Cats and Dogs Living Together

Classic Stand Off

When we got a dog in July, we knew that one of the challenges would be its interaction with our cat. I have had my cat, the quasi-infamous B Monster, for thirteen years. She came to me a kitten with the disposition of a 71 year old man who had a bag of meth on him at all times. She was grumpy and very active.

Though the B Monster has chilled out with age, she is still capable of sprinting through the flat with the speed of a locomotive and the unhinged demeanor of Chris Farley in 1991.

Enter puppy. A little white mop of hair who so far has expressed inclinations towards chewing on things, peeing on things, and a separation anxiety I suffered on my first day of kindergarten.

The cat was incredibly awkward at first, but soon got her legs under her and began a campaign of figuring out exactly what had been introduced to her house. Because make no mistake, this house belongs to the cat and I pay the bills.

When the cat is not asleep, she is near the dog, observing her from under the armchair or atop the ottoman or from a bookshelf. Sometimes she sits like the Sphinx a few yards away and stares at the dog as she embarks upon her clumsy antics. Wherever she is watching from, there come a series of small quacks and meows.   

The dog, having been popped out of a uterus a mere thirteen weeks ago, has no idea what this other being is which makes weird noises at her all day long. She has tried different tacks to get along with the cat. She flops down and enters play mode, but this is accepted with the chill countenance of a duchess who has just been asked to play truth or dare. The dog has also chased and been chased by the cat. Both have hidden from the other under my bed. And if they are put on either side of our kitchen gate, they stare at each other and make sounds. It’s like something out of the Nature Channel.

About the only thing that these animals have in common is their love of food. The dog has evolved a palate for the cat’s food and so I have been forced to move the cat’s food up on a shelf, which only frustrates the dog and her stumpy legs. Nevertheless, food is the impetus for things we want and rewards for things they want (which is a single issue point: food). This is perhaps regrettably similar to the humans of the household, who reward themselves with treats for a week of healthy living and have an entire day named after a food (Chlebíčky Day. Aka: Friday).

Unlike us, the dog and cat eat each other’s food to show dominance. Us humans rarely do this anymore as the last time I tried to eat one of her Oreos I ended up in the ER. The jury’s out on who won that interaction, but there’s nothing like stitches to make you realize a need for non-violent dining resolution. I do pick from the dog and cat’s plates to show them who’s the boss around here. It’s important they know that while they might be fighting for domination in the flat, they’re vying for second banana. Maybe third. It really depends on who’s in trouble.

The cat’s treats are far more delectable for the dog and so when the one gets a treat, the other demands one too. They stand beneath me barking and meowing until I dole them out. It’s at this point I see some peace negotiations between them, because nothing binds enemies more than a common goal and a common enemy. So if I must be the Nazi Germany to their Soviet Union and United States, then I will goosestep my way to a happy household.      

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