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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello.. I've just joined this wonderful forum in hope that I might find some badly needed advice from the members here. PLEASE.. pretty please.. consider reading and offering me any information or advice that you can..

We have a Rat Terrier that is around 5 years old I think, her previous owner died and we took her in about 2-3 years ago. Her name is Rascal. She is very attached to me in particular but overall she is a friendly and happy dog. She does like to bark at neighbors occasionally from the window as well as bunnies and such outside. However she has not shown the will to attach anyone, and as far as other animals go she'd rather bark and chase. I've seen her get right up to an un-frightened animal outside only to give up her chase in boredom- thus no intent to bite or attack.
Then recently.. There were stray kittens outside of my boyfriends house. He wanted to take one in badly but his dad is horribly allergic. So I fell in love with this one and wanted to give her a home especially before winter set in. She is around 5 months or so in age, named Mia. She is the most affectionate cat that loves to curl up and snuggle on you, she purrs easily and is far from timid. Very good behavior for a stray that has not dealt too much with humans.

Now to the issue.
I took this kitten in a few weeks ago. But my dog will not accept her one bit. At first I gave Mia some time shut in my room here safe from Rascal to get used to everything. I started by simply letting Rascal see her while she was in a crate and vice versa. We got some curious sniffing and then some growling and a few barks. We kept doing this until Rascal would be quiet. She was always staring, though. Now we have tried with the dog on a leash to introduce them various times face to face. It always ends with Rascal barking and growling, chasing and nipping. Mia was curious about her and wanting to examine her but now that is mixed with fear. Mia has only hissed and ran, she has yet to scratch at the dog.

Given my circumstances I can't know what Rascal's life was like before we took her in. I never thought we would have so much trouble with her. I knew she would want to growl and bark and chase at first, but I didn't know that she'd actually be charging and nipping like that. I fear for the kitten's safety. I absolutely need them to be able to be in the same areas. They can hate each other for all I care at this point so long as no one is being attacked.

Another point to bring up is that I am dirt poor. I do not have the money to call any help in or to visit my vet. (All of Mia's shots and such were taken care of for free by the local humane society.) Please.. is there anything that I can do here? I do not want to get rid of either pet but I can't have it like this either. They need to both have roam of the house, I can't watch them constantly because I'm not always home and I also don't want either of them cooped up in a room alone or in a kennel...
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The only thing I can suggest is to muzzle your dog until you are sure its safe. Maybe someone else will have other suggstions.
I suppose that is one option.. I was hoping I wouldn't have to resort to anything so drastic. I feel horrible because my dog used to stay in my room with me all day. And now she has to be locked out for Mia's safety... I can't put Mia alone in a room because I have to babysit her kitten mischief when I can.
 

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When i took in a foster i had the same issue, it was dangerous and i was not risking either getting hurt.

I would teach a leave command, he will know what you expect from him. Also i used a spray corrector, not to everyones liking but it worked, as soon as he made one aggressive behaviour to the cat i sprayed, he immediately knew it was wrong and i put a leave it command with it.

After the foster would lay down when the cat came past etc. He needed to learn it was not acceptable behaviour, no other training worked for me unfotunately. Also when the cats in the same room, give your dog some treats such as ham etc and say good leave when the cats there, that will also help.
 

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We took in our 3 year old Rottweiler from a rescue centre nearly a year ago and we already had two resident cats who were the same age. We were advised by the rescue centre that Roxy (dog) had been tested around cats and was fine. She was far from fine. She was absolutely obsessed and the cats were terrified, so much so, they relocated themselves upstairs.

It has been an incredibly slow (and at time, distressing) process, but we are finally getting somewhere. We paid for the advice of a behaviourist and between her information and what we've learnt, here is what has worked for us:

* I don't know if you live in a one story or two story property. If it's two story, buy a child gate and put that up on the stairs so the cat has somewhere safe to go away from the dog. If the property is one story, still buy a gate and put it on the door of the cat's favourite room. This way, the cat will remain safe, but you're not closing the door between the cat and the dog, which will allow them to slowly get used to each other.

* If you have a crate, each day or evening, put the dog inside and encourage the cat into the room. Have lots of treats available to reward the dog and cat for positive behaviour, but you MUST tell the dog off if the behaviour is unacceptable. Only reward when it has listened to a command and obeyed you.

