Cat Attack: Why Is My Cat Bullying the Puppy?

A cat is getting ready to hit a dog.

Does your dog walk through the house in terror and look around corners to check for the cat? Is your cat a bully that makes your dog’s life a nightmare? If your cat acts like the schoolyard ruffian, you are not alone! Cat aggression is a common behavior, and in fact, Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine says that up to 30% of cats surrendered to shelters are there because of aggression. 

The term “fighting like cats and dogs” might be a cliche, but it exists for a reason. These two species have had problems since the beginning of their cohabitation. Even though there are many jokes surrounding canine and feline housemates, it is important to take action if the cat is bulling your puppy so badly that he is hurt or scared of the other animal.

Your team at Animal Medical Hospital & 24 Hour Urgent Care is here to help you get a handle on your cat bully problems so you can enjoy a peaceful home!

Aggressive Cats

It is especially disheartening to see your once-sweet kitty treat your new pup like her own personal scratchpad. Unexpected aggressive behavior is scary, especially when it is directed at your beloved dog. Cats are very territorial creatures and, like dogs, they want to show their dominance over their territory, especially if they were there first.

Since puppies are physically smaller than cats, they are particularly susceptible to this feline aggression. With so much energy, puppies might unknowingly stress out a dominant cat. 

Signs of aggression in cats can include:

  • Dilated pupils
  • Flattered ears
  • Whiskers flattened downward
  • Tail down or wrapped around the body
  • Head held upward

Playing Ruf-eree

Bullying cats have a tendency to scratch or bite unsuspecting puppies. If you can, intervene as soon as you can so you can start to show both animals how to coexist peacfully. Try not to leave the puppy and the cat alone if the feline has demonstrated agressive behavior in the past.

Other steps to take when addressing bullying:

  • Call your veterinarian for a consultation and examination. In some cases, your cat is being a bully because of an underlying issue like pain. Other cats just need a little work with socialization. Your veterinarian can help you pinpoint the cause of the aggression so you can find a solution.
  • Give your puppy alternative outlets to expend energy like chew toys, long walks, or interactive games.
  • Designate a space for your cat where the puppy cannot get into your cat’s litter, food, water bowls, bedding, and toys. 
  • Instead of punishing your cat, which can instigate fear and stress, redirect the cat’s attention with a good petting or a favorite toy or treat.
  • Speak to your veterinarian about medications that may be helpful.
  • Start the training and socialization process with your puppy.

Helping Your Cat Stop Bullying

If your cat is targeting your puppy with aggression, we can help. With the right approach, we can find the root cause and minimize the behavior

There are steps you can take to help a cat bully. Please contact us for a consultation. We also look forward to meeting your new puppy!