Live, Learn & Love: Dog and Cat Friendship

Tucker has learned to be a little wary of the cats in our house. Athena in particular likes to toy with him. She’ll swat him as he walks by her with his beloved ball, which she once held for ransom. True story.

World Cat Day activity: having a ball--the dog's ball in particular

GIve me one million mouses and I will return this ball to you, Dog.

He just doesn’t understand cats.

Though to be honest, I’m not sure I get them completely, but still. I know where Tucker’s coming from. Cats have sharp and pointy bits, and if you don’t know their language, they can be a bit scary.

But our cat Calvin wants to be friends with all the creatures of the house.

He’s the one who comforted Tucker when the dog had to wear the dreaded cone of shame. He’s a kind soul, our Calvin.

Recently, Calvin has been trying extra hard to cross the divide between species, reaching out a metaphorical paw to the dogs. I’ve watched him rub his head on Jasper, lie next to Tucker, weave around their legs. When he does that, I pet and praise the dogs, helping to connect a cat getting up in their space with a happy experience.

The other day I was lucky enough to record one such encounter.

I won’t spoil the video (and its lovely ending), but here are a few things to watch for:

At first Tucker is nervous. You can see it in the way he holds his ears back, and how the whites of his eyes show.

Tucker is nervous. His ears are back and you can see his large eyes, with the whites showing, known as "whale eyes," a sign of wariness.

Tucker is nervous. His ears are back and you can see his large eyes, with the whites showing, known as “whale eyes,” a sign of wariness. While I trust my dog, I would never walk away from him, seeing his discomfort. Instead, I praise him and pet him. No treats, which would only escalate the tension.

You’ll hear me praise him, and you can see him visibly relax.

Tucker's whale eyes are gone, and his ears are more forward. He's feeling a little more comfortable.

Tucker’s whale eyes are gone, and his ears are little more forward. He’s feeling more comfortable.

Eventually, his ears are forward, he’s less tense, and he becomes more interested in Calvin, instead of just tolerating his presence.

Tucker is leaning in to Calvin's rub.

Tucker is leaning in to Calvin’s rub.

That was the first time I’ve seen the two of them so close. It brought me to tears.

Just watch:

Cats and dogs speak entirely different languages, but these two are figuring out how to live together in peace. Maybe we humans can do the same?

How do your pets get along with others?

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If you love dogs (and art) you’ll love these books by Lucy Dawson.

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7 Comments on "Live, Learn & Love: Dog and Cat Friendship"

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  1. awwww – that is so sweet. Good job boys!

  2. We don’t have any dogs here, so we’re the ones a little wary of them. Glad to see Calvin and Tucker hit it off.

  3. How sweet. What a loving soul Calvin is to show Tucker that not all cats are created equal. <3

  4. So sweet! Every animal has their own soul and personality, and it’s fun to see what connections they make!

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