Welcome to The Cat Site
your cat community
Interact with our community

Question Regarding Safety Of Cats Around Dogs?

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Animals' started by saleri, Oct 23, 2018.

  1. saleri

    saleri Thread Starter TCS Member Super Cat

    855
    356
    Dec 26, 2017
    So I don't own a dog, and not really thinking of getting one.

    But I do for some reason occasionally enjoy reading various dog forums. And lately I've noticed a few posts by people talking about their dogs all of a sudden snapping and killing their cats. Usually it was a younger dog, and a cat that would be considered senior age. Also it seems that they got along for the most part.

    What's disturbing to me is that in addition to the act even in places that specialize in dog training people make it seem like it's fairly normal and not really anything too alarming to the point that people don't think it's even worth it to take the dog to the vet.

    I understand dogs like cats are prey-driven and I suppose one could argue this is no different from a cat eating bunnies or mice caught in the wild. But I really haven't heard of people mentioning their pet mice or rabbit being eaten by their pet cat.

    On the other end I've seen people say that a dog killing a cat is a sign of worse things to come, but no idea if studies show that's remotely accurate.

    Thoughts?
     

  2. Willowy

    Willowy TCS Member Top Cat

    18,771
    8,100
    Mar 1, 2009
    South Dakota
    It happens. I know someone personally who has lost a fish and a hamster to her cat. Cats are predators; you have to take steps to keep small animals safe around them. Probably most people don't think of mentioning it because duh. Cats eat fish and birds and small mammals.

    As for dogs. . .well they're predators too. Stuff happens. Sometimes instinct kicks in and even the dog can't control it. This is particularly common in terriers and sighthounds---they were bred to kill small things and so that part of the brain can override their training. Some breeds like Collies and other livestock breeds have had that prey drive modified through selective breeding so it's less likely to happen. But they can still get overly excited and lose control.

    It's probably best not to leave cats and dogs alone together. I bet most pet owners don't follow that advice but that's the safest thing.

    If you think about it too hard, it's really remarkable that humans choose to live with sharptoothed predators in our homes :D. We are weird.
     
    goingpostal, Pucks104, 1 bruce 1 and 2 others purraised this.

  3. saleri

    saleri Thread Starter TCS Member Super Cat

    855
    356
    Dec 26, 2017
    Yeah, I'm clearly biased, but I guess it's just not that weird to me that a cat will eat a fish or bird compared to a dog killing a cat. IDK, at least they're killing and eating what they traditionally eat in the wild and sometime at home?

    Still just strikes me as odd that given that even in situations when it's super rare for a cat and dog to get along for so long and for one to snap, there probably should be some rules about having the two species along like that.
     
    1 bruce 1 purraised this.

  4. Willowy

    Willowy TCS Member Top Cat

    18,771
    8,100
    Mar 1, 2009
    South Dakota
    Idk. How often do human partners "snap" and one kills or severely injures the other? More people are killed or put in the hospital by their domestic partner than by dogs. And probably you don't keep yourself separated from your domestic partner, if you have one ;).

    Of course commonsense precautions should be taken but I don't think it's something that happens very often.
     
    1 bruce 1 and Elphaba09 purraised this.

  5. Kieka

    Kieka Snowshoe Servant Staff Member Forum Helper

    6,577
    7,774
    Sep 6, 2016
    Southern California
    Any time you have a predator and prey together you have to be cautious. As much as our cats are predators they are also prey to anything larger then them, which includes some dogs. I know some really great dogs but no matter how great they are they can snap. It just takes a trigger and a moment for a dog to kill or main. Cats can snap too, just look at our site for "my cat attack me" or "aggressive cat". It's just that cats are smaller so it is less damaging. It doesn't really mean anything about the particular animal and you can usually trace it back to some behavioral trigger or problem.

    There has been personal experience with dogs snapping in my family. My brothers ex had a pit bull; sweet dog really but he needed a stronger owner then her. She made a stupid mistake and her dog attacked another dog. She decided to physically jump in to stop it and her pit bull mauled her. My niece was the one who called 911. When paramedics got there the dog was contained because he had stopped once he realized what was happening. She needed over 100 stitches, has scars on one side of her face and one leg. She got really lucky that the best plastic surgeon in the hospital was on call plus laser scar therapy so the scars aren't horrible.

    But there was nothing wrong with her dog, he just snapped. I do think dogs that snap once are more likely to again. In her case, the county said it was owner fault so he wasn't put down. About two months later he went after the cat and while the cat was fine (he stopped biting down when someone yelled and the cat was just scratched). I don't think he meant to hurt the cat, otherwise the cat would have been dead, but something broke in him with the other instance.

    That said, I've heard of dogs that wouldn't hurt a fly. The above dog was found skinny, intact and walking the streets at two years old. He had problems before and couldn't be taken to public places because he would go after smaller dogs if they looked at him. Some dogs just are more sensitive to stimulation. You also have dogs that snap for no known reason, after my brothers ex was bit people told me their own stories. All types of dogs who just went after another animal or person for no known reason. But again, you can have that happen with any animal. Dogs are just bigger with bigger teeth in most cases so it does more damage.

    I personally wouldn't have a dog unless it was raised as a puppy around my cats. Even then, I'd make sure the cat has escape routes in each room and safe zones the dog couldn't get to.
     
    1 bruce 1 purraised this.

  6. sabrinah

    sabrinah TCS Member Alpha Cat

    677
    560
    Jun 6, 2016
    California
    Sometimes I think it's really just a matter of the owner not truly knowing their dog. I've met so many people insisting their dog is friendly when its body language says otherwise. I have a dog with a very high prey drive, a senior kitty, and fish tanks. By some miracle, my cat has always know that whatever "prey" animal I bring home is not edible. I cared for an injured pigeon for months and while she was a pro pigeon hunter at the time, she knew not to kill that pigeon. My dog is not that fabulous. I would never in a million years leave him alone with a young cat that makes quick movements. If it runs, he chases it. End of story. I just know the young cat would run, he would chase and initially be trying to play, but the little switch in his brain would eventually flip and he would be on the hunt. Bye bye, kitty. Slow things he's not interested in. I don't worry with my old lady kitty because she just can't move fast anymore. Her peak speed is reached when she slides across the kitchen floor, and it just makes my dog incredibly confused.
     
    Kieka purraised this.

  7. neely

    neely TCS Member Staff Member Forum Helper

    5,239
    6,519
    Dec 22, 2005
    Every case is individual just as every animal is individual. We adopted our dog at 1 to 1 1/2 yrs. old and our cat at the time was 8 yrs. old. The cat was not thrilled but co-existed and we were always responsible with our dog. After our cat passed away we adopted Neely who was 2 yrs. old. She was the perfect partner for our dog probably because she thought she was a dog. :lol: The two of them got along famously. They slept together, played together and were partners in crime together. BTW, our dog was a shepherd so not exactly a small breed but a gentle and loving soul. Fortunately we had a wonderful experience.
     
    Elphaba09 purraised this.

  8. Elphaba09

    Elphaba09 TCS Member Adult Cat

    264
    449
    Sep 6, 2018
    NE Ohio
    I strongly disagree that there should be a rule (read that as law, since that is what it would be) about having different species together. Do you really want a law telling you what animals you can have in your family? I surely do not!

    My neighbors have three dogs (two are Rottweilers, one is a Shepherd), eight cats, four bunnies, two guinea pigs, and a tank full of fish. They also have two goats and a horse. They foster cats. A close friend took in her elderly mother two years ago, bringing her pets up to two dogs and 11 cats. She also fosters cats and dogs. Never have they had a problem. One of my neighbor's Rotts has been with them for 14 years. Their fourth dog, also a Rott, was 12 when it died a couple of years ago. They have always had cats.

    Yes, some dogs attack cats, but it is up to the individual dog and the owner, and there are many factors at play. How was the dog treated? Was it fixed? Had they been played with aggressively? Was it startled? Etc...

