Can Dogs and Cats Be Best Friends?

April 11, 2014

By Julia Williams

I read a lot of pet blogs and online pet magazines, and whenever I see a photo of a dog and cat snuggling, I have mixed emotions. One the one hand, it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. I just love seeing these photos because they seem to support what many pet owners have said – that dogs and cats can be best friends.

On the other hand, seeing these heartwarming examples of interspecies friendships often makes me feel a little wistful. You see, I am a diehard cat fan but I also like dogs and have wanted to add a woofie to my furry family for some time. One of the things that stops me – not the only thing, mind you – is my fear that it will upset my three cats and damage the extremely close relationship I have with each of them.

I say this because I know that while many cats and dogs can be great friends, not all dogs and cats will get along, and some may even be arch enemies. It really depends on several factors, including the individual dog, the individual cat, their interaction, and your household dynamics.

Even having a breed of dog known to be cat-friendly and/or a cat breed known to be accepting of dogs doesn’t guarantee they’ll be best buddies. It certainly helps, but every dog and every cat is a unique being. What that means is that while a particular breed may be known to have a certain temperament, your own dog or cat might not.

We can’t know for certain that adding a dog to a household with a cat (or vice versa) will result in a happy union. We might get lucky and see a wonderful friendship develop, complete with couch cuddling and a face wash or paw massage at the kitty spa. Sometimes the best outcome we can attain is a relatively peaceful coexistence, a sort of dog-cat truce where they can get along as long as the interaction is minimal.

Unfortunately, I want the whole enchilada. I don’t want a home with a dog and three cats that merely tolerate one another because they have to. True…that would certainly be preferable to having a dog that my cats fear and run from, but indifference is just not enough for me. I adore my cat family, and I want a dog that loves them and that they love and accept in return. I’m aware this may be a tad unrealistic, but I want what I want.

That is not to say there won’t come a day when I decide to reach for the brass ring regardless. If the other variables that make dog ownership unrealistic can be worked out, I may add a pup to my furry family. I know there are lots of things I can do to increase the odds of a close dog-cat friendship, and I would do all that I possibly could.

Do you have both dogs and cats? Are they good friends?

Face-book-CanidaeCANIDAE is proud to be hosting a photo caption event for Helen Woodward Animal Center. Head over to the CANIDAE Facebook page, post a funny, creative caption to the selected photo, and CANIDAE will donate one bag of food to Helen Woodward. Then, we will pick our favorite caption and they will get some delicious CANIDAE treats! All captions must be in by Saturday at noon PST.


Top photo by globochem3x1minus1
Middle photo by mia3mom
Bottom photo by Kali the Destroyer

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  1. meowmeowmans says:

    At one point when I was a child, we had a dog and a cat. Partner, the dog, was a shepherd/lab mix, and was the most gentle soul. Happy the cat was feisty and fun. They got along really well. They would take turns chasing each other in the backyard, and it was so fun to watch.