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cat terrified of new dog

ecrusader
January 10th, 2009, 09:27 PM
My 10-year-old male cat won't come down from very high places in the house. Two weeks ago we got a 10-month-old dog, a 45-pound, very friendly lab. The lab seems interested and wants to play with the cat. Our cat used to be VERY active, but now is miserable, mostly atop my dresser, and won't come down. I've staged some interactions, but the cat always hisses, swipes at the dog, and jumps up high somewhere. I'm thinking of putting the cat on a leash and not allowing it to excape up high. He's miserable, and this is the only way I can think of to show him that the dog won't eat him up. I'm also hesitant to do this--will I just traumatize the cat even more? Any advice?

bendyfoot
January 10th, 2009, 09:38 PM
Whatever you do, DON'T force the cat to come near the dog!!! It'll make things worse...

just let the cat do what he needs to do. This is a HUGE change for your mature kitty, and a rambunctious pup is probably the LAST thing he was expecting.

Rather, I would make sure the cat has lots of high places and better yet a safe room/part of the house, provided with a barrier that he can get through/over but the pup can't. I would also be working hard with the pup to teach that chasing the cat is not acceptable. This is hard, because a swatting, running cat is oh-so-delightfully fun for a pup, but I would probably keep the pup on a trailing leash so that if he takes off after the cat you can quickly grab the leash to stop the action, say "no chase!" and redirect the pup to something that's fun like a game, toy or treat, letting the cat look from afar or even run away. You also don't want the pup to get hurt by kitty's claws (although, a painful swipe to the schozz might curb the chasing...:evil:)

If you want to help kitty feel calmer you might consider something like a Feliway diffuser.

FWIW, when we moved to our current home, our oldest cat was so freaked out that she refused to come out of the spare bedroom for about 4 weeks, and rarely left the bed. We had to feed her there, bring up her litter box, etc. Eventually, she started making baby steps and now she rules the entire house:D Give your kitty time to adjust, and keep the puppy under control, and IME, as the kitty gets used to it and doesn't run as much, and as the pup matures, chasing the cat will be less fun. It'll be ok eventually.

14+kitties
January 10th, 2009, 10:08 PM
Did you do a proper intro with the cat and dog or just put them together and hope for the best?
If that is the case..... bendyfoot gave you some great information. I have added some sites that are well written and informative. It is imperitive that you focus on the dogs' behaviour, not the cats'. If the dog lunges for the cat then there is almost no hope they will ever get along. Good luck!

http://www.thecatsite.com/Behavior/50/Introducing-Cats-to-Dogs.html

http://www.samsmiles.org/catsdogs.html

bendyfoot
January 10th, 2009, 10:23 PM
Just want to clarify for the OP what you mean by "lunges"...if you mean "tries to eat the cat" and not "eagerly and vigourously chases after the cat 'cause it's fun to chase things that move", then yeah, that'll likely be a problem. IME, though, playful puppy exhuberence, while not appreciated by kitties most of the time, is not a death sentence for interspecies love :D

Our young dogs both chased the cats (vigorously and exhuberantly:laughing:). They've both settled down, and now the kitties snuggle with/solicit grooming from the dogs.:thumbs up

catlover2
January 12th, 2009, 12:41 PM
bendyfoot & 14+K has given you some excellent advice....definitely don't force the introduction and above all do not put cat on a leash, or you will be scratched or bitten fiercely by the cat trying to get away. That will traumatize the cat for sure.

The only thing I can add is to train your pup to focus on you. You might try clicker training, or click your tongue and then when pup looks at you give it a treat. Whenever the pup even looks at the cat or pays any attention to it click so pup focuses on you and call it to come to you. You should have the pup on a long leash in the house to facilitate this control.

The cat is scared and his reaction is natural for an out of control exuberant pup. You'll have to convince your cat that you have control of this pup before he really feels comfortable enough to venture down on the floor without being chased.

I would give extra loving attention to cat out of sight of the pup....don't want to create any jealousy as well.

Diamondsmum
January 12th, 2009, 01:03 PM
Id like to add my .o2 cents.

Dusty my Tortie detests new Puppy from day we brought Diamond home.

We did a proper intro also let Dusty make up her own mind.

Dusty hid under couch watching Diamond for first 3wks then decieded that my bedroom was her safe haven. (this is where to this day She stays 80% of her time) ventures out now (Diamond is almost 7months) into livingroom slowily watching for that puppy. She hisses if Diamond looks at her. even from across the room.

definatly takes time. When I go to bed its Dustys time She sleeps on my chest & gets lotsa luving/cuddles for a few hours.

Sid our other kitty didnt seemed fazed by Diamond if Diamond gets too close she "pads" her with a slap across the face & Diamond backs down. No claws

but They each checked out Diamonds crate & her toys etc on there own.