Thursday, 11 September 2008

Other Pets: The Truth About Cats and Dogs (and how they get along)

A quick poll on DoggySnaps was enough for me to confirm what I already suspected; many of us have more than one kind of pet. Some will have been introduced with no fuss at all, others will have had to employ good training techniques over a longer time to help the new addition settle in. Now scientists in Tel Aviv claim to have worked out the perfect time to introduce a cat to a dog in order for them to get on well.

The problem, after all, is all to do with communication. We all know there's a huge difference between Puss's ominously swishing tail and Fido's tail-jiggling delight and that's half the problem - they don't speak each other's language. The Tel Aviv University boffins have suggested they can learn if the cat is adopted first, and they are both young when introduced; the recommended ages are up to six months for the cat and up to a year for the dog.

Of course, there are no guarantees. The temperament and history of both pets needs to be taken into account, because even in this ideal situation researchers observed indifference between the animals (which some of us might consider a success!) in 25% of homes and outright aggression in 10%. However, the conclusion was still drawn that the chances of them becoming best mates were considerably heightened following the age and adoption order guidelines.

You and I probably know many examples where cats and dogs get along fine having been introduced at much later stages in the process, or the other way around. If you have any good tips for helping feline and canine friends get along, then please share them in the comments.

You can read more about the science behind the recommendations on Science Daily.

Despite being considered natural adversaries, many households have a peaceful life with dogs and cats. For more advice on how to introduce a new dog to a feline friendly household, download Dogs Trust's free pdf factsheet.
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