The question, “why don’t dogs like cats?” entered into a Google search, presupposes that dogs don’t like cats, which is not quite true because if a kitten is successfully socialised to a dog and vice-versa during the sensitive weeks when socialisation has great effect – 4-8 weeks-of-age for a kitten and 5-12 weeks for a puppy – both will usually be good friends for life depending upon the inherited character of the individuals. Some cats and dogs are predisposed to being friendly towards the other species. We have all seen some great videos and photos of warm relationships between cat and dog.
Nowadays there are millions of cats who are friends with millions of dogs for this reason. However, we do tend to have a vision of a dog chasing a cat. Perhaps some of that comes from early television and cartoons and of course in real life.
The question “why don’t dogs like cats?” is still wrong because it could just as easily be “why don’t cats like dogs?”.
Under everyday circumstances, in the past in the West (say over 100 years ago and more), when many cats and dogs lived much less pampered lives largely on the streets, they were competing for food. The quest for survival made them enemies of each other. This is still the case in many countries.
The dog is generally larger and would chase off a cat when fighting over food; although this scenario is far from a forgone conclusion. There is the classic scene of a dog chasing a cat giving the impression that dogs dislike cats when in truth the dog would have chased off any other species of animal intent on being a competitor for scraps of food. It is just that there were lots of cats and dogs so the main competition was between these species.
Also stray, roaming dogs would prey on kittens. This would have resulted in cats presenting as fearsome an image as possible towards dogs, and defending kittens, reinforcing the enmity between them.
Dogs being pack animals have good interpersonal communication skills. These skills would help avoid a fight between dogs over food. Accordingly, there were less occasions when a dog was seen chasing another dog. Cats can’t really communicate with dogs when competing for food so if both cat and dog are intent on standing their ground there will be a fight. Once again this reinforces the believe that these species dislike each other.
Are cats and dogs natural enemies? No, I believe, must be the answer. If there was a plentiful supply of food on the streets, in theory, there would be no need for dogs to chase cats or indulge in fighting over food.
However, the dog was domesticated well before the cat. Some experts argue it happened up to 30,000 years ago. The cat was domesticated around 10,000 years ago. The cat is an interloper. Perhaps over the centuries it has become hard-wired into the dog’s DNA that cats should be chased off as unwanted competitors for food.
Source: Why don’t dogs like cats?