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The Premier Online Magazine devoted to Persian & Exotic Shorthair Cats
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PandEcats

The Premier Online Magazine
devoted to Persian & Exotic Shorthair Cats

Search
Close this search box.

PandEcats

The Premier Online Magazine devoted
to Persian & Exotic Shorthair Cats

Search
Close this search box.

Cats Can Learn To Talk “Dog”

Thinking about adopting a perky little puppy as a friend for your fluffy cat, but worried that they’ll fight like — well, cats and dogs? According to a study reported in the Journal of Applied Animal Behavior Science, there is a high probability that a cat and dog will get along as a “family” if two conditions are met:

  • The cat is adopted before the dog.
  • They are introduced when the kitten is less than six months old and the puppy is under a year old.

This is the first time anyone had done scientific research on pets living in the same home. It’s especially relevant to the one-third of Americans who own a pet and are thinking about adopting a second one of the other species.

Talk Like a Dog

After interviewing almost 200 pet owners who own both a cat and a dog, then videotaping and analyzing the animals’ behavior, Tel Aviv University researchers concluded that cats and dogs can cohabitate happily if certain conditions are met. They found that two-thirds of the homes they surveyed reported a positive relationship between their cat and dog.

But it wasn’t all sweetness and light (or, for that matter, bones and catnip). There was a reported indifference between the cat and dog in 25% of the homes, while aggression and fighting were observed in 10% of the homes.

One reason for the fighting might have been crossed signals. Cats and dogs may not have been able to read each other’s body cues. For instance, cats tend to lash their tails about when angry, while wag their tails when happy. A cat’s averted head signals aggression, while in a dog the same head position signals submission.

In homes where cat/dog détente existed, researchers found that cats and dogs are learning how to talk each other’s language. It was a surprise that cats can learn how to talk ‘Dog’ and vice versa. What’s especially interesting  is that both cats and dogs have appeared to evolve beyond their instincts. They can learn to read each other’s body signals, suggesting that the two species may have more in common than was previously suspected.

Peacemaking Pets Can Be a Model for People

Once familiar with each others’ presence and body language, cats and dogs can play together, greet each other nose-to-nose, and enjoy sleeping together on the couch. They can easily share the same water bowl and in some cases groom each other.

The far-reaching implications of this research on cats and dogs may extend beyond pets to people who don’t get along, including neighbors, colleagues at work, and even world superpowers. If cats and dogs can learn to get along, surely people should be able to too.

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“My relationships with my cats has saved me from a deadly, pervasive ignorance.”
*William S. Burroughs (Author, The Naked Lunch)

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