the old “What Hanchen doesn’t learn, Hans never learns” truth also applies here: if cats and dogs are used to each other from an early age, they treat each other quite differently, often even lovingly.
Don’t rush to get used to it
In the case of older animals, however, the cat or dog owners should be patient. Basically, the animals can get used to each other relatively easily, unless there have been traumatic incidents in the past. Then a professional dog trainer should be consulted before another incident occurs.
In general, getting used to should be gradual rather than in a crash course. To do this, bring both animals into a room for a few minutes so that they can see each other briefly. Then you separate them again to repeat the ritual a few hours or a day later. The time spent together is constantly being extended; after 10 to 20 meetings, the dog and cat may have gotten used to each other to such an extent that they can be together for two or three hours. In addition, love is known to go through the stomach, a cat treat or a dog snack contribute immensely to the calming. But be careful: A “jealousy of food” between cat and dog must be avoided under all circumstances, either both get their treats or neither.
When getting used to it, care should also be taken to ensure that the cat (which is usually weaker than the dog) always has a retreat. It is also important that there is always someone in the room who can intervene if necessary. It is important that the dog or cat owner has a calming effect on the animals; he should cover up his own nervousness / tension as well as possible. If this succeeds, there should be little to stand in the way of an intimate relationship between dog and cat – and the myth that cats and dogs do not like each other is refuted once again.