    My friend and her mother put up electric boundaries in their yard and house. Not because she felt her dogs might be a threat but because her one cat would get scared and attack the dog. With the boundary, the cat can retreat and have its little fit without the dogs trying to play with it. (Sadie is a trained support dog. She would let the cat attack her rather than go after it herself. Missy is half blind and toothless. Webster is the white, fluffy attacker.)

    I can attest to this! Had I let a horrific experience with my ex-husband sway me, I would not be happily married today. You can read about 10 dogs that harmed pet cats, but it is your choice to focus on that and overlook the 500 who have never caused harm.
     
    Kobayashi22 purraised this.

  9. 1 bruce 1

    1 bruce 1 TCS Member Top Cat

    3,822
    8,009
    Apr 8, 2016
    Compounding this problem, to me, is the shelters that mean the best but often mis-label breeds as something they aren't. Owners are told their dog is a breed they aren't, the breed they're told and the dog they have have opposite characteristics and no rules are applied and the dog is put into a bad position to cause danger to someone else and themselves, and it's nothing but a damned shame.
    A black gamey acting Pit Bull is not a "Lab mix" and won't act like a Lab. A black and white dog isn't always a Border Collie, etc. Border Collies and other herding types are weird because they're so tuned into things that move, and want to make that movement go the way they want. A frustrated, high strung, unfamiliar Border Collie that is fixated on cats is not a dog I would trust. They might not be vicious or cat killers, but dogs who have brains wired to control moving animals and have a short fuse and get frustrated will sometimes bite. It's why herding instructors/owners of livestock will tell you, the owner of a dog you're hoping to train to herd, that if their dog attempts to bite, or otherwise get over excited, they'll get a bit of a whack from the instructor with the herding crook.
    There's always exceptions to the rule. We had a terrier for awhile that would have given her life to protect cats and (especially) kittens from predatory acting dogs.
     
    fionasmom purraised this.

  10. goingpostal

    goingpostal TCS Member Alpha Cat

    391
    201
    Mar 11, 2011
    MN
    Pets are still animals, with instincts. Often it's just prey drive kicking in, or guarding behavior over food/toys. Worse if you have multiple dogs because pack behavior. Sometimes just over excitement and redirecting on the nearest animal. I had a cat that ignored mice until she was 16 or so, some of mine got out, her instincts kicked in and she ate both, became crazy for them after that. I let my cats out occasionally with my dogs during nice summer days, I've seen the dogs pack up and chase suddenly them when one starts. Too many people think pets will all get along and be friends, or that because they have lived together there is a bond.

    I have a lot of different species and very few interact. I don't even leave my dogs loose together unsupervised and any dog left loose with the cats has earned that trust over a number of years. But a dog that kills a cat isn't vicious, isn't going to turn on your kids next or anything although I certainly wouldn't leave them unsupervised with smaller animals ever.
     

  11. fionasmom

    fionasmom TCS Member Adult Cat

    149
    165
    Jun 21, 2014
    Los Angeles
    I have always had dogs and cats, the dogs coming first. Last two were GSDs, including current one, a cavalier mix, and larger terriers. GSDs are particularly tolerant of other house pets, and the cavalier mix was a starving street dog who was found eating at our feral cat feeding station in the parking lot at work. I took her because it seemed apparent to me that she had no issue with cats. But it is always a wild card until you know exactly how everyone will react and it is the responsibility of the owner or adopter to figure this out. When I had my largest GSD, 126 lbs, undetermined origin because he was found tied to a tree as an adult in the Angeles National Forest, I also owned a beautiful arrogant little calico. He was a sweet boy who learned a command of "kitty no no" and was entirely trustworthy but she would regularly walk up to him and sucker punch him in the face several times and walk away. If she walked in the room he would whimper and come over to me.
     

  12. NewYork1303

    NewYork1303 TCS Member Top Cat

    2,946
    1,826
    Jun 9, 2015
    Washington State
    There are always risks. Any dog, could suddenly end up killing any cat without warning. They are animals and act on instincts before training or anything else in certain situations.

