It’s hard not to wonder exactly how dogs and cats behave at home alone while you are out. For the millennials out there, you probably remember cartoons like ‘Tom & Jerry’, and how the cat always chased the mouse, but the dog would often chase the cat. That became a huge generational stereotype, the idea that dogs would always ‘pick on’ cats. In reality, the social dynamics couldn’t be different, and are very situational.
In the wild, these are both predatory animals; your cat has the ingrained instinct to avoid other predators. Very few people own a ‘wild’ cat larger than a medium to large dog, so this is rarely an issue. If you care for an extremely small dog, like a Chihuahua, your house cat might consider it a food source ‘only if’ he is either starving or there is nothing else easier to get to (which there always will be for pets).
Socialization is Key
Most cats and dogs will get along completely fine at home when you are away, especially those that have grown up together. No, they probably aren’t going to play with each other while you are gone, most actually going their separate ways. Whereas dogs are naturally very social animals, cats don’t thrive in that same level of social contact, and would be completely content by themselves.
As long as you introduced and socialized both animals properly, rewarding the dog for tolerating the cat and teaching the cat that the dog isn’t a threat, they will tolerate each other. Your cat might even rub up against your dog, or curl up next to him for a nap. On the other hand, these two animals might not be ‘friends’ in the sense that human children look at friendship.
On the other hand, a ‘feral’ or fearful cat might hide, swiping at the dig if he happens to venture to close. If this was the case, the cat is likely going to hide from the larger ‘predator’. It would be very, very unusual for these two animals to actively ‘fight’ while you are away.
Start Socializing Young
This is especially important for dogs. Traumatic experiences for both cats or dogs can guarantee they won’t do well around the other species in the future, so it’s important to ensure happy, peaceful relations early on! Though cats aren’t quite the social creatures dogs are, teaching a kitten dogs shouldn’t be feared or avoided just because they are larger will ensure peace in the future.
Conclusion: Why Not Set Up a Camera?
Many pet owners have already harnessed a ‘GoPro’ camera to their dog while they are away; you can view countless videos on YouTube for free. If you’re wondering what pets do while you are away, why not simply look at videos other pet owners have already taken?
In the end, you can judge how your pets interact while you are away pretty well based on their relations when you are home.
My name is Chris, I’m 33 and write about dogs and cats when I’m not playing with my two furry employees of the month, Loki and Volly. As a dog lover, agility trainer, and social media specialist, there is always enough work to do and never a boring day around! After having literally written hundreds of articles, there is still no short supply of knowledge to be gained and I’m surprised with unusual requests every now and then.