We love our dogs for their quirky, whimsical behavior. Our dogs can go from calm and collected to wildly excited over the most random things. One of those things can be cats. If you have a cat and dog at home, you definitely know what we’re talking about. Cats easily grab a dog’s attention, sometimes leading to a chase. These moments all have us, pet owners, wondering – why do dogs like to chase cats?
We can’t just ask our dogs why they love to chase cats. So, we decided to do a little investigating to find out exactly why…
Let’s dive into all the reasons why do dogs chase cats!
A Dog’s Instincts
No matter how cuddly and cute your dog may be, dogs are inherently hunters. It makes sense, as dogs are direct descendants of wolves. These wild animals have amazing sensory skills to spot their prey.
Just because we may have domesticated our ‘wolves,’ doesn’t make them any less of a predator! Dogs still have the same prey drive they did when they were once wolves. Over time, humans assisted in adapting this prey drive. This is why we have many breeds today that we know specifically as hunters or herders. These breeds, in particular, have extremely strong prey drives that you can notice today. You can see it in an adorable Beagle or an adventurous Labrador retriever!
Even though we may have domesticated our dogs, doesn’t mean this prey drive completely disappeared. Every dog has a drive inside of them that easily activates when a small, furry animal is around. Have no fear – this doesn’t mean that your dog necessarily wants to attack a cat. Instead, it’s an instinctual nature to follow something that could be prey. Dogs have very similar reactions to other small creatures, like squirrels, chipmunks, or even birds!
The Playful Nature of Dogs
If there’s one thing we know about dogs, it’s that they love to play games. We can see our dogs’ ancestral hunting drive awaken when playing fetch. We throw a toy and our dogs have to get it. There isn’t anything stopping them from finding the toy, even if it means jumping into a lake!
Dogs, as we know, are witty animals. They quickly catch onto the whole purpose of fetch – to bring the toy back! While we may have to train them with treats so that they commit to the game, dogs easily overlook their hunting drive to have some fun. The toy to them isn’t something they want to attack. It’s part of a fun game they get to play with their human best friend!
Seeing this nature in dogs reminds us that our dogs love to play around. This helps us solve the mystery behind why do dogs like to chase cats. For a dog, chasing a cat can be at first a little instinctual. But, a lot of times, dogs just want to play.
How to Keep Your Dog from Chasing Cats
Chasing cats can be instinctual, but it can get out of hand. We are dealing with animals here who can’t exactly voice their problems to us. It’s our job to observe our animals and ensure they aren’t doing any harm to any other creatures around them. This is especially true if you have both a cat and dog at home.
It is extremely important to prevent your dog from chasing cats if it happens often. Both cats and dogs are very willing to defend themselves. No one wants their dog or cat to be injured during a chase that could have been prevented.
So, how do you prevent your dog from chasing cats? Teaching your dog to maintain physical distance from a cat is the first step. This is especially true if you have both a dog and cat at home. If your dog reacts crazily when a cat is around, the next step is to train your dog to sit or stay whenever a cat is around. Give your dog a treat or a reward when your dog follows through. This kind of positive reinforcement can help your dog stay put whenever a cat walks by, saving you a lot of stress.
There isn’t one answer to why do dogs chase cats. If dogs could talk, then maybe there’d be one! All we can do is observe our dogs and analyze their nature. No matter how sweet your dog is, it’s always best to be cautious when introducing him to a cat – it may spark a crazy chase that you didn’t see coming!
Want to learn about some dog breeds that are known to love cats? Learn them here!