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Cat Attack - What To Do?


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My husband was walking our dogs at the park on a hike bike trail yesterday. He spotted a cat about 20 feet up the trail and had his eye on it; Cecil was sniffing around a shrub and came out with a 2nd cat attached to his face. Chaos ensued and Jet grabbed the cat off of Cecil's face and all 4 of them struggled. The dogs got out of it with scratches and bites on their face and no serious damage. The cat really gnawed on Jet's face and he's pretty chewed up. Unfortunately the cat was almost dead when my husband left the scene to rush them to the vet as they were bleeding and he was in a total panic. He called the park and they said they were going to get the cat.

 

There were lots of people around to witness this (and not help at all) and he heard people talking about "those dogs that killed a cat" as he walked them back to the car. I'm horrified at the thought of our greyhounds (and ALL our local greyhounds) getting a bad rap for this. I'm very sad they killed a cat (but why would a cat attack - apparently it had chances to run, but it was on the offensive not defensive). And lastly, I'm torn on what to do next regarding the cat. Should I call the park and offer to pay for euthanasia if it was necessary? Should I stay quiet? I don't know if these were strays or if they belong to someone? Are we at fault if it was a family pet? Our dogs were leashed the entire time. I'd appreciate any advice on this.

 

And to boot, Cecil is an IBD dog and is now on antibiotics (and they both got a rabies booster), so this will likely turn into a one to two month ordeal with GI issues. Overall though, I know we're very lucky because the injuries could have been so much worse.

 

Thanks,

Lori

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Cat-dog fights are never pretty. And they can be quite upsetting for everyone involved, even people who witness from afar. But it doesn't sound like your dogs were doing anything wrong. They were leashed and under control. The cats were free-ranging and likely feral. In my book, those kinds of cats are fair game as much as any other wildlife found in a park. And even if they weren't feral, I'm sure your municipality has animal control laws for domestic cats which were not being followed.

 

Yes, I suppose you could have trained a better "leave it" command, but I don't know of any dog who would listen with a cat attached to his face.

 

If you have a name of someone to contact at the park, you might call, just to see what happened. You didn't say if your husband saw any collars on the cat(s), so it's unlikely they can be identified unless someone is looking for them and calls the park. You might call your local animal control and report that your dogs were attacked by a feral cat, just to make sure there's a paper trail in case the cat's owner is located.

 

There's no winner and no way to feel good about fights like these. I'm sorry for you and your dogs, and for the poor cat.

Chris - Mom to: Lilly, Felicity (DeLand), and Andi (Braska Pandora)

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Angels: Libby (Everlast), Dorie (Dog Gone Holly), Dude (TNJ VooDoo), Copper (Kid's Copper), Cash (GSI Payncash), Toni (LPH Cry Baby), Whiskey (KT's Phys Ed), Atom

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My husband was walking our dogs at the park on a hike bike trail yesterday. He spotted a cat about 20 feet up the trail and had his eye on it; Cecil was sniffing around a shrub and came out with a 2nd cat attached to his face. Chaos ensued and Jet grabbed the cat off of Cecil's face and all 4 of them struggled. The dogs got out of it with scratches and bites on their face and no serious damage. The cat really gnawed on Jet's face and he's pretty chewed up. Unfortunately the cat was almost dead when my husband left the scene to rush them to the vet as they were bleeding and he was in a total panic. He called the park and they said they were going to get the cat.

 

There were lots of people around to witness this (and not help at all) and he heard people talking about "those dogs that killed a cat" as he walked them back to the car. I'm horrified at the thought of our greyhounds (and ALL our local greyhounds) getting a bad rap for this. I'm very sad they killed a cat (but why would a cat attack - apparently it had chances to run, but it was on the offensive not defensive). And lastly, I'm torn on what to do next regarding the cat. Should I call the park and offer to pay for euthanasia if it was necessary? Should I stay quiet? I don't know if these were strays or if they belong to someone? Are we at fault if it was a family pet? Our dogs were leashed the entire time. I'd appreciate any advice on this.

 

And to boot, Cecil is an IBD dog and is now on antibiotics (and they both got a rabies booster), so this will likely turn into a one to two month ordeal with GI issues. Overall though, I know we're very lucky because the injuries could have been so much worse.

 

Thanks,

Lori

 

First of all, I'm sorry that your dog was injured, and also sorry that the cat was injured and potentially killed. A bad situation all around.

 

The first issue may be that the cat felt trapped by the greyhound, maybe it thought it was safe under the shrub and got scared and attacked to defend itself. It could have been a perfectly "reasonable" decision making process for the cat at the time. If it was capable of making decisions with a huge (to it) predatory animal snuffling where it was. Just like humans, animals have different thresholds for freeze, flight, or fight. It might not have felt it could have gotten away by running, and maybe it's initial urge was freeze and hope the animal went away - but that didn't work and then flight was out of the picture. Just a thought.

 

But there is also the chance that it was rabid. This would be a concern of mine. I think you need to post information that your dog was attacked by a cat in the area, fought it off, but the rabies vaccination status of the cat is unknown at this time. Let your vet know as well, maybe animal control/the park people. The damage to your dog may mean that the cat must be euthanized and tested for rabies. If it is found to have rabies, people would need to be warned and asked that if they had interacted with a cat of [whatever] description in the area that it tested positive for rabies and they should be given the vaccinations just in case.

 

(Was your dog on leash at the time? Is it usually prey driven outside, as it sounds like if your husband was carefully watching the one cat further down the trail? You may have to step up your own "scanning the environment" skills to prevent something like this from happening again. It sounds like his vision of the close cat was obscured by the shrub, and maybe in the future blind areas like that should be avoided...just in case. But then, I am a "worst case scenario" person, and I'm always super vigilant already. This would make me super paranoid.)

