I was clearing out the (way too many) photos on my laptop, and ran into this video from years ago. It pretty much sums up the relationship between dogs and cats: Highly variable, and always interesting. Some dogs are best friends with cats, some ignore them, and some either chase them, or try to herd them. Or are afraid of them, often for good reason.
In the video, you’ll see Maggie, on the left, protecting Nellie from Willie. Willie, like many Border Collies (including Skip) perceive cats as weird, mushy-hoofed livestock. Maggie, on the other hand, was protective of Nellie the moment they met. What I love most about the video is Maggie’s facial expression. She is one of the most expressive dogs I’ve ever known, and usually has either a sweet, passive resting face (the real Resting Bitch Face), or radiates joy like a sparkler. She perfectly capable of throwing shade at times toward me or another dog if Princess Margaret feels her royalty is not being honored, but I’ve never seen her look so serious. What Willie would like to do is herd Nellie as if she were a sheep, and on a few occasions, nip at her if she doesn’t obey. Why isn’t she moving away when I approach like a stalking predator? How can I gain control of this creature I am genetically programmed to herd? Poor Willie.
Equally amusing to me is Nellie’s behavior. You can see how stressed she is by Willie’s behavior–as in, not. But is she reveling in Willie’s inability to do what he wants to do? Or just enjoying a nice roll on the rug? Making attributions about mental states is a dangerous game sometimes, but in this case, it’s hard not to imagine that there’s something going on related to Willie.
Skip came to us, reportedly, having never seen a cat in his life, and his behavior reflected that. He looked shocked the first time he met ours, began to chase Polly one night (easily stopped, but Jim, Polly, and I were equally frightened for a long few seconds), and then morphed into trying to herd the cats. He became a dog who was was truly obsessed, and I had my work cut out for me in those early days. At first I couldn’t get his attention when he was staring at a cat. Here’s a video of the process we began bduring the first few weeks, note how “Look” didn’t work, but “House” did. (Which means, “go into the house.”) It looks like nothing, but seriously, this was huge progress at the time.
After a few more weeks, he came away easily at the first try, but as long as Nellie and Polly were here, he never gave up responding to the cats as if they were tiny sheep.
All this got me pondering about how interesting, and varied, are the relationships between dogs and cats. Best friends. Enemies. Livestock. Predators. Prey. Young mammals to be nurtured. Play mates.
As you can imagine, given the topic, it was impossible for me not to fall down the google rabbit hole of “dog and cat videos.” This one cropped up right away, and I include it because 1) the German Shepherd in the second video is too adorable for words, and the bulldog dog in the third segment scares me because of all the body trapping and neck biting. (Is it too late to rescue that cat, or is it just me?)
I would love to have a conversation about the relationship between dogs and cats. Your experiences? Your thoughts? I’m early in mulling on this, but it does feel like it’s a relationship that is often stereotyped and simplified. But, it feels far more complicated and interesting than is often given credit. I’d love to give it our attention.
MEANWHILE, back on the farm: We are just back from the Star of the North Sheepdog Trial in Minnesota last weekend, and what a gorgeous weekend it was. Here’s the view Friday morning from our camper:
The colors were non stop:
I was disappointed in our runs though. Skip ran too wide on his outrun on his first run, missed the sheep completely, and then flanked so wide when I asked him to go back toward the sheep that he ended up at the set out pens. Finally, after about THREE YEARS, he came back to me calling him, and got on the sheep. We had a lovely run after that, but of course, lost a gazillion points. His second run had a good outrun and fetch, but we got beaten by a wily old ewe who took advantage of me stopping Skip short a few times, and we had a mess of a drive. I feel badly that I let him down. He runs waaaay too wide, especially when he is stressed, but, still, I didn’t do my job well enough. Sigh.
But, still, it’s a game, right? It was gorgeous all weekend, if a bit nippy. Okay, it was really cold the first day, in the 30’s and low 40’s, but when you’re surrounded by this, how bad can it be?
