Excited Cats is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you. Learn more.

Do Cats Think Dogs Are Cats? Here’s What Science Tells Us

Even though cats and dogs have a negative association together, many cats and dogs get along very well. If you have dogs and cats, you probably already knew that, though! Seeing cats and dogs interact can range anywhere from cute to hilarious, and sometimes it may even feel like you’re watching two aliens interacting in some weird, alien way.

Do cats and dogs understand each other, though? Do they recognize that they aren’t interacting with their own species? Does your cat realize that your dog isn’t another cat in the house? To put the question to rest, cats do not think that dogs are cats. 

3 cat face divider

Do Cats Think Dogs Are Cats?

While cats may not fully understand exactly what dogs are, they are aware that they aren’t cats. The body language and verbal communication between cats and dogs is extremely different, as you likely know.

In some cases, this difference in communication can lead to misunderstandings and high tension. If your dog and cat are accustomed to each other and are socialized, they likely have figured out some sort of communication between the two of them. This communication can sometimes fail, no matter how comfortable they are with each other. Just like human siblings, sometimes tensions run high, and some hissing or scratching may occur.

cat and dog fighting
Image Credit: Moshe EINHORN, Shutterstock

Do Dog-Like Cats Think Dogs Are Cats?

Even dog-like cats are aware that dogs are different from themselves. Some cat breeds tend to have dog-like personalities, like Bengals and Maine Coons. This naturally occurs in these breeds without any environmental prompting.

If your cat was raised with dogs, they may take on some of the behaviors and habits the dogs exhibit. Both dogs and cats can learn from the animals and people around them, so it’s not unusual for a cat to pick up some dog behaviors if they are raised from a young age with the dog. Even so, these cats are aware that dogs aren’t cats. They have instincts for the appropriate communication and actions of being a cat, and in most cases, environmental influences won’t supersede instincts.

Keeping Cats With Dogs

Keeping cats in a home with dogs can be perfectly safe in many situations, but you should take some things into consideration before you attempt it. Some dogs have a high prey drive, which can lead them to chase, and sometimes injure, small animals. This can occur with a cat, so consider your dog’s prey drive before attempting to introduce a cat to the home.

Slow introductions are the key to helping a cat adjust to a home with dogs. It may take some time for your cat and dog to warm up to each other. Cats are notoriously fickle and may take longer to warm up to a dog than a dog will to a new cat. In some cases, your cat may never fully take to your dog. This can be due to your cat recognizing that your dog isn’t a cat and having difficulty effectively communicating with your dog.

cat and dog together on sofa
Image Credit: New Africa, Shutterstock

cat paw divider

In Conclusion

Cats are intelligent and perceptive animals, so they are perfectly aware that dogs aren’t the same as they are. Your cat and dog may work together to find a means of communication between the two of them, but in some cases, your cat may simply choose to avoid your dog. Always maintain a safe environment for both pets, providing your cat with plenty of safe spaces away from the dog can help maintain a positive relationship between your pets.

thematic break

Featured Image Credit: New Africa, Shutterstock