If you have brothers and sisters, you know it’s completely natural for arguments to take place from time to time. OK…it’s completely natural for arguments to take place all the time! This doesn’t mean you don’t love each other, though.

It just means you spend a lot of time together and it’s only natural to have disagreements. You may even hear parents say their kids “fight like cats and dogs.”

“Fighting like cats and dogs” is a common phrase that people use to mean people argue, fight or don’t get along. If you like cartoons, you’ve probably seen many that portray cats and dogs fighting like sworn enemies. There have even been movies made that pit cats against dogs.

Are cats and dogs natural enemies that can never get along? Or is there hope for a truce between the members of the feline and canine species?

If you observe cats and dogs or ask people who own both cats and dogs, you will get lots of opinions on the subject. Cats and dogs will obviously fight from time to time. There is no doubt that some dogs will chase cats and maybe even harm them if given the chance.

However, people who own both dogs and cats will also tell you that they can easily be trained to get along. In fact, many will show you that dogs and cats can play together and even sleep curled up together.

As with many questions in life, there’s simply no easy answer to the question of whether dogs and cats can get along. Dogs and cats are different in many ways that can make it difficult for them to get along. However, with patience and the right circumstances, cats and dogs can be best buds.

For example, dogs tend to be social animals that are naturally playful. Cats, on the other hand, tend to be more independent. A dog that wants to play might seem aggressive and intimidating to a cat. This may lead the cat to defend itself against an attack that’s really just a desire to play.

Likewise, dogs — especially puppies — like to chase each other. It’s a fun game. Chasing cats can be just as fun as chasing other dogs…unless you’re the cat, of course. Again, cats may interpret such playful behavior as a threat.

Even something dogs and cats have in common — tails — can make things confusing. When a dog wags its tail, it’s sending a friendly message: “I’m happy. Let’s play.” Cats, however, wag their tails when they’re angry. You can see how this might lead cats and dogs to become confused if they’re facing each other with wagging tails!

Although dogs and cats aren’t really natural mortal enemies, dogs are hunters by nature. This means that they might hunt and chase anything that moves — including a cat. This natural behavior that could cause problems between dogs and cats can be controlled by special training — called socialization — when the animals meet for the first time.

Although there are many natural barriers to interaction between cats and dogs, it is possible for them to get along. It just takes time, patience and a desire for feline/canine harmony. And even if they get along for a while, it doesn’t mean that they won’t have spats from time to time…just like you and your brothers and sisters!

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    • Happy Tuesday, TJ! We’re really glad you liked today’s Wonder about cats and dogs getting along! Thanks for letting us know that! We can’t wait to check out tomorrow’s Wonder, too, to see if your guess about moving is correct! Have a SUPER day! :-)

      • I LOVE cats! I personally think cats are the best animal. Dogs and cats can get along. When my mom was a child, she had a lot of pets. She had a newborn puppy and kitten at the same time. They grew up together, and got along!

        • You are right, Sasha! Dogs and cats can get along, especially if they are raised together. Thanks for sharing with us today! :-)

  1. Hi Wonderoplis Happy Tuesday

    I have a border collie named Willy. But we like to call Willy Willy Wonka. Since one, Willy was on a farm, he does not like cats, ducks and horses. We went to the woods once and willy chased a duck we found in a cave.

    bye bye

    • Thanks for sharing about your WONDERful dog, Willy Wonka, Julie! He sounds like he enjoys having FUN, is full of energy and is a GREAT pet! :-)

  2. I was thinking we should let my cat go to our friend’s house to visit their dog, Ruby, and see of they can get along. I would like to have a pet dog. :-)
    I was WONDERing if we could teach my cat to lick a mouse because she always kills them, and once she killed a bird.

  3. In the video the dog seems tired. Maybe he is being weighed down by the cat and the rat.
    It is interesting that dogs are called canines and we have canine teeth. :-)

    • Hi, Charlie! We think it’s really nice that you are worried about the dog in the video. Maybe he walks a lot with his cat and rat friends on his back and this video was made at the end of the day when he was tired from all the exercise he got that day. We also think it’s AWESOME that you are WONDERing about the different ways we use the word, “canine.” It IS interesting to think about that! Thanks for helping US WONDER today! :-)

    • Thanks for letting us know what you think tomorrow’s Wonder of the Day® will be about, “Wonder!” We’re glad you stopped by Wonderopolis today! :-)

  4. I have two cats, Minou and Smokey. My family calls Minou Nouness and Smokey hotstuff. I used to call Minou Noodle because she was skinny as a noodle. I’ve known that Minou and Smokey both do not like cats and dogs. Great wonder! :lol:

    • We really liked hearing about Minou and Smokey, Julie! Thanks for sharing some cool facts about your cats and also for letting us know you thought today’s Wonder was GREAT! :-)

    • Thank you so much for sharing about your pets, Abbey! We’re sorry your bunny ran away, but we appreciate you telling us that Charlie, Suzie and the bunny all got along well! We hope you have a GREAT day! :-)

    • WOW! That was a super cool video on your class blog, Room 16! Thank you for sharing it with us! It was amazing to see a cat and a bird get along like that! We really appreciate hearing that you love exploring and learning in Wonderopolis together…that makes our day! We WONDER what tomorrow’s Wonder of the Day® will be about, too! :-)

  5. I have 2 dogs, but they are really nice and friendly. They probably don’t chase cats, but they do chase birds, ducks, squirrels and other moving things like my toy car. They also chase each other.

