I would like to be able to say the cat and the book are on the desk. If I was just referring to the cat, I know I’d use いる because that is generally for living things. For just the book I’d use ある as that is for inanimate things. If I link them to together with と, which should I go with? The sentence I want is something like this: 机の上にねこと本が(います/あります)。
You can’t combine them and then use ある or いる alone on the combined set.
You could just change the phrasing, if you didn’t want to make a long sentence that separates them.
机の上にねこと本がのっています (using the verb のる).
Note that ～ている can be used for animate and inanimate things. ～てある exists, but it has a different meaning. If you used it here, it would mean someone had put the things on the desk for some reason. Yeah, it’s kind of weird.
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