any advice re foster dog and cat?(6 Posts)
I we are fostering a dog, and our cat is Not Happy.
Any suggestions as to how we can work this?
If we can't get him settled, we may have to stop fostering
(long version in next post)
So, no dogs or our own, we dog sit regularly for a variety of dogs.
Dogs downstairs, cat upstairs. Our bedroom is Inner Sanctum for cat, no visiting dogs ever make it in there (layout of house helps this) even if they do wander upstairs.
cat usually watches dog for a couple of days and then quietly sneaks past and gradually gets braver as dog ignores cat.
All our visiting dogs have ignored cat, and so after 2 weeks, cat even comes into the lunge when dog is there.
Utility room is dog free zone, and cat can access and his food etc are in there. Cat flap in kitchen.
So, last month, first foster dog, gentle laid back friendly, except when it comes to cats. Took us by surprise on first day as he chased cat upstairs. Every time he saw cat he chased him. Cue dd working out system (put dog in lounge, bring cat down, shut kitchen door so cat can feed and go out etc, then repeat a couple of hours later to get cat back in)
Cat not really happy, scared of dog, but coping and sleeping happy in safe in our room.
That dog was rehomed by the rescue, new foster dog arrived this week, one who is good with cats.
He is HUGE, and very calm, but on first night at 4 am he was lonely and wondered upstairs to find us, straight into our bedroom. cat flipped, jumped in air and landed on dhs face, streaked downstairs and left home.
I got a stairgate, and went and found cat (after 24 hours , he hadn't returned) He was in field behind our house. Brought him in for food and cuddles, very nervous.
We tried to introduce them, (bad idea) as Dog is fine once he has met cat, but is curious and wants to see him (Dog for example got into chicken run, not to chase or harrass, just stood and gently sniffed at chickens with tail wagging - chickens not amused) Didn't work.
Cat spent last night in our room very nervy and unhappy. Ds got him down and fed and cuddled and let out while dog was out for a walk today.
Is there any hope? Cat is now unhappy anywhere indoors as scared of Dog. Doesn't understand that stairgate means he is safe.
Personally I would be sending the dog back , and then leave it for a few weeks without a dog so that the cat can get his nerve back and feels secure . Then I suppose you could try again but perhaps only offer to take on smaller dogs .
Feliway plug in for cat. Maintain stair gates and then ignore. Don't try to force introductions. Keep upstairs solely for cats and people. Give high reward treats to cat for coming downstairs / sitting on the stairs etc
We did this with our dog (permanent pet) and pre-existing house cat, and we have an amicable stand off situation. Cat still unimpressed and hissing at dog occasionally, but waltzes around the house as per usual. Dog stares a lot, but that's about it.
We're getting a rescue dog next week (yay!) that ignores cats, and will be doing the stairgates/cat upstairs-dog downstairs thing ... but I am sure our cats will be pretty unimpressed, for a while, to say the least. We've had visiting dogs and a small unruly one got away from its owner & cornered one of our cats, and now she's much more nervous where she used to haughtily stalk past.
I think time & patience and keeping a routine for your cat is the only option. And perhaps asking for this foster to be short-term if possible?
Thanks all, lots of good suggestions
Cat seems a lttle better. Managed to come and go last night. We are encouraging him up and down when dog is out for a walk.
At least he seems to have worked out that the stair gate means he is safe and is relaxed upstairs, so that is a huge improvement.
I will get feliway.
I am reluctant to send dog back. Partly because he is actually good with cats, so they should settle eventually.
Partly because we have decent size house and garden and not many fosters can have him as he is a wolf and so big. I don't actually think his size is the issue for the cat as we generally look after Golden Retriever and labradors. The size is mostly an issue for us in that he just walked through chicken fence and pushes open closed doors etc. he has respected the stairgate though and is getting used to his boundaries
Partly because he was so anxious for the first 2 days, and I don't want to put him through that again.
I think he will be hard to rehome, and it might be beter to have one dog for a couple of months than a succesion of different dogs.
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