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-   -   dog stopped eating because of my roommates aggressive cat (http://www.pets.ca/forum/showthread.php?t=24524)

ownkarma March 5th, 2006 04:30 PM

dog stopped eating because of my roommates aggressive cat
 
i recently brought home Karma (3 year old lhasa apso mix) from the pound. my roommate has a resident cat (10 year old) who was fine at first. the cat has become increasingly agressive and mean to my dog whom is very submissive anyway. a couple days ago, i noticed the cat beginning to "stalk" the dog. the dog will no longer lay on her bed, or even eat out of the bowl she used to. (the dog and cat share water). i often see the cat eating the dogs canned food too. my dog is very fearful and wont be alone in any room accept my bedroom. she is losing weight and i am worried. what do i do?

tenderfoot March 5th, 2006 04:50 PM

Start disciplining the CAT!
Also dogs should have regular meal times and this will help. Get the cat away and feed the dog in a safe place. You might have to encourage him in the beginning so he knows he is safe. This is about you having strong parenting skills for both the cat and the dog.

ownkarma March 5th, 2006 04:59 PM

best way to discipline a roommates cat?
 
thank you for your response. i know the answer, but how do i go about disciplining my roommates cat? without somehow pissing off the roommate. i am not familiar with techniques in cat discipline. helpful advice? and also, is there anything i can do for my dog to help her become less fearful and to become sure of herself?

tenderfoot March 5th, 2006 06:44 PM

Your dog needs to see that you are protecting her. Cats are fairly easy to pressure. Any intense action from you towards the cat should suffice. This could be an assertive noise, a clap of the hands towards the cat (not the dog), stomping quickly towards the cat, etc. They are pretty sensitive to pressures. Use a word at the same time like "leave it" in a firm tone - usually a loud "pissst" sound does well. Explain to your roomie that you love the cat but you need to help your dog see that you are willing to defend her. Plus the cat needs to learn not to pick on dogs.

Shaykeija March 5th, 2006 09:20 PM

I would get a water pistil and every time Kitty went near the dog, spray it.

Lucky Rescue March 6th, 2006 09:26 AM

I don't know how you initially introduced the dog and cat, but if you didn't do it slowly and gradually, the result is often poor.

IF this were a kitten or very young cat it would be easier, but this is a 10 year old cat, set in his ways, stalking and being aggressive to a small dog who it sees as an intruder on his territory.

I would NOT spray the cat with water when it's near the dog. This could easily cause the cat to furiously attack the dog as a target for his anger at this.

You need to keep your dog's food and water in your bedroom, and let her eat and drink in there with the door closed. No more sharing bowls. Your dog needs to know she can safely eat.

Keep the dog safely in your room when you're not home. When you are home, do not the dog roam the house, but keep her close to you and when the cat enters the room, toss him some really great treats, catnip or toys he might like, to distract him and so he can associate the dog with good things. Stay low key. Do not yell, jump up or do anything that might put the cat in the "fight or flight" mode, since this cat is not likely to flee. IF the cat comes towards the dog in a threatening way, just stand in front the dog to block the cat.

Discipline/punishment will not work with cats who are aggressive, other than to make them more aggressive.

Cats are not really domestic, are very different than dogs and need a much different approach.

CyberKitten March 6th, 2006 10:15 AM

I have to admit I read this with some growing alarm fir the cat! I understand completely your concern for the dog but the cat has been there for 10 long years and this is his safe territory and home. Unless you introduce dogs and cats carefully, slowly and cautiously - and follow all those guidelines (there are many wonderful articles online, simple google "introduction of dog and cat" of some varaiation thereof and select one. I believe there is one on this very site if you browse for it.

It is not the cat's fault and cats never respond to punishment. In fact, it makes them fearful and this could even result in more aggression. For some reason, this kitty feels threatened. And your dog needs help in understanding how to live with a cat as the newcomer.

Lucky's suggestions are great - give him his own bowls. Even with two cats, seperate bowls are a wise idea. I have three cats at the moment and they each have their seperate bowls - though they will sometimes share water but that is their choice.

PLEASE never spray the cat with water - that is cruel and unecessary and the cat will not know why you are doing it and only fear you.

Good luck with this - I hope your dog becomes happier and the two become good friends. It sometimes can take time and even intra species relationships that began badly can do well if you start from scratch after introducing them properly.

tenderfoot March 6th, 2006 02:34 PM

So let me get clear - are you saying a cat can't learn manners? If they can - then who teaches them? If a mother cat were protecting her kittens wouldn't she pressure the aggressive cat away? Would that aggressive cat learn NOT to mess with the other cats kittens? Birds are not domesticated either but they learn from pressure and release just as every other animal we have ever worked with. Pressure does not have to be mean, but setting a clear boundary is every animals right.
Sorry that this cat was there first, yes there is a period of adjustment, but frightening a dog to the point of not eating is not okay and its time to learn to get along. Cat does not have to like the dog but he should also learn that it is not okay to terrorize the dog.
I am sorry but it seems that cats are being held in some 'special' catagory of ability to learn and personally I think they are way too smart for that.:D

Lucky Rescue March 6th, 2006 03:03 PM

[QUOTE]I am sorry but it seems that cats are being held in some 'special' catagory of ability to learn and personally I think they are way too smart for that[/QUOTE]

Oh, they're smart alright - VERY smart. But very different than dogs, in that they have NO desire to please people or to please anyone but themselves.

