German Shepherd killed cat- need input.
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Thread: German Shepherd killed cat- need input.

  1. #1
    Senior Member 4dogs3cats's Avatar
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    German Shepherd killed cat- need input.

    Ultimately I am going to make my own decision on what to do, but here is some backround.

    We got Toby(our cat) like 2 years ago, and we got Chance(our gsd) as a puppy when we already had Toby for almost a year. They never had an issue. Then after we got Chance, when he was about 3 months old, we added another kitten(Mittens.) And they have always been fine. Chance would actually chase Mittens and slobber all over him, but never show ANY sign of aggression towards him.

    THEN we got Miss Kitty. We got her October of last year. In her last house, she got run of the house for the 1st 2 years of her life, and at night they would bring their 2 dobermans inside and lock her in the bathroom. She would tease the dogs under the door, but from what I understand she never came face to face with them. Fast forward to October of '07. They cant keep her, we take her, they say "shes fine with dogs." She is ABSOLUTELY TERRIFIED of all of my dogs.(I had 4 at the time.) We have moved with her twice, and in the apartment she'd come out if the dogs were at daycare, but she was still terrified of them. She lived (no joke) in my laundry room behind the dryer.

    The night we moved into our current house, she was in my closet because I hadn't set up the cat room yet, and Chance and Kody(beagle) had her cornered. She scratched up Chances nose pretty bad, and they plucked some of her fur. She was again terrified. Once I set up the cat room, she NEVER came out of it. She hid in her mouse house in the closet. Many times I tried to introduce the cat to Chance, to no avail. She would scratch, claw, bite, hiss, and jump out of my arms and hide, even if I had Chance in a relaxed sit-stay.

    2 nights ago, for some reason, Chance broke into the cat room, and attacked and killed Miss Kitty. She was found by my fiance laying in a pool of blood. She had defecated in the room, and there was hair and blood all over the walls, so I know there was a struggle. The water dish on the table was knocked over, and both mouse houses were all twisted and a mess.

    Since then, Chance has acted no different towards my other 2 cats. He has gone up to both of them and licked their faces, (I am assuming he is not just tasting them.) And my trainer says they should be fine.

    What I would like is everyones input. I am enrolling Chance into obedience class and I will go as high as I have to until he has a rock solid recall, sit stay, and down stay. I crate him when I am not 2 feet from him. And I keep an eye on the cats around him.

    What do you guys think? The trainer said that Miss Kitty put off such a scent of fear, that Chance perceived her to be prey and thats why he was so relentless to get to her. Do you guys think my other 2 cats are safe with him?
    ~Jennifer

    Rest in Peace MK, Mittens, and Toby.. mommy misses all of you<3
    "I've been dating since I was fifteen. I'm exhausted. Where is he?"- Charlotte York

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    Senior Member borzoimom's Avatar
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    Re: German Shepherd killed cat- need input.

    What your trainer means by " scent of fear" is the defecation the cat did in fear. Unfortunate but true- an animal that is soooooo frightened loose control of their body functions.
    Jenn- I wish I was there to help you. I know there are no words to help here other than support and yes- realization of these things can happen. He probably isnt having problems with the other cats because they do not conduct themselves " as prey" - meaning use to the dogs etc. This was probably a " horrid game" gone bad. I would crate him if you can not watch him around the cats. But I will say- a smaller dog or cat that conducts themselves more self confident is less likely to be " jumped".. When I had my shepherds I had a little like 7 pound affinpincher that ran the house. She was the boss, and they all knew it. Never once acting frightened. Nothing to start the "prey" reaction at all. It sounds like to me Miss Kitty did not have the relationship with the dogs the other cats did, and actually even teased it..

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    Senior Member Inga's Avatar
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    Re: German Shepherd killed cat- need input.

    Jenn I am so sorry to hear about your cat. I agree with BM. The other cats are not behaving strangely so Chance feels no need to react. What a horrid thing to have to walk into. All I can say is, I am sorry.


    “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” Gandhi

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    Senior Member Kotone's Avatar
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    Re: German Shepherd killed cat- need input.

    Wow, I'm so sorry that this happened to you. I have to agree with Borzoimom, it sounds like your cat's behavior did a lot to activate Chance's prey drive...fear, running, going nuts, etc...and he just went overboard trying to get the prey. I think that he'll probably be okay with the other cats, since they're so much more relaxed around him. But you're probably right to keep an eye on him just in case, until his training progresses.

