Thursday 21 August 2008

Dogs and Cats

cat and dog together
Dogs and cats together - Photograph copyright myriorama under a creative commons license.

Some know it and some don't but dogs and cats can get along fine provided there has been the proper amount and quality of socialization. This has been confirmed and reinforced by research carried out recently by scientists doing research work at Tel Aviv University in Israel.

The number one finding is that dogs and cats can be friends (and some of the pictures show this clearly) provided they are introduced at a young age and the dog is introduced to the cat who is the first to occupy the territory. The cat has to be in place first because dogs get jealous when another animal be they human animal or animal are brought into the family after the dog as the newcomers will inevitably take away some of the attention that the dog was getting.

Dogs and cats together - photo copyright Scott Kinmartin - published under a creative commons license.

Dogs and cats socialized together at a young are learn to communicate with each other through body language. This is particularly good as dogs use different body language to cats so some learning is required. It doesn't come naturally. For example when a cat wags her tail it can mean agitation or aggression while for a dog it is the expression of a friendly emotion. Obviously a form of communication such as body language is extremely useful to the relationship. A lot of humans might learn something from this in fact. This clearly helps them to get along.

photo by fazen under a creative commons license.

An example of a dog learning a cat's body language is sniffing the cat's nose normally a cat to cat greeting (see picture above), when dogs sniff the other end of another dog when meeting each other.

There are endless examples of well balanced and successful relationships between cats and dogs. Now we know how it happened. Although I expect dogs and cats can make friends late in life too under the right circumstances and provided the cat and the dog have generally well socialized characters.

See some of the best dogs and cats together pictures

Thanks to the research authors: Neta-Li Feuerstein and Professor Joseph Terkel

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