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Why Cats Can Be Agressive Towards Dogs

 by jaime on 16 Oct 2014 |
1 Comment(s)
Many people mistakenly assume that cats and dogs will never mix. In fact, lots of cats and dogs are happy to coexist in a peaceful, calm manner, and some even become the best of friends. Unfortunately, cats can sometimes be found behaving in a hostile or aggressive way towards dogs. Here's what you need to know about the origins of this behavior and what you can do to promote harmony in your household.

Possible causes

Pre-emptive strikes: If your cat has just met your dog fairly recently, the aggression that you see may represent your cat's attempt to assert dominance before the dog has a chance to be the instigator of aggression.

Medical problems: When a previously affable cat suddenly starts behaving aggressively towards your dog, it's worth considering medical causes. For example, dementia in older cats may prompt angry or fearful behavior, as can other neurological problems. Sometimes, it can be as simple as diminished vision. If your cat can no longer see very well, you may see lashing out behavior due to feelings of vulnerability.

Stress: Your cat might feel like it is impossible to feel relaxed or safe around your dog, and the aggression may be a sign that the cat just wants the dog to remove itself from the environment (whether by choice or by force).

Communication differences: It's important to note that cats and dogs communicate in very different ways. Dogs typically bound up to potential new friends and show overt interest, but cats often find this behavior threatening. However, if a cat tries to escape from this scenario, the dog might interpret this movement as an attempt to play, prompting an aggressive response.

Possible solutions

Make sure the cat has safe places to go: Your cat may stop being overtly aggressive to your dog if the feelings of being threatened are eliminated. One way to help is to offer places like cat trees, where the cat can seek refuge from the dog without being followed.

Check out medical causes: In case there is an underlying medical cause, it is always wise to check out behavioral problems with your vet. As a bonus, your vet might have some tips and tricks about cat socialization.

Offer constant supervision: Since aggression can lead to serious physical fights between a cat and dog, you will need to police their interactions as long as the tension is present. You can also help to soothe the intimidated party and stop the pets from approaching each other in a negative way.

Make sure the dog knows that the cat's aggression is not acceptable: Your cat's aggression could lead your dog to become anxious or aggressive as well. It helps dogs to see their pack leader (i.e. you) verbally scold the cat for being aggressive, as this will promote feelings of safety in the dog. However, be kind to your cat as well, as aggression typically comes from some type of distress.

 

Comment(s)1

Linda Randall - Comment
Linda Randall22 Oct 2014Reply
What about a cat that is fiercely aggressive to other cat but friendly with my dog? This hasn't changed in 3 yes. She hates him. Any hope of peace?

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Sarah Loyacano
Sarah Loyacano
Louisiana/USA
17 Oct 2018
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