    Again, so sorry that this happened to you.

  6. #5
    Senior Member Dogstar's Avatar
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    Re: German Shepherd killed cat- need input.

    I would go ahead and keep him separated from cats unless supervised, just because there is no point in potentially setting up the situation. Other than that, I think you're on hte right track. I'm sorry about Miss Kitty.

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    Re: German Shepherd killed cat- need input.

    You will NEVER be able to trust Chance again with a cat. Ever. Period.

    I think, from your description of your relationship with both Chance and Kody that a GSD is more dog than you can reasonably handle. Beagles are different thant GSD's. I have GSD's that would not hurt the cats.. but that training, by whatever method it would take, waqs invoked on day one.

    The cat was terrified and the thing got out of hand.

    I think you have an excellant relationship with your beagle, but I think with Chance you are "over dogg-ed" and you may want to reconsider retaining him in your ownership. I know you love him to pieces, and I know you are planning to go to any lengths ro "fix' this due to all you have been thru, but fixing it might jusdt mean getting someone else at the other end of the leash.

    I know that sounds very very tough, but having read your posts all along with regards to this dog that is what I am thinking.

    GSD's need a JOB. They need STRUCTURE. They are highly intelligent and whil find ways to be amused if you don't find them a job to keep them amused. You need to spend a LOT of time.. more than with Kody and perhaps more than you have actually, to keep a GSD content.

    I haven't been on the forum much.. have a pinched nerve in my neck.. but I saw this tonight and had to reply.

    Please understand, I am NOT bashing you or bashing Chance and I am sorry this happened. Very sorry indeed.

    The cat is even sorrier.

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    Senior Member FilleBelle's Avatar
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    Re: German Shepherd killed cat- need input.

    I personally would NEVER feel comfortable keeping cats in the same home as a dog that had killed one. Someone would have to go, if it were my house.

    I am so sorry this happened. What a trauma for all concerned.


    RIP Clifford, who never met a stranger

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    Senior Member borzoimom's Avatar
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    Re: German Shepherd killed cat- need input.

    Ya know- it cracks me up- having sighthounds we see ' cat safe"- uh safe with those cats or cats use to dogs.. Its not the same thing at all.. My maine coons were like uh we own the house- give it up dogs, and dogs never questioned. ON the other hand a neighbors cat may not have the same receive by my dogs..
    Cats are indivuals as much as dogs. I am shocked to see the posts that are all but bashing 4dogs as doing something wrong here. Its not the dogs fault- and obviuosly the cat was not secure around dogs. I have had toy dogs come into my house and run the place- others not acting in flight mode and my dogs would chase if given the chance. Just because this happened to her dog, and to that one cat, does not IN ANY WAY mean the dog would kill another cat etc. Even as chase driven femka is, she would not chase or hurt a smaller animal with confidence- but do not put a possum etc near her as the hunt is on..
    Last edited by borzoimom; 05-24-2008 at 05:22 AM.

  10. #9
    Senior Member Love's_Sophie's Avatar
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    Re: German Shepherd killed cat- need input.

    Quote Originally Posted by borzoimom View Post
    Just because this happened to her dog, and to that one cat, does not IN ANY WAY mean the dog would kill another cat etc. !
    hmmm...try telling that to one of my goats who survived (by a miracle) THREE attacks by the same dog; granted this is a natural prey animal for a dog, but the breed of goats I have don't tolerate dogs...they actually 'fight', rather than run from them. Dog wound up killing a sheep later on...can't tell me that once a dog does something like this that it can't easily become a habit... I have seen this scenario happen more than once; with any manner of animals; especially with dogs that are allowed to run...they learn quickly that animals that run can be a source of sick 'amusement'...of course it is just the prey drive, but still...a dog that does something like this 'once' can wind up doing it again. To say that it 'couldn't' is 'wrong', because it could...dogs are still prey driven animals, no matter how well trained they may be, if something sets them off, that drive can easily surface.

    4dogs...I would hate to be in your position...I just don't know what to suggest. I am so sorry that the poor cat had to suffer such a horrid end, and now you are stuck trying to decide what to do about it...Chances are the rest of the animals will be okay, especially with lots of training, and watchfulness at all times. I geuss it's all up to you, and I hope that you can make the right decision for everyone who is concerned...It's certainly not a fun place to be

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    Senior Member JenTN's Avatar
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    Re: German Shepherd killed cat- need input.

