The Detroit Post
Monday, 29 November, 2021

Why Are Cats Afraid Of Dogs

Ava Flores
• Monday, 30 November, 2020
• 17 min read

Mice, fish, rabbits and certain reptiles, for example, are hardwired with the instincts of a prey animal, ready to move quickly and escape when circumstances warrant. When animals first meet, they usually note each other’s size, the information contained in smells, the intentions revealed by multiple signals and more.

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A big, strong cat might then feel it has a chance at competing with a small, timid dog. Spadework does note that “many people live in homes with all kinds of pets coexisting quite peaceably.” Experience then comes into play.

Your cat’s food dishes, litter box and sleeping areas should all be in secure, dog-free zones. The first thing to consider is whether the fear represents a change in your cat’s usual behavior.

If so, it’s a good idea to have your cat checked by your veterinarian, since many behavior changes are caused by medical problems. A more confident and bold cat in your household may be sending your fearful cat a subtle message to “stay out of my way.” This message can be communicated with a stare, by blocking certain pathways in your home, or by making one’s presence very obvious (e.g., lying outstretched in the middle of the living room).

The first objective is to prevent other pets from intimidating and chasing the fearful cat. (For guidance, refer to the resource called Dog Chasing Cat: Tips for Stopping This Behavior.”) This sends a message to the instigator that this behavior is inappropriate and provides reassurance to the fearful cat that she is safe.

Before you start the exercises, you should provide safe areas for your fearful cat to retreat to if she is chased or otherwise intimidated by other pets. Clear off some bookshelves or add cat trees to your home, so she can jump to an elevated, protected area.

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Adding skirts around tables or chairs also creates hiding places for your cat to feel safe. Place baby gates in doorways; cats can jump over them or squeeze through them if a dog is in hot pursuit.

You should also provide a “house of plenty” so your fearful cat does not have to compete with other pets for food, water, toys, or attention from you. To do the exercises, you’ll need treats, toys or other rewards for your cat, and you will also need control over your other pet(s).

Alternatives are to tether your dog or put your other cat behind a baby gate or screen door. The exercises begin at the distance at which your cat does not exhibit any sign of anxiety, arousal or aggression toward your other pet (while they are relatively stationary).

For example, the starting distance between a very timid cat and a rambunctious young dog barking at him may be larger than the starting distance between a bolder cat and an older, inactive dog lying still. As long as he remains calm and non-anxious, reward this behavior with treats (e.g., a plate of canned food), play or petting.

You can provide your other pet with a plate of food or a treat to keep her occupied during this exercise as well. If you notice your cat displaying signs of anxiety, move him further away from your other pet until he is no longer fearful.

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At this distance, reward the calm behavior to end the session on a positive note. To add in movement, repeat step one, finding a starting distance at which your cat remains calm or distracted by toys or treats.

Your cat’s ability to generalize and display calm behavior around a variety of situations will depend on how often you can repeat these exercises and add in different elements. Just remember that, overall, your efforts are helping to improve your cat’s quality of life.

In some cases, pheromones, nutraceutical, and even anti-anxiety medication may help to facilitate behavior modification. If you have questions about desensitization and counter-conditioning exercises or how to apply them to your cat, please consult with your veterinarian or a veterinary behaviorist.

But be warned: Even the fiercest of felines can lose to a terrifically excited dog who’s huge. Best not test those waters too often, lest kitty meet the one big dog who thinks he looks more like lunch than something to be feared.

I can't help but read posts on here about how cats should avoid going in gardens with dogs. I saw a cat recently and felt the top of the claws.

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Thought to myself I wouldn't want to get on the wrong side of a cat. Those claws combined with their pouncing ability could easily rip a dog or fox to shreds.

Not that I would embrace such fighting but I'm sure a cat is stronger than it thinks it is? I think many foxes and cats show a healthy respect of each other.

Both can do each other damage and footage of cats and foxes interacting often shows them avoiding each other. Many dog breeds have been bred to chase / kill small ferries.

Cats can trigger this behavior by running and therefore are at great risk of being chased and killed. Yes cats can fight and inflict injuries but engaging in any fight is a risky strategy as even relatively minor injuries can result in death long term from infection or reduce the ability to hunt or defend themselves in a future confrontation.