* Muzzling is a good idea especially if you're not sure of the dog's motives.

* Keep the dog on a leash inside the property so if the cat does come into the same room, you have control over the dog and can stop the chase if the cat runs away.

The dog needs to learn that you are the boss and that you won't accept any negative behaviour. When we first started this process, because there was no bond that had been built up between us and Roxy, she completely ignored us. We couldn't even get her to sit if one of the cats was around and she wouldn't care that we'd be holding a sausage in front of her, she was completely fixated on the cats.

We worked hard on building up our bond and after nearly a year, we're now at the stage where Roxy will obey any command we give her in front of the cats, we can call her away from them and if she is settled in her crate in our living room and one of the cats walks in, although she shows a lot of interest, she remains calm and lying down. Only two months ago, she would have been spinning on her heels!

The other thing to consider for your cat is to ensure that you never force it to do anything, it has to all come from the cat. Never force the two animals together and always ensure the cat has high spots where it can escape to.

I understand that you don't have any spare money for this, but you are going to have to invest in both animals throughout their lives with keeping their annual injections up to date, worming and flea treatments every three months or treating them if they have an illness so it's important that you try and set some money aside for a rainy day or to buy a few essentials to keep the animals happy and safe i.e. baby gate and indoor cat climbing tree (this gives the cat somewhere high to go).

It sounds like you love both animals a huge amount and they're very lucky to have you, but if things don't improve, you may be faced with finding another loving home for the cat.

I wish you the best of luck and really hope things get better.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thank you all for the advice!
If she gets any worse or does not improve I will consider the spray, I hadn't thought of that before.
As far as spare money goes, I'm not foolish enough to take in a pet and not be able to care for her. It is just going to be a few months before I have steady income again (I have nothing at all now because my last job was seasonal, but I live with my Pop so its still stable here), so I won't be able to get her a bunch of toys and things outside of the necessary food/litter until then.
Using the crates and rewards are definitely things I have been trying or will try to do more. I think slow and steady is the only way to expect progress, but I can't help but worry because it is my first time in a situation like this.

Update for the day:
Today we made a little progress at the least. No real nipping today, and less barking/growling. I had Rascal the dog sitting and staying still on the leash. Then I brought a crate with Mia that cat and had her sitting and staying with the crate near her. Then I opened it and let the cat venture out while the dog was still calmly sitting. Occasionally Rascal got up to follow her (she was being held on a leash incase we needed to pull her back), and when she would get too rowdy we'd pull her back and try sit/stay again. This worked some of the time but not all of the time because she really REALLY wants to get to the cat.

However I noticed something that I'd like some input on if anyone can help me out. Rascal's tail is wagging a lot when shes trying to get to the cat, even when shes barking/growling. And the barking is higher pitched like she does when she meets company (and then she promptly wants the company to pet her so its not vicious). Is this a sign that the behavior is not totally aggressive? Maybe playful and curious or a mixture of some emotions?
 

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what you are describing in your last paragraph is a state of exciitement, my dog does this when he sees cats and i know without a doubt given a chance he would chase them, not sure if he would kill one as hes never had the chance but i certainly wouldn't trust him
i would be extrremely careful with this situation, in july my old cat got killed by a dog loose on our estate and it was extremely distressing to everyone who saw it
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
what you are describing in your last paragraph is a state of exciitement, my dog does this when he sees cats and i know without a doubt given a chance he would chase them, not sure if he would kill one as hes never had the chance but i certainly wouldn't trust him
i would be extrremely careful with this situation, in july my old cat got killed by a dog loose on our estate and it was extremely distressing to everyone who saw it
I am SO sorry for your loss... I can't even imagine what that must have been like. :(
I understand what you are saying. These two animals will not be left alone together, only with supervision. Unless something drastically changes over time and Rascal calms down, which is of course what I truly hope for. Until then I will keep giving them time together heavily supervised and my brother has offered to babysit Mia the kitten in his room when I am gone.

I would still like to hear any advice and I will be updating this thread with progress as time goes on.. I feel a lot better talking to everyone here who knows much more than I do on this topic.
 
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