    Wow, I am so sorry for everyone involved.

    I kinda feel the same way Elana does, but being new I have been thinking about how to word it.

    I know you love all of your animals and want the best for them, but sometime, we rescue too much and bite off more than we can chew.

    Honestly, I think it's terrible for even one cat to live out their life in a "cat room". Cat's need freedom to roam and from stress, and can you honestly say you are providing that? I have a 3 bedroom house with a basement, and I can't imagine having 4 dogs and 3 cats in here. If Bo chases my cats, they can run to the basement- but he is a puppy and he almost NEVER does that anymore because of "leave it". And it's out of play, not aggression.

    I think you need to seriously consider altering your pet situation. I know you want to give these animals a chance, but honestly you probably knew this was not the best home for Miss Kitty. Yes, it's hard to think that at a shelter she could be euth'd but honestly I think euthanization is more humane than living in constant fear of a dog and in a "cat room" and then being torn to shreds by a dog.

    We have to realize our limits with regard to the animals that we take in. I feel sorry for so many animals and would LOVE to give them all a good home. But I would rather give my reasonable amount of animals a calm home and everything they need then to have too many to handle when even one would be in fear.

    I really am not trying to be harsh. I think you have a HUGE heart and feel sorry for these guys, but we all have to take a hard look at how much an animal will benefit by coming into our home. Everytime an animal tugs at my heartstrings when I am not out looking to add a family member to my home, I donate money to the shelter, rescue whatever. Then I know I've done something I can handle.

    I love GSDs, they are great animals. But I know without a doubt that I do not have the dog and training experience to succesfully keep one in my home.

    I really am sorry and I do hope you keep him and the cats separated. I don't think it was an isolated incident, and if the cats weren't scared of him before, they may be now- cats are very astute and probably know what happened to their housemate.

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    Senior Member blackrose's Avatar
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    Re: German Shepherd killed cat- need input.

    My dog Rose has a very high preydrive. She hunts rabbits, birds, chickens (!), deer (she can't catch them), squirrels, ground hogs....anything that moves she will chase. She has caught and killed a feral cat/kitten before. She drug up a cat that had been hit and used it as a chew toy before I could take it away from her. Yet, when she was in the house, she would never chase or even think about chasing our past kitty Rush. Rush would hold his ground, wouldn't run, and wouldn't hesitate to let her know to back off. Rose did and does, however, try to chase after our current kitten. Why? Because Pheobe runs from her.

    Chloe is the same way. She tackles Pheobe and bites at her (playfully, not aggressively, but I don't leave them alone unsupervised). She never ONCE tried to tackle Rush. Ever.

    Sasha, my friends Pit Bull, left Rush completely alone. She gave him his space, he gave her hers, and all was well. Sasha would aggressively chase Pheobe, because Pheobe ran from her.

    I think if your current cats are confident, they should be fine with supervision and a strong "leave it" instilled in your dog. However, it is always a gamble, no matter how good your odds are.

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    Senior Member melgrj7's Avatar
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    Re: German Shepherd killed cat- need input.

    I have 2 cats and 2 dogs. I trust them all together . . . when we are around. When we are not around, the dogs are in their crates because I would not trust them not to take a game of chase to far. The cats also have many places where they can get up high away from the dogs if need be. One of our cats stands her ground and the dogs would never think of trying to chase her (they each tried it once and paid for it). The other cat runs, freaks out . . . acts like prey. I know the only thing keeping her from being chased down by the dogs is me.

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    Senior Member MyCharlie's Avatar
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    Re: German Shepherd killed cat- need input.

    As I have said many many times, I am no expert, but I agree with both sides here. And unfortunately no matter how much input we have, it is ultimately your decision based on how safe you feel with Chance in the house with Toby and Mittens. If it is worth the risk to you or not. If he broke into the cat room and got Ms. Kitty, I would be afraid to leave him uncrated if I wasn't home and able to supervise.

    That said, I read about dogs' prey behavior recently and I have been searching for the book so I could quote you what it said, but I can't find it - I think I left it at work (argh). Anyway, it talks about how dogs ARE prey animals. They WILL kill other animals. As much as it may bother us to think of our animals that way, they are instinctually killers. But obviously some have a higher prey drive than others. BUT they supposedly won't attack animals that do not "act" like prey. If I can find the book, I'll quote for you exactly what it said.

