Evalu Falatanoai, of Linwood High School, asks :-

Why do dogs chase cats?

Charlotte Yates, a veterinarian who is also a singer with the group 'When The Cat's Been Spayed', responded.

Because of the way dogs instinctively hunt. Dogs and cats are carnivores, literally 'eaters of flesh'. Different species of carnivores have evolved their own adaptations for catching and dispatching prey. Dogs kill differently from cats.

The dog evolved from the wolf, probably the grey wolf, and was the first animal to be domesticated by humans. Wolves developed group or pack hunting behaviour that allowed them to hunt and kill larger prey than they could individually. Wolves run for long distances, tiring their prey and then killing them with their teeth. Anatomically, wolves and hence the early breeds of dogs, developed long, light-weight legs with very strong back and abdominal muscles that allowed fast pursuit over long distances. That is, they evolved the ability and the desire to chase.

Cats are ambush killers, specialising in concealment. With the exception of the lion, members of the cat family hunt alone. They climb, jump, accelerate to maximum speed to pounce and kill by surprise. They use retractable claws to help catch and kill their dinner. A cat can pounce on a dog but wont chase it for long distances.

Different breeds of dogs have been breed to enhance or reduce different behavioural patterns with the result that some breeds are more likely to chase cats (or cars or birds or frisbees). For example, greyhounds have an extremely highly developed (and sometimes profitable) 'chase' instinct and German Shepherds are used by police forces to chase suspected criminals on command.

However, puppies that are raised with kittens are far less likely to chase cats in adult life.