Can Cats And Dogs Mate?

cat and dog
© Bachkova Natalia/

Written by Shaunice Lewis

Published: October 6, 2022

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If you’re an owner of both cats and dogs, you may have found yourself wondering at some point, if it was possible for cats and dogs to mate. The simple answer to this question would be no, cats and dogs cannot mate with each other or produce any offspring. Let’s go over the reasons why this isn’t possible.

Why Can’t Cats and Dogs Mate?

Can dogs and cats mate?

It is not possible for cats and dogs to produce viable offspring even if they did attempt to mate with each other


Cats and dogs cannot mate because they do not share enough similar DNA to do so. They are both different species of animals that will rarely even attempt to mate one another. In the case of some hybrid species from pairs such as horses and donkeys (mules), lions and tigers (ligers), they share enough similar DNA in order to create a hybrid offspring.

When hybrid offspring are produced from one of these types of pairings, it is because the DNA from the parents is similar enough to one another that a hybrid offspring is possible. The parents share enough complementary DNA and they have enough of the same sequence of base pairs. This allows new DNA to be formed. In other words, their DNA was close enough in similarity in order to produce offspring.

In the case of cats and dogs, they do not share enough similar DNA to produce offspring. For one, they will not be able to successfully physically mate. However, even if they did, it would be impossible to produce offspring due to the lack of similar DNA.

Chromosomal Differences

Cats have 38 chromosomes (19 pairs), while dogs have 78 chromosomes (39 pairs). As we mentioned above, species that are similar and able to produce hybrid offspring will have similar DNA meaning they will have matching numbers of chromosome pairs. Since cats and dogs don’t have the same number of chromosome pairs it would be impossible for them to produce offspring.

Differences in Mating Behavior

cat with kittens

Cats and dogs have different mating behavior and reproductive systems which means they rarely show interest in mating with each other

©Esin Deniz/

It’s also important to note that cats and dogs have different mating behaviors and signals. Cats and dogs do not recognize each other’s mating signals. They also will go into heat at different times. Animals use mating signals to know when it is time for them to mate, and if two species are operating on different mating patterns, the signals will not be understood by one another. Cats and dogs do not display an interest in mating with one another as well. Cats’ and dogs’ reproductive systems are very different too. For example, a dog’s sperm is not able to fertilize a cat’s egg (or vice versa).

Dietary Differences

There are even dietary differences that would prevent any possible offspring from being able to survive. Even though the DNA differences between dogs and cats make it impossible for them to reproduce, and even if by some chance it were possible, the offspring wouldn’t be able to survive as cats’ diets and digestive systems are so different than dogs.

Cats are obligate carnivores. This means that they need meat in their diet in order for them to survive. On the other hand, dogs are known as omnivores. This means that they require both plants and meat in their diets. The digestive tracts in dogs differ from that in cats and they both require different types and amounts of nutrients in order to survive and be healthy, meaning that no offspring can be created by the two as their dietary needs would be completely incompatible.

Why Do Dogs Attempt to Mount Cats?

Catahoula bulldog

Dogs sometimes attempt to mount cats, but it is usually only in play

©Mary Swift/

Sometimes dogs will attempt to mount cats. If you’ve noticed this behavior, one of your first thoughts is that the dog is attempting to mate with the cat. However, this may not entirely be the case. At first, it might appear that the dog is demonstrating this behavior as a signal for mating, however, sometimes dogs will do this as a way to display dominance or even to play. Even female dogs have been known to display mounting behavior, so it is not always tied to mating behaviors.

Mounting can be seen as a sign of displays of dominance, aggression, play, or status. But in the case of dogs mounting cats, it is highly unlikely that it is a sign of a mating attempt, as dogs do not mount cats for the purpose of reproduction. As stated above, it is impossible for dogs and cats to mate as their mating patterns and signals do not align.

How to Stop Mounting Behavior

Can cats and dogs mate - although they can't reproduce some dogs will try to mount the cat while playing

Ensuring your dog has plenty of ways to occupy itse;f can prevent it from trying to mount your cat

©Bildagentur Zoonar GmbH/

Even though dogs are more than likely not attempting to mate cats when they display mounting behavior, it is still important to know how to make the behavior stop, as it can lead to fighting and aggression between animals. Sometimes dogs will mount out of stress or anxiety as well, so its important to understand the source of the behavior.

The first key to discouraging mounting behavior is to make sure that your dog has other things to preoccupy itself with. The easiest way to do this is to be sure that your dog has plenty of fun toys to play with—especially for times when you are not there. Many times dogs will mount out of sheer boredom in an attempt to get the cat or other animal to play. If your cat is not in a very playful mood, you should be sure that your dog has other interactive toys to play with. These toys can encourage your dog to play and let out excess energy in other ways, rather than disturbing your cat.

You can also consider having your dog neutered. Neutering a dog can help reduce mounting behavior, but be aware that you shouldn’t have your dog neutered only to reduce mounting because this doesn’t always fully eliminate the behavior. However, neutering your dog has many other benefits besides reducing mounting behavior, so it is definitely something that should be considered.

In Conclusion

Dogs and cats are not able to mate with each other or reproduce any offspring due to the incompatibility of their DNA and other distinct differences. If you would like to reduce instances of mounting behavior between the two, try having a fun, interactive environment for them with plenty of toys and things that will keep them preoccupied. You can also consider having your dog spayed (female dogs are known to display this behavior as well) or neutered, which may help reduce the behavior to some degree.

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About the Author

Freelance writer specializing in natural health and wellness.

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