We need to talk about cats
Firstly i want to say that many sighthounds can live with cats. We get lots of dogs through our doors that are able to live with cats. However this post is about those who can’t.
Our sighthounds, like many breeds of dogs have inbuilt natural instinct to chase, grab and kill small fluffy things. In many dogs we can keep this instinct nicely tucked away, by training our dogs to live with other animals. Although even the dogs that live with animals nicely within the home can chase small furries outside of it.
When you adopt from us we are honest about the dog and its prey drive. We will tell you if it chases outside of the home. We will advise you to keeping dogs with high prey drives on the lead in unsecure areas and areas with livestock and we will talk to you about muzzling. We can also put you in touch with dog trainers who do prey drive reduction training.
If you don’t own cats then you may adopt a dog that is not cat safe. Some dogs that are not cat safe will chase cats. Some will chase and grab, and some will kill. We will make you very aware of what your dog does, HOWEVER it is important to note that in new environments and different situations a dog that has previously only chased, may this time chase and kill.
Most people with dogs that are not cat safe are very responsible and very careful about where they walk their dogs, however even the most responsible owners can get caught out when a cat enters their own garden.
Sadly cats do enter peoples gardens and find themselves face to face with dogs who then attack them. This is not the dog owners fault, or the dogs. The dog is just doing what comes naturally to them- the cat has walked into their territory, no one has asked it to come in.
However, it is horrible for the cat who may be killed, or escape with injuries. The cat will also have owners somewhere, owners that love the cat and who will be very upset. We don’t want this to happen, so what can we do?
If you have a cat that keeps coming into your garden then try to find the owners and let them know that their cat is at risk. You also need to look at cat proofing your garden- do as much as you can to try and prevent cats from coming in. There are all sorts of different products on the market that supposedly repel cats, which are well worth a try. Also;
- Surround an area with a fence (chicken wire etc) that leans in the direction from which the cat will approach. The cat is unable to climb over such an angled fence.
- Flimsy plastic roll-up fencing placed on top of a fence etc to prevent cats climbing over it.
- Taut wire or string fitted 10-15 cm above the fence-top makes it difficult for cats to balance on the fence.
- Before you let your dog out in the garden check that there are no cats in the garden.
- If cats come in the garden on a regular basis consider putting a bell on your dogs collar and muzzling when lots are about.
All methods need to be as kind as possible to the cat, and nothing should be done to inflict pain or lots of fear on the cat.
If your dog does injure or kill a cat that has entered your garden, then look at increasing your ‘anti cat’ protection, but don’t blame the dog, and please don’t throw them into the first rescue centre that you come across. All dog owners need to be aware of what dogs can potentially do, try to keep our dogs and other animals as safe as possible, and if things do go wrong see how we can improve things, get training advice and also accept that your dog is just being a dog and carry on loving him or her.