Mythbuster #7 Dogs Hate Cats and Vice Versa

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This is a well known fact – Dogs hate cats and cats hate dogs – right? The animosity between the two species is well-documented through the ages in books, movies, cartoons and maybe even in your daily life. But is it true?



Of course not – if it was true how do explain this:


Or this:


But all that snuggling and playfulness aside, there is a some truth to the potential adversarial nature of the relationship between cats and dogs. It’s all in how the first introductions are carried out.

Dogs and cats have very different interpersonal styles. Dogs will go bounding up new newcomers, happily wagging their tail as a sign of greeting. To a cat a wagging tail is a sign of anger or displeasure. A dog will want to sniff the hind end of the cat – a dog’s natural way of introducing themselves, but a cat will not want that and may run off or even attack the dog for attempting it – not a very good start. If the cat runs off, the dog’s natural prey instinct will frequently kick in and they’re off after the cat in a game of chase. And the introduction is off to bad start and may never recover.

If a puppy and kitten are brought up together, they know each other very well from the beginning and they usually coexist just fine – and may even grow into a friendship as seen in our videos. They may even plot and scheme some mischief together like these two:

If a cat is brought into a home with a dog already established (or vice versa) it should be done with some care and forethought.

Some additional readings:

Introducing Dogs to Cats
Introducing your new Cat to your Dog
Introducing Dogs or Puppies into Homes with Cats (Video)

I know many of you have both cats & dogs – tell us about their interaction. Friends? or Foes? Mischief Makers or placid roommates?


Monday Mischief

We are joining the Monday Mischief Blog Hop because cats + dogs = mischief! This hop is hosted by Snoopy’s Dog Blog, Alfie’s Blog, Luna Dogs Life and My Brown Newfies



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  1. I have one dog who loves to just tease the cat, but the others get along well, mostly because the cat has claws that don’t always retract. I’ve always thought that the reason cats ran from dogs is that the want to avoid unnecessary unpleasantness.
    jan recently posted…Guardians of America’s FreedomMy Profile

  2. Our cats tolerate the dogs and our dogs love the cats. The problem we have is that we have herding dogs and they feed off of each other whenever the cats venture downstairs and the dogs are in the house. If the dogs would just calmly chill, we’d have a Cats Love Dogs home. LOL
    Kimberly Gauthier recently posted…Dog Supplements | Which Supplements Do You Use and Why? @PetResearchIncMy Profile

  3. Interestingly, according to Stanley Coren the issues between dogs and cats stem mainly from “language barrier.” Apparently, many of the body language is actually opposite between dogs and cats.

    Of course, if they live together, or get enough time to interact, they can learn each other’s language, just like people can learn different languages.
    Jana Rade recently posted…Useful Tips: Battling With The Fish Oil Gel Caps?My Profile

    • Thanks for that info. I guess it all comes down to being exposed to something different which can lead to acceptance. People are the same way. Think of all of the prejudicial behavior and reactions, over the course of human history, that humans have to other people that are new and different from themselves.
      steve recently posted…Mythbuster #7 Dogs Hate Cats and Vice VersaMy Profile

  4. Mr. N has never lived with cats but he loves to try to chase the cats outdoors. He almost caught one yesterday…
    Tenacious Little Terrier recently posted…Monday Mischief #10 – What does the dog(s) say?My Profile

  5. Well Ill be honest my dogs do sometimes tease my three cats, but they also spend a lot of time cuddling together. We have had the cats scratch one dogs eye, but that was the only real problem. Fro soem reason they dont want the cats in the bed but thats it. Outside though its another story and they will chase stray cats

    urban hounds

  6. Fun videos! Happy to say that our dogs have always gotten along well with our cats. Some have even become best friends 🙂
    Sue at Talking Dogs recently posted…National Mule Day | Monday MischiefMy Profile

  7. In our house, they are the BEST of friends. This is also NOT true in our house “Dogs and cats have very different interpersonal styles. Dogs will go bounding up new newcomers, happily wagging their tail as a sign of greeting”……Dakota is more “cat-like” and Cody is more “dog-like” Due to our cat having attended adoption events at the age of 8 wks and being adopted at 10 wks and being used to people, our CAT is the “people purrson” Our dog hides behind our cat when strangers visit. Our cat is social and afraid of nothing and is extremely loving. Dakota is loving too but is super leery of those he doesn’t know.
    How did I introduce the two? I had researched on the internet (they were both the same age approx 8 months old) and both had lived with other cats/dogs). The article said to put PERFUME on me, my husband and the cat and dog. When we brought Dakota home (Cody had lived here first, he came in July, Dakota in October), we left Dakota in his crate for about a half hour and let Cody check him out. Cody hissed ONCE and ONLY ONCE. He has NEVER hissed again.
    I also made sure that part of the condo was baby-gated so that Cody’s toys, litter box and food could be enjoyed without the threat of a giant woofie spoiling the scene.
    They ADORE each other!
    Caren Gittleman recently posted…“Mini-Me” Mischief On Plush Animal Lover’s Day!My Profile