Yes, they can learn all kinds of things, you just have to use other methods than you would with a dog. They aren't being held in a 'special" category, they are just a different species and must be handled differently.

I can tell my dog "Leave it" because I said so. She wants to please. A cat needs different motivation to change it's behavior, which is why I made the suggestions I did. Doing anything punitive to a cat who is already showing aggression could very well increase the aggression or have other unpleasant side effects, like avoidance of the litterbox, especially in a 10 year old cat who could be easily stressed.

Aversives can work, but must be done in a way so the cat does not connect you with it. For example: Cat gets on the counter and finds stuff to eat. Behavior is reinforced and no squirting with water will keep it off the counter when you are not home since staying off counters that have rewards makes NO sense to a cat.

BUT if you put sticky tape and no food the on the counter and cat jumps up, the result for the cat is "This counter makes my feet sticky and there is no food and I wont' bother coming here again."

Cat doesn't think, "Oh my owners are being mean to me and making my feet sticky". That's the difference.

Another example:Cat is scratching couch. Screaming and spraying with water will work WHILE YOU ARE THERE. Gently guiding cat to catnip laden scratchpost and giving pets and treats for using it will work even when you aren't there, since using the scratchpost has now become more satisfying for the cat than scratching the sofa. Cat wants to please itself and doesn't give a damn about pleasing you.:p

Punishment doesn't work with birds either unless you are planning to abuse it to the point where it obeys out of fear. It must positive all the way.

Hope this makes sense!!:D

tenderfoot March 6th, 2006 05:38 PM

I think my problem comes with the idea that pressure and punishment are being considered the same and they aren't. I have 7 large parrots that we have rescued. Some came to us from sad homes and they had reverted to their wild state. Through our experience and observations the birds certainly pressure and sometimes discipline each other to gain understandng and respect. We apply these same principles to them and they are now great birds who cuddled and love us because we have established clear relationships of love, trust and respect - never fear.
Of the umpteen cats in our lives we also use the same foundation of understanding and they are all great and get a long with everyone. Never out of fear. Please never think that we suggest that fear teaches an animal anything but greater fear and mistrust. But I can certainly think of times when I have told my cats 'no' and they didn't seem to hate me for it. They realized they were not making the right choice and made a better one. i.e. sitting on a bird cage. Trust me they don't do it when I am not home either or I would be coming home to tailess cats!
Thanks for all of the cat info. and I will try to be more observant.:D

Lucky Rescue March 6th, 2006 06:31 PM

[QUOTE]But I can certainly think of times when I have told my cats 'no' and they didn't seem to hate me for it. They realized they were not making the right choice and made a better one. i.e. sitting on a bird cage. Trust me [b]they don't do it when I am not home either or I would be coming home to tailess cats![/b][/QUOTE]

Right! That's exactly what I'm saying and you have just reinforced it. If the cats sit on the birdcage, and have their tails bitten, they will DECIDE that sitting on the cage is not a pleasureable or rewarding activity! They don't stay off the cages when you arent' home because you told them to make a better choice.

If they sat on the cages, and consequently had the pleasure of catching or playing with/torturing the birds, they would do it when you're not home, believe me, because NOT doing it would make no sense to them if doing so rewards them. Plus your birds are large parrots. Try having a cage full of finches and see if you get the same result.;) A whole different ballgame.

I've said "No" to my cats also. But that is very different than squirting with water a 10 year old cat who feels his territory has been invaded and is in aggression mode. A cat like this need redirection/distraction and not punishment.

PetFriendly March 6th, 2006 07:14 PM

[QUOTE=Lucky Rescue]I've said "No" to my cats also. But that is very different than squirting with water a 10 year old cat who feels his territory has been invaded and is in aggression mode. A cat like this need redirection/distraction and not punishment.[/QUOTE]

This is just my personal opinion but there are two thing here. Cats don't get hurt when they get wet. Granted most cast will avoid getting wet, but squirting them won't hurt them and really shouldn't be considered cruel (having the dog take a piece out of the cat because its had enough of being pushed around, now that would be cruel and painful).

The other thing is, maybe there is a reason the cat is acting that way. Maybe the dog has hurt it or stolen a toy. Maybe the cat isn't getting enough attention or exercise... Maybe the cat prefers the dog's brand of food (my cat won't eat food that isn't made by the same company as the dog's food) or prefers the type of bed the dog has.

I like the idea of keeping them apart when you aren't around. And your room-mate will likely understand that work needs to be done so that everyone is happy. And like TenderFoot suggested, once your dog knows you'll handle all the rough stuff for it, the confidence will start to go up.

tenderfoot March 6th, 2006 07:16 PM

Just so we are VERY clear - Tenderfoot NEVER said to spray the cat. :angel:

PetFriendly March 6th, 2006 07:28 PM

[QUOTE=tenderfoot]Just so we are VERY clear - Tenderfoot NEVER said to spray the cat. :angel:[/QUOTE]

Did you get that impression from my post? Apologies if you did.

But on that same line of thinking, when I say squirt, I'm talking cheap water pistol from the dollar store squirt... Less than a teaspoon...

Lucky Rescue March 6th, 2006 09:18 PM

[QUOTE]Granted most cast will avoid getting wet, but squirting them won't hurt them and really shouldn't be considered cruel [/QUOTE]

I didn't say it was cruel. I said it's not a method I would use in this case (aggression) because it would be dangerous for the dog if the cat became enraged by this.


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