For those considering adopting a dog and a cat, the results of a study at the Department of Zoology, Tel Aviv University reveals that there is a high probability that a dog and cat will get along if the cat is adopted first, and they are introduced when they are still young – less than 6 months for kittens, a year for dogs.

After interviewing almost 200 pet owners who own both a cat and a dog, then videotaping and analyzing the animals’ behavior, TAU researchers concluded that cats and dogs can live together happily if certain conditions are met. Two-thirds of the homes they surveyed reported a positive relationship between their dog and cat. 25% of the homes reported indifference between the dog and cat and 10% reported aggression.

It is believed that one reason for the fighting could be crossed inter-species signals – dogs and cats unable to read each other’s body cues. For instance, cats tend to lash their tails about when they’re mad, while dogs growl and arch their backs. Cats purr when they’re happy. Dogs wag their tails. An averted head in a cat signals aggression; in a dog, it signals submission.

In homes where dogs and cats lived in harmony, it seems that they have learned to speak each other’s language. They have moved beyond their instincts and learned how to read each other’s body signals – dogs have learned to speak cat and vice versa.

If the right circumstances are created for them and they have established harmony with one another, dogs and cats can play together, greet each other nose-to-nose, sleep together, share the same water bowl, groom each other and even become friends.

For the complete Science Daily article, go here.

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