How our dog and cats live together

Of course cats and dogs can get along! True, strange dogs don’t trust cats they don’t know. Cats are inclined to run away from loud dogs when they meet them outside. Our cats don’t trust strange dogs, but will happily let our dog snuggle up to them. They are also happy with visiting dogs, as long as they are well-behaved in their eyes. How did we manage to make the cats accept our dog?

Both our cats are rescue cats from a local shelter. We picked them up separately. First we got our girl, who was supposed to be a loner cat: could not play nice with other cats. It took us 2 years to realise that she actually was feeling lonely, so we chose a ginger tomcat from a large rescued cat family. He knew how to be social and he needed to quiet time after the house full of cats he grew up in. Somehow he understood that the girl wanted him to be there, but not too close. And he slowly got closer to her, whenever she allowed it. Now they eat together, their heads almost bumping.

But I always wanted a dog. It took us a while to settle on the idea of a chihuahua and then it took us a further while to find the right one. Meanwhile, we let the cats get to know a friendly dog who was calm, even if she wasn’t used to being around cats. The ginger tomcat fell in love with her. So when we eventually brought home a tiny chihuahua puppy, the cats knew what it was. Then all we had to do was train the puppy and teach him how to act around the cats. The cats helped with that part of the training. They taught him exactly what they allowed and what was not allowed.

Now they all get along fine. The ginger tomcat is the chihuahua’s best friend and wrestling partner; the tuxedocat girl tolerates him, but also challenges him to play. Of course as soon as the dog seems to be winning, she hisses at him and ends the games. And the dog listens.

Nothing makes me happier than sitting on the sofa with my guy, the cats and the dog. And just enjoying that moment, where everyone is just relaxed. It never lasts long. That’s what makes it extra special.

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