Do dogs and cats generally get along?

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A new study looked at the relationship between cats and dogs living in the same household, and the results might surprise you!

It’s a common misconception that dogs and cats aren’t able to co-exist in the same household without conflict — the phrase “fight like cats and dogs” might be to blame for this — but they actually tend to live together without more than an occasional hiss!

A new study published in the Journal of Veterinary Behavior assessed the feline-canine relationship by surveying animal guardians, and discovered that most dogs and cats have a “friendly, mutual bond, which is recognizable through the use of affiliative behaviors, maintaining proximity and effective, non-aggressive communication between individuals.”

The study also revealed that:

  • Dogs and cats rarely share personal items such as toys and beds
  • They rarely groom each other
  • They tend to get along better when they’re exposed to the other species at an early age
  • Cats are more likely to threaten dogs; observations of dogs threatening cats in the study were rare
  • Cats typically call the shots; a feline’s feelings toward the dog are a greater predictor of how well they’ll get along.

“The number of cats and dogs kept together in many parts of the industrialized world is increasing, but we know little about the typical interactions that occur between these two species when they live within the same home,” write the authors. “These results highlight the need to attend to the cat’s behavior in particular, along with age of introduction, to promote positive cat-dog relationships.”