Corgi becoming aggressive towards cat

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Our three year old Corgi, Gendry, has started acting aggressive towards one of our cats (Astro and Felix). Gendry has lived with both of our cats his entire life and always got along just fine.

About 6 months ago, we had an initial incident where Gendry redirected his anger towards Astro. My wife was cleaning eye discharge from our Gendry's eye and Astro got too close. Gendry growled, showed his teeth and kept lunging at Astro. This lasted for about a week and finally passed by keeping them separated, etc.

Fast forward to a few days ago and this behavior has started again for no apparent reason. There are times when the dog will ignore the cat, but then out of no where he will begin staring and then just start lunging towards Astro.

Typically this starts by staring for a few seconds followed by a growl and then the dog jumps and attempts to chase the cat.

We've started putting Gendry in timeout for a few minutes when this happens. We also try to distract him by calling his name and this seems to work for a little bit.

The only conclusion we can draw from this is we noticed a scratch mark on Gendry's chin that looks like it came from one of the cats. Other than that, we think he may be anxious. We've been exercising him quite a bit but this doesn't seem to change his behavior. The other conclusion is that these last few weeks have been very different as our dog was going to doggie daycare 2/3 times a week up until a month ago with the COVID-19 situation.

Has anyone experienced anything like this before? Any advice/help would be greatly appreciated. We're just getting upset and stressed out over this situation and don't want to see any of the animals get hurt.

Thank you for your input

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