Can A Dog Fall In Love With A Cat?

Beagle dog and brown cat.
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Humans aren't the only ones looking for love! Our four-legged furry friends require just as much love and attention as we do, and they deserve it! As much as our pets love us (and vice versa), can they fall in love with each other? What are they to do if their humans are out on a romantic date? If the dog and cat are left home alone will it be war, or can canines and felines live in peace?

Even more, is it possible for a dog to fall in love with a cat? We sure hope so because how adorable!

Don't cats and dogs ... fight like cats and dogs?

The phrase "fighting like cats and dogs" doesn't come from nowhere. Dogs and cats have a reputation of not getting along and this stereotype isn't completely false. The problems between canine and feline usually come from dogs chasing cats.

"The most common problem with dogs and cats in the same household is dogs chasing cats ... the dog needs to learn self control ... and also that the owner is the one to set the rules," explains pet behaviorist, Liza Palika. Pet owners must never allow their dogs to chase their cats. Some dog breeds are better with kitties while others should definitely be kept away. But once this obedience is learned and the two are cohabitating in harmony, can this agreeableness grow to love?

Dog and cat best friends playing together outdoor. Lying on the back on the grass.
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The love hormone.

Like humans, dogs release a "love hormone" called oxytocin. According to Dr. Paul Zak, who conducted a study on dogs and cats and their ability to love, "when owners interact with their dogs, the human and the dog appear to release oxytocin." This same hormone is also released by cats, just not as much. The oxytocin levels released by dogs increases by an average of 57.2 percent when they play with their owners. In the same study, cats increased oxytocin levels by only 12 percent. This means that dogs experience more love while interacting with their humans than cats do and this could be true for dog/cat interactions as well.

cat and dog together. Cute Pets. Portrait
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Dogs and their big 'ol hearts.

It's more likely that a dog would fall in love with a cat than vice versa. If our canine companions find so much enjoyment when playing and snuggling with us humans, why wouldn't the same be true when they play and snuggle with kitties? According to Dr. Marc Bekoff, a researcher and former professor of animal behavior and behavioral ecology at University of Colorado, Boulder, animals show love in many of the same ways humans do. He says, "If you define love as a long-term commitment-meaning they seek one another out when they're apart, they're happy when they're reunited, they protect one another ... then of course non-human animals love each other."

British cat and Golden Retriever
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We can't scientifically say that dogs can fall in romantic love with cats but if you have a dog that is excited to see his kitty housemate, protects her and misses her when she's away at the groomers, who are we to say this isn't love? Maybe the next time you catch your dog chasing your cat, it's simply because he's in love! Awww. Hearts melted.