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Canine Behavior/My cats were killed by my own dogs.


I am heart broken please if you can help explain this sudden change in my dogs I behavior I would appreciate it, I don't want to resent my dogs and need to understand this in order stop this behavior and move forward positively with my dogs, I am also worried my smaller dog suffers the same fate. I and had 3 cats and 3 dogs which co-existed for over 2 year. Our 2 bigger dogs(female Lab and male Rottweiler) have killed all 3 of our cats recently(with in the last 2 months), I am confused, what could cause this sudden behavioral change?

Greetings, and thank you for contacting All Experts,
I am so sorry to hear about your dogs killing your cat. As a cat lover, I can really feel your pain, but as a dog lover I can also tell you that what happened doesn't necessarily mean your dogs are becoming vicious out of the blue. What you describe sounds like predatory behavior, which is not at all unusual if we consider a dog's evolutionary past and sometimes it may pop its ugly head when we least expect it. At times it starts with one dog chasing a cat and soon you have a group of dogs attacking a cat. This is only an assumption though, as in order to better assume what may have occurred would require closely looking at what happened prior to these attacks. Were the dogs playing with the cat? Did the cat get close to a dog's food/toy/ sleeping area? I am guessing though that you weren't actually present when this happened, but this article should cover several possible scenarios.

Another possibility is a phenomenon known as "predatory drift" and it can sometimes happen even in dogs with a history of getting along with dogs or other cats.

Since you mention this behavior has started in the last 2 months, you must consider if any of your dogs may have a medical problem (hypothyroidism can cause behavior changes and so can any painful conditions, but you would normally see other behavior changes on other occasions as well) Any new stress? Any chances your dogs may have killed other small animals lately? Any changes such as the dogs being left alone more than usual? Pent-up energy may sometimes make dogs engage in troublesome behaviors. There are many possibilities, so only assumptions can be made and sometimes we can never really understand what really happened as dogs are animals and sometimes may behave in unpredictable ways.

You mention being concerned about your smaller dog. While dogs who kill cats don't necessarily have to also start killing dogs, it never hurts to always monitor their behavior and keep separated when you are not actively supervising.

I hope this helps you better grasp what may have happened. Feel free to post a follow up if you have any further questions.
Best regards,

Canine Behavior

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Adrienne Janet Farricelli CPDT-KA


I can answer questions pertaining dog psychology and general dog behavior. Why is my dog doing this? And what can I do about it? are common questions I am asked. I will not answer questions concerning health problems as this is out of my spectrum, but I can recommend a vet visit if there are chances behavioral problems may stem from a possible underlying medical problem.


I am a certified dog trainer (CPDT-KA) that has attended seminars on dog behavior. I am acquainted with behavior modification programs and have read several books from reputable authors such as Patricia McConnell, Turid Rugaas, Nicholas Dodman and Bruce Fogle to name a few. I have rehabilitated dogs affected by moderate to severe behavioral problems.

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