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 sailng, 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. After all, it’s up to us to keep the peace and to keep our furry friends happy! 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. After all, isn't that why you Googled "are my cat and dog playing or fighting"?
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 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, it’s time to start paying attention! Another warning sign 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 before it becomes a fight.
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.
The pretend fighting might draw some excited noises from your dog, but your cat usually remains silent. They may even take turns at chasing, 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, this is a visible sign one or both of them feel uncomfortable or threatened. If teeth or claws come out, it’s best to separate them immediately to stop your dream from becoming a nightmare. If you don't, prepare for a cat vs dog fight.
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
But what about hissing? Do cats hiss when they play with dogs? Usually, any growling or hissing is a sign your cat is growing in discomfort.
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.
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 gives your cat an easy exit without being chased by the dog!
If you're worried about your kitten playing with dog, then we highly recommend looking at your pet proofing strategy. 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 18,000+ 5-star reviews that we've received)!
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.
Dogs playing with cats 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. 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.