We all know the expression “fighting like cats and dogs.” Clearly somewhere in history, there is a known battle between these two favorited pets. Whatever that history may have been, the saying has stuck around for many years.
You can find a reference to this epic hatred in poems, comics, and television shows, and especially in cartoons. The old cartoon series Tom and Jerry were one of the best representations of the ongoing battle between cats and dogs.
The truth is, do these two species of pets really hate one another? Is there a true, long-standing hatred that cannot be bridged when dogs and cats share the same household? And if so, why do they fight? What does it mean? Cats and dogs, just like any other animal species may fight – that is the truth.
But is there any evidence that dogs and cats have a genetically designed hatred, or is it all a myth shared and supported by all of us? And if it is true, can we change this behavior? Let’s explore this epic hatred to see if it can be solved.
Why Are Cats and Dogs Enemies
Before animals were domesticated and became our pets, they lived in the wild doing what animals do – raising their young, hunting for food, and staying safe.
Dogs, generally a larger animal breed, hunted other animals for food. This driving prey instinct helped to keep them alive. Cats, also specialized hunters, tracked and ate smaller animals for food to maintain their health and happiness.
Eventually, people began to use animals for workhorses, donkeys, and other large animals were used for farming and other jobs. Dogs began to live with people and were taught to hunt small animals and keep them away from gardens, property, and food storage.
People started to realize that cats could also be used to hunt, and were often brought into barns or chicken coops to deal with mice, rats, and other smaller creatures. So, if both dogs and cats were used to defend property and food, and both were part of human lives, why did they end up “hating” one another?
When asked, many people respond that “it is just the way it is.” Cats and dogs don’t get along. Maybe the animals are both vying for attention from the same person, and one gets jealous of the other.
Or maybe cats are just mean. Or dogs are just dumb. However you look at it, the ongoing thought that dogs and cats cannot get along is common throughout the world.
Whatever you may believe, there is some truth to the biology behind the dog and cat dilemma. Dogs have a biological prey drive and when something that is small and furry goes running by, they will want to chase it.
By chasing the cat, the cat learns that the dog is trying to get them, and if provoked, the cat may return the favor, and chase the dog. If the dog runs, then the cat learns that it may have the power to hurt the dog, and so it continues in a vicious cycle.
The path of a typical dog and cat relationship is forged. But what if this is not how it has to be? What if the dog and cat hatred is really just a blown-up version of other well-known enemies – cats and birds, snakes and mice, or cats and fish.
Lots of animals can be pitted against one another, but there is also a case for lots of animals that are seen as “enemies” getting along.
What many people may not know is that if cats and dogs are raised together, they can move past that path, resist biology, and actually become the best of friends. As seen with other species that move past the instincts of life, dogs and cats can be friends.
When animals are introduced to one another properly, given opportunities to spend time getting to know one another, they can develop strong and trusted relationships. Instead of creating a life like a cartoon series, they can have a life that brings them both partnership and joy.
The ongoing status of the dog and cat battle has long been proven to be false. Even though there will always be examples of how dogs hate cats, and cats that hate dogs, there will be as many examples of dogs and cats getting along and living together in harmony.
Whatever side of the fence you support, you will be able to find photos and stories that prove your point. If you ask me, believing that any species can get along with one another would go a long way to all people believing that there can be peace between those with differences.