Can cats be protective of babies and toddlers?

Female domestic cats can show maternal instincts when being courageously protective of babies and toddlers. On this page there are four videos. Three of them clearly show a cat protecting a toddler. In two of them the cat attacks a dog who is attacking the child. These are very brave acts by the cats involved. They attack with courage and ferocity. Under these circumstances it is certain that the toddler was raised with the cat. The cat sees the young child as family and, as a consequence, instinctively protects the child as if protecting one of their own offspring.

Tara who saved her human toddler friend from a dog attack
Tara who saved her human toddler friend from a dog attack. Screenshot
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles:- Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

Sometimes domestic cats are intensively socialised towards babies and subsequently when they are toddlers and then children. The cat and the child from very close relationships. They protect each other. Of course, this sort of super close relationship between domestic cat and child doesn’t occur all that often to the point where it is so close that the child is imprinted on the cat’s mind as an offspring of the cat.

Cat protects child as dog attacks viciously

Important note: the videos on this page may stop working overtime for reasons beyond my control and if that has happened I apologise. Sometimes YouTube administrators delete videos for all kinds of reasons, sometimes the wrong reasons!


The most famous video illustrating this behaviour is the one in which a female tabby cat, Tara (8-years-of-age), races out of the home and body slams a small but vicious dog who was attacking the family’s boy, Jeremy. The dog bites the boy’s leg quite badly and pulls the boy. The cat successfully stops the dog’s attack. The cat chases the dog away and shows maternal instinct in returning to Jeremy. As a postscript, Jackson Galaxy in the video below explains that the dog was subsequently euthanised because of his dangerous behaviour. Click here to read more on the attack.

Cat defends boy from mauranding dog
Cat defends boy from mauranding dog. Screenshot.

Video of Jackson Galaxy visiting the tabby cat who saved the boy

Cat concerned about child falling off balcony

Reason why ‘guardian angel’ cat stops toddler from grabbing balcony railings

In another video, it is also clear that the cat is protecting a toddler from falling off a balcony. The toddler grabs a railing on top of the wall surrounding the balcony. The cat, who is nearby, clearly encourages the toddler to release their grip on the railing because they apparently believe that the toddler is going to climb up and fall off. This appears to be learned behaviour by the cat. It appears that the cat has learned to protect the toddler while on the balcony by observing the toddler’s human mother who has in the past ensured that her son does not endanger themselves by climbing up the wall and falling off the balcony.

This I think is an example of a cat learning by observation and then copying the human. We see this not to infrequently in the cat-human relationship inside the family home.

Siamese cat protects toddler from falling down stairs

In a third video a Siamese cat appears to save a child falling downstairs. In this video it is less clear what happened but nonetheless it is quite clear that on occasions domestic cats are protective of babies and toddlers and could take dramatic action as demonstrated.

Another cat protects a cild from maraunding dog

Dog attacks toddler and cat intervenes
Dog attacks toddler and cat intervenes. Screenshot.

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