I’m going to start off by saying – I don’t have a dog. But at the moment I have three cats, and when I introduced the new, second cat (Bjorn) to the used-to-be-an-only-child cat (Avery) – boy was my first cat unhappy.
And I mean, yes, I was afraid violence would break out if I left the cats unattended. So I made sure they were always attended. But I can’t live like that forever, so I did my best to try to get the cats to get along.
I’m going to cut to the chase here and tell you that it worked. My training system worked out. I spelled the techniques I used to get my two cats to get along out here. And they may work for your dog and cat’s relationship if you’re willing to give some of those tips a shot in your home.
When I added a third cat to our house (in between fostering a bunch of cats in my house who were sometimes meeting the new cat), this first cat – Avery – adapted and accepted the third cat into the home so much more quickly.
I discovered pretty early on that yes cats can be assholes, but they usually don’t get to be aggressive and bullies unless they are really stressed.
I really and truly do believe this. And since your cat is bullying your dog, the most likely cause for your cat’s stress is your dog’s existence.
Like literally he or she could be doing nothing to your cat and my guess is it’s still somehow stressing out your cat.
So we gotta fix that because it’s ridiculous and no one should have to live in a state of potential war in their home, let alone between two pets they love.
I cannot guarantee anything will fix the relationship between your cat and your dog. That being said, I can try to offer up what I think are good ideas that might fix the relationship.
And honestly, if you have any ideas yourself, please take to the comments immediately because those with this problem need as many potential solutions to try as possible.
Okay I’m going to get into my ideas now; would love to know if you try any, if some seemed to help or work toward completely resolving the problem! That way others can focus on those solutions over others. Let’s go!
4 Steps to Help Your Cat Stop Bullying Your Dog
Step 1: Scold your cat whenever you see bad behaviour.
Yeah I had to say it because I’ve seen pet parents laugh and be quite entertained by some of the bullying behaviour cats pull off sometimes and just let it happen unless it escilated.
Don’t be that person, please. If your cat thinks it’s okay sometimes, how are they supposed to know where the line is?
Axe that behaviour by scolding your cat whenever it happens so they know you don’t approve. Just don’t go any further because…
Step 2: Try not to punish your cat harshly for bullying behavior just in case, as they may begin to start associating the punishment with your dog.
I don’t think you need to go as far as spraying a cat or doing something more negative, especially if your cat’s bullying is very low-key.
Just try saying no or scolding your cat verbally, and then moving on if he or she stops. If they don’t then you need to throw a pillow at him or her or a blanket or fleece or something along those lines, because startling him or her will break up violence in cats best.
But if you spray your cat with water or (worse) vinegar whenever he or she starts misbehaving around your dog, I’m worried your cat will start to associate your dog with bad things happening, rather than the behaviour alone with bad things happening.
Ever get sick while eating a meal you absolutely love (like sushi) and not be able to eat it again for months? Even from someplace you know is safe to eat?
You know it’s not the food’s fault, but your body’s made that association with sushi = sick, so it’s not a tie that’s easy to override for you, even though you’re a super logical human in comparison to a cat. Let’s not have that kind of association built by accident with your cat seeing your dog.
Step 3: Make sure never to reward your cat accidentally for bad behaviour.
Another big problem – don’t go playing with your cat straight after or cuddling your cat right after he or she goes after your dog. Honestly please.
I know you mean well but your cat can learn that hitting Spot = getting your attention, getting your affection, or getting some play time.
Don’t let violence be the button your cat thinks he or she needs to press to get your attention.
If you need to feed your cat or play with him or her or cuddle them, make sure it’s a good while after your cat’s had a time out, with no attention from you (after being scolded of course).
Step 4: Condition your cat to love being around your dog: spoil your cat when he or she’s around your dog.
Okay this is some next level, shiz but everything else was just attempting to not get the situation worse.
This particular step is here to get your pets to the next level: to get your cat not to be anxious and to make a massive override in the system of anxiety that seems to be gripping your kitty and making him hate even seeing your dog.
This is also where your particular cat’s personality comes into play because only you know your cat and only you know how to woo him or her.
Idea 1: Cuddle your cat around your dog
Does your cat love lap cuddles? You need to grab your cat, put them on your lap while sitting next to your dog, and give your cat cuddles.
Your cat may run the first few times, but eventually your cat will probably stop caring and realize the attention’s just on him her or so no biggie. Some time passes, you may be able to pet your dog and cat at the same time. Do that. Show that affection to your dog is not a threat to your cat.
Idea 2: Feed your cat around your dog
Does your cat love to eat? Nowhere near fussy, your cat just gobbles down the grub? Time to use that to your advantage.
Start feeding your cat only around your dog.
You could hold your dog or have him in a carrier when your cat’s eating. Or feed them their meals at the same time.
I’m a crazy person who rigged this slow feeder and this timed feeder into one to make it so my cats had to eat together frequently (even when I wasn’t there), and had to do so without stealing each other’s food cause it took a lot of effort to get that food out of the food toy (details on how I did it here if you want them).
But that’s just my weirdness, and I had to take down this beautiful atrocity when my third old man cat Athos came into our home and couldn’t figure out how to work the food toy, so now the timed feeder just spills onto the floor.
They don’t fight over the food, though.
Whatever way you can concoct the situation to get your pets to eat in each other’s presence, do it! It really helps foster positivity between them when they eat together.
Idea 3: Have your cat play while your dog is close but safe inside a carrier; then do the opposite
There’s this thing that I’ve noticed about cats who are hyper.
It’s like any and all aggression becomes just plain wild and they go nuts, especially on something nearby that they’re used to being annoyed with or toward animals they historically have bullied.
Let’s break that pattern. Put your dog into a carrier and play around your dog with your cat.
Your cat may take a swing at the carrier the first few times you do this, but your dog should be very safe, and probably your dog will not even care after the first time, if he cares at all – because he or she’s safe inside that carrier from any claws anyhow.
After the first few times, your cat’s going to get used to, “Oh I can be a wildling and play in front of this dog and he won’t bother me?”
Your cat should begin to undo the connection between, “I’m hot and bothered” and “Let’s hit the dog” and make the connection, “When I’m hyper or aggressive I take it out on my toys.”
Then crate your cat, putting him or her in a carrier, and have him or her watch you play with your dog instead.
If your cat can watch your dog play without getting angry, you’re making serious headway.
Even if at first he’s pulling some grumpy faces, or trying to ignore any eye contact.
My second cat (Bjorn) really stopped being bullied by my first cat (Avery) when there was peace while each of them played.
Avery used to watch Bjorn play and get mad. It’s almost like him playing in front of Avery was a threat. And when Avery would play around Bjorn he’d often turn from the toy to hit Bjorn.
With crating one cat and having the other out and playing, and then reversing the situation, this was fixed, and there was finally peace in my home.
But this was the very end of the training in my home before I got real peace. True peace. Where I could have the cats freely roam the house together, and honestly they get along so, so well now.
BFFs really. You would never have known they didn’t get along at some point.
Your Turn: Cats Bullying Dogs?
Have you ever had a situation where one of your cats bullied one of your dogs? How bad did it get? Was it ever violent? Was the situation ever resolved?
Do you have any ideas for those dealing with this issue in their own home? How do you think they should try to resolve it? Are there any tips you can think of that you think they should try?
Do you this is the type of situation that can be resolved in almost every circumstance? Do you think some instances are hopeless?
Would love to hear your ideas and your stories in the comments down below, and I’m sure so would all those who struggle with this issue and come across this article.
Thank you in advance for taking the time to leave your thoughts!