Will a domestic cat attack an intruder who threatens the owner? The answer depends upon the character (and perhaps gender) of the cat and the depth and type of the relationship between cat and human. There may be more instances of female cats protecting toddlers than any other due to the relationship domestic cats have with children.
There are many instances of domestic cats protecting a person from an attack, either perceived or actual, by another person or a dog. It is something that you would think would not happen because often domestic cats are quite retiring in the face of large threats such as from a person. But it certainly does happen and I’ve included some links and videos on this page to demonstrate it.
There are stores on Quora.com about cats attacking strangers. One story concerns a Siamese cat who protected a four-year-old girl from an insurance salesman who was allowed to enter the home without being accompanied by the girl’s mother. The Siamese cat felt that the salesman presented a threat to the four-year-old and viciously attacked him. The family bought insurance from the salesman!
In another story a tortoiseshell cat protected another cat who was being petted by a woman from a marauding dog. The tortoiseshell cat dived in and slapped the dog around the head with her claws. The dog ran off.
On this website I have reported several occasions when domestic cats have attacked to protect a person. In one incident the family cat perceived a threat from a babysitter towards the toddler she was caring for. You can see in the video that the cat dives in and harasses the young woman, biting and scratching quite ferociously and tenaciously. The cat was protecting ‘her kitten’.
In another video a domesticated stray cat who a woman had taken in became enraged when the woman kicked snow at him.
It would seem that the stray cat was not wholly domesticated and suddenly saw the woman who had befriended him as a threat and lept up at her face scratching and biting. The woman was clearly badly shaken by the experience. Incidentally, the cat was put down and tested for rabies! There as no rabies as expected. It is ironic isn’t it?
When a domestic or stray cat becomes enraged like this they are genuinely very dangerous because there is a very heightened level of ferocity. You see this brutal ferocity in fights between cats for territory and it can lead to quite severe injuries.
Perhaps the best-known example of a domestic cat diving into protect a human being is that of a young boy outside the family home playing on a tricycle. A dog wanders up (I think the dog belonged to a neighbour) and for some inexplicable reason the dog wanted to attacked the boy and does so by grabbing the boy’s leg and shaking it. Out of nowhere, the family cat raced across the front drive and dived into the dog as you can see in the video. The dog ran off. The cat gave chase and once she was satisfied that he presented no threat she went back to the boy. This video went viral big time.
These are a small selection of examples. There must be countless others unrecorded and unrecognised by others. The examples I have seen often concern the family cat protecting a young member of the family. It would seem that a family cat might relate to a toddler or child as her kitten. It appears to be a reversal of roles because usually the cat is kept in a state of semi-kittenhood because adult owners provide the mothering in terms of security and food et cetera. Sometimes the roles are reversed and this is an example.
It calls into question the relationship between domestic cat and human guardian. Sometimes the family cat is in charge and becomes the guardian of the human. In these examples the cat is fighting a creature much larger than herself. This demonstrates the fearless courage of domestic cats.
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