    And I'm so sorry for your loss, it must have been horrible finding her that way. I'm glad it was Erik and not you - I would have freaked out.

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    Senior Member JenTN's Avatar
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    Re: German Shepherd killed cat- need input.

    Quote Originally Posted by MyCharlie View Post
    As I have said many many times, I am no expert, but I agree with both sides here. And unfortunately no matter how much input we have, it is ultimately your decision based on how safe you feel with Chance in the house with Toby and Mittens. If it is worth the risk to you or not. If he broke into the cat room and got Ms. Kitty, I would be afraid to leave him uncrated if I wasn't home and able to supervise.

    That said, I read about dogs' prey behavior recently and I have been searching for the book so I could quote you what it said, but I can't find it - I think I left it at work (argh). Anyway, it talks about how dogs ARE prey animals. They WILL kill other animals. As much as it may bother us to think of our animals that way, they are instinctually killers. But obviously some have a higher prey drive than others. BUT they supposedly won't attack animals that do not "act" like prey. If I can find the book, I'll quote for you exactly what it said.

    And I'm so sorry for your loss, it must have been horrible finding her that way. I'm glad it was Erik and not you - I would have freaked out.
    I understand the variable of cats behaving like prey, but who's to say the 2 remaining cats' behaviors won't change? I may not know squat about dogs, but I have had a cat or cats since the day I was born, and I know they are constantly changing. My kittens now will be fine with Bo licking them and sniffing them one day, then run away as if their lives are in danger when he simply walks by them the next. I don't think it's worth it, but that's just my opinion, and we know what opinions are like....

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    Senior Member 5 s corral's Avatar
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    Re: German Shepherd killed cat- need input.

    i am so sorry for your loss



    jamie

  17. #16
    Senior Member Alpha's Avatar
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    Re: German Shepherd killed cat- need input.

    First off, I'm very sorry about Miss Kitty. It sounds as though there was quite a bit of struggle.

    I can understand what your trainer is saying about "smelling fear", I dont' know too much about it, but I can see that it could make sense.

    I personally wouldn't ever trust a dog that had killed a cat to be loose in a home with cats. I would probably be nervous even if they were supervised.

    I wouldn't blame Chance, he's a dog, and he's hardwired to chase and possibly kill small animals, but I definitely wouldn't ever trust him again, no matter what.

    As you said, unfortunately, the weight is all on your shoulders during this difficult time.

    Whatever decision you make, I'm sure it will be what's best for your fur-kiddies.

  18. #17
    Senior Member loratliff's Avatar
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    Re: German Shepherd killed cat- need input.

    I'm sorry about Miss Kitty. It is always sad to loose a pet under any circumstances.

    I really have to agree with JenTN and Elana. I've followed quite a few of your posts since I've joined the forums and while I agree that you have a huge heart and genuinely love all your animals, I think you're in over your head in many ways. I, too, don't think that a designated "cat room" is a very happy existence for any cat. Why would you bring home a cat, discover it's terrified of dogs and then continue to keep the cat? That's just asking for it...

    From what I've read about Chance, he's under stimulated. Elana has more experience with the breed than I do, but from everything I've read about him, he's not a satisfied dog (mentally, at least).

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    Re: German Shepherd killed cat- need input.

    Quote Originally Posted by loratliff View Post
    I'm sorry about Miss Kitty. It is always sad to loose a pet under any circumstances.

    I really have to agree with JenTN and Elana. I've followed quite a few of your posts since I've joined the forums and while I agree that you have a huge heart and genuinely love all your animals, I think you're in over your head in many ways. I, too, don't think that a designated "cat room" is a very happy existence for any cat. Why would you bring home a cat, discover it's terrified of dogs and then continue to keep the cat? That's just asking for it...

    From what I've read about Chance, he's under stimulated. Elana has more experience with the breed than I do, but from everything I've read about him, he's not a satisfied dog (mentally, at least).
    This is well said and way less harsh than I sounded. I apologize if my post came across harsh, but you did ask for opinions.

    If your plan is to keep Chance (and after the $$ from the parvo and the conditions you rescued him from I expect that is what you will decide) you may want to consider a few options:

    1.) Re home your remaining cats. If is for their safety and, since you love them so very much, that should be 100% tops in your mind and I am sure it is.

