Barking dog, you don’t scare me. Hissing cat, be very afraid. People ask me if it’s scary walking into a house with a big barking dog. Please give me a barking dog any day but don’t make me walk past that hissing cat. Now don’t get me wrong, I love cats. I have lived with cats most of my life. But…..attack cats….???
Today a friend of mine on FaceBook posted about being attacked by a cat while walking her Golden Retriever and that brought to mind the times I have been attacked by cats.
My first experience with cat aggression was with my own cats. It was very mild and most likely “petting induced” while some cats like to be petted many cats will allow it for a short while and then just turn around and bite that hand of yours. Yo human, what do you think you are doing?
“Redirected” aggression according to the ASPCA, occurs when a cat is aggressively aroused and agitated by an animal or person he can’t get at (because there’s a window between them, for example). Unable to get to the trigger of his agitation, he turns and lashes out at someone—person, dog or cat—who is nearby or who approaches him. The first time this happened was with a domestic long haired named Duffy. When I first met Duffy with the owner he was lovely. He let me pet him, he let me brush him. My initial visits were very calm, no problem. Then the owners brought in a kitten and kept him in a seperate part of the house. My relationship with Duffy was about to change. Duffy did not like Lilo. So when I came into the house, my first visit after Lilo joined the household, he literally charged at me hissing. Yes, kitty, you have my attention. Forever after that I had to go into the house with some sort of protection; carry a bag in front of me or better yet a broom. At least I felt I could protect my legs, none the less it was a scary experience.
And then there are the cats that are territorial. ASPCA explains it this way: Cats’ territorial aggression is usually directly toward other cats, but it can be directed toward dogs and people, too. They may stalk, chase and ambush a targeted intruder while displaying offensive body postures, including hissing, swatting and growling. This has been my experience with my clients pets. They just don’t think that I belong in their house. One of the first I had to deal with was Cloe. This cat was so mean. As soon as I walked into the house she would start stalking me. Follow me around hissing and then after she ate forget it, she would go into full attack mode. I smartened up pretty fast about the food thing and would only feed her when I was on my way out the door.
Another experience I had with a territorial cat was when I was walking 3 dogs. One of the
dogs, Frankie, slipped out of his harness, great. Of course this is a dog that had an issue with anyone touching his back. Great. He had on a harness that clipped on the back. Great. So while I am getting Frankie’s harness back on he latches onto my hand, won’t let go. Good dog. All of a sudden the other dogs are straining at the end of their leashes and as I look up what do I see? A cat charging us from across the street. All I could think is “You have to be kidding me.” What a sight I must have been to the neighbors. Dog attached to hand being attacked by a cat.
So yes give me a barking dog any day over a hissing cat.