The new study, which was published in the Journal of Veterinary Behavior, surveyed 748 households that included both cats and dogs across the United States, Europe, and Australia. The findings were nothing short of heartwarming: More than 80 percent of pet owners reported the so-called rivals getting along totally fine. As for the cats and dogs in the survey that hated each other, these antagonists only made up a tiny 3 percent of all the responses.
"We really wanted to know what is it that makes cats and dogs amicable,” said co-author Sophie Hall in an interview with The Guardian. "They are often portrayed as the worst of enemies, but that isn't always the case."
In regards to the cats and dogs who truly could not stand each other, one might guess that it was because the pup didn't care for the kitty. But researchers reported that in those cases, it was actually the other way around. They wrote: "Typically, the cat appeared to be the main controller in determining amicability in the cat-dog relationship. Regression analysis revealed that owners' perceptions of amicability were more influenced by 'cat factors' than 'dog factors.'"
And what might those "cat factors" be? The scientists said one of the main predictors of a positive cat-dog relationship was the age of the cat when he or she was first introduced to the dog: A younger kitten age predicted a happier home for both fur babies.
The researchers added that a few owners even reported a cat sharing food with the dog or picking up a toy to play with the pup, both additional predictors of a good relationship. It's worth mentioning that those instances were rare, so perhaps your cat wants to be best friends with your dog if you spot that sweet behavior.
"Owners shouldn’t be deterred from having both cats and dogs," Hall told The Guardian. "In general, both animals are seen as being really comfortable around each other, which goes against what we might think. We shouldn’t think that they can’t live happily together."
It sounds like it's time to put the tired old phrase of "fighting like cats and dogs" to bed for good. Finally!
Next, watch some adorable good dogs react to being told how good they are in the video below: