One of life's more amazing sites is coexistence of the species, particularly ones thought of as natural enemies. So it is with great amazement that people look at my dog and cat living in perfect harmony - almost. I qualify perfect harmony, because I witnessed a dog and cat living in truly perfect harmony and my pets are not quite there. Yes I buy a lot of the same pet supply products for them to share, and yes the often play with the same pet toys, but, they don't go walking together.
Not long ago I was leaving the mall and I saw lady walking her dog --and her cat. Yes, at the same time she had both her dog and cat on pet leashes and they walked side-by-side, stride for stride. As a pet owner, pet lover and owner of a dog and cat that are friendly to each other, I was floored. And I wasn't alone. As I turned and stared, everyone else that was leaving the busy mall, turned and stared. These two certainly seemed to be oblivious to the history that they were making, or they were all to aware, and reveling in the show.
After staring for two or three minutes I jogged behind the trio and asked the pet owner, how in the world she not only got the dog and the cat to becomes such good mates, but how she got the cat on a leash and got him to walk with such discipline. Her secret was to start them young. Her dog was weeks old when she got her kitten, and they have been sharing the same pet products since each was just weeks old.
The cat eats dog food out of the dog's food dish, and the dog eats cat food out of the cat's food dish. Both pets share one water dish. She initially put a dog collar only on the dog and started walking only the dog. This wasn't acceptable to the cat who would never stay behind and always found a way to walk behind them. After a few weeks of trying to seduce the cat back into the yard, she bought a fashionable cat collar and a cat leash. She said she was amazed at how receptive the cat was to the collar and leash. From day one, the cat walked with the collar and leash like he was an old pro. The owner feels that it was this initial feeling of envy and then the feeling of inclusion that is responsible for her cat's discipline on the leash and love of walking.
Well, not to be outdone, I bought a new dog collar for my dog, bought him a new leash, and made sure my cat got out to walk behind us. The next week I bought my cat a shiny new collar and his first cat leash. And now the moment of truth. I put the collar on, and he loved it. Next I put the leash on. Wouldn't you know it. Dante looked at me as if I were completely insane. I seduced him with food and gentle tugs. I demonstrated without him. I did everything that I could think of to get Dante to walk with me and Homer.
I'm glad I kept the receipt. After about 7 attempts over 4 days, the most I got was Dante walking about 2 steps and making me drag him about 3 more. I guess its all about the cat and starting them young. Like the old saying goes, you can't teach an old "cat" new tricks.
Glenn Ormond is an author, editor, and consumer products expert. He also writes for and operates the discount pet products site dedicated to his pets. By buying at auction, dog products, cat products and pet supplies are affordable and puts the joy pet ownership within everyone's reach.