Hepper is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

Why Does My Cat Slap My Dog? 3 Possible Reasons

Ashley Bates

By Ashley Bates

British shorthair cat playing with golden retriever dog

The dynamic between your cat and dog can be unique in its own right. Some of them have a love/hate relationship, others are best buddies, and some will remain rivals until death. So, if you have noticed there is a squabble amongst the ranks at home, you might wonder what is going on.

Your cat might react this way for several reasons. We’re going to go over some possibilities along with other ways to pinpoint what your cat is trying to convey.


Body Language Is Key

When trying to decipher any message our kitty companions are showing, check out their body language. Cats are highly expressive individuals that have no problem physically showing their emotions.

For example, if your cat is angry or annoyed, their eyes will likely be drawn back, they may be vocalizing under their breath, and their stance may appear crouched and tense. They may draw back, hiss, and growl at their opponent.

If they are playing, they might flick their tail, perk their ears, and flop onto their belly—ready to attack. In this mode, they might also paw or “slap” to entice play from another person or pet.

Cymric cat sitting with angry face
Image Credit: garmoncheg, Shutterstock

The 3 Possible Reasons Your Cat Might Slap Your Dog

Now, let’s get down to the nitty gritty—why exactly does your cat slap your dog? Well, other than the fact that they must have obviously deserved it, right? Here are a few reasons.

1. Your Cat Is Annoyed

Okay, okay—the pooch has had his fair share of fun—it’s time to knock it off! Your cat might just be done with the shenanigans, and your dog is wrecking their peace. Since they think they have a hierarchy over the lesser species, your cat must keep control of their reign!

Sometimes, the dog just needs to learn that no means no!

dog and cat fighting
Image Credit: asife, Shutterstock

2. Your Cat Wants Space

Maybe your cat just wants to enjoy the bliss of the hot sun rays baking them in the window sill or experience the comfort of a floor-level cat bed without canine disruption. Is it really such a crime to apply the personal space bubble?

Dogs seem to need help with personal space while cats usually welcome personal space (unless they are hungry or otherwise need you to fulfill a task).

3. Your Cat Is Trying to Play

If your cat seems in good spirits, they are probably just trying to antagonize the dog to provoke a romping session. If your cat typically likes to get your dog’s attention, this could be all it is. It might seem like they’re being aggressive, but they probably know what they’re doing.

If your dog seems bothered by it, you can try to intervene. If they get the message loud and clear, you can feel free to stay out of it.

Cat and dog are fighting
Image Credit: Anastasiya Tsiasemnikava, Shutterstock

hepper single cat paw divider

Cat vs. Dog Dynamics

We have to remember that our canines and felines are very different species. They each have completely different ways of reacting to environmental stimuli and displaying behaviors. So, sometimes, as you can imagine, it can be hard to get along.

Not only are cats and dogs different physiologically, they’re also quite different mentally. Sometimes, there can be issues that create conflict in the household. At other times, they will be best buddies and always play together.

It’s important to integrate the two slowly and patiently.

What to Do with Severe Aggression Cases

Cats and dogs not getting along is one thing—you can work with that. However, in some cases, there can be severe levels of aggression that can be very dangerous. While it may seem like dogs are more dangerous, cats can do their fair share of damage.

It is imperative that you take appropriate measures to ensure the safety of your pets. The proper treatment will depend on the aggressor and how the behavior transpires. Never leave the two unattended if any tension is present.

golden retriever and british shorthair cat
Image Credit: Chendongshan, Shutterstock

Introducing New Family Members

Anytime you introduce a new family member to another pet, there is likely to be a little bit of a squabble while the two get to know each other. Remember that this is a brand-new forced interaction where an existing pet has to share space with a new, funny-looking guest.

Remember to start the process slowly. Let the two feel the other out. Watch for signs of aggression and be ready to intervene—just in case. If your kitty is new and pawed at the dog, it might be out of fear of this first-time interaction.



Now you understand why your kitty might have been pawing your dog. Hopefully, this has nothing to do with aggression, and they can have fun playing with one another.

However, if aggression strikes or you’re having trouble getting them to get along, get creative with solutions. Don’t be afraid to consult a professional if you need to.

Featured Image Credit: Chendongshan, Shutterstock

Related Articles

Further Reading

Vet Articles

Latest Vet Answers

The latest veterinarians' answers to questions from our database