Dog and Cat Friends: Created by Fate, Fostered by Family
Contrary to popular belief, a dog and a cat can become each other's best friend. A perfect example of dog and cat friends would be a spunky, striped kitten named Willow and her three dog friends, Sophie, Jake, and Charlie. It took a while, but the kitten was surprisingly forward for a cat, and now the four are fast friends. It all started near a hill by the local soccer field.
A Lost Kitten
The Klinger family had three active, mixed breed, medium-sized dogs for many years and life seemed complete. Then, in the fall of 2015, while the Klinger family was watching their son play soccer, fate put a new twist in their lives. As their daughter was standing by a hill, she noticed three small kittens running toward the game. She quickly dashed into action by putting one of the kittens in her sweatshirt pocket and grabbing the other two with her hands. With no mama cat in sight, it looked as though the kittens had been dumped. Three different families took the kittens home, and despite Mr. Klinger initial misgivings, the third kitten, Willow, came home with them.
Joining the Pack
Willow wasn't welcomed by the three pooches with open paws, but she was determined to make friends with the Klinger's dogs. Normally, it is the pet parents who promote socializing new pet and existing pets, and cats are notorious for taking their time in warming up to new animals. But Willow was the initiator, befriending and socializing with the dogs right from the start. Willow and Sophie were the first cat and dog friendship in the house. The friendly kitten loved curling up right inside Sophie's front paws, and the patient pooch allowed Willow to play with her favorite tug rope toy.
Next, Willow set her sights on Jake. The Klingers had Willow and the dogs sleep in separate rooms at night. But every morning, Willow would run up to Jake and start playing with his tail. Taking a page from his patient fur-sister's book, Jake would let her play with his tail and show affection by licking the kitten on her head and cuddling with her at night before they were separated at bedtime. It took the Klinger's third dog, Charlie, a little longer to bond with Willow, but the kitten was determined to find a way. It took some time, but finally Charlie warmed up to Willow's friendly antics.
Six months into the unlikely team of Willow and her pack of dogs, their bond only gets stronger. Sometimes, Willow hangs out on the windowsill and acts like a cat normally would, but most days Willow prefers to hang out with her three dog friends. The family got her a cat harness and leash so she can occasionally join her dogs for walks outside. And from chasing small balls, to running loops around the dining room table with Jake and Charlie, to even trying to beg for food, Willow's absorbed some dog-like habits! The four pets have really bonded into a unique, tight-knight pack of pets.
If you're considering introducing a dog to a cat family, or a cat to a dog family there are a few things that you need to consider first. Never push the relationship on either pet. Let them form a bond on their own. Make sure your current household pets are well trained and will react well around a newcomer in the house. For dogs it might be a good idea to first socialize them with a smaller dog in neighborhood or at a local park to make sure they get alone with a smaller companion. Cats are a little more difficult as they tend to be more independent creatures, but you know your cat better than anyone. If she tends to be social or doesn't have many issues with being introduced to new people or small children, there is a chance a new pup in the house can work out provided you follow the proper socialization techniques.
While dogs and cats have a reputation of being ill-fated enemies, under the right circumstances and supervision dogs and cats can learn to be the best of friends warming your heart even more than it was before in a single species home.
Image source: The Klinger Family
Chrissie Klinger is a pet parent that enjoys sharing her home with her furkids, two of her own children and her husband. Chrissie enjoys spending time with all her family members when she is not teaching, writing or blogging. She strives to write articles that help pet owners live a more active and meaningful life with their pets.