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Do Cats Attack Intruders? What You Need To Know!

It is easy to think that when you hear stories about heroic pets battling intruders to protect their families, they are talking about dogs.

Cat owners, especially those living alone, may question if their felines provide additional security against these threats. Certain cats have been known to attack intruders, making headlines frequently when they do so.

"Do Cats Attack Intruders? What You Need To Know!" by BestForPets (bestforpets.org) addresses whether cats can recognize an intruder and how they may do so.

In addition, we will discuss why your cat may feel the need to attack and how to spot symptoms of agitation or concern in your pet.

Do Cats Know What An Intruder Is?

While there are no studies analyzing whether a cat recognizes an intruder, we can make some inferences from other evidence.

The majority of cats build ties with their human companions, despite their reputation for being snobs.

According to a 2019 study, 65 percent of kittens studied for research built stable bonds with their owners. This indicates that cats recognize their owners and are frequently so bonded to them that they feel protective of them.

In addition, cats scent mark their territory, which includes both their house and their human family in their minds.

When your cat headbutts you or rubs against you, it leaves behind its aroma. Study indicates that a cat’s sense of smell is superior to that of a dog when it comes to distinguishing distinct odours.

Even if they do not necessarily comprehend the concept of a home invasion and burglary, a cat would undoubtedly recognize an intruder based on their strange scent.

Why Would a Cat Attack An Intruder?

We may wish to believe that our cats would attack an intruder in order to protect us, but there are various other possibilities.

As previously said, cats are very territorial and do not enjoy any intrusion into their territory. Territorial cats may react negatively to any new human or animal in their home, including those that enter peacefully, such as visiting relatives or a new roommate. Cats may feel compelled to attack an intruder who invades their territory.

Cats may also attack when they perceive their safety to be endangered. In general, cats appear to avoid conflicts with potential enemies, particularly those that are larger than them.

Yet, any veterinarian who has been placed on a cat’s bad list can attest that this is not always the case! A cat will defend themselves if they deem it necessary to do so.

Cats may in fact fight an intruder in order to protect their owners. We already cited the scientific proof that cats can bond with humans. Several studies have revealed that cats can perceive and respond to human emotions and facial expressions.

A home invasion is a frightening and stressful circumstance that is certain to elicit strong emotions. If your cat perceives these emotions, he or she may respond aggressively and attack an intruder.

Signs Your Cat May Be Preparing To Attack

Even before you become aware of danger, your cat’s heightened senses may alert them to an intruder. An anxious or nervous cat frequently exhibits the following bodily indicators of distress:

  • Irregularly shaped ears
  • Expanded pupils
  • inflated tail
  • increased hair along the back
  • Hissing, growling, and other vocalizations

If a cat becomes aggressive, it may charge an intruder, swat, scratch, or bite it.

Despite their small size, cats are capable of inflicting harm on humans, with the added risk of transmitting disease and infection when they bite.

Are Some Cats More Likely Than Others To Attack Intruders?

The disposition of a cat likely plays a part in determining whether it will attack an intruder. For instance, hyper-territorial cats may be more prone to aggressive replies. A cat that is naturally tense, agitated, or hostile may also be more likely to attack.

It is believed that “dog-like” cat breeds, such as Siamese, Maine Coons, and Burmese, are more likely to exhibit protective and guarding behaviors, despite the lack of empirical evidence.


Cats have been known to repel intruders, whether they be human or animal. Nevertheless, as mentioned in Do Cats Attack Intruders? What You Need To Know!” by BestForPets (bestforpets.org), you cannot accurately predict how your cat will react in this situation.

Undoubtedly, your cat may attack an intruder, but you shouldn’t rely on them completely for defense! Fortunately, there are many more advantages to owning a cat besides their potential to keep you safe.

Author Image

Dr. Deborah Fletcher

Deborah R. Fletcher, DVM, is a skilled veterinarian with more than 15 years of experience dealing with companion and exotic animals. She has experience caring for a variety of animals, including household cats and dogs, reptiles, birds of prey, and even primates. Dr. Fletcher is a valuable part of the BestForPets team, where she contributes to their aim of providing pets and their owners with the finest possible treatment and services.

Veterinarian (DVM) Dr. Deborah Fletcher


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