    • Sounds like you did a good job at the introductions. I think that’s a key component to them getting along. Setting up boundaries and safety zones for both. thanks for sharing your experience.
      mkob recently posted…Mythbuster #7 Dogs Hate Cats and Vice VersaMy Profile

  8. Several years ago I had two cats and one dog, they all got along well, and would even snuggle sometimes.

  9. We don’t have feline family members; but let one of the neighborhood cats roam around our yard and the dogs go ballistic when I let them out, especially Ducky!

  10. Good post SD…Gizmo has always been open to making friends with cats and most cats adapt to him pretty well
    GizmoGeodog recently posted…Halloween MischiefMy Profile

  11. Rita came to us a cat-hater. It would be nice if she’d been exposed to them as a pup, but it’s just as well, since I’m allergic. So, unfortunately, there will be no dogs and cats living happily together at our house.
    Jackie Bouchard recently posted…Monday Mischief: Rita’s a Howl-o-Weenie!My Profile

  12. Whoo, boy. This is a big issue in our house as we intermingled 3 dogs with a cat when we moved to Louisiana. We did a slow, careful, positive process of introductions, and we’re still working on it. Emmett was immediately fine with Newt (the cat) because they both pretend that the other doesn’t exist. Cooper and Newt took to each other like best buddies. Their biggest problem is that they misinterpret each other’s cues, but that’ll come with time. Lucas… well, we’re still working. He can’t be unsupervised around her, but he can be off leash (after 4 months!) for short periods. Time, patience, and GOBS of treats, and we’ll have a happy house eventually!
    Maggie recently posted…When your dogs have different energy levels (aka, tiring out our hyper dog)My Profile

  13. Mom has had several dogs and many cats. Some of the cats really love the dogs, some not so much. None of the dogs ever hurt a cat either. Mom doesn’t believe in going at it lightly, so she just brings the new cat or dog home and lets the dogs and cats work it out together. Obviously, if someone was about to be hurt she would jump in, but they work it out for themselves usually, it can get loud and take time, but so far it has always worked out.
    emma recently posted…Pumpkin Patch Fun | GBGV | Monday MischiefMy Profile

  14. Or if the dog take his big puppy paw and paws the cat, the cat may not appreciate it…lol.
    2 brown dawgs recently posted…Monday Mischief–Just Like GrandpaMy Profile

  15. Great post. Usually with me either the cats were old and the dogs were puppy or the cat (mk) was young and the dogs older so they all got along just fine. Your right all depends on the introduction. MK was so young she was in the imprint stage of development so the dogs imprinted on her and now she thinks she is a dog. My dogs all know they must be nice to the cats in the house. It’s all in teaching.
    Sand Spring Chesapeakes recently posted…Tuesday’s Tails ~LillyMy Profile

  16. Great timing for your post considering my CaT mischief this week! 🙂

    I love Cats, I just don’t understand them, but I think you may be onto something, cos I do automatically think every Cat is about to run away and I should chase them – However, I have come across a few that aren’t too keen on me, don’t run and stand their ground, or even try to claw me!

    Then I get all scared and ask Mum to ‘Help Me!’ She thinks my reaction is funny considering I was trying to chase them a moment earlier!

    I hope you’re having a fun day,

    Your pal Snoopy 🙂
    snoopy recently posted…Monday Mischief – Is Snoopy a Super Hero?My Profile

  17. We don’t have cats, but we have had a stray that has been sneaking around and sleeping on our back patio the last few nights which really surprises me because it has to smell the dogs, but the other night I let the dogs out and the cat was sleeping on the table and Sherman immediately ran over to it and the cat was stunned for a minute and then ran away. Every time Sherman goes out now he runs to the table first to see if the cat is there. I’m not sure what he will do if he finds it again. Leroy could care less.
    Jen recently posted…The Barkster Barks Less. AKC GoodDog! HelplineSM AKCDogLover #SponsoredMy Profile

  18. Scooter is built to chase and cats are one of his favourite subjects. Thankfully, he’s learnt that they can often take care of themselves…He tends to pretend he didn’t see them nowadays 😉
    Paws and Pedals (Kate & Scooter) recently posted…Dog Events Galore – Weekend RoundupMy Profile

  19. Ours get along fine. Our stray cat has never really liked the dogs, but they co-exist peacefully. As he’s gotten older he’s been less afraid of them. Our other cat loves to rub up against the dogs. My sister’s beagle and cat wrestle with each other…. that was something we had never seen!
    Jan K recently posted…Tuesday’s Tails – Meet BrixtonMy Profile

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