CAT AND DOG PLAYING OR FIGHTING: HOW CAN YOU TELL?
If you own a dog and you’re owned by a cat, you might be tempted to think of your role as middle management. Even if having your cats & dogs together is mostly smooth sailing, body language differences between the two can sometimes get lost in translation. Your role is more of an interpreter - especially when you're trying to figure out the cat swatting dog business.
The key to dogs playing with cats is to understand the warning signs and when it’s time to intervene. Do you know how to tell if a dog is aggressive towards cats and vice versa? After all, it’s up to us to keep the peace and to keep our furry friends happy! Your cat and dog having the odd tiff also doesn't have to leave you saying 'my cat hates my dog!' In facts, in many instances you'll find that cats chase dogs and not always the other way around.
In this blog post, we will unpack everything a dog and cat owner needs to know about dogs fighting with cats (and when they're just playing). But most importantly, we'll talk about why our adjustable door strap is the purrfect aid for your cat and dog playing or fighting woes. So, if you’re like us and dream of cats and dogs getting along, keep on reading for our best tips.
CATS AND DOGS GETTING ALONG - WELL, THAT ESCALATED QUICKLY!
When what you thought was one of your cat and dog games ends in a yelping dog with a scratched nose and a hissing kitty, this can turn bad pretty quickly! It’s helpful to read the body language signals early on so that you can intervene before your pets enter the danger zone. You want to be able to identify the signs of dog aggression towards cats and vice versa.
Worried about when your cat meows while playing or cats beating up dogs, and if these are signs of a cat aggressive towards dog? We've got the answers. After all, isn't that why you Googled "are my cat and dog playing or fighting"?
Can cats and dogs get along? Yes, we believe they can! However, you need to put in some ground work. Here’s a handy body language reference list to determine if cat and dog are playing or fighting. Keep your eyes out for these 3 signs:
1. Was There an Invitation to Play?
We all know the classic playful sign from our doggos. You now, that courteous bow? Or is your pal more of a pawing to the ground kind of fur buddy? Either way, this is a clear indication that your dog is in a playful mood. Many cats, on the other hand, roll over onto their backs (or do cat bowing) to start a game. It’s a pretend submission that indicates the intention to play.
Warning: If this first step is skipped and your dog immediately starts a loud, barking chase, these are signs of dog aggressions towards cats! Another warning sign of dogs fighting with cats is when your kitty responds to the invitation with a wagging, twitching tail. With these actions, there is no mutual agreement, and it probably won’t end well when your cat fights dog. This is your prompt to step in when you see the battling signs, before it becomes a fight or cat hits dog.
2. Are They Playing in Turns?
Once the invitation to play is accepted, your buddies will usually take turns at play fighting. Your kitty might swipe, but always with claws retracted, and your doggo will mouth the cat without using teeth. You might notice cat hitting dog, but it won't cause any pain.
The pretend fighting might draw some excited noises from your dog, but your cat usually remains silent. They may even take turns at chasing (yes, cat chases dog too), but both stay in the game. This is an excellent indicator that your dream of cats and dogs getting along is coming true!
Warning: If your dog's growl starts to lower in pitch and continue, or if your cat hisses (or makes other aggressive cat sounds), this is a visible sign one or both of them feel uncomfortable or threatened. If teeth or claws come out when cat smacks dog, it’s best to separate them immediately to stop your dream from becoming a nightmare. This is when you should be thinking "my cat doesn't want to play anymore." If you don't, prepare for a cat vs dog fight and some nasty cat bites.
More subtle signs that your cat is preparing for a real fight or flight include:
Ears that turn backward or lie flat
Fur standing up
Cat arching back when playing
My cat hissed at my dog - now what? Do cats hiss when they play with dogs? Usually, any growling or hissing is a sign your cat is growing in discomfort. You might sometimes catch your cat meowing while playing, which is not always a negative sign.
Playing aside, knowing these behavioral signs can seriously impact how you pawrent your pets. The better you know your pets, the safer your home will be - especially when you're introducing a kitten to your dog. Remember if you're asking yourself if my puppy plays too rough, creating a safe play space is key.
3. How Safe is the Play Space?
Still wondering about your cat and dog playing or fighting signs and signals? Our best tip: always be in the room with your dog and cat for playfights. The more time you spend with them while they’re in this playful mood, the better you will get at recognizing the symptoms.
To keep the space safe, we’d advise trying to limit playtime to 5 minutes at a time. This way, your pets won’t get frustrated with each other or become over-excited. You can also try keeping the door slightly open at all times so that your kitty can escape if it gets overwhelming. Fitting a Door Buddy adjustable door strap gives your cat an easy exit without being chased by the dog, and can prevent dogs fighting with cats!
If you're worried about your kitten playing with dog or puppy wants to play with a cat, then we highly recommend looking at your pet proofing strategy. It will be the best way to navigate cat behavior. Aside from the size difference, energy levels and personal boundaries should all be taken into consideration before play time. Sometimes, even an age difference can contribute to the cats & dogs together dynamic. Having a safe exit keeps everypawdy happy!
WHY DOES MY CAT SLAP MY DOG?
If you haven't asked yourself "why does my cat slap my dog", are you even a real furparent? All jokes aside, we know that this is an answer that many of you want to hear.
Here's the grub: your cat slaps your dog for a few reasons. The most notable one is superiority. Gotta love cats, right?
Although our cats are known to be particular creatures, this isn't just a funny thing that happens with a cat and puppy playing. It can actually be a big indicator that your cat is overwhelmed and that your doggo is taking over their space. In other words, this is your cat's way of saying "back up or else"... followed by a small swat in the face. This is just one of the many ways your cat is trying to communicate.
When our pets feel safe, this reduces any animosity that may rear its ugly paws during a rumble. For pet parents, Door Buddy can be a game-changer (not our words, just some of the 25,000+ 5-star reviews that we've received)! If you're wondering how to help my dog and cat get along, this is it!
The best part about Door Buddy is that it gives your cat back their space while keeping the doggo out and installs in seconds without any complications. While your cat resets in peace, your doggo will be kept safely at bay - restoring the peace in your furmily! The foam door stopper also prevents doors from slamming and keeps those furbulous tails safe. Keeping the dog out the litter box is also one way to prevent fighting.
Dogs playing with adult cats or kittens doesn’t have to be a scary scene! In fact, our furry pals can be best buds when they’ve got the right supervision and safe spaces. You won't need to wonder how to help my dog and cat get along anymore. Understanding the cat and dog playing or fighting signs is a great way for us furparents to stay in charge and keep the love in our homes!
When in doubt, get involved in the game! Here are some 15-minute games to play with your pet that we know your cat and dog will love. If you're a parent as well as a pawrent, you might also want to check out this blog on how to keep baby out the litter box.