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What Do Dogs Think Of Cats? 5 Mind-Blowing Facts (2023)

What Do Dogs Think Of Cats

Many people think of dogs and cats as enemies

I mean, just look at how these 2 species act with one another.

This might make you wonder:

“What do dogs think of felines?” 

But before curiosity bites the cat…

Let me share the answers.

Continue reading to find out:

  • 3 vital tips for dogs that keep chasing cats (#1 is a must-read).
  • Surprising similarities between cats and dogs (#3 is adorable).
  • 5 mind-blowing facts about what dogs think of cats or vice versa.
  • And that’s just the beginning…

What do dogs think of cats? 

Dogs think of cats as prey, but not all the time. Due to a feline’s small size, some canines have the urge to chase them away. However, most dogs can also learn to think of cats as their friends. Particularly if they grew up together. Despite their differences, dogs could still get along with cats.

What do dogs think when they see a cat?

Dogs think of chasing or playing when they see a cat they’re unfamiliar with. 

But that’s only due to a canine’s instincts. By that, I’m referring to their prey drive. 

It’s the desire to chase and hunt other animals. Especially smaller creatures, like cats.

After all, dogs are predators. So it makes sense that they might see kitties as their prey.

In fact, there’s a study on this topic. 

And here’s what dogs did to a cat they’re unfamiliar with:

  • 0.1% ignored the kitty.
  • 37.2% attacked the cat.
  • 23.8% barked at the feline.
  • 20.5% only wagged their tails.

Now, don’t let this strike fear in you and your pooch. 

You see, the AKC states:

Fido’s prey drive is manageable 

But this all depends on proper training. 

So if you socialize your pup with cats at a young age… 

They might lose interest in chasing felines as they grow up. 

Not to mention, socialization is vital for some dog breeds as well. And I’m referring to those with high prey drive, such as: 

As you can tell from this list…

These 7 Fidos are bred for jobs like hunting or herding. That’s why they tend to have a strong prey drive.

But that doesn’t mean they won’t get along with cats at all. 

Like I said earlier, training can help control your pup’s instincts. 

Plus, it’s not like they’ll always hurt cats (or anyone) for fun. Some of these Fidos simply like to run and chase others, even cars

Though, that can be stressful on the cat’s part. 

So to help you further, here are more tips to reduce prey drive in dogs: 

  • Socialize them ASAP.
  • Get them spayed or neutered.
  • Train them to relax on command.

With the right methods, you can help Fido get along with cats.

You might also like: Dog Suddenly Aggressive Towards Cat? 9 Odd Reasons + 3 Tips

What do cats think when they see a dog?

When cats see a dog, they usually think of escaping. That’s because most pups tend to chase after kitties. 

Due to this, many felines see dogs as threats.

But to be more specific…

Let’s take a look back at the study I mentioned earlier. 

Now, here’s how cats reacted when they saw an unfamiliar dog: 

  • 31.3% escaped the pup.
  • 24.5% ignored the pooch.
  • 21.4% hissed at the canine.
  • 13.5% came close to the dog in a friendly way.

Note: Only a small number of cats were aggressive.

As you can see, kitties would rather take flight than fight. But some of them can still be defensive. 

With that, you’ll notice felines arching their backs. Plus, their hackles will be raised. And they’ll be ready to scratch a pooch. 

In that case, a dog might get hurt by the kitty.

Warning: It’s especially dangerous if a cat’s claw manages to scratch a dog’s eye. This can lead to severe complications such as a corneal ulcer. And even blindness. So, if you notice the above-described body language in a cat that’s near your dog, remove your dog from the situation immediately. 

So before that occurs, it’s best to keep the fur babies away from each other. 

That aside, some cats are friendly enough to get close to a pooch. 

And it makes it easier to form a friendship between them.

Do dogs know the differences between a cat and a dog?

Dogs do know the differences between a cat and a dog. And plenty of experts confirm this idea.

But how did they prove this? 

Here’s what happened based on a study

Researchers showed pictures to a pooch. There were images of people, other dogs, objects, and mixed-up faces.

Now, while Fido’s looking at the photos…

The experts are also scanning the dog’s brain.

In the end, the results are impressive:

Dogs can tell the difference between objects and people

And do you know what’s even more mind-blowing?