    The best example I can think of (and I've talked about it before on here) is a cat my mom owned as a kid who went and played with the dog next door all the time. The dog and the cat loved each other and loved playing together, but one day the dog's instincts kicked in too much while they were playing and he picked her up by the neck and shook her, killing her instantly. The dog was truly upset when his friend didn't get up. He definitely didn't mean to do it.

    I don't think cats and dogs playing together is ever a good thing. There are always situations where something could go too far.

    That said, I have always had cats that live with dogs. Cats aren't allowed to play with or tease dogs. Dogs aren't allowed to bug or chase cats. This keeps everyone safer. I also have a lot of cat ledges, cat trees, and escape routes so cats can never be cornered or trapped. I have brought older dogs in, who haven't had experience with cats as well as a puppy who lived with cats before coming home with us. Training the dogs has made a world of difference.

    All of these things still only keep everyone as safe as possible (short of not keeping dogs and cats together).
     
    fionasmom purraised this.

  13. fionasmom

    fionasmom TCS Member Adult Cat

    149
    165
    Jun 21, 2014
    Los Angeles
    One caution that I would add about dogs and cats is that a dog who lives with cats will often see those cats as his extended family, but will not extend that to any cat that is seen outdoors. My current dog will bark at the outdoor TNRs even though he has seen them on the property for over a year in some cases. I have also heard of cases where a dog does not realize that a cat he sees outdoors is actually the same one who lives in the house with him and may react differently.
     
    Kflowers and neely purraised this.

  14. neely

    neely TCS Member Staff Member Forum Helper

    5,239
    6,519
    Dec 22, 2005
    :yeah: This is so true. Our dog and cat were best friends and played lovingly. However, if our dog saw a stray cat on one of our outdoor walks he would lunge and bark.
     

  15. Kflowers

    Kflowers TCS Member Alpha Cat

    425
    487
    Jul 28, 2018
    Yep, outside cats are definitely not the same as the inside cats. If they are excited and bouncing out the door, some dogs may not recognize their own cats if they get outside. Our rule after the dog went through the storm door without letting us unlock it first, was no excited dog is allowed out. At the door it was stop...sit...stay...okay now you can go out.
     
    Pucks104 and fionasmom purraised this.

  16. fionasmom

    fionasmom TCS Member Adult Cat

    149
    165
    Jun 21, 2014
    Los Angeles
    That is also a good point. Some dogs do not "recognize" their family cat in other circumstances. My cats all live inside, so Orlando the dog has little chance to forget who they are, but he is outside right now because he saw one of the TNRed ferals cross the backyard and it has irritated him. Given his amputation and his serious overweight from Cushings, he has no chance of catching anyone.
     
    1 bruce 1 purraised this.

  17. 1 bruce 1

    1 bruce 1 TCS Member Top Cat

    3,822
    8,009
    Apr 8, 2016
    Ever since I saw not once, but twice, one of my own dogs go to "take out" a pack member they always got along with when they were in distress (one was caught on something, one was having a seizure), I knew that dogs mean business, and from now on all dogs are confined to a kennel run or a dog cage/crate while we're not home, and if we are home, if we're not in that general area for a few hours, it's confinement for them.
     
    fionasmom purraised this.

  18. Resigned

    Resigned TCS Member Young Cat

    24
    87
    Oct 17, 2018
    I think knowing your dog and also the breed temperament is important. I have a dog who's #1 instinct is to guard. I've had him off-leash around everything from chickens to camels, and I have never seen his prey drive turn on. But if an animal or person has "bad energy" then he does want to put them in their place and make them submit, so I have to be careful his guarding instinct isn't misapplied. OTOH, I'm not sure I would trust a terrier around an animal smaller than it, no matter how chill they seem most of the time.
     
    Pucks104 purraised this.

  19. fionasmom

    fionasmom TCS Member Adult Cat

    149
    165
    Jun 21, 2014
    Los Angeles
    My neighbor owns a pomeranian who lost her home when she killed the family kitten. They are great owners, she is supervised and loves everyone else, and has no contact with any cats ever. You really have to know your dog, or the one you are adopting.
     

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.