Dogs are perceived as rays of sunshine. They are loyal, which makes them the best companion a human can ever ask for. However, this furball of pure happiness might still be capable of harming and even kill a cat. How normal it is for them to kill a cat, we’ll have a deeper dive into now.
Dogs as hunters and friends
Way before dogs were domesticated, they were wild animals who hunted by pack. They have an impeccable sense of smell and amazing tracking skills. When humans saw their skills at hunting, they began domesticating them, training them to hunt and track their prey. It took a long time for humans to consider dogs as one of the family. Canines are trained now to do a lot of things, some are trained to guard, guide, and track. However, the instinct to hunt is still there.
According to a website called US Legal, predatory aggression refers to the motivated attack behavior. This refers to the behavior of dogs to stare at their target and proceed to grab and bite the target. Predatory aggression is an instinctive behavior of your dog because s/he is innately a predator and a hunter. The reason why dogs like to play fetch is because of this instinct. They like to kill their prey by biting their jugular area and shake them until they die.
If you notice your dog chasing around your neighbors cat, they are already displaying predatory aggression. It does not necessarily mean that your canine is aggressive, however this behavior is dangerous because it cannot be stopped right away. The instinct to kill is always there, it’s an impulse that they cannot stop. If your dog is displaying signs of predatory aggression, it would be best to keep them away from small animals and humans. According to Nicholas Dodman, a veterinary behaviorist, he stated that “predatory aggression by a dog does not reflect a psychological problem and neither is the perpetrator vicious, malicious or vindictive.”
Territorial dogs and their instincts
Sometimes, dogs are aggressive towards cats and other small animals because they are guarding something or someone. They are called a man’s best friend because they are loyal and protective. Canines are also very territorial animals. So it would not come as a surprise when they become aggressive when an unsuspecting cat would try to eat their food or cross their territory. It is important to understand why the dog fatally injured the cat.
According to Adrienne Faricelli, a dog trainer and a blogger, dogs will instinctively kill and chase cats who are trying to run away. Faricelli added that a dog’s predatory instinct is mainly triggered by movements. If they see a fleeing cat, their instinct would tell them to chase after it. This is mainly the reason why dogs like to play tag, because they like chasing the prey.
A book called Animals in Translation disclosed that dogs need not be hungry for them to chase and kill, they are simply driven by their instincts as predators. Faricelli added that a predatory drift phenomenon could also be happening to your dog. Predatory drift is a dog’s predatory instinct that decides to kick in after a surge of emotions. For example, your cat and dog could be playfully biting and be seriously injuring each other in the blink of an eye. This is because your canine’s predatory drift decided to show itself.
To sum it up, it is instinctive for dogs to kill cats. It may be immoral for humans, but for dogs it is instinct-driven, that is not something that your beloved canine can control. Your dog cannot be dubbed as an aggressive dog right away, a lot of things are contributing to the dog’s sudden change in attitude. It is best to contact your trusted veterinarian or dog trainers right away if you notice any changes to your dog.
Commonly Asked Questions
Dogs can still harm, and sometimes even kill, cats that they are familiar with. This is because they go by instinct. It is their predatory drift that can turn on impulse. Therefore it is important to note and observe your dog’s behavior.
Managing your dog’s stress is one way to avoid your dog harming your cat. According to Farricelli, sometimes your dog’s aggression may stem from other things aside from their innate predatory tendencies. You may manage your dog’s aggression through:
– Managing the environment-if your dog has already harmed a cat before, it is very important to separate them. Separate them when they start to play-bite as much as possible, because your dog may harm your cat if the impulse kicks in.
– Have a separate room/space for your dog and cats-dogs and cats need their own space where they will not be able to disturb one another. It is also important that you can have a space where you can put your dog if he would display predatory drifts or sudden aggressiveness.
– Observe your dog’s pattern-you should be able to observe your dog’s activity and sudden shift of attitude. As the owner, you should be able to foresee and prevent anything that might happen and harm your cat.
– Ask help from professionals-even though it is perfectly normal for a dog to be displaying aggressiveness every once in a while, you should seek help from trainers and veterinarians in order to keep the peace in your little household.
These are some of the reasons why your dog may end up harming your cat:
– Predatory tendencies-they have the innate impulse to hunt, chase and kill.
– High Arousal-dogs tend to display aggressiveness during mating season. They will become twice as territorial and this may be redirected to smaller prey.
– Stress from the environment-dogs are territorial, a slight touch of their food or owners can be stressful for them.