On Sunday Maggie and Skip got to help set out sheep for the Novice runs, and had a great time. Here’s where we were forced to work. Poor us.
Maggie and Skip traded off, while hard working Samantha (out of the photo) let four sheep at a time out of the pens. Thank you Samantha for making it easy for me, and to John Wentz who did the better part of the setting out. We were just the transition team (it was a long way from the pens to the set out, and over the crest of a hill), but we had a great time. Thanks to Pearce Ward for putting on such a great trial, and to everyone else who worked so hard to make it so. (I’m especially talking to you Claudia and Maddie!)
After the Novice class was over, Skip got to move the sheep that were left over to the other set out pens for the Open class. We enjoyed it equally–I love real work and never get enough of it on our little farm with our tiny flock and small pastures.
I hope there was lots of good in your weekend too. Tell us about it, and add your thoughts and experiences of dogs and cats getting along. Or not. You know, like “cats and dogs.”
My dog (Terrier-Shih Tzu mix) Rosie can be very bossy and doesn’t really like other dogs. She didn’t get along very well with our previous cat (mostly tried to police Felice getting on the couch) but the current cat (Onion) will actually play with Rosie. It’s very funny to watch them try to “communicate” (Rosie play bows & Onion sits down & flicks his tail) but I do think they enjoy playing. Rosie also enjoys scolding Onion when he’s been on the counter (she loves to be the rule enforcer); Onion tolerates her bossing and is generally non-plussed. I think it depends on the dog & the cat, for sure!
I never tire of watching my dogs and cats interact. D’Artagnan had never lived with cats before coming to us but he immediately decided the cats that lived here were part of his flock to be protected. He’ll chase stray cats that wander in but aside from warning “his” cats away from his dinner he’s never bothered “his” cats. The cats aren’t afraid of him but do treat him with a certain amount of deferrential respect. Falkor on the other hand is the cats’ buddy. They love him and will sleep with him and offer him their rear ends to sniff. Falkor Bash seems a bit bemused by it all. He doesn’t seek the cats out they seek him out. He’s fond of his cats but they adore him. They’ll take liberties with Falkor that they’d never consider taking with D’Artagnan. Treating his tail as a cat toy is one good example.
The one rule my dogs have for the cats is that the cats must not hurt one another and the way the dogs decide if the cats are hurting each other is if one of the cats makes a noise when they wrestle or fight. It cracks me up watching them fight in complete silence. The other night a couple of cats outside got into a fight complete with yowling and screeching. I could see my two cats freeze and look, I can only think, horrified. If you make noise the dogs get involved and no one wants to be on the receiving end of that. The dogs, of course, did want to get involved in this outdoor cat fight and barked and barked. I declined to open the door and let that happen. My cats made themselves scarce while this was happening.
I enjoyed all your gorgeous photos from the sheep dog trial. We’re still having summer here. Usually we’d be having fall colors by this time but not this year. It’s weird still having 80 degree days.
Wendy S. Katz says
oh, the look on Maggie’s face in that first video is priceless! It is easy to think Nellie is reveling in the social dynamics.
I long-term fostered a dog (95 pounds and tall enough to rest his chin on the dining room table) who was so cat-crazy I kept my own cats in the spare bedroom 24/7 for the first 6 weeks I had him. Initially there was no distance outdoors at which he was capable of eating a treat when a cat was in view. When we moved to a smaller house he’d had a lot of foundation work by then and I was able to switch to tight management. One day we were practicing down-stays on leash in the dining room. One of my cats decided he would do sit stays on the table to get in on the liver biscotti. After practicing stays together, Murray and the cats became good friends and bedmates.
But when I later brought a foster cat home from the shelter, Murray said “That’s not one of MY cats!” I didn’t have the energy to deal with it so I handed the cat off to a close friend/training buddy who ended up adopting it. When Murray later stayed with her and met the cat on its own turf, they became the best of friends.
My childhood dog used to referee cat play that included noise, too! My parents’ cats, who are very affectionate sisters, learned to play completely silently. They still do, though said dog has been gone for years.
