Friday, November 25, 2016

How to Deal with a Cat-Aggressive Pooch (Guest Post)

Do you have a dog who constantly attacks your cat, to the point that you’re afraid to leave them alone together? Does your home often feel more like a war-zone than a comfortable and inviting place? Dealing with an aggressive dog can be a stressful experience, especially if you have children in the house. Dogs can be aggressive in many different ways; if you have a cat or kitten and your dog is less-than-thrilled about it, here are some ways you can make your home a more peaceful environment.

Introducing your dog to your cat for the first time

If you’re just bringing a cat or kitten home to your resident dog, ease into the introductions. Leave your cat or kitten in its carrier and bring your dog over for a meet and greet. If your dog immediately shows signs of aggression, take him out of the room, and keep them separated for a day or so; then try the process again. It may take a few tries to get your dog used to the new addition.

Once they both have the run of the house, there may be territorial issues. After all, your dog was there first, and your cat will naturally want to rule over all of you, including the dog! Your cat’s instinct may be to run away when the dog is near, and that will encourage your dog to run after it, as they are natural predators. They may see the cat as prey and your pooch will go into predator mode.

Is your pooch just playing?

Most dogs, particularly puppies, are playful by nature. They may just be wanting to play with your cat, but don’t realize that they are being too rambunctious or aggressive. To help solve this, have your pets play together when you’ve taken your dog out for a walk, or when your dog’s energy level is not at its highest.

Show your animals plenty of love and affection

No matter how old your pets are, or how long you’ve had them, they will get along better if you show them plenty of love and affection. Try not to show favoritism – for instance, allow your cat on the couch, but not the dog; or ignore your cat while paying attention to your dog. They each need to feel loved and needed by you; yes, cats are much more independent and may not appear to like the extra attention, but in reality, they need to feel loved just as much as dogs.

Feeding Time

If your dog is showing signs of aggression, having their food dishes in the same room could exacerbate the problem. It’s best to keep their food in completely separate rooms. Investing in an automatic cat feeder, or dog feeder can provide timely meals as well as portion control.

When giving treats, never exclude on or the other if they’re both in the room. Always treat them equally. This will allow your dog to see the cat as less of a threat.

Is your dog a sociopath?

That may be an extreme diagnosis, but some dogs can suffer from anxiety, depression and anti-social behavior just like humans. The difference is that dogs don’t often have access to medication or therapy like humans do.

If your vet has diagnosed your dog with an extreme personality disorder, it may be best to keep them away from other pets, for the sake of all involved. There are sprays and plug-in pheromones that may help with the issue, but it’s best to talk to your vet before self-diagnosing.

Get your cat and dog at the same time

In a perfect world, you would get your cat and dog at the same time, preferably when they are about 6-8 weeks old. This way, they would grow up together and there wouldn’t be any territorial issues. They still may get aggressive with each other from time to time (think of sibling rivalry!) but generally, they would likely become the best of friends.

But of course, this is not a perfect world, and if you have a feline addition to your family, your dog may be less than impressed.

Always make sure that your pets are in a safe environment – i.e. fully supervised, while they get used to the new order of things. When you are away, put your cat in a separate room with a door that they can’t get out of, or crate your dog (although don’t start crating him just because of the cat, or he won’t understand why he’s being crated, and may end up being even more aggressive.)

The good news is, that once your dog gets used to his new ‘playmate’ things around the house should settle a bit. They may never be the best of friends, but they will tolerate each other and life won’t be a constant struggle.

Author Bio:

Annie is the founder of MeowKai, where she and her associates write about cat behavior, health issues, and tips and tricks on how to get your cat to behave! It concentrates on creating the best life for you and your cat so you can enjoy each other’s company and build that trust that is so important between pet and human.


  1. What an awesome read! You've described everything in such great detail.
    Thank you for posting, very informative!

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