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Cat won’t come home due to new dog.

(59 Posts)
Lovemusic33 Tue 09-Jul-19 22:11:11

Sorry, i posted before about my cat and getting a new dog. My cat was quite down after losing his best friend (our old dog). I made the choice to get another dog in hope the cat would bond with it like he did our old dog but things haven’t gone to plan. The rescue dog was cat tested, I saw it with cats and he totally ignored them. My cat was obviously anxious when he spotted a new dog in his home but after a day or 2 he ventured in, he sniffed around the dog and the dog was actually scared of him (hid behind me), the cat then attacked the new dog, clawed his face, the dog yelled and I told the cat off. Since then the cat has not been in the house, he has come into the garden but the dog barked at him as he’s scared he’s going to scratch him, cat then runs, dog then chases.

I knew the cat would be unsettled but he’s now refusing to come home. It’s been ten days now, the cat is hanging around as I see him from time to time (under my car or next door, he’s fine with next doors dog 😐), I put food out for him and he takes it from the front door but won’t come in. The dog is kept behind a stair gate so the cat can have free run of upstairs and half of downstairs but this doesn’t seem to be good enough.

I’m not sure what to do, the dog was fine with cats until mine attacked him and the cat has always been ok with dogs (we have had 2 others).

Is it just a case of waiting for him to come home? Is there anything else I can do to encourage him in? The dog is here to stay and will be fine as long as the cat doesn’t get too close like he did the other night.

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Lovemusic33 Wed 10-Jul-19 07:39:08


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Fluffycloudland77 Wed 10-Jul-19 08:10:23

I’d take the dog back.

Lovemusic33 Wed 10-Jul-19 08:22:51

Fluffy it’s not something I want to do. I want a dog, I’m a single person and the dog keeps me company, I know you could argue that the cat does the same but a dog gets me out the house (walking) and helps with my mental health, I can’t imagine going 10 years without a dog just because the cats throwing a hissy fit.

I have seen him this morning, I fed him outside, tried to get him to come in (dog was quiet behind stair gate) but he refused, he let me stroke him, took some food and went. The cat is almost the same size as the dog, he happily sits in the neighbours garden with their collie wandering around.

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Grumpyoldpersonwithcats Wed 10-Jul-19 08:38:31

Sorry if this sounds a bit harsh but your posts sound as if you want a dog and your incumbent cat has just become collateral damage.
If the new dog is more important to you than your cat then rehome the cat (before it rehomes itself).

Personally I'd always give priority to an existing pet.

Fluffycloudland77 Wed 10-Jul-19 08:45:28

So which do you want, the cat or a dog? It’s different being ok with a dog in a garden but the house is his safe space.

It’s like losing your dh and your family moving a man in because they know much you liked your dh.

I’m a bit surprised you didn’t do slow introductions, there’s a lot of YouTube videos on the subject but your going to have start again with them, and train him to not chase the cat.

Being chased by another apex predator must be really frightening for him.

Lovemusic33 Wed 10-Jul-19 10:10:48

Fluffy the cat was the one that first chased the dog and attacked him, I did slow introduction and all went ok until the cat attacked the dog.

It’s still early days, I have introduced a dog to him before but a puppy, it took a while for him to settle, I’m hoping in time he will settle again. I will continue to try and get him to come in the house with the dog gated in the living room, the cat has full run of the rest of the house. I think the fact the weather has been nice and I have been leaving food outside has not really given him a good enough reason to come home, maybe when it rains he may come back inside? He has spent a night in the house since attacking the dog. I just want them to get along enough so they can share the house. Of course I love my cat dearly but it’s a cat (not a child) and I don’t feel I should let him decide my life choices. It really annoys me when people compare cats to humans, they are pets not children.

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Jennyfi Wed 10-Jul-19 10:35:26

The cat isn't determining your life choices though. It just doesn't want to live with the dog. You have the choice to re-home the cat, re-home the dog, or try again and keep better control of the introductions.
Can you try leaving the dog in the garden and letting the cat in? That might help him establish the house as part of his territory again, if he can sniff it over without the dog being anywhere in the question.

Nesssie Wed 10-Jul-19 10:38:29

Give it time.
Make sure the cat has safe access to a part of the house, but also perhaps leave a bed outside (on top of a shed for example).

Cats sulk, he'll come around.

InTheHeatofLisbon Wed 10-Jul-19 10:43:11

So re-home the cat.

He's telling you loud and clear he's not happy, but you want a dog and that's that so he can't come home, can he?

It's not dictating life choices, it's a cat being turfed out of his home because you've got a new dog.

If it were me, I'd re-home the dog, because at least it's not been long term and would likely find a new home.

An older cat would struggle.

Pets aren't children, no. But they are a lifelong (life of the pet) commitment. I feel pretty sorry for your cat.

Lovemusic33 Wed 10-Jul-19 10:44:11

Thanks Nessie I think eventually he will come around. I will keep opening the front door so he can stroll in if he wants too, I almost got him in this morning but didn’t want to force it, he let me stroke him by the door for a few minutes.

Jenny I think I will keep trying, it is still very early days (not even 2 weeks). The dog only has access to the living room and garden, living room backs onto the garden so the cat has access to the rest of the house, this is how it’s always been with other dogs we have had. Last time we introduced a dog it was during winter and he hid upstairs for a couple weeks, I think because it’s summer he has chosen to sulk outside instead. I will keep trying and reassuring him when he comes closer.

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Celebelly Wed 10-Jul-19 10:44:11

I'd just give it more time. I have a cat who is very sulky and his nose is still out of joint from
the arrival of my DD - five months ago hmm Just keep at it! It took my cats about a month to realise that our puppy wasn't ever leaving again grin

lionseptember Wed 10-Jul-19 10:49:38

A cat adopted us as she would not live with her owners new puppy no mater how many times we returned her she came back and eventually her owners signed her over to us as she ran away when they came near her she never forgave them for replacing her with the new puppy

Okyah Wed 10-Jul-19 10:51:19

This is how we got our lovely cat. The family bought a dog and the cat just couldn’t handle it. She moved down the road and ended up being fed and given shelter by our next door neighbour. The neighbour retired and moved and we kept finding the poor cat in our garden desperately hungry. We fed her and she gradually came indoors. She was such a timid girl. It was like once the family had got the dog the daughter wanted, the poor cat had a choice if either getting used to it, or the highway. Anyhow we had her for 10 years where she was much loved and spoiled and had a stress free life. She made the choice to rehome herself bless her. If it were me I’d have to return the dog. It’s a very difficult situation.

Jennyfi Wed 10-Jul-19 11:04:31

The point is that if you want the cat to come back into the house willingly, then the dog can't be there for that process. If it's just behind a stairgate then it'll start barking at the cat again, presumably, and then you're back where you started.

You need to have the dog closed off completely: you can't get back on track with introducing the cat to the dog if you haven't introduced the cat back to your house as part of its territory.

I honestly think you should listen to some of the advice here. @Fluffycloudland77 had a very good point about the YouTube videos for introductions. Just because your intro style worked for the puppy before doesn't mean it's going to work now both animals feel threatened.

Lovemusic33 Wed 10-Jul-19 11:58:09

Jenny he doesn’t bark from behind the stair gate, he does make a few tiny whine sounds but other than that he just sits there. The dogs more scared of the cat then the cat is him.

He’s not a shy cat, he’s usually confident around dogs and people which is why I have a feeling he will eventually come around and move back in.

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FrenchHen Wed 10-Jul-19 12:01:49

What is your cats temperament? This will definitely decide which way is best to proceed.

But whatever you do, don't rush it - Give the cat time, they are stubborn as hell and do not adapt to change well. She's obviously not happy about this new member of the family at the moment so is making her feelings known in the only way she knows how.
Cats are such independent animals, they aren't afraid of giving us the cold shoulder at times, and with this lovely weather she is not experiencing any hardship staying outside - but you don't want this to continue as she may end up moving in with someone else!

Both times we have introduced a new dog to the house the cats have laid down the law with the dog, this did involve hissing, growling and some claws (supervised so no injuries) both our cats are extremely confident so we let them lead the pace of the introduction.
Now, they co exist peacefully, the dogs are extremely respectful of the cats - they know that the cats rule the roost and what they say goes.

It has taken three years for the one cat to actually like our youngest dog. He tolerated him well, but wouldn't show him any affection like he does with our oldest dog. Just recently he's started to let the dog lick him and the dog gets the occasional head rub in return. They came to this on their own terms.

Do you have a cat flap? It's important that your cat can come and go on her own terms.
Make sure she has her own areas and places to escape if she wants too. Her food needs to be easily accessible but in a "safe" spot. She shouldn't be inconvenienced by the dog - try and keep her things/area the same - but dog free.

I hope things work out for you.

Lovemusic33 Wed 10-Jul-19 12:10:43

French he’s usually very laid back and over friendly, not shy at all, we always joked that he’s more like a cat than a dog (maybe because my old dog mothered him from a kitten?). He’s usually quite confident. He’s also a very big cat so not a timid little cat. He usually stands his ground which is why I’m a bit confused that he’s not sizing up to the dog through the stair gate like he usually would.

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FrenchHen Wed 10-Jul-19 13:56:06

That does make things easier, it probably means that she dislikes the new dog rather than she's afraid of him.

Some people will probably think I'm mad - but I don't think we give animals enough credit for their emotional intelligence, she's probably grieving your old dog, her friend and now you've brought this new, odd smelling, unfamiliar and loud thing into her territory without her agreement. She's pissed off.

I think you need to take it right back to basics. I would try and get on good terms with her, lure her into the house with tasty treats when dog is in another room. Let her do it at her own pace and leave doors etc open so she can leave when she wants. Give her lots of fuss, love and treats so she knows the house is still her happy place. When she wants to go - let her.

Leave a few dog things around, a blanket or a toy so she can smell him - but isn't forced to interact. She should slowly start to get used to the scent of him and become more comfortable. Same with the dog, leave something with her scent on for him to sniff so he learns that her scent and her are part of his new environment.

I've heard good things about the Feliway/adaptil diffusers helping anxious animals - might be worth a try?

I've never had to do it this way - so I'm not too sure how long it could take. I would be concentrating all efforts on getting her back into the house even for small periods of time as the priority. I wouldn't advise to keep feeding her meals outside - you don't want her to get used to that. Once she's back in the house regularly you can start the physical introduction process over again.

There are some really helpful articles online which go into a lot more depth than I have.

I hope this helps, I think you are doing the right thing by sticking with it at the moment.

Wildboar Wed 10-Jul-19 14:01:14

Can you keep the cat in for a week or so? Put a litter tray upstairs so the cat knows upstairs is a safe place. Then he can venture down as and when he wants.

Lovemusic33 Wed 10-Jul-19 15:32:20

Thanks French I think your right, he’s just upset and has had his nose put out, I think he will come back. I will look at the plug in as we have been using the same products (but for dogs) to settle the dog in.

Wildboar I would if I could catch him but I think he know that I plan to do that as he only lets me stroke him for a few seconds before disappearing, I don’t want to frighten him by grabbing him. He loves being outside in the summer so he seems happy enough to stay outside at the moment and feed outside, I have a feeling if it rains he will come in.

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narcissistseverywhere Wed 10-Jul-19 16:29:14

We rescued a cat last year and it absolutely hated the dog to begin with, attacker her and then hid in the garden. after a few weeks the cat started coming in, first hiding in my wardrobe and then gradually emerging to become part of the family.

If this 10 year old rescue cat (who had never lived with a dog before) can get used to a dog, then I'm sure your cat will too. btw said cat happily tolerates the dog, and can't stand my 12 year old son (hisses everytime he sees him) You can't win em all!

snowy0wl Wed 10-Jul-19 16:51:02

Please view this problem from the cat's point of view. Cats are very territorial and so, from his point of view, you have introduced a threat into his home. The 'threat' is being favoured (from his point of view), because he is outside and the dog is inside. I would not recommend trying to lock the cat in part of the house. Depending on where he views his safe space to be this could stress him out even further. I'm surprised that the rehoming centre did not discuss this topic when you went to adopt the dog.

Generally it is easiest to introduce a puppy to an existing cat household or a new cat to an existing dog/cat household. There are lots of tutorials online on how to introduce new pets to cats (eg. check out the Cats Protection website). The steps normally involve getting them used to each other's scent, followed by gradual sight introduction through bars and then supervised time in the same room. Be prepared for this to take a lot of time (it can be weeks or months, if at all). If this doesn't work, and you wish to prioritise the cat over your new dog (this does make me sad), the kindest thing to do is to take your cat to a rehoming centre to avoid stressing out both animals further.

Good luck. Hope this helps.

Lovemusic33 Wed 10-Jul-19 18:29:43

I will give it more time, I really don’t want to rehome the cat, worst case scenario would be one of the neighbours taking him in which is likely to happen as most people on my road have cats but then again most of them have dogs, my cat has been known to visit most of them. The cat is 8 years old so not elderly but not young either. It’s frustrating that he has been lounging around next door with their dog. We live in the countryside so he does have lots of places to roam as well as the neighbours garden and outbuildings.

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Mia184 Wed 10-Jul-19 20:31:35

So if things don’t work out you have already decided to rehome the cat? The poor cat!

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