Here's a strange thought that might have run through your head at some point: Can dogs and cats mate? Is it even biologically possible?
It sounds farfetched, given our understanding and misunderstandings of these animals. Throughout history, humans have pegged cats and dogs as mortal enemies. Take the saying "Fight like cats and dogs" as an example!
We now know that felines and canines can coexist without any issues. Many pet owners document the seemingly unnatural bond these animals form when they live under the same roof. It's a thing of beauty!
But what about the possibility of pregnancy?
It's not uncommon to see a dog mounting a cat. While rare, the vice versa is possible, too. So, can pregnancy occur and birth a strange hybrid offspring? Let's dive in and find out.
Can Dogs Get Cats Pregnant?
We'll cut to the chase:
It is not possible for a dog to get a cat pregnant. Cats can't get dogs pregnant, and it's biological for these two animals to procreate and produce offspring.
Any behavior that looks like mating is nothing more than playing or aggression. More on that later.
Cats and dogs belong to entirely different species groups. Biologically, the animals are not the same and don't have the same reproductive processes. Even if mating did occur, nothing would come of it.
Why Cross-Species Breeding Among Cats and Dogs Isn't Possible
There are many reasons why dogs can't get cats pregnant. Science doesn't lie, and far too many things are working against this oddball animal pairing to result in actual offspring.
Without getting too deep into the scientific jargon, the main thing that prevents cats and dogs from reproducing is a prezygotic barrier.
Think of a prezygotic barrier as a biological mechanism that blocks fertilization. The barrier prevents zygotes from forming, making the creation of a cat/dog hybrid impossible.
Prezygotic barriers can include many factors. Let's look at some of the most significant.
They Belong to Totally Difference Species
These two animals have gone through centuries of domestication and may share many similar behaviors because of it. But don't let that fool you. These two animals have entirely different genetics.
Their DNA is unique, making it impossible for a dog's sperm to fertilize a cat's egg.
That would be like trying to mate a crocodile with an elephant. The two aren't genetically compatible, making pregnancy impossible. Even in lab settings, it can't happen.
There are a few claims of cat and dog cross-species breeding. However, those claims occurred nearly a century ago and have since been debunked. Photos used as proof of those experiments were proven to be doctored, and no scientist has successfully recreated it since!
The science community understands prezygotic barriers better these days, and it all comes down to knowledge of DNA and genetics.
But what about hybrid breeds?
It's possible to create brand-new dog and cat breeds. Look at the popularity of the Goldendoodle or Pomksy! In the feline world, cross-breeds like the Bengal and Savannah Cats are famous.
These cross-breeds have one thing in common: They stay within the species.
A Golden Retriever and a Poodle can get pregnant and produce the Goldendoodle because they both belong to the Canidae species family. While they have genetic differences, their DNA is still unmistakably canine.
There's a limit to cross-breeding. While intraspecies breeding is possible, interspecies breeding, like trying to combine the DNA of a cat and a dog, is impossible.
Another thing that makes cat and dog mating impossible are different chromosome counts.
Chromosomes are thread-like matter that holds DNA information. When an egg is fertilized, the resulting offspring will have two copies of each parent's chromosome. During the process of cell division, that DNA needs to remain intact.
Here's the problem: Dogs have a total of 78 chromosomes in 39 pairs. Meanwhile, cats only have 38 in 19 autosomal pairs. That's a lot of missing DNA information between the two! Because the chromosome count is so different, zygotes, or fertilized egg cells, cannot develop.
It stops the development cycle of a new offspring before it begins. Once again, it all comes down to a lack of biological compatibility.
Varying Reproductive Cycles and Mating Rituals
Finally, dogs and cats can't mate because their rituals and biological processes are different.
Cats have a unique mating ritual, and they only reproduce at specific times of the year. They're known as seasonal breeders. That's not the case with dogs. They can have babies at any time!
But even still, the differences in how these animals reproduce make them inherently incompatible.
Why Is My Dog Humping My Cat? (or Vice Versa)
So now that you know that dogs and cats can have babies let's talk about why it looks like they're trying.
The truth is that animals don't view those "mating" behaviors the same way as humans do. Humans have a pretty focused idea of what sex is and what it leads to. But it's different in the animal kingdom.
Canines and felines can mount other animals and begin humping. However, it doesn't mean that they're trying to mate.
Here are some possible reasons your dog might hump your cat or vice versa.