My childhood cat was fatally injured by next doors dog. For many years he comfortably avoided and stayed out of the way of Brandy, a portly and friendly black lab who wouldn't hurt a fly.

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One day when the cat wasn't quite so careful or agile or perhaps the dog's hunting instincts kicked in for some reason the dog caught and badly injured him resulting in a one way trip to the vet. I can't help but read posts on here about how cats should avoid going in gardens with dogs.

Last night after dusk, a fox came into the communal gardens here, hunted down and killed a cat and carried it off. Last night after dusk, a fox came into the communal gardens here, hunted down and killed a cat and carried it off.

Those claws combined with their pouncing ability could easily rip a dog or fox to shreds. For one, dogs and foxes have fur which offers some protection, and two, those claws won't sink in that deeply, nor are they strong enough to do any laceration type injury.

Yes, cats can most definitely injure with their claws, I've been on the wrong end of a terrified cat who used me as a climbing post and my scalp had some nasty scratches, but they were scratches, not lacerations. Most cats are smart enough to be wary of bigger predators, that's a good thing.

One night he appeared at the door but one his back legs was just hanging. He spends weeks in the vets and had to have his leg pinned back together.

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My cat keeps wanting my collie to play with him and so chases him or pounces on him. I hope those poor kittens are ok Cats are very cunning, they are very agile, and they can climb, that is their greatest asset over a dog or fox but even some of the smallest dog breeds like Descends for example can have the instinct to hunt and kill a cat.

I hope those poor kittens are ok Cats are very cunning, they are very agile, and they can climb, that is their greatest asset over a dog or fox but even some of the smallest dog breeds like Descends for example can have the instinct to hunt and kill a cat. If I ever had a dog I would want something like a pug which has very low prey drive and physically couldn't harm a cat.

Cats could cause damage to a dog or fox with their claws but a dog or foxes teeth could cause a lot of damage to a cat. My lurched chases cats that come into our garden, she has come ridiculously close to catching one.

I'm sure all dogs are very clever, I just find it interesting that some breeds have been bred to hunt rabbits or rats, but they could still harm a cat. Lots of cats hunt rats and rabbits if they get the chance, and yet a kitten or puppy or fox cub would not be considered by them to be prey, even if it was smaller than a rabbit.

Lots of cats hunt rats and rabbits if they get the chance, and yet a kitten or puppy or fox cub would not be considered by them to be prey, even if it was smaller than a rabbit. I'm not so sure a cat wouldn't harm a puppy or fox cub, or kitten for that matter.

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Isn't it well documented that male cats will kill kittens to bring the female back in to heat sooner? As for babies of another species, cats are born hunters, if they see an opportunity to hunt they'll take it.

As for babies of another species, cats are born hunters, if they see an opportunity to hunt they'll take it. Actually, if you want to be pedantic, humans have always asked cats to be killers, but many dog breeds have had this part of the predatory sequence bred out of them.

Whilst I agree with pretty much everything you post, I have never heard of this from any of my breeder acquaintances Since then, I've heard of male cats killing kittens several other times.

Since then, I've heard of male cats killing kittens several other times. I know domestic cats aren't the same as lions, but they are, in many ways, like their bigger cousins.

I just had a little google 'cause now I'm wondering myself, and found an interesting discussion on another forum. I won't link it, because it is to another forum, but there was some information quoted from Sara Hart well saying that essentially, yes, toms will kill kittens due mainly to their “highly competitive nature” but that in domestic breeds this has been largely bred out.

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This article was very thorough and I found it interesting: It's an interesting discussion, how dogs and cats treat the young of their species and what evolutionary purpose that might serve. Personally I've always found puppy license fascinating, particularly watching how a well-adjusted dog will slowly revoke puppy license as the pup grows.

Panting, whining, cowering and putting his tail between his legs are all common signs that your dog is experiencing fear. If your dog is exhibiting signs of fear in the presence of cats, he is definitely afraid and often for good reason.

