View Full Version : my dog is scared of my cat

24th September 2007, 09:25 PM
Hi my little cav Jasper is about the same size as my cat and she bullies him terribly he daren't go near. If he does go near she just lashes out at him, its not good.

He's not boisterous or anything with her. She showed him who was boss from the moment he came home with us just over a year ago when he as 6 months old. She is 14 and was our only pet for many years so obviously didnt take well to a dog invading her home. They're at the stage now where they can actually sit peacefully either side of me but if I'm not between them he will run away. If I leave a room and he goes to follow shortly after but she's sitting under the table or something like 6 foot away from where he has to pass he will just bark till I come back for him.

He has also stopped going into the garden when he needs the toilet because she sits in front of the back door so he goes and wee's against our actual toilet instead (aaargh!!!)

Does anyone have any suggestions as to how I can get them to live peacefully together? anything would be much appreciated

24th September 2007, 11:46 PM
At your cat's age this will be difficult. I think having them sit near each other is a pretty big achievement as is :) -- many dogs will never tolerate a cat and vice versa. But cats can get far more anxious and upset to the point of making themselves ill by major changes in their home, such as the arrival of a dog. I have a whole thread on working to mix cats and dogs successfully (in the Library) but I kind of doubt your cat will go much further that she has.

In the situation it is wise that your cavalier is cautious as we have at least two dogs on the board who have lost eyes to pet cats swiping at them. So this isn't ever a mixture to take casually -- one or the other party can seriously harm the other.

If Jasper has the freedom out of sight to be weeing on the toilet, he isn't fully housetrained (or has regressed slowly back due to the current situation but it amounts to the same thing now -- he will need to be re-housetrained, most likely). An adult should be able to easily hold themselves til a good opportunity arises to go outside -- easily for 4-5 hours as needed -- and the cat cannot be there all the time, I don;t think? So he should be having no problem holding himself; I think you have some anxiety behaviour on his part here as well, and you really need to nip this or it will get worse over time.

I think you are going to have to start taking him out yourself to do his business, probably on a lead, to an area a good distance away from the cat, or on a walk and just forget about the garden. You will need to start him in on some remedial housetraining too. I recommend getting Shirlee Kalstone's book on housetraining as she goes into managing with an older dog that is slipping backwards.

I'd also start bringing your cat in and putting her in a room for chunks of the day perhaps, so that your cavalier can go out for set times.

You have to keep in mind that she was there first, she has 14 years of set patterns in her life, she is elderly and therefore more easily upset, and then from her POV, this big unwanted surprise was introduced to her (you also get elderly dogs who get very upset at the arrival of another dog). You do need them to live in harmony -- which by all accounts they are doing to a good extent (she could easily have run away for example! Sitting on the same couch even with you there is a major level of acceptance). But you *are* going to have to accommodate both her unhappiness, and his fear, to a certain degree, by the things I noted above. You can't push them more than they have gone, and you can't leave things as they are. Under the circumstances, the burden will fall to you as the human and the owner to make the adjustments -- walking Jasper rather than expecting him to use the garden on his own, for example, for pees and poops -- as long as your old gal remains around. :thmbsup:

I would be looking at a couple of other things:

1) getting Feliway plug-ins as needed for your cat -- these cat hormones are extremely calming to a cat and often recommended and sold by vets (also widely available online. They are not cheap though). You can also get the spray and spray the dog bed and even the dog; this will make her think she has marked him as something she likes. You can also take a cloth, wipe it gently on her cheeks to pick up the same hormones, then rub the cloth on Jaspar, his bed etc.

2) If you don't have a cat tree, I'd get one -- buy one with a few platforms and at least one dark box she can go into. Cats get a LOT calmer when they can go vertical and have a bolthole.

3) If you can put in a flap for the dog out some other exit that doesn;t take him past the cat, then do so.

4) If she gets the opportunity to lash out at him, they really need to be better separated. You do NOT want serious harm to come to Jaspar and this could easily happen. If that means you have to physically control each, and place her in one room before he is allowed to enter another, then that is what you will probably have to do. Using babygates would be helpful for limited his access and maybe hers -- depends on whether she can jump it at her age.

25th September 2007, 05:29 PM
Thanks for all of that information. Youre right and they are doing very well by being able to sit on the same couch together, for the first few months Jess (my cat) didn't come in the same room as him at all and ended up sleeping on my bed all day.

I have a pretty compact house which is one of the reasons I chose him as he was never oing to grow big so there's not really anywhere I can put a flap so he can get out away from Jess.

To be perfectly honest most of the time they're fine it's just the constant barking if he gets stuck somewhere with her in the way. She would let him bark at her for hours and wouldnt move if they were left to it.

Safety gates would be fine for stopping jaspar from going anywhere but they woldnt stop Jess if she wanted to jump over. She knows she's in charge and does what she wants, plus she needs access to her litter tray.

The thing about him having freedom to go to use the toilet is I have 3 kids and they're always taking him out of the room I'm in to play with him and the door is open because the cats litter tray is in there. So I have been thinking that maybe he goes there because he thinks everyone else uses it so maybe he should too? I did already realise I had to take him out away from the cat more often just if he thinks its ok to go there then why would he wait to go elsewhere? I will have a look for that book thanks for suggesting it. I'll look for those plug in things too, I've never heard of them before. I'll try wiping her cheeks etc tonight and see if that makes some difference.

Thanks again :)

25th September 2007, 05:47 PM
If it isn't too convenient I'd simply close the door to the bathroom or put a baby gate across it for a couple of months to break his connection with going in there. You will probably need to set some rules with the kids -- that they can't take him into other rooms for a while til he learns where he goes potty again. Hell need to be in eyesight and ut back ont a really structured schedule of going in and out to relieve himself, with praise and rewards for going outside.

You'll need to really meticulously clean the bathroom area too -- he keeps peeing there because he's now marked it with his urine smell and reinforced it by going and going and going. He thinks that IS an altrnative place to go. He may well have started going there because of a urine smell that he can pick up with his sharp senses.

Regular soapy water or cleaning products are not adequate. I'd go to a pet shop and buy some Nature's Miracle whch will enzymatically destroy the scent so HE cant smell it rather than just mask the scent so YOU can;t smell it. I like NM because it doesn;t have a striong scent of its own. Ypu can also use a vinegar/water solution but it ends up smelling like vinegar. But it will also break down the enzymes a dog (or cat) can continue to smell.

Once carefully cleaned, then don't even give him access and it will break the association. A few months down the line you will likely be able to leave the door open again and he won't be interested in going in there.

I use Feliway now and then with rescue cats or to calm mine when I have added a dog or a foster. It is amazing, you plug it in and soon all the cats are hanging out on the sofa, veeeeery relaxed... :lol: You can also sprtiz it in areas where cats are relieving themselves inappropriately... it has many uses. Just getting a bottle of the spray and spritzing it around Jasper's belongings and where the two of them mix (it is scentless to us) would likely help.