Why Do Dogs Hate Cats? – The Scientific Story!

why dogs chase cats

One of the most frequently asked questions, while talking about the relationship between dogs and cats, is “Why do dogs hate cats?” This question has been discussed and pondered upon since the time humans have been around their four-legged mates. To many people, a dog’s disliking towards cats might seem an extreme unreasonable behaviour. Nonetheless, ancient records say something else, and there is a scientific reason why dogs chase cats with such a rage. This behaviour has been implanted in dogs because of a valid evolutionary process, of many years, which has been proven by scientific research.

Although, these reasons, in no way, suggest that dogs and cats cannot be friends with each other. This behaviour can be changed in today’s time with a little more effort on the part of the owners. Read on to know more about where does the rivalry of dogs and cats come from and what can be done to correct it.

The Fundamental Reason

cats and dogs

Research suggests that, historically, cats had been much better at survival as compared to the dogs. Around 30-40 species of ancient dogs were wiped out because of ancient cats. This is one of the reasons why dogs have an instinct of rage for cats. The domestic dogs of today have descended from the dog family of North America. Around 40 million years ago, when there were around 30 species of dogs left in the continent of North America, the cats intruded. What followed was a decline in the dog species as the cats expanded. The survival instinct of dogs and cats led them to become rivals of each other. Increasing competition between dogs and cats resulted in a reduction of dogs. The retractable claws of cats helped the cats in winning over dogs while expanding their survival abilities. As a result, cats had a fundamentally negative impact on the survival of dogs.

The Scientific Reason (Breaking it down further)

The fighting style of both the dogs and cats is entirely different and extraordinary – cats utilise their sharp paws, while dogs, ceaselessly, blunt their paws to maintain balance when they run. Cats, purposefully, bring their teeth and powerful jaws into play. Both dogs and cats like to dominate their opponent. Dogs do so by barking and cats by spitting, murmuring and yowling. Therefore, when a battle between the two begins, it frequently lasts long and comprises of a big situation.

So, are cats and dogs natural rivals? It appears that they most likely were, once. Cats were pretty much the trespassers as far as their association with humans is concerned. Dogs were initially tamed by our hunter forefathers, somewhere around 15,000 years ago, perhaps even more than that. The fact that they were considered to be a “man’s closest companion” in those early times is impossible to say; yet when cats came, the dogs started having a significant impact in the lives of humans. They started helping us with hunting, guarded our homes, aided in herding our groups and kept people warm during the evening.

The fossil records from some historical turfs of our planet demonstrate that dogs and cats had experienced an unpleasant past where everything depended on one thing – survival! It is confirmed that cats and dogs had no contact with one another. Both the species were completely unaware and ignorant of the existence of the other until the point that cats travelled from Asia and entered North America approximately 18.5 million years ago. Indeed, that is the how distant these two types of creatures were. The dogs became existent in the territory of North America nearly 40 million years ago. For the following 18 million years, they flourished and expanded in numbers until they reached a good diversity. At that point, 30 unique types of dogs were leading the territory.

Each one of these discoveries originates from an investigation; which was led by a global group of scientists. The group of scientists studied about 2,000 distinct fossils and published their findings in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. As per the examination, approximately a portion of dog species went extinct. The ancient dogs, as indicated by the researchers, were to a great degree- substantial; some achieved the heaviness of around 33 kilograms or 66 pounds.

While the old dogs were making the most of their domination, they were entirely mindful of the fact that an opponent was headed to provoke them. Sometime about 18.5 million years ago, old cats from Asia figured out how to enter North America by crossing the Bering Land Bridge. This bridge was responsible for connecting Asia and Alaska. After entering North America, these cats began settling down and possessing the territory. As their numbers increased, the cats turned a genuine rival of the dogs because of their survival instincts. There were fights about constrained levels of food in North America. As indicated by the scientists, the cats that entered North America were much better at hunting as compared to a significant number of dogs that existed at that time. Scientists don’t know which particular dog species was influenced by rising rivalry, yet they are almost sure that one specific subfamily of dogs – the bone-pulverising dogs – were the most influenced ones.

How Can Dogs & Cats Get Along?

Dogs and cats are interactivebly brilliant animals. Regardless of all the history behind these two not getting along, you can train your dogs and cats to live together in harmony. The way to get them along is introduction and supervision. With some steadiness, you can prepare dogs and cats to get along without assaulting one another.

Since little dogs and cats have had no terrible encounters with one another, they will get along more rapidly at a young age. The best time to make sure that dogs and cats get along is when they are young. Growing up together, they can form a deep bond. Although, a dog’s play may, at times, be harsh for a delicate cat; becasue a cat is always going to be small in size as compared to the puppy. Continuously oversee their interactions, regardless of whether they are getting along: A little cat may signal that she’s done playing, however, the little dog could still be interested in playing, and so his action may scare or confuse her. Small gestures like showing the dog to play by pursuing a toy and not his little cat friend will guarantee that he grows up regarding, and not seeking after, little creatures.

By taking as much time as necessary to understand what both the cats and dogs require, you can make a happy, quiet and fun environment with both a cat and a dog.


Due to these scientific reasons mentioned above, it is clear that the reason why cats and dogs hate each other is that of evolutionary history. Dogs chase cats even today because of this deeply instilled evolutionary reason. However, the good news is that this can be changed. The owners will have to intrude and be of help in the process. If both cats and dogs are trained about the difference between a friend and an enemy, then this rivalry can be avoided by all means.

An increase in the domestication of dogs and cats has led to a change in the way, the brains of both these species function. Dogs and cats go through an experience of socialisation while they are growing up. This is when they learn about everything, right from who their mothers are to the very fact that humans are not be dreaded. If dogs and cats are fearful of each other or humans, it’s because they have not been given the right training. This process can be controlled so that dogs and cats get included in each other’s list of good friends. Being around the two species and ensuring that they get along, while their sensitive growing period, will do the job. There are so many examples where the owners of dogs and cats have managed to get them along with each other without being any harm to each other.

If special care is not taken in the sensitive growing years and if a cat concludes that it hates dogs or if a dog starts to enjoy chasing cats then these habits will be tough to get rid of or invert. The trick is to make sure that the sensitive period of training goes well for both dogs and cats. This period can be utilised to the extremes of love or hatred. It is the responsibility of the owner to make sure that both cats and dogs develop affection for each other.

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