Can Cats and Dogs Mate?

Picture of a dog and cat under a blanket

Can cats and dogs mate? This might seem like an odd question, and possibly one that’s floated around in your brain but a query that you have never spoken aloud.  Especially if you think you have the perfect dog and the ideal cat, some owners of pets might wonder if there’s any conceivable way in the world that their cat and dog can mate and produce an even better offspring! We will examine this burning question in this post.

Why Can’t Cats and Dogs Mate?

If you haven’t already deduced the answer to the question, no, cats and dogs cannot mate. They are two different species that cannot produce a hybrid (although some different species, like lions and tigers, can produce hybrids like ligers, these species are more closely related than cats and dogs, which is why that is possible).

Differences between the two species of cats and dogs include:

  • Cats are members of the Felis catus species; dogs are members of the Canis lupus species.
  • Cats have 19 pairs of chromosomes; dogs have 39.
  • Cats cannot be impregnated by dogs, or vice-versa. The sperm of a cat cannot unlock the egg of a dog, and vice-versa. They can’t procreate, as their chromosomes don’t match.
  • Male cats have barbed penises while male dogs do not. A male cat who tried to mate with a female dog could injure the female dog.
  • Male cats are attracted to female cats because of their smell and sound. They won’t usually be attracted to a dog, who is from another species.
  • Likewise, female dogs will only mate with male dogs that they find attractive. They won’t be attracted to a cat.
  • Cats are carnivores; dogs can be omnivores (in other words, cats need meat because they cannot produce certain amino acids only available in meat proteins).
  • Cats can’t taste sweet foods; dogs can.
  • Cats can’t use the same medications as humans; dogs often can (depending upon the med, of course).
  • Cats who stop eating will develop liver disease quickly; dogs can stop eating without this occurring.

Why Does My Dog Try to Hump My Cat?

So, if it’s impossible for dogs and cats to mate, you might be wondering, why does your dog try to hump your cat? Dogs have a tendency to mount other living things and objects when they are in heat, but will also do so as a sign of dominance or aggression. It doesn’t always indicate that the dog wants to mate with whatever he’s humping. Dogs might mount other animals during play, or as a sign that your dog is stressed or anxious.

Cats have been known to mount dogs as well, but because of the size difference between them, this doesn’t happen as often. It also is not indicative of your cat wanting to mate with your dog if this does occur.

Neutering or spaying your cat and dog can usually deter this behavior, although it does not always stop it altogether. Distracting your dog when he mounts something undesirable (like your cat) is another way to prevent the behavior. Isolate your cat from your dog if this occurs repeatedly.

picture of a cat and dog

Do Dogs and Cats Hate Each Other?

This might seem like a question out of left field when we’re talking about cats and dogs and the possibility of mating, but it’s really not. You might think, since they cannot mate with each other, they must surely hate each other, right? Not necessarily.

Cats and dogs are different species, as we’ve discussed above. They do have different behaviors and different styles of communication. But they do not necessarily hate each other. Some cats and dogs who live under the same roof as part of a family become friendly and may even seem to care for each other.

There are major differences between the communication styles of cats and dogs that can make them seem as if they don’t like each other, however. These include:

  • Tails: Dogs wag their tails to express joy or friendliness. Cats swish their tails to show that they are irritated and might be about to hiss, scratch or bite. Each might interpret the other’s behavior wrong – for example, a cat might see a dog wagging its tail and assume it’s irritated, sending the cat into fight mode.
  • Body movements: Dogs jump around when excited, while cats don’t. Cats could misinterpret a dog jumping around and think that the dog is about to attack the cat. Cats might walk away from a playful dog, and the dog may run after the cat, thinking the cat wants to play. This can also start a fight between the two.
  • Eye contact: Cats like to maintain eye contact with other animals and humans. They express love by blinking. Dogs, on the other hand, may view eye contact as a sign of dominance and see a cat maintaining eye contact with them as a threat.

Dogs and cats can come to understand each other and be friendly, however. Dogs and cats who are brought together when they are young and grow up together tend to get along better for a longer period of time.

Dogs may be more accepting of cats more quickly. It is recommended that pet owners of both allow the cat to come to the dog first, and not leave the two alone together until you know they are comfortable with each other.

Don’t try to rush your cat to accept a dog. Cats are not friendly by nature and will only come to the dog when they feel comfortable and ready to do so. Some pet experts recommend introducing the dog and cat during mealtime, keeping them on opposite sides of the room. Let them be able to smell each other but not see each other. This will make them each associate the other’s smell with food and happiness. When they do finally see each other, they will be less likely to fight.

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Susan Maphis

Susan Maphis

Susan Maphis lives in the northeastern corner of Maryland with her husband, daughter, dog (Lenore) and cat (Tabby). She has been a freelance writer and editor for over 20 years. Her work includes academic pieces, news and feature writing, blogging, briefs, educational writing, and reviews.

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