from the blog.

cats and dogs can get on well together

Why Don’t Cats Like Dogs? – and Vice Versa

In light of #NationalCatDay, I thought I would investigate the age-old tale of friend and foe and get to the bottom of the love/hate (mainly hate) relationship between cats and dogs.

It’s a question that thousands of you search Google for every month, and it’s clearly playing on the minds of the masses. I first of all question whether it’s one-sided…do dogs not like cats or do cats not like dogs? Being more of a dog person myself, I find it hard to believe that anyone could not get along with the canine community. That said, I don’t find cats overly offensive – so what’s all the beef about?

Why don't cats like dogs?

It would seem that both statements are true: cats aren’t too forthcoming in making mates with the big bulldog down the road and dogs tend to enjoy chasing things that will run, so in a sense it was a recipe for disaster from the get go. Phrases such as ‘fight like cat and dog’ must have originated from somewhere, and has been in use for over a century, so perhaps a look at the history of the cat-dog relationship will point us in the right direction.

In the years before Dogs Trust, Cat Protection and the RSPCA, dogs and cats were not looked after as well as they are today. Both were allowed to roam the streets freely, with no regulation to reproduction, resulting in somewhat of a sex, food and rock’n’roll culture amongst animals on the street. Competition over food would sometimes lead to fights, and while dogs have the ability to communicate with each other to sort things out, evolution has not blessed cats with the same levels of diplomacy. Either way, evidently Mother Nature has not given either species a means of communication between each other, making a dispute practically inevitable.

Why don't cats like dogs?

Dogs were domesticated by our hunting ancestors at least 15,000 years ago, and possibly even before that. That’s right, even Socrates probably played fetch with his favourite pooch. Cats didn’t appear to come along until around 10,000 years ago, when they were found to be useful at ridding the home of household pests such as mice. It wasn’t until the Egyptians really took a fancy to cats that they were paid any attention whatsoever, so it’s somewhat understandable that they may have a chip on their shoulder when it comes to their fellow four-legged, furry foes.

So dogs still chase cats, cats still chase lily-livered dogs and given the opportunity, they will turn back and fight their corner. With hissing and growling and yelping and, in my dog’s case, crying, spats can turn into rather loud and disturbing affairs. However, the news is not all bad. Both puppies and kittens go through what’s known as a socialisation period, whereby they essentially learn friend from foe. For example, mother who feeds them: friend, small child that pulls tail: foe. To hijack this process, all you’ll need is one dog-friendly cat or one cat-friendly dog, and all pre-existing qualms about the social hierarchy between the two are forgotten.

Why don't cats like dogs?

Once a cat decides it hates dogs, or a dog decides it must chase a cat, the phrase ‘old habits die hard’ comes to mind, and it takes a fair amount of training and patience to put a stop to the antics.

How do your cat and dog get along? Share your stories with me in the comments or via my social media channels – pictures/videos welcome! I’ll be sharing my favourites!


You may also like

A Doggy Bucket List: North Devon

I’m from a small village on Exmoor in the beautiful region of North Devon and have always been lucky enough to count a dog, or dogs, as part of our family. From weekend excursions to after school adventures, over the 22 years that I have called North Devon home, I’ve managed to find some of […]

What breed of dog are you?

What Breed of Dog Are You?

There comes a moment in every dog-lovers life where they wonder, what type of dog am I? One of the reasons we love dogs so much is that they are all so wonderfully unique, and each have individual personality traits that make them who they are. For example, I have a sheepdog, who is inexcusably and […]

A dog

10 Fascinating Fact About Dogs

As a society, we all love dogs. They star in memes, go viral on video and for many, they provide an unrivalled friendship. But how much do we actually know about the little pooch curled up on our toes right now? I’ve decided to gather some of the most interesting facts about dogs I could […]


  1. Love this post! Being the slave oh I mean owner to a cat and a dog, I see the daily dynamics of my two change all the time, its hilarious. The dog chases the cat relentlessly, but when the cat has had enough, the dog knows to run. They keep me entertained for sure!

  2. This was something I haven’t really thought about, definitely an interesting read! My three cats are terrified of dogs.. but they’re also just scared of things larger than themselves in general.

Leave a Reply to Niall O'Donnell Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *