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New cat, teething problems

(21 Posts)
fendr Sun 01-May-16 09:13:06

Hi, we've recently adopted a senior cat. We have had him for 2 weeks and he is so lovely. We also have a dog (who has lived with cats previously).

I'm posting for some immediate help and also a bit of long term advice please. To summarise the essay below (!) I would like to know if it is too soon to let the cat out by himself today and would like some tips on cat/dog rivalry.

Firstly, the cat and dog don't get along so far. The dog is petrified of the cat and is quite happy to see where he is, and take himself off to a different room. I'm happy with this. Cat however, has the tendency to be aggressive to dog. At first I thought it was because cat was new to the house and felt overwhelmed/scared so was trying to protect himself, now I'm beginning to worry it will always be like this. So, at the moment, the animals are kept apart.

The dog is out all day during the week so cat has house to himself, but the weekends when both are here are a bit tricky. I've started letting the cat into the garden over the past few days, but we don't have a cat flap yet. I kept the lounge window open the whole time he was out yesterday so he could see a way to get in, though. I thought if the cat knew he could get out and away from the dog, he wouldn't feel the need to attack him, but it hasn't worked so far. He was on the windowsill by the open window and came back in to get dog sad

At the moment I am alternating where they are kept. So one animal has free run of the house (except one room) for half the day, and then vice versa. This was working fine, but this morning I have put cat into his room after having free run all night, and he's scratching like mad to get out of the door. I can't listen to it, he must feel so frustrated.

The immediate help question I have is, do you think I could let the cat outside if I leave the back door slightly ajar, or is it too soon? Will he potentially not come back? It's such a lovely day and I want him to be able to run around outside, but the cat homing centre said wait 3 weeks before letting him out. When I've let him out for the last two days, it's been before his breakfast, and I've sat outside and watched him.

Sorry this is so long, just wanted to try and get all information out. Thanks

fendr Sun 01-May-16 09:17:11

I should also say, the cat/dog thing did seem to improve slightly when we started feeding them in sight of each other. But as soon as the bowls are empty, cat gets aggressive again. They have spent a little bit of time together in small doses, but it always ends with me ushering dog out of the room quick as cat is about to go for him.

Fluffycloudland77 Sun 01-May-16 20:53:49

Oh dear, did they say he liked dogs?.

fendr Mon 02-May-16 06:54:36

They weren't sure, but he'd lived with a LOT of other cats so they thought he would be okay. But I wonder if that makes him see other animals as a threat/competition (ie if they had to fight for food etc)

MrPony Mon 02-May-16 09:11:15

Has he been chipped? It's a risk letting him out but it really does depend on the cat, one of my cats only needs to have been somewhere a couple of days before he is itching to get out and always comes back.

Keeping them apart seems like the safest thing but it's not helping them learn to interact with each other. Does your cat like to play, do you think he could be distracted enough to play with you while your dog is in the room? You could also try one of those feliway diffusers to help your cat calm a little.

It could just be one of those relationships that takes time to build.

fendr Mon 02-May-16 10:14:32

He's chipped yes. I let him out this morning before breakfast and he explored for about 15/20 minutes and then wandered back in. I'll just keep doing that for now I think, when I have time to just sit out and watch him.

The plug-in idea is good actually, I might pop out and get one now. The relationship between the two has improved since the first few days, he used to hiss at the sound of the dog in a different room and now he will at least watch him for a few minutes before getting aggressive now. I wonder if I don't help the situation by being on edge/standing up ready to close door between the two - perhaps he senses that. I don't know.
It's just so strange because he doesn't seem scared of the dog at all, he closes his eyes etc while dog is around, and then will all of a sudden just decide he doesn't want dog in the room anymore.

I really hope they learn to tolerate each other eventually, it will maybe just take a bit longer as the dog isn't here that much.

cozietoesie Mon 02-May-16 11:09:34

Does the dog get out on eg walks much? I've had dogs and cats together quite a lot and it seemed to work best when the dog had a ......place/activity......which they could call their own. (In our case it was being outside/going on walks.) It seemed that inside the house, the dogs just accepted that they were bottom of the family pile (and below the cats) but the walk/outside duties - being 'given their place', essentially - seemed to keep them happy.

fendr Mon 02-May-16 11:41:54

Yes cozie, he goes out to work with DP every day so he's really not home that much. He also doesn't really care if he has the sofa or the bed in the evening, as long as he gets one or the other. He's very laid back about the whole thing really. He doesn't like it if us adults are shut in a room with the cat and he's on his own, but he doesn't make a fuss, just goes off in a bit of a sulk. We just need to convince the cat that dog isn't a threat!

cozietoesie Mon 02-May-16 12:34:40

I'd just leave them to it then. smile

fendr Mon 02-May-16 14:15:41

I suppose it's better this way round rather than dog hating cat!

cozietoesie Mon 02-May-16 14:35:53

Dogs usually come to recognise their place in the scheme of things. Cats rarely do. grin

6cats3gingerkittens Wed 04-May-16 22:24:19

Sorry, but are we allowed to give advice without a picture? I thought that was the rules.

cozietoesie Wed 04-May-16 22:32:40

Have a heart, 6cats. I have to go through virtually the 9 Circles of Hell to post a picture due to moody or incompatible etc devices. If the OP were anything like me..........grin

cozietoesie Wed 04-May-16 22:36:44

PS - although you're likely right - as far as kittens are concerned, anyway. wink

fendr Fri 06-May-16 13:14:55

He's an old boy! But I'll post a picture anyway ;)

Cat and dog are actually getting on okay now! DP is a lot braver than me so they socialise together more when he's around. He's now calling himself the cat whisperer.

isamonster Fri 06-May-16 13:33:32

Awww - he looks so happy! He's a distinguished looking gent. Enjoy him.

cozietoesie Fri 06-May-16 13:43:25

I love that 'So sue me!' look. grin

Fluffycloudland77 Fri 06-May-16 20:11:40

He's a big boy! He's so gorgeous fendr. Poor dog though, obviously chasing the dog is lots of fun.

fendr Fri 06-May-16 20:55:42

This happened at 5am this morning! If it's not clear, it is cat and dog on the same bed grin

cozietoesie Fri 06-May-16 21:37:41

Good stuff. Sounds as if they'll be OK. smile

(You just have to ignore the dog's hangdog look for a couple of days. grin)

6cats3gingerkittens Fri 13-May-16 19:14:24

I have just seen the pictures. What a great looking cat. He has obviously lived a full and challenging life.
I hope he continues to do so with you.

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