Cats and dogs: a special relationship

21:19, Mar 22 2012

How do cats and dogs get on together? Well, it can be a relationship of affection, or cool cohabitation, or suppressed malice, or even outright hostility. The relationship can have its ups and downs, just as in the diplomatic dealings between nations.

The relationship we most like to see is like the one between Kate the black Labrador and Kina the Burmese-Persian cross: mutual respect and affection, and gentleness of mouth and claw.

We like to see a dog and a cat able to relax together, cuddle up, chew the fat - like Layla and Reggie. In my experience, it's usually the dog that initiates the closeness and the cat that tolerates it. For a time.

A protective arm, not necessarily wanted: Tess and Ollie have that Anzus-like relationship.


Molly the kitten and her big friend Zeek show one of the characteristics of cat-dog diplomacy: the cat may be smaller, but it controls the negotiations due to its greater will and its claw-deterrence. Meanwhile Freddy and Missy are in full accord that now is the time to plonk and stretch.

Worf, G'Kar and Gracie share the bed. But borders will not be crossed, implies Gracie.

Close, cute, careful: Gucci and Cuba get on okay.

Mutually beneficial coexistence: scraggly Oscar and elegant Major (left); milky Bounty and chocolatey Coco (right).

Tequila and Ducati are a well-matched pair.

The uniting power of a comfortable couch: Taz, Mello and Suki are at peace.

One flatmate has cats, the other has a dog. To start with, dog wishes to annex cats as a province of its tummy; in time, dog remains a little scared of cats. Thanks for the photo, Kristina.

Scruff the cat usually colonises the dog bed for herself. On this day, Nell makes a nervous stand for her territorial rights.

Skye the dog and Dipper the cat are of one mind. Sweet photo, Sarah.

Vinnie the cat likes to come along in a supervisory role when her housemates Hugo and Minnie go for their walk.  The dogs had to sit and wait while Vinnie completed his dust-bath.

Lottie is a Dachshund-Jack Russell Cross, so there's little crawl space available. But Ninja the kitten has found it and thinks there's room for expansion. Just as well the two animals get along so well.

When Ivy the Retriever joined the household, Annie the cat was convinced the big creature was a kitten requiring parental oversight. A motherly paw is all that's needed to correct any misbehaviour on the pup's part.

Keeping a safe and respectful distance: Zip the dog visited the home of Toskin one day, and Toskin maintained oversight from a table.

Couch and sun: two things that, together, can bind a dog and a cat in enduring unity. Here are Bella and Louie.

Buffy and Maddie share a moment on the deck. It's complicated.

And we're back to where we started, with trust, mutual advantage, and cuteness. These ginger kittens were fostered with dog Hugo and his owner Lisa. "I bottle-fed them from a few days old, Hugo 'toileted' them and developed a bond with them," says Lisa. "Hugo himself was a foster baby - he was found in a rubbish bin at one day old - so was really giving back to those who had a bad start in life like him. The kittens got adopted out to people wanting dog-friendly kittens."

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