I love them both. Love cats. Love dogs. I want both kinds of animals as my friends. They aren't necessarily natural enemies, but there are some things you will want to consider.
If you get a puppy when you have an older cat, you will most likely be able to introduce them and they will be friends. A really old cat isn't, however, going to tolerant of a very exuberant puppy. I introduced very young puppies to a cat about seven months old, and the puppies were thrilled with their friend! They'd watch his tail swish, play-bow, run around. My cat was a big, big neutered male with the sweetest disposition ever. He tolerated the puppies, and he established himself as the alpha animal. As the pups grew, we got more cats. The dogs always were happy to be a part of the cat clan they learned to clean themselves like the cats, licking their paws and rubbing their ears.
The best scenario is getting a pup and a kitten at the same time. The kitten's sharp little teeth and claws will keep the pup in line. But beware of getting a kitten if you have a dog that sees cats as prey.
A neighbor's dog killed my large grey cat ran into our yard, and our cat, which had his own dogs, did not see the danger, and the dog broke his neck. I believe it was the fault of the owner for keeping the dog tied up and, knowing it ran into our yard when loose, didn't teach it manners. But generally, my cats have adored dogs. Another neighbor, about whom I feel much more kindly, had an enormous Great Dane who was a terrible sissy. He had a dog house, which he liked, for some reason. During storms, he would bark to go out, crawl into his dog house and whine incessantly, until Tuppence, my cat, showed up. Tuppence would curl up beside Humphrey and the dog would calm down and together, they calmly enjoyed the storm. A dog trained to pursue prey is not a good bet as a cat friend.
We had two dogs who madly loved our cats, and the feeling was mutual. The dogs were much older than the cats, and they died, one by one. Our cats said goodbye to the dogs and watched them being taken away to their final resting place. One was inconsolable after the second dog died, and he wandered mournfully through the house, sniffing the dog toys, lying in their favorite spots. One day, I brought home a dog which I found desperately jogging along the road, obviously lost. He was the same breed as the dogs we'd lost the last year. My cat was so excited when I brought the dog in, a very well-behaved boy, and jumped on the table and batted at the dog's ears when he passed under the table. Both took to the game, and after dinner, they settled down together. Our cat watched at the door when the owner came to take him back.
Cats and dogs can be really great together, and our dogs have always considered our cats to be their own. Lifelong friendships develop, but you have to watch closely to ensure that it will remain a friendship and not develop into brawls.
Submitted by Gay Fifer, owner, Parsley Hollow, Inc.
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