How do you stop your cat from attacking your dog?
Adrienne Janet Farricelli, a certified trainer and behavior consultant, wrote a super in-depth article, with helpful explanations, as to why your cat may be attacking your dog.
A summarized version is below but if you want to read the full version the link can be found at the end.
Make sure you create areas that are accessible to your cat only so they have safe place to go: a baby gate, a cat tree, or a high window perch. Other options are keeping cat and dog separated when you are not able to supervise.
2. Stress relief
If your cat is stressed and overreacts with aggressive behavior that makes the dog leave or forces you come to the rescue, it reinforces that behavior and it is likely to be repeated.
To change things around, you need your cat to feel safer and calmer.
3. Prey drive
Some cats have a strong prey drive and will chase a smaller dog or puppy. It helps to re-direct your cat with a game such as dragging a string with a piece of aluminum foil attached or a catnip toy.
4. Redirected aggression
Cats are prone to a behavioral problem known as cat re-directed aggression. If they see a trigger outdoors, they get excited and then re-direct that energy to your dog. It can help to block access to windows and prevent the cat from seeing the outdoors.
If your cat acts aggressively whenever your dog approaches any resources (food, toys, sleeping areas, play areas), it may be a possessive response. Make sure you keep separate areas for them to sleep and eat.
In some cases, the levels of energy of cat and dog are too different. Desensitization and counter-conditioning works in cats as well as dogs, so make sure you use rewards when the cat sees the dog and behaves. You may need to do this from a safe distance first and then increasingly allow closer encounters.
If the dog is the troublemaker, it is helpful to train your dog better self control. The "leave it" command is helpful to teach your dog in this case.
7. Stop a cat attacking a dog in its tracks
Make a sudden startling loud noise such as banging two pot lids together.
Toss some water over the contenders using a bucket or water from a hose.
Throw a blanket over cat and dog.
Never get in between cat and dog. Doing so may make you prone to re-directed aggression!
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