Austin frightened by dogs on TV

misty8723

TCS Member
Thread starter
Top Cat
Joined
Jan 16, 2006
Messages
5,098
Reaction score
1,734
Location
North Carolina
This started recently, maybe a couple weeks ago Austin, DH , and I were lounging on the bed watching TV. All of a sudden Austin flew over the top of me, jumped on the nightstand, and scattered everything all over. I went down the hall looking for him and he was under the bed, tail puffed up. Had a hard time getting him to come out. When he did, I petted on him for awhile, then picked him up and carried him back toward the bedroom. He was reluctant, but I showed him around that everything was okay and he settled down. I had absolutely no idea what scared him. I did look around trying to figure it out. The rest of the night was peaceful.

A couple nights later he started doing that again, and we realized there was commercial on with dogs jumping around and barking. We quickly turned the channel and he calmed down out in the hallway. We started trying to be vigilant about that commercial, but last night in the family room, he was on the couch. Suddenly got scared acting again and it turns out there was a dog in a commercial, barely moving, not barking. Once we turned it he was okay.

So, any ideas why he suddenly scared by tv dogs when he never was before? He has not had an encounter with a dog since he's been in our house (about a year). I have no idea what he encountered in his previous house but, like I said, he's never been frightened by tv dogs since he's been here.
 

jefferd18

Ms. Jeff's Legacy
Top Cat
Joined
Jul 2, 2019
Messages
1,640
Reaction score
794
Dogs are a cat's natural enemy and if Austin had a bad experience with one in his past he will act very frighten if he hears one barking.

My Jeff had been a feral cat when I first met her, so who knows how many dogs had chased and treed her in the past. All I knew was that she absolutely despised dogs.
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #3

misty8723

TCS Member
Thread starter
Top Cat
Joined
Jan 16, 2006
Messages
5,098
Reaction score
1,734
Location
North Carolina
Dogs are a cat's natural enemy and if Austin had a bad experience with one in his past he will act very frighten if he hears one barking.

My Jeff had been a feral cat when I first met her, so who knows how many dogs had chased and treed her in the past. All I knew was that she absolutely despised dogs.
The issue here is that this just started. He's been here a year and not bothered by dogs on tv until a couple weeks ago. And he reacted to a dog in a commercial who was NOT barking two days ago He doesn't react (or hasn't reacted) to our neighbor's dog when she's out, and she is a little yapper.

Austin hasn't had a bad experience with a dog since he's been here - we have not had any dogs in the house and he has not been outside.

Also, I don't think dogs and cats are "natural enemies." When I was a kid, we had a dog who would babysit our cats kittens while she went out to hunt or whatever she did. Also know other dogs and cats who get along great.
 

rubysmama

Forum Helper
Staff Member
Forum Helper
Joined
Nov 25, 2013
Messages
15,287
Reaction score
30,092
Location
Canada
That's a puzzling one, for sure.:headscratch: I wonder if something else might have startled him at the same time the commercial came on, and he's getting form of re-directed aggression. Re-directed Aggression In Cats
 

FeebysOwner

TCS Member
Top Cat
Joined
Jun 13, 2018
Messages
10,420
Reaction score
13,343
Location
Central FL (Born in OH)
He doesn't react (or hasn't reacted) to our neighbor's dog when she's out, and she is a little yapper.
Has he seen the neighbor's dog since this started? If not, see if you can't test his reaction to her. If he is not reacting at all to her, then there is something else that happened at the time of the dog commercial that he is correlating it with - as rubysmama rubysmama suggested.
Any chance your neighbor had visitors over to their place with a large, loud dog? Maybe that dog saw him, barked at him, and freaked him out?

I know you said he reacted to a dog on tv that wasn't even barking or hardly moving, but for now perhaps you can just 'mute' the tv every time ANY commercial starts and see if that helps any. With any luck it will subside soon!
 

Hellenww

TCS Member
Alpha Cat
Joined
Mar 5, 2018
Messages
690
Reaction score
957
Location
South Jersey, USA
I wonder if the trainer/handler is usung something with the dogs that your cat can hear and it bothers him. My grandmother had dog whistles that she tried to use for dog training. I was about 4 and was in a car accident that cause hard of hearing. I could understand people if I looked at them but couldn't hear a word on the phone. Those dog whistles hurt my ears. All the other humans said they couldn't hear them and the 2 dogs didn't respond. On some news programs there is a noise in the background that annoys me and Sqeeker. My partner doesn't hear it and Yoshi doesn't act like anything is bothering him.
 

jefferd18

Ms. Jeff's Legacy
Top Cat
Joined
Jul 2, 2019
Messages
1,640
Reaction score
794
Also, I don't think dogs and cats are "natural enemies." When I was a kid, we had a dog who would babysit our cats kittens while she went out to hunt or whatever she did. Also know other dogs and cats who get along great.