It’s the part of Fido’s brain that processes faces. Apparently, it’s a lot like a human’s brain.

That aside, here comes the real question: 

“Do dogs know that cats aren’t dogs?”

Well, according to research

Fidos do know that felines aren’t like them. 

And experts proved this by testing a group of canines. 

First, they showed the pups a bunch of images. But this time, it was just pictures of humans and other dogs. 

Now, as they scanned Fido’s brain… 

It showed that the pups can identify their fellow dogs. Not to mention, they did this just by looking at photos. 

That means Fido can tell that cats aren’t dogs. Since these 2 animals hardly look alike at all.

But despite their different figures…

Cats and dogs still have a few things in common. And I’m talking about their behavior. 

You’ll find out about it below:

5 similarities between dogs and cats

#1: They both wag their tails 
Dogs And Cats Wag Their Tails

Cats also wag their tails. Just like dogs. 

But they don’t do it for the same reasons. 

For example, most pups wag their tail when they’re happy. 

However, to cats, wagging is a sign of anger.

Check out also: 15 Ways To Read Your Dog’s Body Language 

#2: They’re both territorial

Vets say that dogs are territorial. And cats are the same way.

This adds to why it’s best to raise them together. Especially while they’re young. 

With that, you can avoid territorial fights between the 2. 

Moreover, cats and dogs also mark their areas. 

For pups, they spray spots with their pee. Meanwhile, kittens rub their body against objects. 

#3: They groom each other 

Cats and dogs like grooming their fellow animals. 

But when you raise them together…

You might catch a pup licking your cat. And that’s a sign of affection. 

Some cats would do the same to canines. But the former are less likely to make the first move.

#4: Both cats and dogs defend their resources 

And since I mentioned they’re territorial…

Cats and dogs are also defensive. 

That means they don’t like sharing their food. Or even their personal spaces.

Though, some fur babies don’t know that concept. 

And they might keep trying to snuggle up with a cat who wants to be left alone.

#5: Cats also enjoy chasing their prey, like dogs

If dogs chase cats like prey… 

Cats also do the same to rats, roaches, or other smaller animals. 

I guess you can say: 

“It’s the circle of life.” 

Now, with all these similarities… 

Both animals are still different from each other. 

But it doesn’t mean they can’t come to an understanding. 

Just watch this clip of cats and dogs who are best friends:

Can a dog understand a cat?

Dogs can understand a cat. But not in the way we learn languages. 

For example, if a kitty meows at a pooch… 

It doesn’t mean that they’re talking. And the same applies when dogs bark at felines.

These 2 animals don’t speak the same way as you and I do. 

So how exactly do dogs understand a cat? 

Well, Fidos are masters at reading humans. 

And with the same skills they use to understand people…

Dogs can also learn a few things about cats, like their:

  • Tone.
  • Habits.
  • Body language. 
  • Eye expressions.
  • Mood or emotions.

With these details, a pup can understand a kitten. 

But how did they learn to do this? 

Fun fact: Science says that dogs have a certain unique skill. And it’s called emotional contagion. It helps them learn facial expressions.

So for example, if they see that a feline’s annoyed…

A pooch might back off. Or some Fidos would even freeze due to fear

Now, you might also wonder:

“What about cats? Do they understand dogs?” 

That’s a good question. And the answer to it is: yes. 

Though, the reality is cats aren’t on the same level as pups. But there’s a fair reason for that. 

You see, science thinks that dogs were domesticated 20,000 to 40,000 years ago. 

With all that time… 

Pups already learned more about understanding other animals. 

Meanwhile, cats only became friends with humans around 12,000 years ago.

And unlike dogs, felines didn’t need to change a lot for people to like them.

But if you look back at canines…

They’re far different from their wild ancestors nowadays. And I’m talking about wolves.

You see, as Fidos learned more about people like you and I…

Their ability to understand other animals also improved. 

And that’s why dogs can understand cats well enough. But kitties comprehending pups? Not so much. 

That’s why you might often see felines acting more dominant than pooches.

Though, it doesn’t mean that cats aren’t as good as dogs. 

In the end, both fur babies have their unique charms. And that’s all that matters to their fur parents.