 

Wishing your dogs fast healing, and your husband and you good luck!

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First of all, I'm sorry that your dog was injured, and also sorry that the cat was injured and potentially killed. A bad situation all around.

 

The first issue may be that the cat felt trapped by the greyhound, maybe it thought it was safe under the shrub and got scared and attacked to defend itself. It could have been a perfectly "reasonable" decision making process for the cat at the time. If it was capable of making decisions with a huge (to it) predatory animal snuffling where it was. Just like humans, animals have different thresholds for freeze, flight, or fight. It might not have felt it could have gotten away by running, and maybe it's initial urge was freeze and hope the animal went away - but that didn't work and then flight was out of the picture. Just a thought.

 

But there is also the chance that it was rabid. This would be a concern of mine. I think you need to post information that your dog was attacked by a cat in the area, fought it off, but the rabies vaccination status of the cat is unknown at this time. Let your vet know as well, maybe animal control/the park people. The damage to your dog may mean that the cat must be euthanized and tested for rabies. If it is found to have rabies, people would need to be warned and asked that if they had interacted with a cat of [whatever] description in the area that it tested positive for rabies and they should be given the vaccinations just in case.

 

(Was your dog on leash at the time? Is it usually prey driven outside, as it sounds like if your husband was carefully watching the one cat further down the trail? You may have to step up your own "scanning the environment" skills to prevent something like this from happening again. It sounds like his vision of the close cat was obscured by the shrub, and maybe in the future blind areas like that should be avoided...just in case. But then, I am a "worst case scenario" person, and I'm always super vigilant already. This would make me super paranoid.)

 

Wishing your dogs fast healing, and your husband and you good luck!

Good point about the cat's reaction - I think it was probably a surprise to everyone. And very good point about the rabies and treating this as a public health concern. I just read about a woman who was bitten by a rabid cat this summer rather close to this park. We did let the vet know all the particulars. The dogs were both up to date on all vaccinations and he gave them a rabies booster as well.

 

Both dogs were leashed. One has high prey drive the other does not (the one the cat got first was Cecil - non high prey drive, but not cat safe either). Neither of my dogs pull or lunge to get to small animals or cats when we're walking. In general I'd say my husband is not as aware as me, but I too am a worst case scenario person and cautious to a fault, so I'm trying not to be too hard on him. He's traumatized and feels awful enough. Hopefully he stays more vigilant in the future.

Is there any chance the cat has kittens nearby?

I suppose there's a chance of kittens but he didn't see any. The cats were not wearing collars either.

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No advice, but hoping that your hounds heal up quickly, and hope your husband heals as well. A very unfortunate situation, which is easy to dissect in hindsight, but so shocking and hard to deal with in-the-moment. :grouphug

Godspeed to the dear cat, either way. :heart
We have a an un-collared tortoiseshell who hangs out in/under our condo complex's mottled shrubs, COMPLETELY camouflaged -- if it doesn't choose to move at all, you can't see it until you (and your hound) are about two feet away. That's when it decides to hiss (it's either quite ballsy or quite stupid... perhaps a mix of both), at which point Aston's eyes turn to roast turkeys and he tries to lunge. I have chosen to avoid shrubbery/trees and other "close quarters" around the complex because of this.

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i do like the comment about posting info re: cat attack for other dog owners. feral cats are a real problem. there are some groups who trap and inoculate and neuter cats, but they are overwhelmed and short staffed. i would try to contact cat rescue groups locally and describe the incident and mention the possibility of kittens.

 

we went thru a horrible couple of cat encounters in our yard. a feral litter was being fed down the street in the woods. 2 different times annie zapped the unlucky cats who made it into our yard. one of the kittens had a slow death, i had to wait for dh to deal w/ the near dead kitty since i am so allergic to them. i have no idea of how annie wasn't scratched up. but cat scratches are now right dirty and nasty.

 

it's a horrible feeling knowing that your dog has killed or maimed an other animal. but the greys are hunters and they are just doing their job.

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I think any animal whether domesticated or wild would defend itself if attacked by another animal. Even I would fight back if an animal attacked my face. It was just self defense. Also, you other dogs were just defending their fellow pack member or family member. It could be that the cat was rabid or sick.

Edited by LadyGrey
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I personally wouldn't do anything except continue to follow up on vet care for my dogs.

 

I had the dame thing happen. Feral cats in my neighborhood and I was always vigilant, but one day I missed a cat laying in the bushes. Neyla did not. The cat was in her mouth so fast I didn't know it was happening. Cat got a few good swipes in and she dropped it. My neighbors below me fed the ferals and I asked them to catch her if they could so I could get her vet care, but for some unknown reason they didn't and I suspect she died. :(

 

Anyway, I wouldnt worry too much about the cat being rabid. What you described is pretty typical behavior. If they're already in the bush and the dog is very close, they tend to freeze up and I suspect if the dog moved in a bit more most here would attack at that point. I am now *really* careful about not letting them stick their noses in the bushes.

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Jen, CPDT-KA with Zuri, lab in a greyhound suit, Violet, formerly known as Faith, Skye, the permanent puppy, Cisco, resident cat, and my baby girl Neyla, forever in my heart

"The great thing about science is that you're free to disagree with it, but you'll be wrong."

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I'm sorry that this happened. But it's not your fault. Even if it was someone's pet. Anyone who is foolish enough to allow their cat outside in today's world--well, frankly, what happens, happens.

 

I have two cats. They are part of my family. I would not allow a 10 pound animal to roam loose and unattended for any reason. Dog attacks are one reason why!


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Susan,  Hamish,  Mister Bigglesworth and Nikita Stanislav. Missing Ming, George, and Buck

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