9 Vet-Approved Tips to Stop Them – Dogster

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Having a multi-pet household comes with unique challenges, especially if you have a mix of pets like cats and dogs. One of the most common challenges that can arise is pets not getting along. However, sometimes, it’s less a case of two animals disliking each other and more of one animal bullying the other.

If you have a cat and dog and find that your cat is bullying your dog, you need to work on stopping the behavior. Though countless YouTube videos showing dogs afraid to walk around cats or being chased by them may indicate that this sort of thing is cute, in truth, it’s a negative situation for both animals that causes stress and fear.

Not sure how to get your favorite feline to stop bullying your favorite canine? Have a look below!

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Why Is Your Cat Bullying Your Dog?

Felines can end up bullying dogs and other animals for various reasons, and knowing the cause of your cat’s bullying can help you get them to stop.

cat bullying a border collie puppycat bullying a border collie puppy
Image Credit: asife, Shutterstock

1. Not Enough Socialization

If your cat hasn’t had enough socialization with other animals (especially if they experienced a lack of socialization in their kitten years), it could lead them to become a bully. Cats who don’t receive early socialization are more likely to be more aggressive with and less tolerant of other animals.

2. Boredom

Is your cat getting enough exercise and playtime each day? If not, they can get bored, which can lead to bullying behavior. A bored cat will find something to do, and that something might just be pouncing on your pup constantly or stalking them wherever they go.

3. Fear

When cats get scared, they can react with aggression, so if your cat is afraid of your dog or feels in danger when your pup is around, they could lash out.

4. Anxiety

Felines are extremely sensitive to their surroundings, so things like loud noises, a new person or animal in the home, or changes in routine can throw them off their game, leading to anxiety. Sometimes, that anxiety can manifest as physical aggression towards others in the house.

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The 9 Tips to Stop Your Cat From Bullying Your Dog

Here are some ways you can get your kitty to stop bullying your dog. They may never be the best of friends, but eliminating bullying can put them on the road to being friendlier with each other.

1. Ensure each animal has their own space.

Each animal in your home should have an area they can retreat to when needed. For felines, this should be a cat tree or high perch where the dog can’t reach them.

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Image Credit: Pasiaflora, Shutterstock

2. Make sure your cat has plenty of their own resources.

Animals can become territorial over things such as food bowls and toys, so make sure your cat has plenty of their own toys that are kept separate from the dog’s resources. Also, keep eating areas separate so there are no squabbles over which food bowl is whose.

3. Ensure your kitty gets plenty of playtime so they don’t become bored.

Spend time playing with your cat or set up an interactive toy that will keep them busy and entertained. When a feline has enough to do, they should be less tempted to view the dog as a plaything.

4. Watch your cat’s prey drive.

Dogs and cats both can have prey drives, but most people think of a dog going after a cat because of this and not the other way around. But if the cat’s prey drive is triggered by something like watching squirrels in the yard, they could go after the dog since they can’t reach the squirrels. If this happens often, you may need to block your windows with cat-safe blinds or curtains so they can’t see outside.

bengal cat playing with toy at homebengal cat playing with toy at home
Image Credit: Pandora Pictures, Shutterstock

5. Try to calm your cat down when they get aggressive with your dog.

You can do this in various ways, such as trying products meant to calm cats or putting them alone in a room for a few minutes to give them a chance to chill out. If calming your cat isn’t working, though, you may want to speak with your vet; if a cat is overly stressed or afraid, time-outs and calming treats may not do the job. And if your cat and dog formerly got along, but your feline has suddenly started bullying them, your cat could be ill and not feeling well and lashing out as a result.

6. Reinforce good behavior!

Did your cat let your dog walk by them without hissing or swiping? Give them a treat! Did the cat ignore the dog when it was in the same room? Give them some pets! Reinforcing good behavior helps your cat learn this is how they should interact with the dog.

7. Be sure you aren’t reinforcing bad behavior, though.

Don’t pick up your cat when they’re aggressive, and try to pet them to calm them down; this shows them that being aggressive gets them love, so they’ll be more likely to do it again in the future.

Image Credit: Chendongshan, Shutterstock

8. If nothing else seems to work, separate your animals and slowly begin reintroducing them again.

Keep your pets in separate rooms at all times, but give them both items with the other’s scent. After a day or two of getting used to the scent, try reintroducing them (but don’t leave them alone together!). At the first hint of bullying, separate the two again. Keep letting them have supervised visits with one another, though; if all goes well, they will eventually begin to warm to one another.

9. Give both your pets equal love and attention.

Jealousy can be a factor in bullying behavior, so ensure that your cat and dog receive equal attention from you each day.

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Final Thoughts

When it comes to multi-pet households, we usually think of dogs chasing after cats and bullying them, but cats can be bullies, too. If your cat is bullying your dog, try to determine the reason. Then, go through the steps above to get them to stop. It will take time and patience, but you should be able to get the cat to calm down and either ignore your pup or become friendly with them.

Featured Image Credit: Sari ONeal, Shutterstock

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