Sibling Rivalry: Keeping the Peace Between Your Dogs and Cats

Tuesday, May 27, 2014 - 4:00pm
Close up of black lab

Guest blogger Danielle Sullivan, a mom of three, has worked as a writer and editor in the parenting world for more than 10 years. Danielle also writes about pets and parenting for Disney’s Babble.com. Find her on her blog, Some Puppy To Love, Twitter, or Facebook.

We are a multi-pet family. We have two dogs, three cats, two turtles, a frog and some goldfish. Like our human children, our furry children sometimes have trouble getting along. I have to admit that it is easiest to soothe arguments between my human children because we can talk things through. However, when my geriatric cat, Lily, struts across the living room, a place that my three-year-old Labrador claimed as her private territory, there is no time to talk before Django springs up and runs after the little old lady. Sometimes, I see the potential conflict before it happens and say, “Django, be good.” This nearly never works. Of course, my husband just has to say, “Hey,” and she will stop in her tracks.

In all other ways, Django is the sweetest and most loving dog I have ever had—she just will not relent in her pursuit of our cats. She doesn’t bite them or act in a vicious way, but simply runs after them. Hayley, our aging Chihuahua, used to do the same. In fact, it was she who indoctrinated Django at just eight-weeks-old to treat the cats as nothing more than an eternal game of tag partners. But now as Hayley has slowed down, she doesn’t run after the cats anymore. Perhaps she believes she has taught Django well and doesn’t have to do more than supervise.

The only time my cats and dogs truly get along is when I am preparing their meals. They smell the engaging aroma, and soon enough, everyone inches toward the kitchen while meowing, sniffing and begging at my feet. At dinnertime, there is no dog versus cat game, no frenzied runs across the dining room, no feline swats and no canine growls. Ours is a happy family at mealtime—until last licks take place, and then it’s game-on!