Why did Martha Stewart’s dogs kill her Persian cat mistaking her as an ‘interloper’?

NEWS AND COMMENT: On Instagram, Martha Stewart tells us, 20 hours ago from the time of this post, that four of her dogs mistook her calico Persian cat Princess Peony for an “interloper” and “killed her defenceless little self. I will miss her badly. RIP beauty”.

RIP Princess Peony

RIP Princess Peony. She was a calico contemporary Persian. Flat-faced. Calico is tortie-and-white.

I will miss her very badly’ – Martha Stewart

We only have one word to go on, on which to read between the lines and fill in the gaps left by Martha Stewart as to why this happened. She really does leave lots of gaps and I think her followers deserve to know the reason. They are mystified. For example, one commenter said: “There is something wrong that dogs that lived in same household with cat would attack and kill it” and another said: “Martha that’s terrible but what!! what kind of dogs do you have that they would do that to that poor cat!!”

Burial of Princess Peony

Burial of Princess Peony. Image: Martha Stewart’s Instagram account.

It would be educational to know what happened. She is basically saying that four of her dogs believed that a cat they knew probably as a friend or an associate or at least as a non-hostile animal, suddenly became an intruder or in Martha Stewart’s words an ‘interloper’.

The word “interloper” means a person in a situation where they’re not wanted or where they don’t belong. I interpret this word in the context to mean that the four dogs involved no longer recognised Princess Peony.

So why would four dogs suddenly fail to recognise a cat that they normally recognised?

Only one thing comes to mind are present which is that for some reason Martha Stewart or an employee of hers bathed her Persian cat. Perhaps she was bathed to get rid of some matting in her fur. Persian cats tend to become matted unless they are groomed by their human caregiver regularly because the fur is really too long for the cat to self-groom effectively.

Note: If any visitor has a better idea as to why the cat became a stranger to the dogs please share them in a comment – thanks.

RELATED: Neglected Persian cat dragged five pounds of filthy, matted fur around in basement

When you bathe a cat, you remove their scent and when you remove a cat’s scent other animals that formerly recognised her no longer do. This is because cats and dogs tend to identify companion animals by their body odour. Cats and dogs identify animals very strongly through the way they smell. There is of course a visual recognition as well but it is always confirmed by smell.

And in no longer being able to recognise Stewart’s Persian the four dogs attacked because dogs instinctively defend their group. When a dog’s owner returns home their dog might bark because the dog does not know whether they are addressing a friend or foe initially. However, once the new arrival has been identified the barking is then replaced by a friendly greeting or if the arrival is not identified the dog may greet that creature by a serious attack. There is no barking when a dog attacks.

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It should be said that Martha Stewart is an animal lover and that she has a menagerie of animals at her home. A website tells us that she owns at least “20 cats, 25 dogs, 10 chinchillas, scores of canaries and parakeets, two ponies, three donkeys, 10 horses, many sheep and goats, hundreds of chickens, geese, turkeys, guineafowl, quail, peacocks and homing pigeons”!

Something happened for these four dogs to suddenly decide that this individual Persian cat, one of 20 cats that she owns, was an alien, an intruder, a strange animal and not part of the family. And because of that they attacked the cat and kill her. That’s what pack animals do in order to defend the family.

And I have come to the decision, perhaps incorrectly, that the underlying reason is that Martha Stewart washed off Princess Peony’s body sent.

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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 74-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare. If you want to read more click here.

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