By reputation, dogs are supposed to be the territorial ones. And to be fair, they actually seem to put quite a lot of effort into building that reputation. Our dog for instance, a hyperactive blend of Chihuahua, Pomeranian, and who knows what else, regularly lets the entire neighborhood know that this is her territory by going into hysterical barking fits whenever some hapless jogger, senior citizen, or raccoon passes the house. Her displays of attempted ferociousness are even more amusing when you consider that this is a dog who flees in terror if you try to gently toss her a piece of meat instead of holding it out right up to her snout.
Then of course, there’s the pee thing. Dogs can’t just relieve themselves; they have to go through the whole ritual of finding a spot, sniffing it out like a wannabe wine snob doing their first tour of Sonoma, and then finally letting out a long stream of urine so that the whole world knows that this is their area.
But despite all the displays, I think that in the end, cats are the more territorial species. The difference is that cats generally don’t think that they have to prove anything. They just assume that you’re smart enough to know that everything is their territory, and they’re just kind enough to let you use it until they have need of it.
The below video shows that dynamic at work: Multiple dogs are schooled in the fact that the big fluffy pillows they thought belonged to them were in fact merely on loan from the household cat. As you can see, when the rightful feline owners decide to take possession of their property, the dogs do not take kindly to it at all. It’s just a differing concept of property: The dogs assume that if you haven’t gone through the whole sniff and urinate ritual, there’s no possible way that you can properly call something your own.
If the video shows frustration that verges almost on heartbreak for the dogs, it’s amusing from a human perspective. Part of what makes it so charming is the difference in response: For the most part, the cats just look annoyed as they try to ignore the big furry interlopers who don’t understand the Feline Rules of Property. One dog even starts to drag the bed across the floor, but the cat just lies there looking a bit perplexed. While we might feel sorry for the poor dog who just wants to lie down, it’s hard to keep from chuckling a bit, too.
For those of you with inter-species households, have you seen this kind of confrontation over bed space? How did it turn out?
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