Two unlikely best friends have found a forever home together. Leila, a two-year-old chihuahua and Kitty, a six-year-old long-haired brown and white tabby cat, had been dropped off at a Jamaica Plain animal shelter in Boston several weeks ago. The two animals had arrived in the same carrier after their owners lost their home and couldn’t find a place that would accept pets.
Though the shelter usually keeps dogs and cats separate, the staff realized that there was a special bond between Leila and Kitty, so they made arrangements to keep them together. According to Anna Rafferty-Fore, associate director of the MSPCA’s Boston adoption center, the pair are best friends and keeping them together has made the situation easier.
The MSPCA was determined to keep Leila and Kitty together if adopted. They shared their story on social media, asking users to help them find "a hero individual or family to adopt them both, so the two confidants need never, ever be separated." After a local news story went viral, the shelter received dozens of inquiries about Kitty and Leila. They finally found them a new home together with a couple from Sudbury, MA.
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*adopted!* Leila and Kitty are BEST FRIENDS, looking for a home together! Leila is a shy but sweet 2 year old chihuahua, and 6 year old, Kitty, is her cuddly and confident emotional support cat. Stop by today to meet this adorable odd couple and make them part of your family! #bestfriends #bff #catsanddogs #mspca #mspcaboston #adopt #chihuahua #chihuahuasofinstagram #catsofinstagram #oddcouple #mycatisbiggerthanmydog
The natural instinct of cats and dogs is to be enemies despite the fact that individual animals are capable of having non-aggressive relationships with each other, especially if humans have socialized non-aggressive behaviors. Since cats and dogs communicate differently, certain signals of aggression, dominance, fear, friendship or territoriality can be misunderstood by the other species.
Dogs tend to have a natural instinct to chase smaller animals that run away, which is typical behavior in cats. Usually cats flee from dogs, while others may hiss, arch their backs and swipe at the dog. When dogs are scratched by a cat, they can become fearful and defensive. If properly socialized, cats and dogs can have cordial relationships to the extent that dogs raised with cats may prefer cats to other dogs.
According to Mikkel Becker, a certified trainer and the co-author of six books about pets, "Dogs who are exposed to cats during their primary socialization period, from about two to nine weeks of age, are more likely to be relaxed around cats in their adult life."
She adds that when bringing a new cat home, it is important to gradually and under supervision introduce them to your dog. You should also mark some areas of the home as off limits to your dog by using baby gates and provide high-rise escapes for cats to safely retreat if necessary. Also, when leaving them alone, it’s important to keep them separate, especially in the beginning.