My Malinois adores my bold, dog-friendly orange tabby. They play very well together, though early on I spent many a play session helping the dog manage her arousal. They take turns chasing, or the cat will pick a home base (his favorite is an empty laundry hamper on its side) and make occasional rushes or swats at the dog while she play bows and leaps extravagantly away from his “attacks”. It took them awhile to learn each other’s signals for play and feel comfortable.
They do initiate differently. The dog approaches directly or stalks, and will nose-lever or even gently mouth his tail if she really wants to get a rise out of him. The cat will sprint back and forth across the house in increasingly tempting paths, though the dog will look to me for permission before chasing, which I appreciate since I don’t want it to become a too-often-rehearsed behavior.
They’re not particularly affectionate with each other, but the cat doesn’t really snuggle with humans either. Meanwhile, the dog would prefer if I’d wear her as a fur stole at all times that we aren’t actively training.
I do manage some very mild resource guarding around furniture and bones. The dog is inclined to pounce in his direction if she’s on the couch and he walks by, and she’ll rush over to pick up a bone if he comes near it. She’ll stop if I ask, and if I keep a jar of kibble nearby to reward her in these circumstances, the behavior and mild stress signals ease off too. She will alert me with indignant huffs if the cat gets up on the counter or is pawing at the front door. (How dare he do things SHE isn’t allowed to do??)
The cat mostly likes to leverage the dog’s presence for his own benefit rather than interacting directly outside of playtime – he’s leaned into meal-related commensalism re: opportunistic kibble thieving 🙂 He also comes RUNNING when he hears the Dremel turn on, because nail trimming time comes with kibble treats too.
Lucille White says
I must say that for all my life we have had cats and dogs and they always go along well. I can give you the two lastest situations. I bought a rescue puppy for my granddaughter. On her fairly small farm lived ” O P”( short for Orange Puss) who was so old we no longer remembered his age but he was an in & out cat which all of her kitties become when they are old and frail. Her puppy, Copper was about
3 months old but began joining OP
for his early morning walk. OP was visibly weak, and Copper would walk very close to him like a support animal and return with him to the house. We were amazed
to see such a young pup so attentive to an old cat. OP soon headed for the rainbow bridge and
Copper missed him.
Recently l adopted a rescued an older pup. My granddaughter adopted 2 kittens from the same
person. I was adopting another kitten from the same person but
when they were leaving, the black kitten disappeared. Searching the house didn’t find him so he was left behind. My puppy came
She has had a very troubled past, is frightened of children, and I’ve been working with neighborhood children to ease her fear. The original rescuer sent a photo of the
black kitten 20 minutes after the others had left, sitting on her sofa.
I realized later that this was a blessing in disguise. It gave Belle,my puppy time to bond with
me. When ” Jet” arrived, it was a love fest! They had been friends in the foster home. The other kittens at the farm tolerate Belle barely, and have no use for Jet although they too were in the same foster home. Belle & Jet play endlessly and I sometimes separate them so we all have some quiet time. Often
we all nap together on the sofa, Belle by my feet and Jet’s head in
the crook of my arm and stretched
full length along my body on his back. They’re careful in their play. Jet is now over 50 lbs, so I monitor
their play. They love each other so much. Strangely, Jet’s mom, like Copper’s is a Fiest, or Mountain Cur, but she seems to be both a site hound as well as a scent hound which I’ve neveseen in all the years we’ve owned dogs. (About 75 years).
MJ Moss says
We have had 45 yrs of cats and dogs…mostly sighthounds, Afghan Hounds and Lurchers. Having puppies raised with strict cats has taught pups respect early and several have gone from diffidence to playmates. A couple of our big Maine Coon males have volunteered to babysit our litters…hopping in to xpens to be climbing towers for 3-6 wk old pups. Makes for a sane household…mostly. We had one tiny rescue cat named Bodi who brooked no nonsense from any cat or dog and had the WORST voice ever. My most predatory Lurcher, Kelu, would move to keep me between her and Bodi.
