Cats and dogs have been known to be each other’s sworn enemies for hundreds of years. In fact, we hoomans even have a saying based on their complicated relationship, “they fight like cats and dogs”. But is this really true? And if so, why do dogs hate cats? Let’s take a closer look.
Why Do Dogs Hate Cats?
Before we can answer “why do dogs hate cats?”, we need to address whether dogs even hate cats to begin with. As much as they may seem like natural enemies, the idea that all dogs and cats hate each other is in fact a myth!
Dogs and cats are not natural-born enemies and in many cases can grow to become the best of buds. However, they are in many ways vastly different animals. With this, differences in natural behaviour and other external factors and past experiences can stop them from getting along.
Let’s look deeper into some of the main reasons dogs and cats don’t get along:
One of the main reasons why dogs may look like they hate cats is their natural prey drive. Many dog breeds were originally bred for certain purposes, one of those being hunting. Greyhounds, retrievers, and even little dachshunds were once the best friends of hunters and poachers and would chase after small prey such as birds, squirrels, badgers and foxes.
Although most domesticated doggies are now retired from their hunting days, their natural prey drive is still strong. This is why most dogs love to chase after balls, frisbees or even squirrels at the park as it satisfies their deep innate desires.
Unfortunately for the local tomcat, they also match the description of something small and furry for which most dogs will naturally want to chase. This is simply down to instinct rather than hatred and although most of them probably wouldn’t know what to do with old tom once they’ve caught him, the chase is the fun part.
Lack of Exposure to Cats
Another answer to “why do dogs hate cats?”, is the lack of early exposure to the opposite species. During the early days of owning a puppy, it’s impawtent that they are exposed to a variety of new things and allowed to regularly socialise with other floofs.
Most pawrents get the socialisation part right by taking their pooch to puppy school where they can mix with other pups, and learn how to play and get along with them harmoniously. However, if your pup is never exposed to a cat during their puppy years when they finally do meet a kitty-cat in their later life, they’re more likely to be scared or confronted by this new kid on the block, in which case they may chase after them, bark or growl.
Differences in Body Language
Dogs and cats communicate and identify body language very differently. These differences can play a part in dogs and cats not getting along. For example, dogs will wag their tails when they are happy, excited or playful. Whereas if a cat’s tail is swishing from side to side they may be feeling threatened, agitated or angry. If a dog misreads a cat’s tail language and tries to go up to them to play, they may just find themselves walking into a catfight.
They’re Holding a Grudge
Dogs may hate cats because of past bad experiences with them. This is particularly the case if a puppy has had a bad experience with a cat. A puppy’s brain is like a sponge and may associate a negative past experience such as a claw to the nose from the local alley cat with all cat experiences going forward.
Natural guard dogs such as rottweilers, bullmastiffs and German shepherds are generally more likely to look like they hate cats. These dogs are more territorial, so if they see or smell a cat that’s not from their furmily, they’re likely to try to scare them away by barking, growling or chasing.
Can Dogs And Cats Be Friends?
Of course, they can! Although some dogs may have more of a natural desire to chase after cats such as greyhounds and Jack Russel terriers, most doggies can learn to love their feline companions.
The best way to make this happen is through early socialisation. The process of this is no different to introducing a kitten to a cat and should be done slowly and with a lot of patience.
Start by swapping their scents and then once they’re comfortable build on this to short supervised visits with your dog on a leash, particularly if they are a large breed so that they don’t accidentally injure your kitty-cat.
Don’t rush the process and be mindful of their body language so that you don’t overwhelm either of them. With a little time and a whole lot of love and praise, your floofs can become the best of friends in no time.
The Best Food For Happy Dogs and Cats
All of our dog and cat food recipes are carefully balanced and packed full of high-quality natural ingredients to satisfy floofy stomachs and provide them with all of the essential vitamins and minerals that they need to flourish.
Maintaining optimal gut health is impawtent for our furry friends to build strong immune systems and adequately absorb essential nutrients. That’s why we never use any nasty additives or artificial fillers in our recipes and also avoid common allergens and added salt and sugar which can upset our pets’ stomachs.
We also add gut-loving probiotics or prebiotics to all of our recipes to maintain healthy digestion and promote pretty poops.
So if you’re on the hunt for a healthy pet food that your floofs will drool over, head on over to Scrumbles and explore our wide range of gut-friendly pet food and treats.