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My girlfriend's cat keeps attacking my German Shepherd puppy. The puppy is 6 months old and large (65-ish lbs). They lived together from age 2 months of the puppy to age 3 months of the puppy, and then from age 4.5 months of the puppy to present.

If attacked the puppy will just walk away (yes I had trouble getting him to come to the bedroom because he keeps getting attacked....). Rarely he barks at the cat and then he gets reprimanded. I also reprimand the cat ("spank" her with something light like a piece of clothing) - which makes her fight back....

I am not so much concerned about the present, as I am about the future. A large (90-ish lbs) German Shepherd vs a cat is bad news.

What to do?

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    Does this usually happen when the dog approaches a location the cat is near, or does the cat seek out the dog in other rooms/locations? – Jess K. Nov 21 '17 at 22:28
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    I've seen her seeking him out multiple times. She even went as far as to come to us when I was petting the dog (the dog being on my bed, because he was too terrified of the cat to enter the bedroom) and start taking swipes at the dog. – Censored to protect the guilty Nov 21 '17 at 22:31
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You shouldn't intervene, rather your girlfriend should. If you scare the cat away in her home you will be considered an enemy as well as the dog. The cat can get sickenly nervous about this, and will probably continue to scare the dog once you're gone.Your girlfriend should reprimand the cat when the cat tries to have a fight. She should show that she is still the cat's and give her extra love,play and attention, but once the cat tries to fight she should distract it with something nice, if she can't help it she should hold the cat from the collar and say ''No'' firmly. If the cat wasn't trained on this before(which is expected) she should hold her from the collar, say ''No'' firmly and then carry her softly from the belly and take her to another room(say the bedroom) and do a positive thing with the cat but only when the cat is calm again. The cat MAY fight your girlfriend if their relationship isn't that good, so let her be careful. I should also mention that the partner shouldn't act scared of the cat and it's necessary to look stronger than it. If not the cat may probably just scratch her to death and everything will fail. I'm not saying the cat would see her as alpha or anything, it will only recognize that if the women disagrees on her act she is able to stop her. And sense the women is such a joy to the cat (if she plays, gives lots of attention and feeds her) and also is willing to stop the cat once it's disbehaving the cat will not want to go against the lady. The cat and the dog should usually stay seperated until both are calm. Play with both until tired, and then and only then let them be in the same room. Supervise everything ofcourse(you and your wife or whatever) each on it's pet. If any aggressions seems to start gently remove the aggressor. Both of you should fully realize that the cat sees the dog as a threat and most likely is afraid of it. Therefor your girlfriend should make the cat see that she is on her side not the dog's, but disagrees on aggressive behaviour.

Also can you give a photo showing both in the same room, a video is better but I'm not sure you can do that. Anything would help people to judge the situation.

  • You are right, he should not scare the cat away. He has to be friendly with her all the way. But as any cat/dog is allowed to fight back when another starts to fight (even if it is not their territory), it is allowed that a stronger friend can protect the attacked one. As the alpha of his puppy, it is his task to protect him. As a human he should be friendly to the cat. He should neither hurt her nor be aggressive while protecting the puppy. Just be calm and stop the cat attacking the dog. And you are absolutely right: For the cat it would be the best, if the girlfriend intervenes, too. – Haras Brummi Dec 5 '17 at 8:38
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You have to fight instead of your dog

You should not only be concerned about future fights between this cat and your dog, but also about the trust of your dog in you. As you are the alpha of your dog, it is your task to protect him from any fights and problems. If you do that, your dog will trust you if he has problems with other dogs. It will be easier for you to handle him if he gets in trouble or is afraid of somebody or something. If you don't protect him, he will start to fight on his own. So it is absolutly necessary that you fight with this cat instead of your dog.

This may not be easy because the cat may not accept you as somebody who makes the rules at the moment. You are new and it is her territory, so she may accept but not respect you. To change that, I have the following tips:

  1. Be very attentively! Protect your dog from any fight. If you see the cat seeking him, make some hissing noise towards her and chase her away. Try to intervene before the fight starts. If that was not possible and she started a fight, immediatly intervene, take her and chase her away.

  2. If you see your dog starting being aggressive towards the cat, do exactly the same the other way round.

  3. Be friendly with the cat in every moment she is not aggressive against your dog, stroke her and play with her the same way you do it with your dog.

Sometimes it is possible that animals which don't like each other on first sights are getting close and become friends. But that it is not always the case. It can be possible that your cat and your dog will accept each other when the humans are around, but fight when they are on their own. Don't let them alone until you are sure that they really accept (or like) each other.


EDIT :

Even when you protect your puppy, you have to be as calm and non agressive as possible. The cat protects her territory. That is a normal behaviour. Don't shout, don't hit her, just take her and let her go some meters away from the dog. She has to understand that she can do anything in her territory like before but that the dog is a taboo.

For the cat it is easier if your girlfriend helps you with this task, for your dog it is important, that you do it, too. Seems to be a team play!

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