Absolutely stunning fall colors in these pictures! As a husky owner, cats are just plain off the table. I know a few people who keep both huskies and cats, but they are the small minority. Huskies were bred with a strong prey drive to survive in the non-winter months when game was plentiful (so the sled dog team owners didn’t have to feed the team). Now that we do feed them all year round and they don’t have to hunt small game to survive, they still retain that prey drive. I did hear something funny recently. Someone was describing different types of cats. They were talking about Siamese and said that the Siamese were the Siberian Huskies of the cat world, sassy and loving and loud.
I live with four dogs and one cat. Cullen is a Snowshoe x Siamese cross and seems to think he is just one of the dogs. He is constantly rubbing up against them and has the habit of counting noses when we settle in the family room in the evening to watch TV. He walks up to each of the dogs and touches noses before settling onto the couch with me and my senior Shih Tzu (Cullen’s favorite dog). The only issue we had was when I adopted my last ‘foster failure’, Dusty. Dusty has a very strong prey drive and when she first arrived, she chased the cat. I worked hard to teach her that this was unacceptable behavior. She no longer looks upon him as tasty prey, but the look on her face when Cullen rubs up against her front legs is priceless. (“Im enduring this because I have to!”)
Rebecca Rice says
Dos and cats, It’s an interesting relationship, to be sure! And a lot, I think, depends on the cat. I brought dogs into a house that had two resident cats. The first dogs were greyhounds, and chosen to be “cat safe”. And then, after the first greyhound passed, I wound up with a miniature rat terrier to keep the second grey company. And. while ALL my pets tend to have more of roommate relationships than buddy ones, they got along fine. Especially once the dogs learned that kitty has way more pointy bits than they do! Until.
My smallest cat, a tiny little 9-pounder, probably with dwarfism, always looked to be around 6 months old, but very athletic and quite the hunter, got progressively ill. Kidney failure, which happens a lot to older cats. Still, except for being a bit grumpier with the dogs, things went ok. And then it happened. Sudden blindness, probably from high blood pressure from the kidney failure. And suddenly this cat, that had ruled the roost and that all the dogs respected, became prey. If the dogs could get to her, they would harass her and try to grab her and drag her. That was a scary time, and very hard to manage. The obvious solution would be to separate the two sets, but my house wasn’t set up for that, and the little rat terrier was just about the same size as the cat, so I couldn’t make bolt holes and safe spaces that the cat could get to and the not the terrier. Eventually, I decided the kindest thing to do was euthanize the cat, so that she wouldn’t have to deal with the constant harassment and other issues as her body shut down.
It was shocking to me to see how quickly the dynamics changed once she became ill. But it did make me think of how it seems to be the cat that controls a lot of the dog/cat interactions. A bold cat that stands up to a dog is likely to be left alone. One that runs away…. not so much. My current rattie is way too interested in cats that he sees on walks for me to feel comfortable having one in my house. But even there, he reacts differently towards the cats that see him and stand their ground versus those that run away.
Olive is a definite cat-as-prey doggo, so no felines for us (we aren’t terribly disappointed, I’ll confess).
Years ago, we were staying with a friend who had a formidable orange tabby. Our dog then, Ester, a 90-pound golden, had a respectfully distant view of cats, this one in particular. One evening, we were coming down the stairs, which ended just shy of the cat door, and Mr Kitty (real name), was coming in through his cat egress. We all found ourselves in the same space at exactly the same time.
Ester froze and stared at this cat and then looked back at us and looked at the cat and back at us for what felt like minutes. She had on a look of horror and astonishment. As if to say, “Oh my god, did you see that? This cat can walk through walls. I had no idea. You did see that, right?”
After that, Ester gave Mr Kitty even wider berth.