    2.) Understand that while Beagles can be sort of like having very loving stuffed toys with a sense of humor, GSD's are VERY different. GSD's take life seriously and they are precise and systematic in their approach to every thing. GSD's will NEVER lay on a bed next to you content to just gaze at you lovingly for hours.. they will for awhile, then it is time to get up and GET TO WORK.

    3.) Decide on a job for Chance. This can be obedience titles or something along those lines. This is a job requiring you to learn how to train a dog to be very very precuise. Or you can try something else like Search and Rescue or even agility. Give him a JOB and then pursue training him to do that job and then do that job EVERY DAY.

    4.) Unsderstand YOURSELF. As stated above, there is NO question you love your animals and will go to great lengths to make them happy. However, love isn't enough. I know you have mentioned someday having a dog rescue. In pursuing that goal you also need to understand that such a venture is way more than just love. You cannot "love" a dog into good behavior. That takes training, structure and organiziation of time and efforts.

    If you plan to run a rescue someday you are going to also need to be well informed on animal behavior and training so that you reduce your failures (and you WILL have failures!). A rescue is a business and sometimes you are going to get individuals that will be better off PTS than suffering the mental anguish or possible future abuse because they have a behavioral problem that is incompatible with living with humans.

    I admire your goals and your efforts. You have come so very far with your dogs and cats... but this incident is a serious, serious wake up call if you are true to your heart and want to make the rest of your dream come true.

    What if, in running your rescue, this had been a very young Beagle (instead of a cat) that was fear aggressive from being isolated/abused etc? Don't say Chance would 'never' kill another dog.. he would. Fact is, it can happen with ANY dog with other dogs, cats or other species.

    Just some thoughts Jen. Again, I know I sound harsh.. but I am sayintg what I am from years of experience caring for a lot of animals, rescuing a lot of animals and working with a variety of species. I want for you to have your dream and be successful in it.

    Lastly, remember, advice and opinions are worth what you pay.....

  20. #19
    Member Bextastic's Avatar
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    Re: German Shepherd killed cat- need input.

    If Bex ever killed one of my cats there would be HUGE changes in this house. He wouldn't so much as get to sniff another cat. We took the cats into consideration when we decided to get a German Shepherd and decided that if he acted dangerous towards them it would be cats upstairs dog downstairs, no chance for trouble. But killing one? That might just be a deal breaker. I've had my cats for over a year, Bex came in as the one with something to prove to me.

    Luckily one cat gave him the beat down in the first day of him being here (the clawless boxing move they do up on their back legs is her specialty) so she has only to glare at him and he's backing off. The other cat he will chase but only playfully. He tried to scruff the cat a few times but we put an end to that (thanks Elana and others who advised) and now on his hyper days he only licks and slobbers all over the cat briefly. And when the cat has had enough Bex gets a quick clawless smack on the nose and the cat walks off, or we can now call him off the cat if it looks annoyed or he's getting to rowdy. But still they were not left unsupervised alone until pretty recently when we were sure these dynamics were safely in place. Even so its never for long, and the cats do have a room in the house sectioned off with a gate so they can get in and Bex can't. They can go there if he gets too rowdy and they need to feel safe, or if they just want some quiet.

    As for closed off "cat rooms", my mom has a feral cat in her house that lives in the laundry room behind the washing machine, just as you described yours doing. It breaks my heart. It is terrified of people, just as yours was terrified of dogs. It doesn't come out from behind the washing machine except to eat, quickly, when no one is looking. I told my mom to seriously consider the cats quality of life with her. If my mom had dogs and they were the problem, trust me that cat would be rehomed in a heartbeat. But when its that scared of people in general a solution is even tougher. But when a cat is living in a six inch space pressed between loud machinery and a wall, theres a huge problem.
    Last edited by Bextastic; 05-24-2008 at 09:23 AM.

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    Senior Member wvasko's Avatar
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    Re: German Shepherd killed cat- need input.

    Dogs&Cats
    Not going to give any different answers other than Murphy's Law, Bad unplanned stuff happens, sometimes to very good people. So very sorry, no dog/cat lover should have to walk in a room and see that nightmare. Try not beat yourself up over it because I know you probably are, I have read some of your threads since joining forum and know that you try hard to get job done. Just keep on fighting the good fight.
    wvasko
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