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Adopted dog, and cat started fight! Help!

January 13th, 2007, 10:39 PM
I just brought home our newly adopted dog, Suki today. She is about 8 yo, and was raised in a breeding facility, and spent the last three-four months in foster care with other cats. She did great with the cats, but wasn't interested in dogs.

So, when I brought her home I was very careful about introduction to my cats, Aspasia (6yo) and Sephera (2yo). My husband brought out Aspasia first, slowly- Suki was still on her leash. Suki sniffed at Aspasia and went back to trying to lick me, or check out the entry way. Aspasia however, went to the end of the hall- (that opens to the rest of the apartment) and started arching her back, puffing her tail..... so I pulled back Suki (who wasn't even paying attention to her.) My husband pet Aspasia, to calm her down... she relaxed some-- but didn't take her eyes off the dog.

When my husband brought out Sephera (who is 2yo, but is the size of a 12 week-old). Once again- Suki sniffed, and went back to wagging her tail and staring at me. But as we took Sephera out of her kennel- she started growling and hissing- she puffed up, and arched her back (and started that diagonal walk). So I decided to give Suki a quick bath ( hoping that she will start to smell more like home to them), and give them time to cool off. When we came back out- I put Sephera high up on her cat walk ladder. Suki wandered about drying herself some more. Sephera sat up high on the ladder growling and hissing at Suki, then she moved lower and growled and hissed somemore. I decided to scoop her up and put her in her kennel to cool off. As I picked her up she started swatting at Suki, yowling, hissing, growling-- Suki started doing springboard jumps off my hip while I tried to grab Sephera's kennel. Sephera sprung out of my arms- attacked Suki (who's is easily five times her size.) Suki fought back. I dove into the thick of it- Suki had Sephera's whole torso in her mouth! :eek: I screamed at Suki "NO!" and she backed off right away. Sephera ran off- my husband checked her out (no cuts, scratches or bites- just a lot of dog slober). Suki looked ashamed, and frightened.

So we put them both in their kennels in separate rooms.

But now, many hours later Suki is sleeping in her kennel for the night, Sephera has been out for some time- but she is terrified of the dog now. And now the dog gets frighten when the cats hiss or growl at her.

Gah! What should I do? This is a trail-stay for Suki- she's learning quickly not to jump or paw for attention (she's starting to sit-pretty).

Is this a permantent mental scar for both of them- or will they start to warm up. My little cat won't come into the living room (where Suki's kennel is- shut and covered.) I know that this is a new situation, but I don't want Suki to get attached to us if my cats can't be safe with her and vise-versa.

January 13th, 2007, 10:52 PM
I would think in time it will be fine, but I think forcing the animals to meet that quickly is probably a bad idea. Animals take time to acclimate to one another. If I got a dog, for instance, I would definitely allow the cats to meet the dog on their own time.

When I got a new kitten a while ago I put up a baby gate and allowed the cat to look through it all she wanted at Dracko (my dog). After a couple days she started to try to play with him through the gate. Then I moved the gate a little aside after a few days so she could sneak out if she wanted but could run back and feel safe if necessary.

You want your cats to always feel secure and discover that the dog won't hurt them. That will take time and the dog may chase them.

There are occasions animals never get used to a new addition, but typically they will in their own time.

Oh, and any occasion the dog and cats have went at it (nothing serious ever) the cats always won! Dracko might weigh 90lbs but that's nothing up against cat's claws. I also think it is good for a dog to realize a cat can defend themselves. A little tussle isn't the end of the world as I'm sure most people on here will say.

January 13th, 2007, 10:57 PM
This may sound crazy but try putting baby powder on all 3?? This way they all smell the same..Then just let them be...All you have to do is rub some baby powder on your hands and then run it through the cats & dog fur..It may or may not work for you but it did for me! It came from the advise of my vet!

Good Luck

P.S They will get used to one another dont worry!