We had a lovely Keeshond who was raised with cats, was not bothered by them, and who joined our household at 1 year old. My husband’s aunt was a cat person and brought her cats to the family cabin every year, letting them loose outside to roam the woods(don’t get me started on this), bringing them in when they wanted in and at night. Jet, the youngest cat, wasn’t a “friendly” cat to us, nor to our dog. I was reading outside on a sunny day with our dog lying beside me in the sun. Jet came by, walked away, then came by, walked away, getting closer to the dog and staying in her vision while walking toward and away from her. Our dog ignored her as Jet kept this up FOREVER. Suddenly, our dog got up and chased Jet. Jet ran, the dog almost caught up with Jet, Jet ran about 30 ft up a tree. By that evening, Jet had not come down. Greg’s aunt was mad at me. Jet eventually came down.
Laura, I spit my drink out when I got to the FOREVER part, not to mention the chase. Glad the cat was okay, but really…. your dog was a saint.
The best barn cat I ever had was a stray/feral Tom that, after several months of hide and seek, was caught in our barn with a Have-A-Heart trap. My farm vet came out and neutered him in our basement, telling us to release him the minute he came to. He said we’d either see him again or not, but all hell would break loose if he woke up and found himself confined to a cage in our basement. It took about a week for the cat to show his face again, and several more weeks for him to let me to touch him, but once that happened he was the friendliest, most appreciative cat ever. And he had street smarts. Whenever my rough and tumble Cattle Dogs thought he was good for a chase, he’d just hunker down where he was with a stoic “Bring it” look on his face. The dogs all quickly learned where they stood with him, and that he’d always have the upper hand. He was fearless, but kind, and never took advantage of his superior status. He was however, horribly afraid of thunder and lightening and always sought to come inside and snuggle with me when storms threatened. He lived to the ripe old age of seventeen or so (at best guess) and is horribly missed to this day. I always figured some day another cat would show up, as strays often do on rural farms. Sadly, Mac has been gone for well over a decade now, and (so far) we’re still without a new model.
I had a doberman who was not cat aggressive but was cat obnoxious. He would hump the cat (nothing more ridiculous looking than a 65 lb dog trying to hump a 15 lb cat) and would “nibble” groom along the cat’s back. I’d be petting the cat and have a moment of “Why are you wet?” The cat was…. resigned.
The doberman has long since passed of cancer, but the cat is still going strong at 14. These days, his only request is that I not bring home any dogs bigger than him. Very rarely, he’ll deign to play with one of my foster dogs, otherwise, he just ignores them.
All of these stories are so great. All of my dogs, I suppose because they are really well trained, and most of the time are raised with cats, have been really good with them. I’m not worried about my next dog, or bringing a kitty into the house. I really want to get one for my husband as he absolutely loves cats. I think if we can find a dog friendly kitty, and also have the dog in the house first, things should go well.
Sorry, I’ve been so quiet from this blog, but I am just getting things we organized after suffering with lung issues for the past four months. Everything‘s OK, just some restriction because my skeleton is weird? Anyway, still waiting for a new dog, and hoping one comes very soon. Man, I miss dogs!
Growing up we had a big golden retriever (Butchy) who was mostly an inside dog but really was wherever his ‘kids’ were. So if we were inside he came into be with us, if we were playing outside he would follow us and join in whatever adventure we were on. My middle brother was always adopting various animals he found… at one time we had a white rat and a white rabbit he rescued that lived very happily together in the rabbit hutch. At one point he rescued a small kitten who became an indoor outdoor cat similar to Butchy the dog. Those two became fast friends and started sleeping cuddled together on my brother’s bed. When the cat had kittens Butchy was fascinated and would often join her in the pen set up for her and the kittens. While they were pretty small she became very disinterested in caring for them and Butchy would be found laying in the pen holding court with kittens climbing all over him. He would hold them down with his paw and clean them with one swipe of his tongue. I so wish we had taken pictures as it was quite a sight. Once the kittens were all adopted he and the cat went back to sleeping all cuddled up together again.
