The phrase “fighting like cats and dogs” came from somewhere. Was it wise to foster the puppies? The cat had run the house up until now, so who knows how he would react. With a deep breath, the fosterer set the camera to record and pushed the living room door open.
The age-old fight for supremacy between cats and dogs is well known to us humans. Indeed, we have adages for it, and their conflicts have even been turned into movies. What’s more, we sometimes think that the two animals divide people as well – have you ever been asked whether you’re a dog or a cat person?
So, it seems to be hardwired into our perceptions that cats and dogs don’t get along. But is there any truth to this widespread belief? Well, the answer is yes and no. Certainly, there are conflicts between the two species in the wild, but that’s because of their lifestyles.
Cats and dogs are both carnivores, so they hunt and kill for their meat. As a consequence, they prey on each other when the opportunity presents itself. But they don’t choose to do so out of any kind of genetic vendetta – it’s simply a matter of survival.
In addition, their lifestyles are completely different, and they approach situations in different ways. For instance, cat behaviorist and author Pam Johnson-Bennett says that dogs are direct in new situations. Cats see this as potential aggression and react accordingly.
Anthrozoologist and writer John Bradshaw explained this concept further to The Dodo in February 2014. “The cat tries to get away, the dog thinks the cat is inviting it to a game,” he said. “And so chase ensues with neither party understanding what the motivation of the other one is.”
That isn’t always the case, though. When the animals get used to each other, they recognize their counterparts’ behavior and adjust their own accordingly. Johnson-Bennett says that it’s mostly the dogs who have to make the effort, however.
Johnson-Bennett told The Dodo, “It doesn’t seem fair, but the dog has to learn the cat’s language.” Of course, their compatibility also depends on the natures of the individual animals. For example, less-nervous cats are likely to be more of a match for dog-cat relationships.
With this is mind, in March 2014 an animal lover uploaded a YouTube video featuring their cat, Finn. The footage captures Finn meeting a pair of new additions to his household. They are six-week-old foster puppies, Storm and Shadow.
The video starts with one of the puppies – presumably Storm, based on his coloration – greeting Finn. The little pup’s tail beats frantically as he sticks his nose into Finn’s face. When he receives no response, Storm retreats and begins to whine.
Storm seemingly doesn’t know what to make of Finn and walks in an excited circle around the nonchalant cat. Suddenly, a second puppy appears on camera. His black coloring marks him as Shadow, and he’s just as interested to meet his feline foster brother.
With his own tail beating like a propeller, Shadow also wanders around Finn. However, the cat then starts to feel on edge and quickly retreats away from the pair of pups. But this doesn’t deter Storm and Shadow, who follow Finn across the room.
Storm subsequently tries to make friends with Finn again. But this time, he takes a different approach. The adorable pup crouches low on the floor with his rear end held high. Then he growls playfully and nibbles Finn’s tail, to the cat’s apparent bemusement.
The video then transitions to another scene, this one showing Shadow’s efforts to win Finn over. It appears as though Finn has just come through a door, and Shadow has already pounced. He tries his best to lick the cat’s face, who still shows no interest in proceedings.
Finn is a very patient kitty, though, and simply lifts his face up high to avoid Shadow’s bombardment of kisses. But as much as he tries, he just can’t shake the puppy off. Shadow follows Finn everywhere – and Storm seems to think that it looks like great fun as well.
Storm subsequently decides to join in the games and races over to Shadow and Finn. Now the kissing puppies surround the cat, which sounds like a heart-warming experience. Judging by his response, though, Finn would probably disagree.
The cat tries to get away, but his efforts are in vain. The puppies just follow him everywhere and continue with their kisses. In the end, Finn gives up his escape attempts and sits down on the floor to let the pups fuss him.
Although he still puts up some minimal resistance, by this point Finn almost seems to be enjoying the attention. Indeed, he doesn’t even move when Storm stands on his hind legs and places his front paws on Finn’s back. Meanwhile, Shadow is still bringing on the kisses.
Eventually, the sheer force of the puppy’s kisses causes Finn to retreat again. Throughout their persistent efforts to fuss him, though, Finn never once lashes out at the pups. It’s no wonder that the original poster titled the video “Storm and Shadow meet Finn, an extremely patient cat.”
“This is the cutest thing ever,” one viewer commented. “Them puppies are adorable, and what a sweetheart your cat is.” Finn is living proof that cats and dogs can indeed get along. Those puppies are lucky to have had such a wonderful older step-brother.