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Will my cat ever be comfortable around our new dog?

Discussion in 'Cat Chat' started by Katie Kerr, Jun 19, 2020.

  1. Katie Kerr

    Katie Kerr PetForums Newbie

    Jun 19, 2020
    Likes Received:
    Hi there,

    I joined this forum as I have a question about my existing cats behaviour towards our new dog, I hope someone out there can help.

    We got our new rescue dog a week ago, shes a collie cross of about medium size with a very calm temperament, previously having lived with cats and shows no interest in chasing them (she just wants to look!). Our existing cat is about 9 years old, and was very confident around the house prior to the dog. We've had her for about three years now.

    Unfortunately we got the dog a week earlier than we were expecting to (we went for a 'first meet' and the shelter wanted us to take her then and there) and therefore we did not have time to properly research cat dog introductions, so we may have made a few mistakes when introducing them. For example we kept the dog on a lead and let the cat see her face to face early on, when we should have done scent swapping for a few days prior to this. However, nothing obviously bad happened (no chasing or biting). In fact, when we are outside in the garden with the dog, the cat has walked over and sat about a metre away of her own volition a few times.

    But inside the house the cat displays much more nervous behaviour, which is making me worry she will not adjust to the dog. She completely avoids the dog, only coming up to our bedroom (her safe, dog-free space), or going into the kitchen for food and water. She has access outside through a cat flap to toilet. Any approaches from the dog, even at a distance, are met with hisses and fleeing outside. The cat will not enter the living room at all, and she seems to be playing much less. I'm worried how she will ever adapt to the dog if she wont be in the same room as her to see that our dog means her no harm.

    It's early days - but I love my cat to pieces and it's causing me a lot of anxiety so I was wondering what other peoples experiences were of cat/dog introductions, and if I should expect things to get better, and what the usual time-frame for that would be?

  2. Charity

    Charity Endangered Species

    Apr 17, 2013
    Likes Received:
    We've had the same issue with our cats and dog, who we've had for nearly a year now. I think we made the mistake of keeping them apart too long when the dog was very young and little but I was being protective of the cats. Now she is a big dog with a bark, they run away though when they are on either side of the baby gate, one will goad the dog and make her bark. We are working on that.

    It is early days for you and I'm sure things will improve with time, especially as your dog isn't that interested in cats which is a bonus but I understand how you don't want the cat to be stressed around the dog all the time when they have to live together.

    Could you section the house off as we've done so the cat can still roam where she's always done until she becomes more accustomed to the dog's presence and doesn't see her as a threat then try re-introducing them. I think perhaps indoor introductions in the first week face to face may be a little too soon.
    lullabydream likes this.
  3. Jaf

    Jaf PetForums VIP

    Apr 17, 2014
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    It took my cats a year to be happy around my Honey dog. She was a great dog, very calm around them. They would just come downstairs to eat. Eventually they would walk over her to get to the sofas! They never were friends but tolerated each other. All the kittens that arrived were much happier around her. Matty cat even chewed on her a little.

    Make sure your cat has lots of high places she can jump to and safe rooms that the dog is never allowed in.
    lullabydream likes this.
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