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My Vicious Cat

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
I don't know what to do anymore. Emmett is the sweetest cat one second then vicious the next. He likes to bite, he takes most of his aggression on out the dog by constantly chasing and biting him.

PLease help!!!! I refuse to get rid of my cat, but if this keeps up I might not have a choice
post #2 of 14
Tell us more - how big is the dog and how long have you had him? Is there anything that triggers the attacks? What is the body posture of Emmett and how does the dog respond?

My Stumpy (alpha) was stalking our puppies because he was putting them under his control (and he has won). He now just sleeps with them and gives them a whack once in a while when they get rambunctious. Is an alpha role the motivation of Emmett?
post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 
The dog is about a fraction smaller then Emmett and very submissive. Emmett mostly attacks when I'm around, but still sometimes when I'm not home, just more so when he knows I'm there.

example 1:

He'll be sleeping on the chair and the dog will be on the floor about 10 feet from each other. I'll come home from work, give Em his loving greating, the hugs and kisses. He'll then attack the dog.

example 2:

The dog will come out of one room. Em will be in my room with the door slightly ajar. Em will chase the dog down the stairs nipping at him.

Example 3:

If no one will be home Em stays in my bedroom. THe dog in the rest of the house. When someone comes home they let Emmett out (usually not more then an hour) and he'll race down to attack the dog.

The dog was here when Em and I moved to my parents. THe first introduction Em played the submissive part by rolling on his back in front of the dog when the dog came to investigate. The dog didn't take the dominate position and it was free for all for Em since then.

I really need some help. My parents are threatening to get rid of Em and I would be heart broken without him. But I can't afford to move out yet.
post #4 of 14
Are you sure that rolling on his back was submission? This can be a fighting position for cats, even though it never is for dogs. When cats are submissive, they usually crouch, not roll over.

There is something often called "petting-induced aggression," which is actually dominance aggression. That might be it, although I've never heard of a cat that redirects aggression to a dog when petted. I've never read on what to do with a cat who attacks dogs due to dominance, only cats who attack humans or other cats, and I'm no expert on feline behavior. You might want to look up cat dominance anyway, as something might help with the dog, but most of it relies on asserting the victim's alpha status. (Irony: a behaviorist realized that cats can be dominant when he accidentally gave a client a form used for dogs, and the client filled it out showing classic canine dominance signs...)

Here's the Dumb Friends League's advice on introducing cats to other animals: http://www.ddfl.org/behavior/catintro.htm Reintroduction may work with enough counterconditioning, but it could be time to consult a GOOD behaviorist. They can also prescribe medications to make reintroduction, for example, go more smoothly.

Hopefully someone who knows more can give better advice.
post #5 of 14
This is a great site about cats and dogs living together:


post #6 of 14
I have never owned a cat and a dog at the same time, but I know that sometimes the play behavior between two cats will resemble fighting, and cats do like to chase each other, so I was wondering if Emmett might actually be trying to play with the dog? Does Emmett make any noises while he is picking on the dog or is he silent?
post #7 of 14
When a cat rolls on his back, it is a form of greeting and a sign of trust. It almost sounds like the dog has instigated some sort of attack on Emmet (possibly when no one was around) and Emment got scared and probably had to climb up high to escape. Now he is taking no chances and will let the dog know that this is unacceptable. I would invest in a Comfort Zone room diffuser with DAP and see if that might help the situation out a bit. If proper introductions were initially made, Emmett would have offered his rear for the dog to smell, but if the dog went to smell the rear first, then you have all out feline war.
post #8 of 14
It would seem that what has happened is as Hissy has said.

When I had a dog and cat together the cat was the boss. They got on very well but there were odd occasions when the cat lashed out at the dog for no apparent reason. I remember once reading the newspaper and the two little furry ones were sat in front of the fire. All of a sudden the cat hit the dog on the nose really hard. When ever anything like this happened I used to make a real fuss of the dog, loving him better sort of, but didn't tell the cat off, in case this was retaliation from something earlier that I hadn't seen, and it did seem to help. Then I made a fuss of the cat later on. They remind me of little children sometimes. I do hope it sorts itself Creepyowl. Something has definitely happened that you haven't seen. Emmett is sticking up for himself.
post #9 of 14
Just curious, but how do your parents treat Emmett and how do you treat the dog? Sometimes our pets specially those who have been with us for many years seem to know our feeling towards others and behave accordingly.
I recently adopted a dog who is very friendly and never seen cats. And my cats never dealt with dogs. It was mayhem the first days. But I didn't change my treatment towards the cats, they are still first in my list but I made it clear to them that I also loved the dog. I don't let the dog chase the cats and I encourage the girls to keep out of his way. They eat and play separately. However, when I watch TV or sit out in the garden, all four of them are with me with no problem whatsoever.
I hope I helped a little. Good luck!
post #10 of 14
Awwww i hope it does'nt come to getting rid of Emmett, he's so sweet.
post #11 of 14
Of course it could just be that the cat is a vicious little sod who enjoys hurting the dog. I find it very unfair that "the dog" (not deserving a name?) gets the blame for the Emmett's violence. It is not as if the cat is avoiding the dog, it appears to be being vindictive.
post #12 of 14
Originally Posted by gopher
Of course it could just be that the cat is a vicious little sod who enjoys hurting the dog. I find it very unfair that "the dog" (not deserving a name?) gets the blame for the Emmett's violence. It is not as if the cat is avoiding the dog, it appears to be being vindictive.
post #13 of 14
Back when I was young we had two dogs and a cat. The dogs were a Labrador and a Doberman, the cat a black and white DSH. The two dogs had an agreement about fighting, it could go on until the labrador was board, she would then give out a tiny woof and it was over. The cat, however, never understood the game and would repeatedly attack both dogs for laughs. Cats can be as mean as people.
post #14 of 14
Stumpy (our alpha) attacked the puppies when we first got them and continues to do so when they are out of line. This really shocked us because Stumpy absolutely adores dogs and part of our decision to get the puppies was to provide Stumpy with another dog (our old girl passed last year and he went into a major depression).

Once he got the puppies to respect him, he would walk up to them, lay on his back (like Em did to the dog) and reach out to them with his paws. Either that or he would give them a full body head butt (from head to tail). If they startle him, approach him too fast, or play too close for comfort, Stumpy will whack them and the puppies stop.

I think your problem is partly dominance - Emmett is trying to be alpha cat (as Stumpy is), and partly that he doesn't understand the body language of the dog. Stumpy lived 8 of his 9 years with dogs and knows how to play with dogs so he has an advantage here over Em.

When I see Stumpy attack them now as he does occassionally, I assess what provoked the attack. When he does it with absolutely no reason (such as if the puppies are lying nicely on the floor minding their own business), Stumpy gets a reprimand and redirected to toys, a cat condo, or something else. If the puppies cause it, Stumpy gives the reprimand to them, the puppies are redirected to toys, and we pet Stumpy.

It's been close to 4 months now and they finally have each other figured out. Attacks on either end are extremely rare (perhaps once every 2 weeks) and usually have a triggering event. How long have they been together and are they still trying to figure out each other's unigue language? It's taken 4 months with Stumpy, and he lived with dogs most of his life (and the puppies were raised with cats).
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