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I need a friendly ear/some advice. My cat is depressed because of new dog.

Discussion in 'Cat Chat' started by Lolli1, Dec 21, 2020.


  1. Lolli1

    Lolli1 PetForums Newbie

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    Hello everyone. A wee introduction of me: I'm 35 years old, and I've had my 14 year old cat since she was a wee kitten and I was really still a girl. I had just moved out of my parents' home and away to a new country. I had no-one there at the time, and my cat became my anchor, my home, my best friend. I have longterm PTSD since childhood (long private story, so won't get into that). My cat is essentially my family. I love her so much.
    Can you bear with me a bit longer to read this? If you can, thank you so much. And if not, that's okay.

    For about 5 years I have wanted a dog. I love dogs, and I have childhood memories of my grandparents' dog, who I loved very much. She is one of my few happy childhood memories. I held off getting a dog for five years, as I wanted to make sure I was in a good position to care for one. I live in a house with garden and work from home (even before Covid). I have read all sorts of books on dogs, and tons of internet advice on training and socialising etc. But I was super scared that my cat might not like having a dog in the house. I mean, I was terrified. A few weeks ago I decided that if I kept frightening myself out of it, I would never get a dog. So I managed my fear and took the plunge. I picked my puppy up a few days ago. Long story short: despite my best efforts so far, my cat now won't come out of her den at all, except for food, and even then she sometimes only takes a bite and then goes back in, or throws her food up straight away. Apart from that, she won't come out at all. She is normally an active, happy cat who goes outside and spends a lot of time with me. We are very close.

    The puppy is very hyper and needs constant attention, so that going into my cat's room (she has her own room that she can go to when she wants privacy) to spend some time with her is difficult, because the puppy screams like she is being boiled alive whenever I leave her for even a few minutes. I miss my cat so much, and I am worried about her :-(. I don't know if this situation is ever going to improve. I know I could give the puppy back to the farm she came from, as they were very keen on her and she would be happy there, but I would feel like such a stupid failure. The cliche person who gets a dog and then can't cope.

    Do you have some advice? Just please don't tear me to shreds. I am already beating myself up.

    Thank you for reading.
     
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  2. Jaf

    Jaf PetForums VIP

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    Hello and welcome. I’ve never had a puppy but I did get a dog when I already had cats. It took a long, long time before the cats were happy. You need to work out if you can separate your time between the 2 animals if they never become friends. You can help your cat by providing her lots of safe places where she can escape. You’ve said she has her own room, that might have to be permanent. I would keep the puppy on a lead at all times so that she is never allowed to run at your cat.

    Good luck.
     
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  3. lorilu

    lorilu PetForums VIP

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    I would return the puppy. In my opinion it's not right to do this to a senior cat. Having a dog should wait until your cat is gone.
     
  4. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    I agree with @lorilu. It is too much to expect a senior cat to adapt to living with a noisy, lively, demanding puppy. I doubt the situation is going to improve much, if at all. Senior cats are pretty much set in their ways and do not like changes in their routine.

    I think you should allow your beloved, affectionate cat to live out her Autumn years in peace and quiet with just you and her. She deserves this in return for all the loyalty and support she has given you over the years..

    At only 35 years old you are in the prime of your life, and you'll have years ahead to get a puppy, after your cat has gone to Rainbow Bridge

    This is a time for concentrating on the needs of your cat. :)
     
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  5. Lolli1

    Lolli1 PetForums Newbie

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    @Jaf , @lorilu and @chillminx Thank you for your honest advice. If Mia (my cat) can't happily adjust to the puppy, it's clear I can't keep her. I don't want any situation where Mia is not as happy as she was before. I contacted the lady the pup came from today and let her know about this issue, and asked if she would be willing to take her back if it doesn't get better. She said she would be happy to. I know the puppy would be in good hands there. I am going to try for a few more days and see if it gets better. If not, at least I know there is a good solution in sight.
     
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  6. Lolli1

    Lolli1 PetForums Newbie

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    @Jaf . Yes, she has her own room (always has done) where she can go, and also currently has the whole upstairs to herself without the puppy. Whenever I have tried to have her come down to see the puppy, the puppy has been in her crate and asleep. Unfortunately so far it's not made Mia feel more at ease.
     
  7. Arny

    Arny PetForums VIP

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    If you really want to try and make a go of it, and the breeder is happy for the dog to go back no matter the age, I'd continue for at least a month.

    I brought a new dog home at the beginning of the year and it took one of my cats two weeks start to venture downstairs more and that's with a cat used to dogs having lived with my previous one and this being a mature dog who'd lived with cats.
     
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  8. O2.0

    O2.0 PetForums VIP

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    If the cat has her own space and puppy has her own space, I'd give it some time.
    It takes my cats about a week to adjust whenever we have dog houseguests here. And these are cats who live with a crazy obnoxious little dog who chases and harasses them. The resident dog they swat away and don't bother about, but visiting dogs (who are civilized and don't chase them) the cats will go in to hiding for about a week. They they come out like nothing is amiss.

    I wouldn't try to get the puppy and cat to interact at all. Puppy needs to learn that the cat is like a piece of furniture, totally ignore her.
    Pup also needs to learn to be left alone for at least a few minutes at a time initially, then extend that out.
     
