Why Do Dogs Kill Cats?
Though they are rarely utilized for hunting anymore, dogs still possess strong hunting instincts. Some breeds have more powerful hunting instincts than others. For instance, a greyhound is more likely to chase a cat than a Shih Tzu. That’s because Greyhounds were made to chase, while Shih Tzus were bred to be lap dogs.
The breed’s history and purpose matter. A breed born to chase can’t necessarily keep itself from chasing, even if it was well-trained. Even a dog that was raised around cats may chase a cat when it starts running. It’s their innate instinct.
Once a dog is chasing the cat, they’ll often use their teeth to grasp the cat if they catch it. They aren’t necessarily trying to kill and eat the cat. They’re just playing with the cat like it’s a chew toy. Sadly, this can sometimes lead to the cat’s death.
Dogs don’t kill cats because they’re mean or because they want to eat them. Instead, they’re just following their hunting instincts.
How Do I Stop My Dog From Killing Cats?
The best way to prevent your canine from attacking cats is to keep them away from cats. This means they will have to be on a leash at all times when cats may be present. If you’re going somewhere and know a cat may be nearby, you should consider muzzling your dog. (Though this is not an alternative to a leash, as a large dog can easily trample a cat while muzzled.)
You can also desensitize your dog to the cat. Usually, this involves having the cat somewhere safe but visible to the dog. Behind a glass door or window is a good option. Carriers can be used as well, though it can be dangerous if your dog gets to the carrier with the cat inside.
When the dog ignores the cat, you give them a treat. Eventually, the dog stops paying attention to the cat altogether because they want the food. You’ll need to do this in a variety of locations, so your dog learns to ignore cats everywhere, not just in your home.
Of course, a dog that has killed a cat should never be allowed near a cat unattended, even after training. You can only do so much to deter instincts.
While most dogs love to eat cat food, there’s a reason why cats eat cat food and dogs eat dog food. Your dog probably won’t be harmed by sneaking some of the cat’s food now and then, but it isn’t something you should give him on a consistent basis.