Cats and dogs can get along after all, scientists have revealed – but only if the cat is the boss.
Researchers said the two sets of animals – famed for their fighting – can be friends.
However, the success of their relationship depends on whether or not the feline feels comfortable and is allowed to be the “main controller”.
In something that may not come as much of a shock to pet owners, scientists found that dogs are more relaxed than cats about living with another species and are often happy to let the feline feel in charge.
It is thought about 7% of British people own both a cat and a dog, dispelling the notion that the pair are incompatible.
The study by the University of Lincoln found that if the conditions are right, then cats and dogs can be best friends under the same roof.
It looked at 1,131 pet owners with at least one of each animal and questioned them about their behaviour and relationship.
Cats tend to be more fussy about sharing their home than dogs, researchers said. They are also three times more likely to threaten their doggy housemate than the other way round.
More than a fifth of of dogs pick up toys to show them to cats, while only 6% of moggies do the same thing.
Only 3% of pet owners polled said their cats and dogs did not get along.
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Co-author Sophie Hall told the Guardian: “We really wanted to know what is it that makes cats and dogs amicable. They are often portrayed as the worst of enemies, but that isn’t always the case.
“It’s easier for dogs to be happier around cats than for cats to be happy around dogs.
“Owners shouldn’t be deterred from having both cats and dogs. 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.”