A cat and a dog hugging each other but hating it.
A cat and a dog hugging each other but hating it. Photography by kozorog/Thinkstock.

Why Do Cats Hate Dogs? We’ve Got Some Answers (and Advice!)


Why do cats hate dogs? Some cats hate dogs, and their interactions consist mainly of hissing, chasing and barking. This is in direct contrast to more than a few cases of canine-kitty love, so there must be reasons why some cats hate dogs while other felines live in perfect harmony with their puppy friends. Let’s take a look at the answer to the question “Why do cats hate dogs?” and some steps to overcome the bad feelings!

Why do cats hate dogs? There’s history!

A gray kitten hanging out with a big dog.
A gray kitten hanging out with a big dog. Photography ©chendongshan | Thinkstock.

Why do cats hate dogs? Dogs are descendants of naturally social wolves, while cats’ ancestors are Arabian wildcats, who were known primarily to be loners. Even now, thousands of years later, domesticated dogs and cats possess some of their predecessors’ traits. Dogs have an instinct to chase small prey — especially if it’s fleeing. It’s no secret that cats typically don’t enjoy being chased, even if dogs view it as a game.

Additionally, dogs have an innate “in your face” attitude — they’re your immediate best friend. Cats, on the other hand, tend to hang back and assess a situation before extending their friendship.

Humans can help cats and dogs get along.

Certified Animal Behavior Consultant, Amy Shojai, explains: “Cats and dogs, though different species, often accept and even welcome each other as part of their extended family. Careful and patient introductions increases the odds for a smooth transition and acceptance. People need to recognize that cats and dogs communicate differently, and want different things out of life, so there can be misunderstandings. It’s up to people to interpret and provide structure so they enjoy each other and get along.”

“Provide enrichment for both,” Shojai continues. “Second-story property for cats in the form of cat trees, perches and window views; and floor-level toys, chews and sniff-games of fetch-and-find for dogs. Dogs want to belong to a family group (and cats can be part of that), while cats want to own and control territory. Since dogs can’t climb, it works out purr-fectly for both!”

Why do cats hate dogs? The way you introduce cats and dogs matters.

Cats and dogs need time to acclimate to one another, and a forced introduction only heightens adversarial urges. Because cats and dogs possess different comfort levels when it comes to friend-making, the introduction process needs to be a gradual one. Make sure the cat has an easy escape if he decides to exit the situation. Many kitties enjoy elevated resting places like cat trees, which provide the perfect getaway from often overzealous canines.

Bring both animals into the room at the same time, and keep the dog on a leash at your side. If the dog tries to lunge forward, lead him a few steps backwards until he demonstrates a calm demeanor. Gradually inch back toward the cat, and reward the dog with treats for each relaxed forward movement. At the same time, the cat learns he can share a room with a dog without being attacked.

After the initial introduction, separating the dog and cat with a baby gate is an easy way to put distance between them while they get to know one another. Don’t ever place a cat in a dog’s face as a form of introduction. This could not only escalate into a dangerous situation, it could be a backward move in the onset of a peaceful relationship.

Why do cats hate dogs? The age they’re introduced plays a part.

Cats and dogs get along better when they’re introduced as kittens and puppies. They’re just learning about the great big world, and are more open to developing new friendships.

Different dog breeds may be better at getting along with cats.

As mentioned, personality and a few other factors play a part, but there are some dog breeds that are known to live more harmoniously with cats.

Do a background check if you’re adding a dog to your family.

If you have a kitty and you’re adopting a dog, always ask the shelter about the animal’s background. Make sure he doesn’t have a history of aggression toward other animals.

Prepare your home well in advance to ensure your cat and dog get along.

Try to slowly create the atmosphere that the existing pet will experience before the new pet comes on the scene so the change isn’t as drastic:

  • Install a baby gate a week or so ahead of the homecoming to keep the cat and dog separated.
  • If you plan to close certain doors, go ahead and do that as well.
  • Move food or litter boxes so the changes won’t come at the same time as the addition of the new family member.
  • Are the food dishes far enough apart so meals are less stressful?
  • If your pets aren’t spayed or neutered, schedule that procedure so hormonal aggression is at bay.
  • Exercise the dog so he has a chance to release some of that enthusiastic energy before the big meet-up.

In truth, you never know if a cat and dog will live together peacefully, but you can take steps to decrease the odds of cats hating dogs.

Thumbnail: Photography by kozorog/Thinkstock.

Tell us: In your experience, why do cats hate dogs? Does your cat hate your dog? Or, do your cat and dog get along just swimmingly? We’d love to have your input!

Read more about cats and dogs on Catster.com:

11 thoughts on “Why Do Cats Hate Dogs? We’ve Got Some Answers (and Advice!)”


  2. Leigha Kasprowski

    I have three cats and a Shepard pit mix my two boys cats r youngest and my female dog was all baby’s together they get along great they even sleep together. My cats think they r dogs they play just like a dog and follow me around just like my dog to funny and my dog she acts like a cat my animals are amazing together but if it wasn’t for them growing up together they probably wouldn’t get along the way they do I’m blessed with wonderful animals I even call them my kids lol they act like kids alot

  3. Despite being a “cat person”, I did at one point adopt a dog for companionship. He was my little sidekick through some traumatic times.

    My possessive chihuahua and at the time new kittens loved each other, he even shared me with the alien new comers.
    As the kittens got bigger he’d play with them and they would treat him just like another cat.
    They did outgrow him and could easily overcome him, but they didn’t. They loved him.
    I think that it’s really more about the environment and nurturing than animal prejudice. We’re just one big happy mixed family!

  4. My big male cat seems to like dogs, as long as they’re quiet and not bigger than medium size. He’ll walk up to them to touch noses when we take him out for walks on his harness and lead. I suppose he must have lived with a dog at some point in his life.

  5. Ours have grown up around each other and get along great! They share the bed and give each other space when asked for. When a new baby is brought in they are kept sepetate for safety and to adjust to sounds and smells.

  6. My two rescue cats came from a foster home as 8 wekk old kittens. When I went there to pick them up, the foster lady told me they always slept on top of the dog she had there, lol. My cats like friendly dogs. They’ve only met a few that have come in the house (indoor only cats), but they don’t runaway and hide. They stay in the same room and even exchange sniffs.

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