If your household already has a cat or dog and you’re looking to pick up a furry friend from the other species, you’ll be left with just one question – why are cats scared of dogs? Well, you came to the right place. You’re about to learn the answer to this question and many more.
Cats are scared of dogs because they are different animals that they don’t recognize. Additionally, they have very different styles when it comes to communicating and playing, and that can be off-putting for a first introduction.
It’s like a human meeting a crocodile for the first time. You don’t know what to expect and it takes some introductions before you feel comfortable. In the case of dogs, they are always looking to play immediately. A quick smell and a dog’s ready to start chasing each other.
For a cat, there’s more groundwork that goes into the meeting before they get accustomed to the other animal and want to play. On top of that, their actual styles of play are very different. The combination of these facts makes cats have a fear of dogs.
How Can I Make My Cat More Comfortable Around My Dog?
The good news is that there are a lot of ways to make your cat comfortable around your dog even if he is a cat friendly dog. The basic principle is making your cat comfortable in general. If they are comfortable around you and in your home, they’ll be more comfortable around your dog.
The other concept is that it takes time. Don’t think it will be fireworks after the first introduction you need an introduction process.
Here are some tips to make your cat more comfortable around your dog and vice versa.
Give Kitty Alone Time with You
A quick way to make your cat more comfortable around your dog is to make your cat more comfortable in your house. This means creating a good connection and relationship between you and your cat to instill a calm behavior.
In a lot of cases, cats will feel scared around dogs especially if they aren’t familiar with you. By giving them alone time, you’re making them more comfortable in every way.
A smart way to do this is to dedicate an hour during the day where it’s just you and your cat. Do whatever they want to do. If they want to play, cuddle, or just wander around the room, let them. If nothing else, it gives them time away from the dog and lets them feel a positive reinforcement that the home is theirs as well.
Create a Kitty-Safe Zone
Many pet owners like to dedicate a certain space that is safe for their cats. This could mean dog pens, closed doors, or baby gates to section off a certain part of your home. Of course, this largely depends on what your living situation is like and how your home is laid out.
Ideally, a kitty-safe zone would be their own room. This works for a few different reasons. It gives your cat someplace to go when they’re feeling anxious or scared. It gives them an area that is truly safe for them. It also allows your cat to have a part of your home and feel more comfortable in your home.
If possible as a cat owner, you should ensure that your dog never steps foot in this area. All it takes is one bad experience and your cat won’t feel safe in their area anymore. It also lets your cat do whatever they want without trying to avoid people or your dog.
Give Your Cat Ways to Escape
You will quickly realize it – cats are a lot more elusive than dogs. This means that you should try to set up an area that allows your cat to quickly escape from your dog if they need to.
This might mean putting a chair near a table that your cat can quickly bounce up. For larger dogs, you can use a shelf or series of shelves to give your cat a higher place to hide.
You can even find gates that won’t let your dog get through but your cat can get through. Whatever it takes, your cat should always have a way to getaway.
Why does it matter? When your cat feels threatened, their first instinct is to run away. If you don’t have any areas that let them truly escape, there’s no saying how they’ll react to being chased by your dog.
Always Praise Positive Behavior
Another way to make your cat feel more comfortable at home is to praise their good behavior. This obviously will also be done for your dog.
Whenever your dog is respectful of your cat’s space, make sure you reward them. If your cat gets adventurous and goes to hang out with your dog, praise them both. You want them to associate hanging out with good reinforcement from you.
More importantly, when they’re playing nicely together, you want to shower them with praise. You’ll be surprised how quickly you can change how your animals interact with one another with just a little bit of consistent praise.
Give Your Cat Time to Adjust
This is really important. Your cat won’t immediately get comfortable around your dog. Get ready for the process to take some time, and just be patient. Your cat needs time to adjust to everything.
Remember, they’re in an unfamiliar situation and home, and they’re being greeted by an unfamiliar person and dog. This is undoubtedly going to freak your cat out. Just be patient and take it one day at a time to have confident cats this is a great tip.
Give Your Cat Free Reign at Night
Another good tip is to give your cat free reign at night. You might not know this, but cats love to get their energy out at night. There’s something about the darkness and shadows that bring out the inner hunter. Your cat will prowl, jump, and hunt around the house during the night.
On the other hand, dogs like to sleep through the night. This leaves you with a great ability to let your cat wander around the house on their own at night and get more comfortable. This simple tip is pretty easy to do and it can help a ton.
How Do You Know If Your Cat Is Afraid?
Oh, your cat will make it pretty obvious. The second that a cat enters a situation that they don’t like and they’re scared, you can immediately pick up on it.
Look at their tail and posture. If they are lurching with their hair sticking up and tail straight, that means that they’re scared. They might even tremble.
If they are showing their teeth, hissing, or staring down your dog, then they’re afraid. Equally, if they’re backed into a corner with their eyes wide, they’re scared.
What Are the Common Fear Triggers?
For cats, their biological instinct is always fight or flight. If they come in contact with something they don’t recognize and they think it poses a threat, they will let their instincts take over.
In general, they can have their fear triggered by just encountering a dog who wants to play. If they aren’t familiar with the dog, they might think that the dog poses a threat. The first introduction between your pets should be from a distance and should always be in a controlled and safe environment.
What Fearful Behavior Is Normal?
Any level of fear that your cat shows is a normal reaction. They are facing a new challenge and they’re just trying to work everything out. With that said, it’s not a good thing for cats to be fearful for long periods of time.
Simply asking your pets to coexist without following the tips and creating a safe place will lead to long-term fear in your cat. This might present itself as a loss of hair, no appetite, and your cat acting really strange all the time. It stresses them out and there are serious side effects.
How Can You Help Your Scared Cat?
The simplest answer to this question is to just be comforting and understanding. Take your time with them and show them that they can trust you.
When they feel comfortable in your home and around you, that comfort will translate into interactions with your dog as well. Give them space, distance, and time alone to help them not be so scared. More importantly, keep your dog away when your cat is scared.
Frequently Asked Questions
With that answer out of the way, let’s answer some more questions that you might have. These are frequently asked questions that are all about cats and dogs living together.
Help your cat feel comfortable in your home and give them their own space and areas to escape to. They like to retreat and be by themselves when they’re scared or anxious.
Slowly introduce your animals together and closely monitor them the first few times they meet.
There’s no saying how long it might take. Some dogs and cats are immediately best friends when they meet. Others might take weeks, months, or years to fully acclimate to one another and become best friends.
At any rate, you should never get discouraged and feel like it’s taking too long. It will work itself out in due time as long as you do your part.