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  9. Lolli1

    Lolli1 PetForums Newbie

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    Thank you for your advice @Arny and @O2.0 . It's good to know that there are people whose cats reacted similarly but came round. I haven't tried to get them to interact, just for my cat to walk through the house as she normally would, and generally be in the puppy's presence without fear. The puppy has been socialised with a cat at the farm and displays no interest in my cat, which is good.
     
  10. Tigermoon

    Tigermoon PetForums VIP

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    @Lolli1 it will take a long time for a cat, particularly an older cat who has had the entire home and you all to herself to adjust to an new pet, especially when that new pet is a dog, and a loud, rude, bouncy pup at that. Start separation training with the pup now, today. It absolutely must accept you not being with it every second of the day, otherwise you'll have made a rod for your own back that will be a pain in the backside for the next 13/14 or more years. Did I read correctly that this puppy came from a farm? In other words it is from a working background? That'll be hard work, though not insurmountable provided you put in the training.
    Whatever you do, do not force interaction. Do not carry your cat down to meet the pup, or bring the pup up to see the cat in her room. Instead just wait for her to choose to interact in her own time. Bare in mind this will likely take weeks, maybe months and of course there is the risk she will never really be happy in the dogs presence. However in my experience, usually a tolerance level is achieved. My advice is never to leave the pair alone together, even when they seem content in each others company. Always have an area for each animal which is their personal space that the other is not allowed to enter.
    I would ensure that for now at least you cats food, water and litter tray are in her own room, so she is able to meet her daily needs without coming face to face with the puppy.
     
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  11. lorilu

    lorilu PetForums VIP

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    It just sounds like such a miserable life for a cat in her senior years though. She should be lounging around the house wherever she wants, finding her sunny spots, curling up with her human, enjoying her senior years in peace. Not forced to stay in one room, spending most of her time alone because the puppy has to be trained, and feeling constantly stressed and fearful besides, because of the puppy noises and smells. The whole idea of it just hurts my heart.
     
  12. O2.0

    O2.0 PetForums VIP

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    I wouldn’t even try yet. Just let her be and let her decide on her own terms when she wants to come out. Sometimes the more we push, however gently, the more she will resist.

    That’s great pup isn’t interested in the cat, what breed is she?
     
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  13. Jaf

    Jaf PetForums VIP

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    When I say it took a long time for my cats to get used to a dog...it took 10 months. I wouldn’t do it again. The dog was blameless but the cats never trusted her. The kittens used to bite her eyebrows.
     
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  14. pennycat

    pennycat PetForums Senior

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    Agree with this, poor cat :(
     
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  15. Calvine

    Calvine PetForums VIP

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    There is also the risk, of course, if she is a cat who is used to going out, that she may start to visit neighbours and find herself a new, quiet and stress-free home, say with an elderly person living alone, no dogs or children; this would obviously be heartbreaking for OP who clearly loves her dearly.
     
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  16. Orla

    Orla PetForums VIP

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    I have to say, I wouldn’t continue to try for very long as she is a senior cat. If she was younger I might be more inclined to allow them longer to get used to one another but if she continues to have a miserable time hiding away, I’d be worried it would just end up making her ill.
     
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  17. Treaclesmum

    Treaclesmum PetForums VIP

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    When it comes to dogs, finding the right breed is very important, especially with regards to cats. I would probably return the puppy to the farm, especially as she is very hyper. Then you could look into getting a calmer quieter breed like for example, a pug, which are lovely quiet and gentle dogs and should be a better option.
     
  18. Arny

    Arny PetForums VIP

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    Most dogs can learn to be around cats especially when brought up with them and the op says the puppy doesn't pay attention to the cat which is often half the battle.
    I think it would be irresponsible to return one puppy just to get another.
     
    #18 Arny, Dec 23, 2020
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2020
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  19. lorilu

    lorilu PetForums VIP

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    Yes. That's the thing. Oldies are so special. @Lolli1 you are going to miss out on some very precious times with Mia. I can't stress this enough. I wouldn't give up any of the time I've had with my oldies, for anything.

    Maybe she might learn to "tolerate" the dog. But why should she have to? It won't be the same for her, (or you) if she has to do that. You will miss so much, because your focus is going to be on the dog. Bring the puppy back and give Mia her golden years the way she should have them. You've plenty of time for a dog, later, after she's gone.

    And has been mentioned, the stress can make her ill. This should be Mia's time. You and her.
     
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  20. O2.0

    O2.0 PetForums VIP

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    It's possible that this won't work out and thankfully the OP chose a good breeder who will take the pup back. I agree about not returning the pup just to get another breed, either make it work with this one or wait all together.

    It's also possible that the cat not only will get used to the pup but may even grow to enjoy the company. IME cats are more resilient and adaptable than we give them credit for - even old cats. One our our 11 year old cats enjoys toying with the new dog who's a horrible PITA to the cats. He sits on the landing and dares Penny to come in his "space" and swats at her when she gets too close. He's normally not a cat who enjoys being inside much, but since meth puppy's arrival he comes inside much more. I swear he enjoys tormenting her :Hilarious

    We used to have a tuxedo cat who didn't have much use for puppies, but once they settled in to normal-ish adults he loved snuggling up with them on the dog bed or sofa.
    We've always taught our dogs to be neutral to the cats, neither magnetized or afraid (some people say let the cat swat the puppy once or twice so that the pup 'learns' I very much disagree with this approach). But as long as the pup learns to be neutral, and learns good house manners, the cat's life won't be disrupted that much.
     
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