When cats sense fear, they can raise their backs with their hair standing on end all the while hissing, bearing sharp teeth and claws, and moving quickly in seemingly multiple directions. In addition, a cat scratch or bite stings and can cause infection when not properly treated.

Add in a negative experience and you have a full-blown whimpering, panting and pacing canine. Dogs tend to be afraid of and develop fears to things such as thunder, the vet, children, fireworks, and separation.

Certain large dog breeds such as the Siberian Husky, Standard Poodle, German Shorthaired Pointer, Chesapeake Bay Retriever, Great Pyrenees, Border Collie, and Bernese Mountain Dog appear to have a strong family genetic component predisposing them to fear of random things. Dogs will start to develop fears, phobias, and anxieties at the onset of social maturity from one to three years of age.

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Younger dogs, around the ages of eight to ten months, can develop a profound fear of unknown origin. Elderly dogs, as their decline in memory begins, can also develop fears such as separation anxiety.

As pet lovers, your instinctive reaction to a dog exhibiting fear is to console him, protect him, and assure him that he is all right. Rather, you need to teach your dog to remain calm in the presence of a cat and this can be done through a combination of desensitization and counter conditioning.

These tools are most effective when used early on, so do not hope that the fear will pass with age but rather address it immediately. The goal is to increase time spent with the cat until the dog can exhibit the desired response of peace.

One of the best ways to ensure your dog can face the world without fears is through early exposure to social situations and different environments. If this was not a possibility, and the above suggestions for desensitization and counter conditioning are not effective, take heart and know that you can teach an old dog new tricks.

A visit to your veterinarian to eliminate possible physiological conditions that might be causing the behaviors such as thyroid disorders or an environmental trigger such as lead poisoning might be in order. It can be ‘ruff’ but address his fears head-on with early socialization, or if manifesting in an older pet, then through desensitization and counter conditioning.

dogs cats funny afraid

If you've recently adopted a new dog or cat, and your pooch is showing fear whenever he is around your feline companion, keeping them together in the same household can be challenging. Let’s take a look at things you can do for a dog scared of cat and to help your pet overcome his fear and make the two get along.

However, when you try to introduce an adult dog to a cat, it's not unusual to see their response to be either aggression or fear. Cats are often aggressive and territorial, so your dog may be afraid for a good reason.

Whatever the reason may be, there are a few things you can do to help a dog scared of cat overcome this fear. The best thing to do in order to make your dog and your cat get along well is to introduce them properly (here's how to do it).

You can pet your cat and then let your dog smell her scent from your hand and vice versa. It is best to hold your cat in your arms as you introduce her to your dog and slowly get her closer to your pooch.

You can also put your cat in a crate or carrier if she doesn’t want to be held, or at least keep your pooch on his leash. Over time, gradually increase the length of these sessions until you notice that your pets are completely comfortable with each other.

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Teaching and training your dog through positive behavior rewards and discouraging their showing fear is called counter-conditioning. Once your pup knows some basic dog commands, try to teach him to listen to you when he is in the presence of a cat.

Try to determine what the case here is and address the negative behavior of your pets, whether it's your cat or your dog. If your dog is not usually afraid of cats, this change in his behavior can be caused by health reasons, too.

There are other mental health issues to consider and dogs neurological problems that can come either with age, or directly associated with other illnesses. If you suspect this to be the case, the only thing is to take your dog to the vet to eliminate potential physiological problems and treat any possible health conditions before getting on with training.

While it is possible for you to help your pooch overcome his fear of cats in some cases, especially if he is still a puppy or a very young dog, often that phobia can be too strong to do anything about it yourself. In these situations, hiring a professional dog trainer or canine behaviorist may be the best course of action.

You may be too emotionally invested in the problem of a dog scared of cat, and getting objective advice and help can be just the thing you need to make the two pets get along. Fear in dogs is often a normal and natural response to external or internal stimuli.

cats dogs afraid dog cat fight

Even though this cat phobia in dogs is rare and unusual, you need to address it when it occurs. The easiest way to deal with this is through desensitization and counter-conditioning which has the best success rate for helping dogs overcome cat phobia specifically.

