Dogs and cats are both predators and as such can compete for resources such as food and water. In fact, this is one of the most commonly cited reasons why dogs hate cats. In nature, the cat is usually the dominant predator, but in a home environment, the dog is often the best dog.
All dogs have a natural instinct to chase prey. If your dog chases balls and shakes toys, it’s a sign of this instinct. They might kill a cat because they got carried away by that instinct, or because they were protecting their food or territory, not because they’re evil.
The science behind dogs believing they are cats mainly has to do with behavior and influence. The dog doesn’t literally sit there thinking it’s a cat. However, they may exhibit certain feline traits due to the influence of nearby cats and the effect this has on their behavior.
When fighting a dog and a cat usually the cat gets hurt. However, this is not always the case. Some dogs can also injure themselves, especially if they are smaller or have slightly more protruding eyes (think Shih Tzus).
However, various studies have come to the conclusion that cats are no smarter than dogs. An often-cited study comes from neurologist Suzana Herculano-Houzel, who has spent almost 15 years analyzing cognitive functions in humans and animals.
Dogs rarely eat cats unless they are starving, which is not the case with a well-cared for pet. A stray dog can kill and eat a cat because it has no other source of food. A dog waiting at home with a full bowl of food usually doesn’t take the time to eat a cat, even though it may kill it.
In some cases, dogs will attack other pets such as cats if they feel threatened and can even kill them if they are too rude. In other cases, they may kill cats simply because they have a high prey drive or because the cat is in their territory. What is this?
Dogs may bark and growl at a new cat. Both species may urinate or defecate inappropriately to mark their territory and attract the attention of people in the home. In general, a resident cat will exhibit more territorial and defensive behaviors towards a new dog.
Harris said that while there are anecdotal accounts of dogs being jealous of mates, cats and babies, animal jealousies are believed to be primal and similar to babies.
A dog and cat may develop a close friendship, sharing a bed, eating each other’s food and playing together, or they may develop a grudging respect and simply avoid each other. You get to know each other through experimentation and observation.
If your dog has strong prey drives (the tendency to seek out, chase, and possibly capture animals that are considered prey – usually smaller animals like cats or rabbits), he may be very focused on the cat. She stiffens, stares, and may bark or whine. If you see these signs, do not let them near the cat.
They only respond based on how they have been conditioned to respond. For example, a dog that has been with a cat for a long time learns to associate certain cat meows with certain moods. This means that the dog has adapted to the behavior of the cats.