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Why Do Cats and Dogs Hate Each Other?

“Fighting like cats and dogs!” is a phrase frequently used in our day-to-day conversations. A phrase as common as this must hold some truth in it. Why do dogs hate cats? Cats and dogs are both extremely cute and lovable animals. Dogs are believed to have the quality to form affectionate relationships but put the two in a room together, and you will probably have yourself a minor riot. Both cats and dogs are known to have an innate hatred for each other – a rivalry that has been on for ages. Though they are not natural enemies, their differences make them foes.

Why Do Dogs Hate Cats?

No, dogs and cats do not naturally hate each other, and some co-exist in the same place or even the same house and form adorable friendships. But most of them cannot get along because of a few fundamental behavioural differences between the two species. There are a few situations why don’t dogs like cats, let’s check it out.


Street dogs and cats are likely to get all bloody in a food fight. Dogs descend from wolves. While in a face-off with another dog, their pack instinct comes forward, and one of them backs down if they feel that the other is more dominant. But cats descend from a line of solitary hunters, so they do not know pack rules. A cat would not back down once it decides on it in a fight.


Dogs have a natural hunting instinct inherited from their predatory ancestors – wolves. They like to chase after objects such as balls, sticks, and in some cases, a running cat as cats tend to run when they see a dog, who would naturally chase the fast feline. A cat would see this as an attack and probably leave the dog with a bit more than a few scratches.


While dogs are mostly playful and social animals, cats like to be more aloof. This stark difference in nature makes the two animals less likely to become friends.

Language Barrier

Both animals have different languages, which sometimes causes miscommunication. For example – a dog wags its tail as a sign of playfulness, but a cat wags its tail as a sign of distress or attack. When a dog sees a cat wag its tail, it may take that as a sign to play and end up scaring\angering cat further.

Risk to Kittens

Why are cats afraid of dogs? An untrained hungry dog may not avoid eating whatever falls in its way, be it a kitten. It leads to a bitter rivalry between the two. To protect their kittens, Mother cats try to scare the nearby dogs as much as possible to instill a permanent fear in them.


Both cats and dogs either growl, snarl, or hiss in stressful situations. Their fights tend to get loud and thus go on for a long time. Both do not back down from a fight unless there is blood or the other one submits; their fights catch much attention and are noisy affairs.

How to Get a Cat and Dog to Get Along?

If you have both a cat and a dog at home, it becomes crucial for them to get along, or your house will be turned into a warzone every day, and let me tell you – it will be loud and messy! why don’t cats and dogs get along contrary to popular beliefs, making a dog and a cat friends is possible if they are brought up in the right environment. It takes patience and constant supervision but, in the end, you will have yourself an unbreakable bond that will fill your heart or they will at least learn to tolerate each other.

Match Personalities

If you have one of the animals and plan to adopt another, then do proper research on its personality and behaviour. Ask their previous owner or shelter to ensure their personality will be a good fit with one already in your home. For example – a hyperactive or aggressive dog would not be an excellent addition to a family with a cat that startles easily.

Socialization at a Young Age

Raise both pets together from a very young age, if possible. Both kittens and puppies go through a ‘socialization period’ while growing up where they learn how to act around other species, like how they are not supposed to be scared around humans. Introducing them at this time would be much easier than when they are older. At a young age, they are more adaptable and would learn to be friends.

Train Your Dog

Dogs mostly move freely around the house, which sometimes may come across as an invasion of space to the cat. Dogs also tend to be very active and jumpy and will most definitely startle the cat. Teach your dog to listen to commands like sit, stop, etc. Also, train a dog to stay away from the cat’s litter box and its territory. This will give the cat confidence to move around the house and privacy to do its business. Make sure to teach it that chasing a cat is completely unacceptable. If your dog gets too excited every time it sees a cat, you need to desensitize it by either distracting it or putting a baby door between them, which it cannot cross.

Cat’s Safe Space

Cats are territorial animals who need their area to do anything confidently. Set up a personal area for your cat which is inaccessible to the dog. It will act as a safe space for the cat. It is advisable to set that area at a height only the cat can jump to, such as a bed on top of a shelf or a tall cat tree. This will make your cat more confident and interactive in the common area. If your cat runs to its territory while trying to get it to interact with the dog, then let it go and do not forcefully stop it.

Let Them Familiarize Themselves Before Actually Meeting

Both cats and dogs familiarize with anyone by sniffing around. Give them time to get comfortable with the scent so that there is no distress when they are face to face. Let them sniff each other’s toys or clothes before you make them meet.


Make sure that their interaction is only in your presence for the first few weeks. Leash your dog for first introduction, (have none, choose one of the best pet harness leash from Amazon). If they show signs of hostility, then it is best to keep them apart when you are not there to watch them. Only leave them alone once you’re sure that they would not harm each other.


The thing most important in this process is your patience. If you get frustrated and shout at your dog when it is in front of the cat, it may think that the cat is the reason and become more hostile. It may take weeks for both animals to become comfortable in each other’s presence, and it can only be achieved if you do not lose your patience.

Take a decision

If your cat and dog do not get along after all your efforts and create a lot of problems, then it is safer for both of them if you find another home for one. They could seriously hurt each other if you are not careful. It would not be easy to let one of them go, but it will be for their and your benefit.


Can a cat and a dog get along?

Yes, with proper training and planned introduction, the two can get along or be civil with each other.

Can my cat and dog be left without supervision?

Not for the first few weeks after introduction. Make sure both of them are comfortable and hurt each other before leaving them alone.

How do I stop my dog from getting over-excited every time he sees the cat?

You can install a baby door between the two to see but cannot reach each other. This will desensitize the dog towards the cat as he would have already seen it before.

Is it a good idea to get a kitten while having an adult dog in the house?

It depends on the nature of your dog. If your dog is calm, it will make a great companion for the kitten, as a kitten would be scared at first looking at a giant animal. But if your dog is very active and social, it is better to find a cat with a personality similar to that.

Which is the most effective way of getting your cat and dog to get along?

The dog is not bigger and doesn’t automatically assume a role of superior. If possible, raise the two together since their baby days. It will be easier for them to get along if they grow up together from an age where they are still learning about their behavior.


Despite the common usage of the phrase and old tales why do dogs hate cats, they do end up becoming companions. Their bond is unique and adorable to capture. The key to having a peaceful environment at home is to create a positive atmosphere and make both pets feel safe. There may be occasional sass or arguments in their language. But that is what makes their relationship so interesting. If you have been wondering whether getting a cat for your dog or getting a dog for your cat is a good idea or not, you have your answer now.