I do dog evaluations for a cat organization when a potential adopter wants to take a cat home to a “dog occupied” household. One of the things I do in the course of the evaluation is coach the dog owners on the major differences between cat and dog observable body language. Ears back? Submissive dog, scared or worried/angry cat. Tail up? Excited dog, confident/secure cat. On paw slightly raised for dog, one paw partly up for cat? Not sure, ready to move away or ready to stand ground and smack someone for dog and cat in turn.
I grew up with cats and dogs, always have cats and dogs, always loved to watch and learn and laugh with what evolves. Having both is the best. Helping people introduce the new puppy or new cat smoothly to the home is gratifying. And sometimes saying “no, not at this time” is needed – but often results in a dog owner learning the invaluable technique of “look at me” and how many other issues that helps. I am not a professional dog trainer or behaviorist, but we have not had ‘an unfortunate incident’ after adoption since we’ve been doing this. And as a side note, several of the “No Other Cats – cats” have have turned out to actively like dogs as much as they actively hated other cats!
Thanks for your articles, Trish. I savor them each time they show up. The clip of Maggie keeping a stern eye on Skip with Kitty in the middle was epic!
Kelly Moran says
We briefly cat tested my pit mix Nico before bringing him home from the shelter. He would not even look at the cats in their pens, so took his non-interest as a green light. He was slowly introduced to my two cats and not left alone with them. He never pursued them, but was clearly nervous/unsure around them and would always do a deferral and turn his head when coming in close contact. About a month in, there was a sudden attack. I was there, but it happened so quick I am not sure what happened, but strongly suspect that my alpha kitty swatted him. He definitely intended only a warning as kitty was shook but not hurt, but I was devastated. I considered returning him, but determined instead to take a few steps back. I worked hard on rewarding him with treats and praise whenever he allowed the cats to approach him behind a gate and allowed him to be around them with a basket muzzle, again with plenty of praise for good behavior. Fast forward several years and the muzzle is gone and kitties can approach him. They will never be cuddle buddies and the darn cats have figured out that mom can be made to get out of her seat quickly if they go up to his face, but overall, we live in harmony. Nico sleeps behind a gate in his own room at night as I do not want to risk him being startled by a nosey cat using poor judgement, but we have made it work.
Good on you Kelly, for all that hard work!
Cindy k Jensen says
OMgosh! Maggie’s eyes say it all, while Nellie is “basking”, knowing she is safe from Skip. A cat lying and rolling on its back is not worried about anything! Our cat Sam, from the Humane Society, had to be raised with dogs as he had no problems with them from the get go. With three dogs (Doberman, Whippet, Lhasa) and another cat (Siamese) they seemed to interact with each other rather than to cross the “dog/cat line.”
Loved the video of Maggie protecting Nellie! Other than one quick check as Willie moved out of view, Nellie seemed fully confident that Maggie ‘had her back’ / tummy…
My favorite topic: Dogs and cats living together! I grew up with both, and our alpha cat definitely ruled. Right now we have Buddy Cat and Mr. B Dog. They have mostly a friendly, but not friends relationship.
When we adopted Mr. B, his foster brought him to our house to meet the cat. B barked and barked. Buddy did the smartest thing he could have, and walked calmly under the kitchen table, and sat, sheltered by the table and chair legs. He had grown up with dogs, and while not a brave cat, has good instincts. We were a little concerned about Mr. B, but the foster was confident that he wasn’t aggressive but probably had never seen a cat before. This proved to be the case, and we’ve never had concerns about leaving them alone together (although Buddy spends most of his time outside with his BirdbeSafe collar on).
They greet each other but don’t hang out together. Mr. B has kind of a split attitude about Buddy. Outside Mr. B will chase Buddy up the fence or under a chair (less so now). But inside the house, B will give Buddy a wide berth, and if Buddy gets on the couch, B gets off. A long time ago, Buddy was very cranky (probably had been in the house for hours because of the weather), and lunged for Mr. B’s throat. No blood was drawn. Mr. B has never forgotten, but also never changed his outdoor behavior.
