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Did One Of Two ‘Very Sweet’ Pit Bulls Kill The Sick Cat They Lived With? (Seven Cats Remain)

crystal ballWe have 2 otherwise very sweet mixed breed pit bulls. We also have or HAD 8 cats, now down to 7 because the dogs “tortured” for lack of a better word one of our sick cats (Missy).

Missy has that incurable feline rhino virus, but otherwise behaved normally (ate, drank, purred, played etc) I just took him to the vet and was awaiting blood work results.

My wife and I were watching TV, oblivious to the dogs who routinely chase the cats. The cats just run away or stand there and swat them in the face as if to say “Seriously, you want some of this? (scratching). My wife then saw the cat laying on the step , fur all disheveled and mouth open panting. Mimi died moments later. This happened once before to another sick cat.

Is this pet dogs killing pet cat behavior unheard of?

Meanwhile our youngest kitty who we adopted when he was 6-8 weeks old (found in sewer drain) LOVES both dogs , who nurtured him like surrogate mother cats. One dog nibbles on him (like a person would eat corn on the cob) and the cat just LOVES it and PURRS. Any feedback appreciated. God Bless you.

Your Brother In Christ (Middletown, NJ)

Not Enough Information To Say But...

I have no way of telling whether Missy your cat died as a result of the illness she was diagnosed, a combination of the impact of that disease along with the stress of being harassed (playfully or not) by one or both of the dogs, or a dog attack. To make an educated guess, I would need to know more about the dogs in question. If their history is one of relatively peaceful coexistence and has been for a period of time long enough after the dog’s would be considered ‘adult’, it’s likely the cat simply died.

You’d have to have a post-mortem done to eliminate the attack option. Which, considering there are now two deaths under the same roof and the number of other potential feline targets it might be well worth dismissing.

John Wade

My 'Brother In Christ' replied (and admittedly got my knickers in a knot)

John you stated:

“it’s likely the cat simply died.”

Absolutely NOT the case. The cat ‘s entire body of fur was disheveled and wet. Both dogs were down the stairs with the cat. However, there were no bite marks or wounds which a dog in a very aggressive state could inflict. So my question remains unanswered. Do dogs , by their inherent nature or some sense or instinct KILL a sickly cat who cannot defend itself? If you are not sure can you direct me to another source of expertise?

Thank you.

My Reply

I did not say it was likely the cat simply died. I said, “If their history is one of relatively peaceful coexistence and has been for a period of time long enough after the dog’s would be considered ‘adult’, it’s likely the cat simply died.” AND I additionally said, “To make an educated guess, I would need to know more about the dogs in question.”

An amateur dog trainer may give you a definitive, yes all dogs will kill a sick cat, or no a dog will not kill a sick cat. However, an experienced dog trainer knows (although I’d think it would be common sense) – dogs kill cats for different reasons and to be fair to the dog, the cat and the owner, each situation should be gauged separately.

In essence your question remains unanswered because in light of my earlier reply if the question remains in your mind unanswered (and I apologize for being blunt) it’s either a silly question or it’s the wrong question.

Do you think the veterinarians that own dogs and take them to the clinic every day have that dog kill all the sick cats that come through the door? Sort of a four-legged ‘cat-scan’. “Healthy, you live. Sick, I attack and hopefully you die.”? Or that your household is the only one that has ever had a sick cat and a dog living together?

Or, is it more likely that there are other factors that impact how a dog reacts to a sick cat?

Or, maybe the cat just needed a break from the torture/harassment from the two dogs and couldn’t handle the stress and the disease combined?

A dog’s behavior is impacted by both nature and nurture. Evolution plays a role, selective breeding plays a role, critical imprint period plays a role, training plays a role.

As to your belief that the cat didn’t simply die. How do you know it was ‘Absolutely NOT the case”? Why couldn’t the dog have come across the dead or dying cat and simply licked it repeatedly in an attempt to rouse it? Plenty of examples of that response exist.

Lacking a magic wand or crystal ball I’m afraid I don’t have the answers you seek. Psychic hotline might be better resource than a companion dog behavior site.

My 'Brother In Christ' Replies (From God Bless To . . .)

Listen asshole, I don’t need to be patronized and spoken to in a sarcastic manner by somebody who is supposedly there to HELP people with dog issues. Yours is NO WAY compassionate or sympathetic to a person (me) who just lost a pet I loved. Shame on YOU! Do NOT bother to reply because your message will NOT be read because you have been blocked so don’t waste your time or mine anymore with yet another SILLY reprehensible reply.

What I Think May Be Going On

Rereading his original post, now, I have to wonder if he wrote me looking for a way to get absolution for his sins from me with a reply that absolved him of blame. “Yes, all dogs sense weakness in cats and are compelled to kill them.” Rather than a real answer.

I tried in my original reply to be both compassionate and sympathetic and when I didn’t answer the way he wanted he then wanted me to find him someone that would tell him what he wanted to hear. Time for bluntness then.

Maybe a little compassion and sympathy for that sick cat and the one before it was in order?

I’m not judging him though. I made a serious mistake once that led to the death of a dog I loved dearly and I’ll go to my grave regretting that decision.

I’m not saying he should have known, but with one death already and another fatally ill cat and two lose unruly dogs known to harass/torture the cats he must now be second thinking himself.

My reply was not intended to expose the log in his own eye so much as shake him out of the logical fallacies and cognitive bias he was using to redirect reality and hopefully avert a third cat from being killed if indeed the dog or dogs were the culprit. Sadly, at least for now, I failed. He seems determined to refuse to face the truth and looks to find toxic ways to express is grief. A very human response and again no judgement.

The source of expertise he needs at this point should likely be one in tune with the spiritual plane as in via his pastor as opposed to a dog trainer as I think he’s not looking for help with a dog issue yet but is looking for help with a spiritual or conscience issue.


John ‘Ask The Dog Guy’ Wade
Embracing Science and Common Sense

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