Bella and Frankie have adjusted to living under the same roof. There’s still no love loss between them. They’re not exactly grooming each other or sleeping together. But they’ve learned how to be in a room simultaneously. We should all be so lucky. So, next time you’re tempted to ask, ‘why can’t we all just get along?’ — take a hint from a cat and dog who’ve mastered it.

Allow people to be themselves. Don’t expect everybody to be like you. It took Frankie a while to get this one. He just didn’t understand why Bella didn’t want to wrestle with him. He would bounce around all excited, doing the maneuver where he lowers down, front legs out straight, inviting her to play. Bella, in turn, would get all freaked out and run away. To Frankie, of course, this simply meant game on. As an outsider, it was so easy to see all the miscommunication going on. This leads to the next bit of advice.

Stand your ground — gently. Don’t run away or give chase. This was the worst thing Bella could do. She’d tear down the hall with Frankie close on her heels; terrified, while he had the time of his life. She has learned. Now I watch her crane her neck back, moving her head as far away from him as possible without moving her feet. She stays put. Clearly with distaste, but she never moves her body.

Be tolerant. Don’t overreact or yell. She used to hiss and make a big fuss whenever he came anywhere near her. Poor Frankie didn’t mean any harm. He just wanted to get to know her. Now she doesn’t make a big production of it, just lets him take a sniff or two. She’s realized that’s all he’s after. There’s no reason to growl and get all testy.

Give others plenty of space. As with any relationship, all parties can benefit from a good dose of “me time.” Since Bella is little Miss Independent, Frankie had to be the one to learn that sometimes a creature just wants to be left alone. Now he seems to know to act bored and aloof. It goes against his nature, but he’s a quick study. What’s true for winning over a man can also be true for winning over a cat.

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