Dogs often attempt to play with or chase cats, but they do not hate them. Dogs have a wide variety of behavioral responses to cats. Some dogs are quick to chase virtually any cat they see, others play and cuddle with those that wish to, and some have little interest in cats at all. In general, dogs that chase cats do so because of a high innate prey drive.

For dogs with a high prey drive, cats are no different from any other small, prey-like creature: They are potential prey. Accordingly, such dogs chase cats on sight, just as they chase squirrels, chipmunks and birds. This tendency is often most common among herding breeds, which normally have high prey drives. Dogs that lack such high prey drives may still be compelled to chase cats, or any other animals, that run.

Many dogs enjoy spending time with cats and may treat them as they treat other dogs. It is difficult to predict which dogs and cats are likely to get along and which ones are likely to fight, so introductions must always be performed under close supervision. An owner should never restrain a cat when making introductions because the cat may become nervous from the restriction and attempt to flee.