A Display of Dominance
In most cases, humping is a show of dominance. It's more common in dogs, and you can observe the behavior in the wild.
Canines use humping as a way to show weaker animals their place. Male dogs can hump other male dogs, and female pack leaders can hump female followers. That doesn't mean they're mating. It's the ultimate display of "who's the boss."
You may even experience your dog trying to hump your leg! It's the same thing. They're trying to dominate you! (That's something you should address with a trainer.)
Dogs are social animals with a pack mentality. Even if they're the only dog living in the home, they think of their family in a social hierarchy. At the very top of that pyramid is the alpha.
Alphas will regularly hump the rest of the dogs to show that they are the true leaders. Most other dogs will roll on their backs and show their bellies to submit.
When you see your dog humping your cat, it likely has nothing to do with mating and everything to do with dominance.
Stress can do crazy things to both dogs and cats. We see these animals as innocent pets. But they can encounter mental troubles like humans.
When your pet feels stress or anxiety, they often use humping as a way to cope. It's strange and doesn't make much sense from a human standpoint, but it's more of a reactionary behavior. Think of it as a distraction or a compulsive act.
In most cases, the humping joins a myriad of other oddball actions. Your dog might pace around, bark at all hours of the day, eat less than usual, and more. If you suspect stress is to blame, consider contacting your vet or a trainer to address it.
Boredom is another thing to blame. This reasoning affects both cats and dogs.
When you leave these animals up to their own devices, they quickly get into trouble! Sometimes, boredom leads to destructive behaviors like chewing. But it can also lead to humping.
Dogs may do this to seek attention. It can also be a coping mechanism to relieve boredom and get a little stimulation. To your dog, it’s nothing more than innocent play, no matter how weird it seems. They’re simply trying to entertain themselves.
The best thing you can do is find ways to keep your pets entertained while you're away. Invest in mental stimulation toys, puzzle feeders, and more to ensure they're fulfilled and happy.
Is your cat or dog super excitable? Some pets can't help but go crazy whenever something new happens! They can go into a fit when you get home from work, whenever someone visits, or when you pull out a brand-new toy.
Like anxiety and boredom, excitement can lead to some puzzling behaviors. Humping is one of them.
Humping is a strange coping mechanism that helps them release pent-up energy and relax. It's odd, but it's one of those things we don't fully understand about cats and dogs. If excitable behavior becomes problematic, don't hesitate to speak with a behaviorist.
Possible Medical Concerns
Finally, humping could be a product of health issues or hormones.
Male cats and dogs are usually the worst affected because of climbing testosterone levels. If your pets aren't neutered, testosterone levels can make male felines and canines go crazy!
They can get aggressive and start humping everything they see. That includes you, your couch, and even pets of another species.
Females can be just as bad. If you have an unspayed female in heat, they'll likely welcome the attention of a male.
Speak to your vet about spaying and neutering. These procedures can dramatically reduce hormonal issues, making your pets more even-tempered.
How to Stop Mounting and Humping Behavior
At first glance, humping may seem like an innocent enough behavior. Ask anyone who owns dogs and cats, and they'll tell you how common it is for the animals to chase one another until one "wins" and mounts the other.
It's a form of play and shows excellent rapport between the animals.
However, it can lead to problems. That playfulness can eventually lead to real pain and discomfort. Dogs and cats are built differently and should not be humping one another.
Cats have barbed penises that could severely harm a dog. And a large dog can injure a cat.
Don't Show Favoritism
If you notice humping from either species, put a stop to it as soon as possible. The longer you let the behavior continue, the worse it can get but don't take sides, and remember that humping is usually not an attempt at mating.
Taking the side of one animal can show favoritism, creating some negative influences that will be hard to shake.
The best thing you can do is provide obedience training. Give commands that tell your animals to stop and use positive reinforcement to reward your pets for good behavior.
If necessary, get help from a professional trainer! They can smooth things over and encourage your pets to work things out and cohabitate without the crazy rough-housing and mounting.
A Final Word
A dog can't get a cat pregnant, and any behavior that looks like the animals mating is usually nothing more than dominant expression or play. But it would be best if you still stopped it from happening. It's not healthy behavior.
It might seem OK initially, but that rough play can lead to serious problems if you don't stop it. Do yourself a favor and train your pets not to mount one another.
Encourage playfulness in other ways. You don't have to make your cat and dog mortal enemies! But putting an end to humping can ensure you keep the peace in your home.
Also read: How to Tell if Your Dog is Pregnant?