This is why Animalized brings you 10 things cats are scared of, so that you can try to prevent them disturbing your furry pal. Scaring them on purpose will not only heighten this anxiety, but it will threaten their overall well-being and can weaken the bond you share with them.

It is also important to note that not all cats are equally scared by the things on this list. Even if only a few drops fall on their body, it can lead to a massive freak out.

It might seem like an odd reaction to an animal which loves to be clean, but their fear of water may have something to do with their wild ancestry. Introduce the water slowly and reassure at every point with positive reinforcement.

Maine Coon, Siamese and Bengal cats often enjoy interacting with water and may even paddle about in shallow baths when the opportunity arises. Canines have an incredible sense of smell and it is true it is better than feline olfactory responses.

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They pay attention to the scents in their environment and will respond to various pheromones intensely. These include vinegar, onions, gasoline, certain alcoholic beverages, citrus fruits and others.

Some cats are so sensitive, even the lingering scent in the air can make them fearful. This doesn't mean they don't love affection and want to spend time with their human companions.

Just because they like us one day, doesn't mean we can't do things to harm this relationship. However, if you try to grab them and hug them tightly, most cats will not see this as a sign of affection.

Felines have different ways of communicating than humans, so it is important for us to learn their language and understand they will have trouble identifying our meaning. While we may have the ability to work out whether a stranger is a threat, there are some signs which might make us cautious.

They bond with their family because they know we will provide food, water, shelter, care and, importantly, are unlikely to harm them. This could be due to body posture, smell or any number of reasons known only to the cat.

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Like others on this list of things which scare cats, some felines are very friendly and will approach strangers without fear. An acute sense of hearing is needed for their time spent outside.

In the wild, cats are often solitary animals and will need to stay alert in case predators approach at a vulnerable moment. As cats do not quite understand all the modern conveniences of human life, there are many things in the home which can scare them with sound.

Firecrackers at Halloween, vacuum cleaners, storms, horns and anything else which can create a loud unexpected noise. It is just important to remember that cats are often at a greater constant state of fearfulness, so we need to be extra careful around them.

It may not be the kind of jumping scared you see in YouTube videos. This could be a new addition to the family, moving to a new home or even starting a new job.

One of the most commons is placing a cucumber next to a cat and watching their exaggerated responses. To a cat, their size, texture, color and shape might resemble that of a natural predator such as a snake or other reptile.

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In general, scaring your cat in this way is mean and can create unnecessary anxiety, so you are best advised to leave these objects in the fruit bowl where they belong. When we see balloons at a party, our initial thought might be these are colorful, fun and happy objects.

When a balloon is inflated and subject to the air currents in a room, it can move about. As with some other scary objects to cats, the balloon can provide a nasty surprise.

A cat's claws might be good at deterring a more conventional predator, but when they stick into a balloon the ensuing pop can cause quite a fright. The phrase ‘fighting like cats and dogs exists for a reason.

Many cats and dogs get along great, but it is rare this happens immediately. This is process needed to help each other realize neither is a predator, and they do not have to compete for resources as they might in the wild.

By Medically reviewed by Steven Fans, MD Updated on October 14, 2020 Although snake and spider phobias are even more prevalent, the average person is far more likely to encounter dogs in daily life.

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A phobia of dogs can be devastating, limiting contact with dog-owning friends and relatives, and curtailing normal activities. Both children and dogs are naturally curious, and you may have been jumped on by an overexcited puppy or growled at by a large watchdog as you approached a fence.

A large dog can make a major impression on a small child, even if no actual attack occurred. If a friend or relative was attacked by a dog, or a parent harbored an unhealthy fear, the risk of developing xenophobia is increased.

Attempting to hide Disorientation Freezing in terror Nausea Running away Shaking Anticipatory anxiety frequently occurs in the days leading up to a known confrontation.

You might find yourself limiting contact with dog owners, even to the point of avoiding family gatherings. Over time, your normal routine may become extremely restricted as you attempt to prevent any accidental contact with a dog.

If you are given this type of treatment, you will be encouraged to act out positive behaviors such as approaching and petting a dog. Certain medications can significantly reduce your anxiety, allowing you to focus on therapeutic techniques.

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Very well Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

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