    • It sounds like you have some WONDERful animal friends, Carlos. Thank you for sharing how great your two dogs get along with others! :)

    • Hi there, Mrs. Bridges– we’re so glad you’re visiting Wonderopolis! WELCOME! We look forward to WONDERing with you and your students soon– have a SUPER day! :)

  6. I love dogs! I have a yellow lab and a chihuahua. My dogs go bananas when they see a cat!!! I’m not a big fan of cats also.

    • WOHOO, we love your enthusiasm for dogs, Ellie! We think it’s fun to see our pets in action– especially when they have a fun time safely chasing cars! Thanks for sharing your connection to our pet-riffic Wonder– we are glad you’re here! :)

    • Very cool and good to know, Phoenix! We are glad to hear that your pets get along nicely– we think they probably really enjoy the house they live in… and the people they live with, too! :)

  7. I know dogs can get along with cats, I have three cats and two dogs, (even if the dogs chase my cats), same with my friend Phoenix, (she commented above me). :D

  8. The video and the article are so beautifully done! This is perfect to use for CCSS in elem. Thank you so much for your wonderful work.

    • Well thanks so much, Mrs. B! We’re glad to hear that you’re using your Wonderopolis in your classroom! You’ve got some lucky students! Have a SUPER day! :)

  9. Hi Wonderopolis. My name is Juliana and I’m in Mrs. Caplin’s fifth grade class. One really interesting fact that I learned was that the phrase ” fighting like cats and dogs” means people argue, fight, or don’t get along. A word that I liked was “desire” because it’s a good vocabulary word to use in a story. In my next story I write I will use the word desire. I have a connection to my cousins having a dog and a cat and I remember watching them fight. I love your wonders.

    • Hey there, Juliana123! We think it’s cool that you learned the true meaning of our Wonder! We hope you have a great time writing your story, too! :)

  10. Of course they do. My dog and cat get along well. (However my cat is younger and energetic, so she likes to pretend she’s wrestling my dog which gets her into what we call “zoom zoom” mode where she runs all around the house like a lightning bolt).

    • We’re glad to hear that your pets get along, Tyler! It’s probably because they live with a WONDERful family that cares for them so well! :)

    • Thank you so much for sharing your comment, Kate! We’re thrilled to hear that you are having such a great time WONDERing with us! We Wonder if you have a cat or dog as a pet? :)

    • How awesome, Wonder Friend Gennse! It’s great to hear that all your pets get along– they must live in a very WONDERful home! Thanks for helping to answer our Wonder! Keep up the great work! :)

    • That’s SUPER news, Room 119! Thank you for sharing your comment with us, it’s so much fun to Wonder about animals of all sorts! :)

  11. I love animals especially cats, dogs, fish, and turtles. They’re all awesome their names are emma, ziggy, tobby, buster, and swimmy.

  12. The video was cute and funny. We learned that rats, cats and dogs can get along. They can be pets and grow up together and get along. People don’t have to fight even if they are different. Sometimes we all fight once in a while. It made us smile when the pet owner talked about making others smile.

    • WOHOO, our Wonder Friends in Mrs. LaLonde’s Class are here today! YIPPEE!

      Thank you for sharing your comment with us today, it’s great to know that lots of different animals can get along! We like that you mentioned that people fight once in a while, but we have to remember that it’s more important to get along with one another! We’re all unique in different ways! Thanks for sharing your WONDERful comment, Mrs. LaLonde’s Class! See you soon! :)

    • That’s so WONDERful that your cat and dog get along, Bri! We bet you have a ton of fun with both of them! Thanks for WONDERing with us! :)

  13. I learned that cats and dogs can grow a bond and also can be frenimes that means they do nice stuff and still are mean to them so I cant say their besties but they can be “nice”

  14. I have 2 cats and they hide at any sign of a dog in their presence even though dogs haven’t done anything to them? Why?

    • There can be several reasons why cats might be afraid of dogs, Samantha, and different reasons why dogs might be afraid of cats! Thanks for Wondering with us.

    • Hi Jamiah and portia! Of course, cats and dogs can get along! It just takes patience. They are like us and have disagreements sometimes! :)

    • Welcome, cj! We are glad you enjoyed this WONDER. We think it is always fun learning about cats and dogs. Have a WONDERful day! :)

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Have you ever wondered…

  • Can dogs and cats get along?
  • Are cats and dogs natural enemies?
  • What does it mean to fight like cats and dogs?

Wonder Gallery

Try It Out

Can cats and dogs get along? Sure they can! It just might take a little work on your part if you have both dogs and cats as pets. Here are some helpful ideas to try as you seek to create harmony amongst your pets:

  • Take your time! Animals need time to adjust and get used to other creatures. Don’t force interaction too quickly.
  • Reward positive behavior. As your animals begin to interact, praise them for being nice to each other and offer treats for particularly-good behavior.
  • Create a safe place for your animals. While they’re getting to know each other, your animals might need a break from each other from time to time. Make sure your animals have a safe, quiet place they can retreat to if they need some personal space.
  • Get in the middle! As you begin to introduce your pets to each other, hold one animal while the other is slowly introduced. Let them both know that you’re involved in the process and help them get to know each other while you’re there to oversee things.
  • Let your animals get used to the fact that other animals are around. You can do this by mixing the smells of the animals throughout the house. For example, if you sit your cat’s food bowl on a rug, rub the rug on your dog, so that your cat gets used to your dog’s smell and will accept it.

Still Wondering

It’s raining cats and dogs! In ReadWriteThink’s Figurative Language: Teaching Idioms lesson, children explore figurative language through read-alouds, teacher modeling and student-centered activities.

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