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A Pooch’s Point of View: Why Do Dogs Hate Cats?

Written by Adaptil, published on 1 June 2021

Woof!  Woof!  I sometimes sit and watch the TV with my humans and quite enjoy watching cartoons where a dog is always chasing a cat - it can be quite amusing, but I do get frustrated when the cat always manages to escape!

Just to put the record straight - we dogs don’t necessarily hate cats! In fact we can be the best of friends! I suppose it might look like we don’t like cats to humans, but we chase them because it’s in our doggy genes! We have a natural instinct to chase anything that moves fast; this comes from our ancestors in the wild so a cat running away seems like fair game to us!  

But it’s not all one way! Yes, dogs mostly get the upper hand over a cat, but some cats can be quite scary too! There’s one that I see when I’m out on my daily walk and she sits on the same fence every day and stares at me and if I get too close, she will start hissing and try to swipe me as I pass by. My friend, Bruno, who is a large Boxer dog is terrified and he is much bigger than the cat; the cat’s paws scratched him once and now he gives her a very wide berth and gets out of her way as fast as he can!

Reasons why Dogs hate Cats - Sometimes!

why do dogs hate cats

  1. It’s in our genes - as I mentioned earlier. If I see a cat outside, I just need to bark and chase them because it’s my natural instinct to hunt and chase!
  2. Cats smell! They don’t smell like me and they keep leaving their scent in my territory.  
  3. The cat I live with jumps into my bed when I’m not looking - that’s not fair because I can’t fit into hers. She should keep to her own territory, which is normally up high where I can’t reach.
  4. We don’t speak the same language!  
    • When I wag my tail, I’m happy - when she wags her tail, she’s not happy.
    • Although I like to have company and spend longer chilling in the same spot next to the cat, she’s quite independent and likes to wander off after a little while. Plus, she likes to jump up high and perch above the kitchen cupboards, which is not something I can do!  
    • When the cat tries to rub up against me, I think she’s only after my toys or food, so I will growl at her and warn her off, but apparently she is just leaving her scent - which is supposed to be a good thing! I wonder if she’s confused too!
  5. My human knows how I am feeling because we’ve been together for a long time, but he really needs to learn to speak cat too so that he can interact with us both at the same time.

Tips for Humans to Help Dogs and Cats get Along

help your dog and cat get along

Dogs and cats are often thought to be enemies but don’t worry, we can be trained to like - or at least tolerate - cats, as long as humans understand what to do.

Here are some tips for humans who are thinking of adding a cat to their family:

  • Choose the right cat! Remember our personality; I’m a very handsome Bulldog so I’m quite laid back and will quite happily get along with a cat - like the American Shorthair or a Bombay cat - because they have a nice temperament and are easygoing.
  • Introduce us gradually and let us get used to each other’s scent slowly.  Smell is very important to us!  A good idea would be to have something in the house, which smells of the cat, before you bring her home - and also put something that smells of me in her room - so that we’re not complete strangers when we meet.
  • Probably best we don’t meet face to face for the first couple of days, and let the new cat get used to her new home - it might take her a while as she will probably miss her previous space, and cat’s don’t like change, so keep us separate for a while.
  • Allow us to meet each other through a baby gate to start with, so that we know what we both look like but give me a doggy chew and give the cat a food toy to distract us at the same time.  Do this gradually and then - only if you are confident that we are both ready - you can allow us both to meet in the same room - supervised, of course!
  • Only allow us to meet for a short period of time to start with - we’ll need to get used to each other slowly but if you notice either of us getting skittish, it would be best to separate us and try again another time.
  • Get help!  My human very kindly uses an ADAPTIL Calm Home Diffuser in the room where I spend most of my time - it keeps me very calm and I don’t get stressed or anxious. There is a cat equivalent that can be used too - the new FELIWAY Optimum which apparently helps cats feel calm and serene - that sounds a great idea to me!
  • A nice treat would help too! I’ll try my best to be good if I think I’m going to get something tasty - and I’m sure the cat will too!
  • Never leave us in the room together until you are very sure that we get along - that could be very messy.  
  • Let us get used to each other’s resources. I know I won’t try to climb her scratching post, but she needs to learn to stay away from my bed! In fact, it would be good if I saw all her bits and pieces around the house before she arrived, then I could get used to having them around.
  • Give us our own space. The cat likes to be up high, so put her bed on the counter-top or a shelf.  I am quite happy in the corner of a room in my bed where it’s nice and quiet, or I do like sleeping in my crate too.
  • If you go out, make sure we can access our own space and that I have been out for a wee in the garden and she has her litter box handy. Don’t leave us alone together for too long as we miss you!
  • Make sure our food bowls are in separate rooms - I don’t think she could eat my food, but I’m not fussy about what I eat so I’ll happily munch hers if I get the chance!
  • Keep to our routines. Cat’s don’t like change, and I need to know that I will still be going for my walk at the same time every day - I’m not allowed out for a walk on my own, like the cat.
  • Share the love! I know that the new kitten will get a lot of attention, but remember that I’m here too! I still want my regular playtimes and I will still want to sit beside you to watch the Tom & Jerry cartoons!

help your dog and cat to get along

For humans that already have a cat and a dog living together, here are some tips to help your pooch and feline friend feel more secure and get along:

Just like you humans, it will take time for us to become friends so don’t get upset if we don’t become pals straight away. We should become friends eventually! Using FELIWAY Optimum and ADAPTIL Calm Home Diffuser will help us both feel calm, but you need to use both - I can’t recognise cat pheromones and the cat won’t react to dog pheromones - but they’re worth it, I promise!

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