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I just moved in with a new roommate who had a cat and I have a dog. They are both about 2 years old. They've been living together for a little over a month now. We usually don't really let them play long together because it makes both of us uncomfortable, because we can't tell if they are really both playing. They are never together unsupervised.

I let them play longer to make this video so I could see what other people think.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CmVUAmcTcLE

Do you think we should let them do this or do you think the dog is trying to hurt the cat? It doesn't show in the video, but there is an open door to the basement right next to where they are playing that the cat could easily escape to if he was unhappy. The dog doesn't go in the basement. Is it safe to assume that the cat would go into the basement if he was hurt or scared?
 

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That is 100% play on the dog's part, and yes the cat would run away if it were unhappy, I would think... As long as you supervise it's okay, and really adorable!
 

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They're definitely playing IMO. When my cat gets pissed at the dog she would smack him in the face and hiss or run away. This cat seems pretty content to me and dog is for absolute certain playing.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
What about at 25 secs where the dog clamps down on the cats neck for a long time and the cat just looks like it flops over? That's what really upsets my roommate, because it's her cat.
 

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If your dog wasn't playing then he wouldn't have been so gentle when mouthing the cat's neck. Your dog is definitely playing and her cat is, at least, being tolerant. If her cat had an issue he would either be more stern with the dog or run for cover. All of my dogs have learned which cats to mess with and which cats to steer clear of. You could also train your dog "easy". "Easy" can be either calm down or be more gentle or just a break/interruption in play. I use "easy" with my dogs when they're playing with the cats and I especially use that command when I have my ferret out around the dogs.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks everyone! I'm just really anxious I guess. I'm worried that the dog will play too rough and hurt the cat, so a command like "easy" makes sense. He thinks the purpose of stuffed animals is to get all of the stuffing out so I'm afraid that he thinks the cat is a big stuffed animal and wants to get all of the stuffing out!
 

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I agree, that's definitely play. My brother's pit bull plays even rougher than that with our big grey cat, and the cat likes it. That same cat also plays with Casper often, and if Cas gets too nippy, the cat lets him know. Cats are really good at putting an end to a situation if they don't like it!

Here's Cas and Allin playing (please ignore Allin's weight; he came to us that way and it's been so hard to get him to shed the pounds):


As you can see, it looks a bit rough in places, but if Allin weren't having fun, he'd get up off his side and smack the dog or run away (probably both, haha). Your roommate's cat would likely do the same thing.
 

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Definitely play. And even if the cat doesn't like it, the cat is certainly tolerating it well. My dog and I just moved into my mom's house where she has seven cats, and six of them hate my dog and definitely let him know. He doesn't try to play with them. The last one, who is still a kitten, plays with him and they play in much the same way. I wouldn't worry too much about it. Just keep it supervised. More often than not, with Gunther (my dog) and Eddie (the cat), it's Eddie that ends up getting too rough and making my dog yelp and back off. Otherwise, it's chase and a lot of the time with the cat's head getting slobbered by my dog's mouth. haha

cute video, though. haha.
 

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Cute vid! I would definitely call that playing, and it's adorable :) my cat is the one who plays rough and my dog ends up retreating to her bed cos the cat gets too full on! Hide and seek is a common game for them, they play everyday and I have no worries about leaving them alone. Dallas (the cat) would bop Indie ( the dog) on the head if he got to fed up with her. I'm sure every cat would do so.
 

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Rest assured that you will know if the cat isn't playing .. and so will the dog! The cat will leave (or go full on attack) if it doesn't like it. The fact that it stays there indicates that it doesn't mind. As to the mouthing the neck, the cats do that to each other as well when they play. Just make sure their excitement doesn't escalate too much and that if either gets tired and wants to retreat and rest, you enforce that the other animal lets them.

I will say that if your dog is in the habit of "killing his toys" (shaking his head violently while holding the toy in his mouth), I would discourage him from being able to grab/hold the cat at all.
 

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I've been a life-long cat owner so I know their body language. Yes, the kitty is playing back! I'm glad you set up an escape exit for the cat, but accidents do happen. Here are some preventive measures you can take: make sure that besides the exit door the cat also has several high perches (preferably in every room) that the dog can't reach or knock down; make sure the dog knows the "leave it" command and can obey it instantly; never allow the dog to give chase so that the cat can actually reach an exit or high perch if needed; make sure the cat's claws are trimmed to prevent injury to the dog.

I don't know how long-term your living arrangement is, but ideally you would like to be able to let both cat and dog roam free at home. I would advise supervision for at least a year. It sounds like a long time, but your roommate would appreciate it (they sounded protective of their cat, so err on the side of caution). Also, an acquaintance of mine had 3 cats before she got her dog. Once they had gone four months without incident, she started to leave them together unsupervised. A couple months later, she came home and found 2 cats dead and 1 injured. She ended up giving her beloved doggy away because she couldn't stand looking at him after that.

As long as you are cautious, I don't see why the cat and dog can't become good friends. And maybe go on youtube and find a video of 2 cats playing together so your roommate can see that your dog isn't beeing any more rough with the cat than another cat would be.
 

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Our old dog and our cat used to pay together all the time and it looked exactly like this. Their favorite game involved Lyra (the cat) hiding in a box while Buster (our dog) stuck his head in and out. She would "attack" his face and occasionally jump out at him. Despite being less than a tenth of his size and declawed Lyra was totally the boss and would smack him on the nose if he got too intense... at which point he would lie down and lick her face in apology. They look like friends to me but watch for intensity and the desire to chase, just to make sure.
 

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What about at 25 secs where the dog clamps down on the cats neck for a long time and the cat just looks like it flops over? That's what really upsets my roommate, because it's her cat.
Try holding a cat down by its neck who DOESN'T want to be there, and your worries will vanish. Along with a great deal of your skin. ;-)
 
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