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Thread: Cat and dogs not getting along

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    San Diego, California, United States
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    Default Cat and dogs not getting along

    A little animal chaos here, hoping someone can help.

    We have a cat in our apartment. My close friend brought her 2 Cavaliers, Annie and Maddie, over to my apartment (for the first time) for a gathering, and they went berserk when they smelled the cat. When my roommate brought out the cat the dogs started growling, and I think there would have been a nasty fight if we didn't have them on a leash. Nela, the cat, is temperamental and does scratch when he's mad. He looked like he might scratch them if they got closer. We ended up putting him in the bedroom until left.

    Is this going to happen every time the dogs come over or will they learn to adjust and get along? It would be a shame if we have to keep Nela in her room every time they come over. Some Cavalier books say that Cavs often get along well with other pets, including cats. I'm wondering if maybe this is a territorial issue, i.e. Nela wants our apartment to be his domain and peceives the dogs as a threat to his "rule".

    Normally the dogs are well-behaved around other animals; they react fairly mildly to other dogs' presence. Cats seem to trigger a strong reaction. Any suggestions?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Staten Island, NY
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    It would take time and patience for the cat/dogs situation to work out, and I'm not sure how much effort you want to put in to a situation where the cavs occassionally visit. As an example, it took about two months of living together for my two Japanese Chin to accept my Cavalier. Keep in mind, Chins and Cavs are known to get along well, and I have very mild mannered dogs and never expected anything but "love at first sight". Everything is great now, but it wasnt at the beginning and it took time.

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  4. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    New Jersey
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    I have two cats and one cavalier puppy. It took a long time for my cats to "accept" (or at least tolerate) the puppy. Cats are creatures of habits and it is perfectly normal for them to be upset when introduced to a new animal (whether it be another cat or a dog). Sometimes they will never accept another animal. Dogs, on the other hand, should adapt very well to a cat provided they were properly socialized to them as a puppy.

    My puppy loves my cats and wants to play with them all the time. One of my cat plays for a little bit and then hisses and growls before running off once he's had enough. My other cat will sit on the floor near the puppy, but if the puppy takes one step toward him he tries to bat him and makes a run for it. This is an improvement from when I first brought the pup home and there was a lot of hissing and hiding and fluffed tails from both my cats. But, as you can see, my cats have had different reactions to the new addition based on their personalities.

    Your cat's reaction is totally normal. It is both a territory thing and the fact that cats generally don't like change. She may never like, or even tolerate, dogs. On the other hand, with some time and patience she may become less reactive. If these are dogs that just occasionally visit, it is always probably going to be stressful for her. Keep in mind that cats and dogs have totally different body language. For instance, when a dog wags its tail it wants to play. When a cat wags its tail, it is irritated. It takes time for inter-species understanding to develop, and intermittent visits are just not enough to allow for this.

    On the dogs' end, have they been around cats before? If not, they are not socialized to cats and are probably growling out of fear and/or aggression. They may also regard a small cat as prey. In this case, I wouldn't let them loose together. If they have been around cats before, was their growling simply a way to initiate play? This would be the ideal situation, although a cat that runs streaking away can quickly change from a playmate to prey in a dog's eyes.

    Long story short, I would never leave the dogs and cat alone unsupervised together. If the visits are occasional, separation may be the best option. If they are more frequent, try introducing the cat and dogs slowly. First, remember that this is your cat's home. From her perspective, the dogs are the intruders. Begin by confining the dogs in a single room and letting your cat roam free. She will sniff them through the door. Monitor her reactions. She may start out hiding, hissing, or growling. As she gets more used to their scent, you should see her relax. This may take hours or a few days. Once she is more comfortable, you can open the door and keep the dogs contained with a baby gate. This allows both the cat and the dogs to get used to seeing each other. She may eventually be comfortable to hop over the gate into the room with them. If this happens, you can let the dogs loose. Just make sure she has plenty of places to hide and tall places to jump to if she feels like she needs to escape from them. If she continues to show signs of stress, alternate between confining your cat and the dogs. Also monitor the dogs during this process. If they show any tendencies toward aggression, it would be dangerous to take down the baby gate. A very slow introduction is the key to introducing new animals into your home, particularly if there is a kitty involved

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  6. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Dublin, Ireland
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    In the library section of this site, there's a long post with links on cats and cavaliers together. But this is more for people who own cats and dogs together.

    As others say, it needs to be a gradual and cautious process at least at the start. Some dogs are however never going to be trustworthy around cats and vice versa.

    The problem here though, is the dogs do not live with this cat or probably see Nela regularly enough to be likely to learn to accept her. Some dogs just have a very high prey drive towards cats. I would keep Nela in her own room during visits for her own safety and also because it is extremely stressful to a cat to have dogs nearly going berserk like this. And because she could harm the dogs, too. She will be a LOT happier safely away from the dogs.

    Or alternatively, don't have the dogs come in. Instead, head out for a group walk or go around to your friend.

    As a cat and dog owner I do think it is really important to be sure all pet members are given equal status and that one does not end up having to compromise all the time (which for some reason is almost always the cats ). Cats actually get stressed far more easily than dogs in a situation like this and the initial reaction and the fact that these dogs are just occasional visitors would to me, indicate keeping them safely separated by at least one door and do not allow visiting dogs off lead in the house for total safety, if they do visit.

    Cats can easily remove the eye of a cavalier -- we have had past members where this was the case -- so I wouldn't force the situation.
    Cavaliers: Tansy : Mindy Connie Roxy Neasa Gus
    In memory: My beautiful Jaspar Lucy Leo Lily Libby

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