If they grow up together it is fine, but they are natural enemies. "Since he has been here"- what about before,. how old is Austin?
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #8

misty8723

TCS Member
Thread starter
Top Cat
Joined
Jan 16, 2006
Messages
5,098
Reaction score
1,734
Location
North Carolina
That's a puzzling one, for sure.:headscratch: I wonder if something else might have startled him at the same time the commercial came on, and he's getting form of re-directed aggression. Re-directed Aggression In Cats
That was what I thought, I looked all around and don't think I even realized about the dogs until the same commercial came on the next night and he reacted the same way. It hasn't been on again, so I don't know. We're trying to be super vigilant.
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #9

misty8723

TCS Member
Thread starter
Top Cat
Joined
Jan 16, 2006
Messages
5,098
Reaction score
1,734
Location
North Carolina
Has he seen the neighbor's dog since this started? If not, see if you can't test his reaction to her. If he is not reacting at all to her, then there is something else that happened at the time of the dog commercial that he is correlating it with - as rubysmama rubysmama suggested.
Any chance your neighbor had visitors over to their place with a large, loud dog? Maybe that dog saw him, barked at him, and freaked him out?

I know you said he reacted to a dog on tv that wasn't even barking or hardly moving, but for now perhaps you can just 'mute' the tv every time ANY commercial starts and see if that helps any. With any luck it will subside soon!
I don't know if he has seen Coco lately, she's an older dog and not out by herself or off a leash, so she wouldn't have come near the house to bark at him. As far as I can tell, I haven't seen any visitors with dogs at any of the neighbors - but I'm not home during the day. So who knows? For now, we're trying to be aware of what's on the tv if he's around and switch the channel quickly.
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #10

misty8723

TCS Member
Thread starter
Top Cat
Joined
Jan 16, 2006
Messages
5,098
Reaction score
1,734
Location
North Carolina
I wonder if the trainer/handler is usung something with the dogs that your cat can hear and it bothers him. My grandmother had dog whistles that she tried to use for dog training. I was about 4 and was in a car accident that cause hard of hearing. I could understand people if I looked at them but couldn't hear a word on the phone. Those dog whistles hurt my ears. All the other humans said they couldn't hear them and the 2 dogs didn't respond. On some news programs there is a noise in the background that annoys me and Sqeeker. My partner doesn't hear it and Yoshi doesn't act like anything is bothering him.
As far as I know, there is nobody nearby training any dogs. There's a tiny little dog about 2 doors up they take for walks in the cul de sac, never heard him bark. Coco is next door, she's an older dog and as I said, not out by herself. They take her for walks but she only barks if someone is out - like if I'm out in the yard she'll bark her head off, but if I go inside she stops. There were some bigger dogs across the street, but they moved out and I never saw them unless they were being taken for a walk.
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #11

misty8723

TCS Member
Thread starter
Top Cat
Joined
Jan 16, 2006
Messages
5,098
Reaction score
1,734
Location
North Carolina
"Since he has been here"- what about before,. how old is Austin?
Austin is maybe 2? 3? I just don't remember.
We know the volunteer who fostered him as a kitten, from the rescue where I volunteer. He was rescued from a kill shelter and fostered with 9 other kittens (some siblings, some not)
The rescue always dog test their cats with dogs who are friendly with cats. I'm assuming he did okay, because there was nothing in his paperwork to indicate that it could be an issue.
Austin was initially adopted around 6-8 months by a family who later brought him back because he was peeing outside the box. The rescue took him to the vet and he had a UTI, which they successfully treated.
We met him while he was recovering from that, and adopted him after he got over it, I guess around November of last year.
We don't have a dog, and no dog has ever been in this house. Austin has not been out of the house.
I can't speak to the other family who first adopted him, but if something happened to him there I would think he would have been reacting to the dogs on TV way before now.

Anyway, hopefully it's just a passing thing, I hate to see the little guy so scared.
 

rubysmama

Forum Helper
Staff Member
Forum Helper
Joined
Nov 25, 2013
Messages
15,287
Reaction score
30,092
Location
Canada
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #13

misty8723

TCS Member
Thread starter
Top Cat
Joined
Jan 16, 2006
Messages
5,098
Reaction score
1,734
Location
North Carolina
Poor little guy. Keep us posted on how he's doing. And, btw, if it's stress, maybe something in one of these TCS article might be helpful:

Is Your Cat Stressed Out?
You, Your Cat And Stress | TheCatSite
Potential Stressors In Cats - The Ultimate Checklist | TheCatSite
Six Surefire Strategies To Reduce Stress In Cats | TheCatSite
Thank you for the links. Maybe the TV was too loud, hubby did not have his hearing aids in. And he did go to the vet not too long ago. Usually he's a very laid back little guy, but he is kind of jumpy with new things in his environment until he checks them out.

Austin.jpg
 

rubysmama

Forum Helper
Staff Member
Forum Helper
Joined
Nov 25, 2013
Messages
15,287
Reaction score
30,092
Location
Canada
Awww... what a cutie pie. He certainly knows how to relax. Hopefully he'll have more of those "laid back" days. :catlove:
 
Top