14.7 million cats and 10.1 million dogs live in Germany.
A research team has examined which factors determine whether dogs and cats living together get along well.
They noticed that the bond was largely influenced by whether the cat was comfortable.
A pet lives in almost every second household in Germany. There are a total of 34 million pets, according to statistics from the Pet Supplies Industry Association. Most popular: cats (14.7 million) and dogs (10.1 million). Some say that there are either cat or dog people. But the fact is: the two animal species can in principle live together quite well.
A research team from Lincoln University (USA) has now found out which factors play a role in whether cats and dogs actually understand each other in reality. For their study, the researchers asked 748 owners about the relationship between their cats and dogs.
Probably the most important finding: As a rule, dogs and cats can live together very well. But what exactly the relationship between the animals looks like depends mostly on the cat. These four things promote peaceful coexistence:
1. The cat sets the tone
According to the study, whether dogs and cats get along well depends largely on whether the cat is comfortable. This was also mainly the case. According to their owners, 64.9 percent of the cats and 85.5 percent of the dogs rarely or never felt uncomfortable.
Cats showed aggression towards the dogs more often than the other way around. But the trigger for this was usually that the cat had previously felt threatened.
2. The earlier the cat gets to know the dog, the better
If the cat met the dog before it was a year old, it made them social. How old the dog was, on the other hand, did not play a particularly important role.
A 2012 study showed that dogs and cats should meet best when both are still young. However, the new study refutes this statement.
3. The dog should be able to share
Another factor that facilitated the relationship between the animals was when the dog also made its sleeping space available to the feline partner. Cats, on the other hand, didn’t really want to share their own bed. But that could also be because cat beds are mostly too small for a dog.
Cats also did not share their food or show the dog their toys. But: if they did, it spoke for a very good relationship between the animals.
4. Indoor cats are friendlier to their animal roommates
If the cat lives in the house and is not outdoors, it obviously helps the relationship between dog and cat a lot. This could be because the animals spend more time together and get to know each other better.
But it is very important not to force the animals to interact. That can also end badly.
Late domestication and body language could be reasons
The researchers suspect that domestication is one of the main reasons cats find it harder to bond with dogs than the other way around. Dogs have lived with humans for much longer than cats. As a result, cats may have a harder time getting used to another species.
Another problem could be the contradicting body language of the animals: wagging the tail usually means joy and excitement in dogs – cats flap their tails when they are tense or nervous. Cats purr when they are comfortable – dogs make a similar sound when they growl, i.e. threaten.
So if you want to unite both dog and cat peacefully under one roof, then you should above all make sure that your cat feels comfortable – then hardly anything can go wrong.