John Verona says
My apologies to the cat lovers. Our cattledogs and cattledog mixes regarded all cats as rodents.
Evelyn Janet Haskins says
We had a glorious perfectly black (ex) Tom who actually trained the dogs to leave him alone. He went out in the evening when the dogs were fed, and just LOOKED at them as they ate.
Evelyn Janet Haskins says
Or, mostly, it seems to me, dogs chase cats because cats tend to run away. Like a ball 🙂
Sit and look a them with a basilisk stare, and they leave you well alone.
I have to come back to tell this tale. Furbonnaci (the cat) is either a total idiot or he has absolute faith in his Great Pyrenees dogs. I was brushing D’Artagnan before one of his Therapy Dog visits and Furb who adores being brushed and Always wants to get in on any brushing is there being a pest begging for his share of brushing. D’Artagnan yawns and Furbonnaci sticks his head in D’Art’s mouth in an apparent effort to see where this cave goes. The head of a cat fits very easily into a Pyr’s mouth. (heck a small cat could fit in there entire) D’Artagnan just pulled back and shifted his head to the side so he could close his mouth without decapitating the cat. Furbonnaci got sent to the basement, D’Artagnan got highly rewarded, and eventually my heartbeat returned to normal. Never a dull moment.
I had a great dane and lived by my sister in the country. On our way home from her house one day, my dane was in the jeep and his mouth looked funny. I checked his mouth only to see a kitten completely inside, unharmed that he was trying to take home. So yes, I kept it. They played and played together. The kitten would hide behind the kitchen pedestal leg and the dane would would hide his head behind the leg thinking the kitten couldn’t see him. The dane would be sleeping on the deck and the kitten would stalk and attack him, ending up sprawled on his face chewing on the base of his ears. Long story short, the kitten died (hawk) and the dane a few weeks later.
I got a mastiff puppy and another kitten and they grew up together. When she oops got pregnant the mastiff helped clean up the last 2 kittens so I kept one.
I bought another mastiff and the 2 cats hated him so they moved to the basement. I couldn’t get them to come upstairs for any reason. When that mastiff died (10yrs later), I got another mastiff puppy. Within a few months, I heard something in the kitchen and went to see the momma cat rubbing up against the new mastiff’s face. Both of them moved back upstairs. Momma cat died (20+yrs). Daughter was 19yrs and getting feeble. She’d only drink water from the mastiff’s dish and I ended up having to feed her part of their raw food or she wouldn’t eat at all. I found her numerous times curled up in the center of his dog bed and he would curl up around her.
My experiences mirror most others. Dogs and cats get along, but mostly exist in the same space. My 19 year old cat grew up with a mastiff that she dearly loved, and would like to be more affectionate with my current Cane Corso, but the Corso doesn’t want to be that close. I can trust the Corso to be out alone with the cats, but I mostly crate the Jack Russell when I’m not home. I did have my first cat adoption failure last year, because he always ran and acted like prey. The dogs were becoming too rough with him, so I removed him. My current cats are treated like small annoying dogs – the JRT will hump the cat if he is stressed.
[Posting for Chris O’Brien] I finally tracked down the video of our Rowan at 1 year old, with her foster family’s cat. This video convinced us she was a perfect gentle playmate for our older border collie Obi. Alas, when she came to us we discovered that she’s an intense rugby player with dogs. But what a match for a cat!
Sarwar Abdullah says
I found your article very interesting and true. My lab mix (Piper)has formed a friendship with my neighbor’s cat, Cooper. He will come over to our yard and play chase with her. I caught them doing it one day and thought Piper was going to hurt Cooper but it turned out, after I calmed her down, that Cooper came up and rubbed against her. It was the coolest thing to see!!
Glenda Herrin says
I love how you tried the alternate cue of “House” when “Look” proved to be too difficult for Skip (rather than the patented, tried-and-true method *eyeroll* most owners use, of the ever-increasing “No. No! NO!!” then dragging the poor dog away.) 😉