How to discourage cats aggressive behavior towards dog

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How to discourage cats aggressive behavior towards dog

Dear Cathy,
We recently got a cat from our local Humane Society. He is a three-year-old male. His cage card said he wasn’t good with other cats. It wasn’t until we got home that we saw the paperwork also said he doesn’t like dogs either. We don’t have cats, but we do have a five-year-old Shar-Pei. He bloodied the dog’s nose during the first encounter.

It’s been more than six months now. The cat is otherwise very sociable with people and loves to be brushed and cuddled in our bed. But he is like a ninja with the dog. These aren’t big battles anymore; the dog knows to give the cat space. But the cat seems to taunt the dog. He waits behind corners to attack the poor dog and sits in the dog’s favorite spots. I think he does this on purpose. What can we do to discourage this behavior?

– Chuck, St Paul, Minnesota

Dear Chuck,

Your cat is the dominant “dog” in the house

He has made clear who is dominant and has set the tone for his interactions with your Shar-Pei.

How to discourage your cats aggressive behavior towards your dog:

  • Even though your dog gives the cat a wide berth, you can discourage the cat’s intimidating behavior by gently moving him along when he looks like he is about to chase or pounce.
  • Then rub a little dab of hairball gel onto his top paw. He will begin licking it off and should lose interest in intimidating the dog, both instantly and hopefully over time.
  • Also, get your cat a tall cat tree – at least six-ft. tall.  Cats like to climb and observe their world from above, so this may reduce face-to-face encounters with the dog.
  • Rub a little catnip or leave a catnip toy or treats on the highest platform to encourage your feline to climb up the cat tree.
  • If moving your cat along doesn’t discourage him, shake a can of coins when he looks like he is about to pounce or use something called a Pet Corrector (available online), which emits a compressed air sound that will distract your cat and hopefully discourage him from jumping the dog.

Cathy M. Rosenthal is a longtime animal advocate, author, columnist, and pet expert who has more than 25 years in the animal welfare field. Send your pet questions, stories, and tips to Please include your name, city, and state. You can follow her @cathymrosenthal

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Cathy Rosenthal (aka The Pet Pundit), CHES, CFE
Animal Welfare Communications Specialist

Cathy brings more than 35 years' experience in the animal welfare field. She is a sought-after speaker, Certified Humane Education Specialist, a syndicated pet advice columnist, an author, a publisher, and of course - a loving pet parent.

Read more about Cathy here or check out her Non-Profit's page to see more ways she can help you and your organization.

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