January 14th, 2007, 09:04 AM
It is not uncommon for a new dog to jump up and try to grab something you pick up, in their mind they may be thinking it is a toy and part of a game you are playing. When the dog was attacked it did what comes naturally, protect itself. Your yelling was appropriate and sent a clear message to Suki, she will likely leave the cat be and settle down in it's presence. Some cats are very territorial. and will use puffying up and going on the offence to scare intruders away, so what enfolded may have been actually a good thing even though it was scary to watch and could have had a worse outcome, the cat now knows that tactic is not going to work, and will be wary for a while and cautious of the dog but as it has more interactions learning the dog won't hurt her she will start tolerating, she may never become best of friends but will accept dog, though sometimes strange thing do happen where the cat does become close friend with the dog. It may take the cat a month to stop hiding from the dog, it will still puff up and hiss if the dog goes near reprimand Suki , you may need to use a spray bottle of water to get her attention, it is not unworkable but will take some time, I have one cat that was a social butterfly and knew no fear when introduced to dogs for the first time and another that spent a month hiding but eventually after she got over her fears was the first to greet the new foster dogs

January 14th, 2007, 09:10 AM
I know this probably isn't helpful after the fact, but you introduced them way too fast. The dog and cats should have been kept in separate rooms for a couple of days to get used to the smell of each other in the house. Introducing a blanket or towel that the dog has slept on before letting them meet would have been a good idea too. Anyway, after that incident your cat may never get used to the dog, and you're very lucky that the dog didn't do any damage to the cat. :shrug: For now I would separate the dog from the cats for a few days and see how that goes. When you do re-introduce them, keep the dog and cats in separate cages if possible and put them several feet away from each other for a few minutes at a time several times a day over a day or two. Then let the cats out free with the dog caged up and see how that goes. The fact that the dog reacted that way in the first place would concern me a lot. I have 2 dogs that have been hissed at, growled at, and swatted at on several occasions and they've never shown any aggression back towards any of the cats. Also, I wouldn't suggest bathing the dog or putting any kind of powder or scent on anyone. Animals identify each other by their own scent and masking that could be confusing to the animals. Good luck!

January 14th, 2007, 09:21 AM
I agree that a gradual introduction is what is needed. I also think that instead of putting the cats in their kennel, you should only put the dog away and let the cats roam and get comfortable with the smells of the dog. If you put the cats away it's like they're being punished and this newcomer gets to roam free. I think most people, when introducing new pets to each other, segregate the new pet to a room (bedroom, home office) and keep the door shut, allow the animals to sniff each other through the door and even bring blankets or other objects that smell like the new animal to the "old" animals so they they can get used to the scent of the new guy. I think most people would recommend that this stage of introduction should last a week at the least, probably longer depending on your animals (Obviously allow the dog out for toilet breaks and playtime). Only allow them to be together when supervised by you. The key is to allow the cats to get used to the dog on their own time. Good luck.

January 14th, 2007, 09:24 AM
I took too long to respond and in the meantime vfrohloff wrote a response similar to mine, sorry for the duplication.:D

January 15th, 2007, 09:46 PM
Suki seems to be a very smart little dog! :D

My older cat Aspasia sometimes puffs up at Suki when we come in from a walk, but she doesn't hiss or growl. All I have to do is say relax and she settles down, and I give her some love. She has been sniffing the dog kennel and such, and getting closer to the dog to sniff. They get along fine.

Now my little cat, Sephera- (the one who got a bit scrappy with the dog)... well she spent the rest of the day (and I think night) on her cat walk --
(my hubby and I have a one bedroom apt. and we try to keep pets out of bedroom, so we have a series of cat walks to give the cats more places to roam and explore- its their territory, that is where there food and water is) --

The next day she stayed up there most of the time, eating, drinking, grooming, and of course- watching the dog. I just let her be- Aspasia hung out on the floor, doing her usual things. She doesn't even care about the dog now. Well, the dog was sleeping on a chair, Aspasia was sleeping on an ottoman, Sephera was sleeping on the catwalk. I was sitting in the 'office' (section of living room) with my back to the dog.

I heard this growling noise behind me, I turned. Sephera was on the floor in front of the dog trying to start another fight. And *such a good dog* Suki, just sat there looking at me. So I picked up Sephera and put her in her kennel to relax. Once she did I let her out, gave her some love and she went directly back up the cat walk.

So the issue with the dog is solved it seems. And there is no problems with my older cat, Aspasia. Just Sephera (who has always had a bit of an attitude...) but today she has come down from the cat walk twice and did not puff or growl at the dog- for which I gave her a salmon treat and lots of love. :thumbs up

She is still a bit 'anti-social' but slowly slowy making progress.

I want to give a big thank-you for all the replies and advice! :D :D

Links to pics:

Suki (

Sephera in a laundry basket (

Aspasia getting in laundry basket (

Aspasia sleeping, Sephera yawning (