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Karen B. London
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Dogs and Cats Team Up
Combined skills allow food raid

Though many cats and dogs are very dear friends, others simply coexist or even fight to varying degrees. It’s fair to say that they are not always on the same team. That’s why I find it so endearing when dogs and cats cooperate to work towards a common goal, even if it’s to get into trouble together.

The most common example I hear from friends and clients is about these two species combining their skills to acquire food. Cats are easily able to jump up onto counters that the dogs in their households can’t reach, but once they are up there, may be unable to break into any containers of food they find. Pushing bags of food onto the floor where the dogs can tear into them is one strategy, and it’s not that rare.

Has your household experienced such division of labor—the cat tipping a bag of food off the counter and the dog opening it so both can feast on it? Do you have other stories featuring dogs and cats who are in cahoots together?

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Karen B. London, PhD, is a Bark columnist and a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist specializing in the evaluation and treatment of serious behavior problems in the domestic dog.

photo by daan f./Flickr

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Submitted by Frances | September 15 2012 |

My Siamese used to regularly push food off high surfaces down to the dog waiting below, but that was sharing rather than needing the dog's help. They also used to take it in turns to cry at the door when they wanted to come in.

The two cats and two dogs I have now coexist rather than cooperate - the dogs are very quick to alert me to feline misbehaviour! I rather dread the day that Tilly cat realises she can keep them quiet about her depredations on the treat pot if she drops some down for them ...

Submitted by ZoraJameyJames | September 18 2012 |

My cat sometimes saves his Perfect Bites treats for our Chihuahua. They are best friends and it’s the cutest thing ever. But she doesn’t do this all the time because they are her favorite and sometimes she eats them quickly before he can get one from her, LOL.

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