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The Ruff Report: Dogs, Behavior and Safety

The trick to helping dogs and cats get along
 Dogs and cats have their own, unique forms of communication so the most effective method to prevent them from fighting is to help them learn each others' language, a leading researcher says.

And the best way a pet parent can help them communicate with each other is to introduce them when they are young, according to Joseph Terkel, a professor in Tel Aviv University's department of zoology.

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When introduced at a young age, the cats and dogs evolve beyond their own instincts, learn to talk each other's language and read each other's body language, a study done by Mr. Terkel found.

"It was a surprise that cats can learn how to talk 'dog' and vice-versa," Mr. Terkel states in a media release.

The report, recently published in the journal Applied Animal Behaviour Science concludes, that the probability is high that a cat and dog will get along if a family adopts a kitten first and then introduces a dog when both are still young - less than 6 months old for kittens and 1 year for dogs.

"This is the first time anyone has done scientific research on pets living in the same home," Mr. Terkel said. "It's especially relevant to the one-third of Americans who own a pet and are thinking about adopting a second one of the opposite species."

The researchers interviewed almost 200 pet owners who own both a cat and a dog, studied videotapes and analyzed the animals' behavior. Most of the pets co-existed well, but in some instances - 10 percent - they did get into spats and fights.


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