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My Cat is terrified of our new dog.

Discussion in 'Cat Chat' started by FrenchieFamily, Apr 22, 2017.

  1. FrenchieFamily

    FrenchieFamily PetForums Junior

    Apr 16, 2017
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    Just over a week ago we adopted a 5 year old dog. The people we adopted her from assured us she loved Cats! My 1 year old Kitty never seems bothered by dogs, she often plays with my Mums dogs when they come and visit.

    When we first introduced the dog and Cat to each other the dog went straight for my Cat and scared the life out of her! We have given our cat the run of upstairs where the dog isn't allowed and she seems OK with that. The problem I'm having is getting her into the house. On a night Im having to wait for my cat to come to our garden and tempt her with treats to come to me then grab her get her and take her in the house. Tonight she won't come near me, when ever she gets close she runs away. I feel awful I really want my Cat to feel comfortable to come in and out of the house but as soon as she see's the dog she runs away. I'm worried she's going to run away.
  2. claire8234

    claire8234 PetForums VIP

    Mar 8, 2013
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    Dont feel awful. These things are never easy and take time. I remember adopting a young dog and thinking she would never ever leave the cat alone and we had made a bad decision, but with time they all learned to ignore each other.

    Can you create a safe room for your cat (in the dog free zone) that has her bed, food and a litter tray so she has everything she needs in that safe place.

    Also think about access to the catflap - can your cat use it without being disturbed by the dog? She wont come in if she feels threatened or sees the dog. Are you able to leave a door or window open for most of the day so your cat can see inside the house and check out where the dog is.

    Sit outside and offer your cat food, treats anything to encourage her nearer to the house. Your dog has to be shut out the way when you are trying this and see if you can encourage her inside or even to get her to come to you.

    IF she wont come in consider getting her a sheltered outside bed so at least she has somewhere warm and dry to go and feed her as close to the back door or house entrance as she'll come

    Never allow your dog to chase your cat, if need be keep your dog on a long trailing lead in the house which you can quickly grab or step on if it looks like your dog is going to chase the cat.

    I would also be looking at teaching your dog the leave command and use it whenever the dog sees the cat.

    Try to give your cat plenty of spaces up high to either get away from the dog or to allow her to quickly jump up out the way as well as little hiding places for her to use. Initially you dont want the dog meeting your cat if you are not there to supervise or to restrain your dog.

    Try a pet remedy diffuser in your cats safe room or area as this can help with stress. You can also try zylkene calming supplements or nutracalm (prescription only) which I personally find better. Calming spot ons may also be worth a try if she isnt coming inside.

    DO not try to force your cat inside it will take time to get the two to ignore one another but it can happen and if your are lucky they may even become pals!

    GOod luck and be patient x
    #2 claire8234, Apr 23, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2017
    AmsMam and Cleo38 like this.
  3. Charity

    Charity Endangered Species

    Apr 17, 2013
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    Just because a dog likes cats in his own home doesn't mean he will like other cats. We had a rescue JR who, sadly, through no fault of the dog or cat, the introduction was a disaster. At the moment we were introducing them, with the dog on a lead, and things were going OK, someone came to the door and the dog started frantic barking (not aimed at the cat obviously) but it frightened the life out of the cat who went for the dog and scratched her face. They never really liked each other very much from then on. Our dog lived with several cats, she was quite timid herself but we adapted life around the animals so that they had their own individual space and were only together if we were present and, they mainly got on OK, some cats even liked her. Things got easier as the dog got older. In the garden, they were quite happy around each other but, indoors, we never left her and the cats alone very much. We live in a bungalow and, if we went out, we put up a trellis in the hall so the cats and dog had freedom in their own half of the house and could relax. This worked for 16 years though it wasn't ideal.

    Whilst your cat may feel comfortable upstairs, she knows she has to get into the house downstairs where the dog is and, at the moment, she's very scared if she comes in she will meet her. You only have the previous owner's word your dog likes cats so you will have to be careful and watchful to begin with and keep the dog on a lead or get a dog gate so they don't meet as before. I'm sure people will be along who can give you good advice on how to do it but it will take time.
  4. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

    Nov 22, 2010
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    I agree with Charity and Claire - your cat needs a way into the house, through the cat flap and to her safe quarters upstairs without ever meeting or seeing the dog. If this is impossible to achieve with the present site of the cat flap (e.g. if the flap is in the kitchen and that is where the dog is) then I strongly advise fitting a second cat flap in an area where the dog has no access. e.g. perhaps at the front of the house, or from another downstairs room.

    Until your cat knows she can get in without having to run the gauntlet of the dog barking or lunging, she is unlikely to come indoors.

    I would keep the dog and cat entirely separate and out of sight of each other until your cat is bringing herself indoors of her own accord. Then you could look at introducing them to each other. The dog must always be on the leash and under your control when you allow the cat and dog in the same space.

    If you are unsure whether you can fully control the dog at this early stage, leave the introductions with your cat until you have done some successful obedience training (either classes or on your own) with the dog and know you can trust him to do as you say. At present he is an 'unknown quantity'.
    AmsMam and Tigermoon like this.
  5. Tigermoon

    Tigermoon PetForums VIP

    Apr 2, 2013
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    A bad first time meeting can, unfortunately, have permanent repercussions, however all is not lost so don't give up hope yet. Keep the dog out of sight whenever you bring your cat in, either have the dog taken out for a walk at this time or shut him in a room which the cat doesn't have to pass to get upstairs. Scent swapping can help introduce new cats to the household, and it can work for a dog and cat too. Rub a handkerchief or dishcloth over the dog and place it where that the cat can sniff it over at her leisure, maybe while offering her favourite treats so she associates the smell with nice things.
    Once things have settled down a bit start the gradual process of allowing the pair to see each other. As @chillminx said, all meetings between the dog and the cat must be very carefully controlled, this means the dog must be fully in your command (he must sit, stay and leave alone when you tell him to). Keep him on a lead or in a crate. Allow the cat to make all the moves, and allow her to leave if she wishes. Slowly over time hopefully the pair will realise that each is a part of the family and start to relax in each others presence. Only have meetings without the lead/crate when you are absolutely sure the dog will not chase the cat. This could take days, weeks or months depending on the pair involved. In my case it only took about two or three weeks for the cats to become comfortable around our new dog and for her to realise they were not to be chased, but its important you don't rush this stage.

    You could consider having an outside 'cat walkway' up the side of the house to a suitable window which can be left ajar (obviously not ideal when its raining!). Anyone handy with a saw, drill and screwdriver can knock shelf steps up to a window for the cat to use.
    chillminx likes this.
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