Cat won’t come home due to new dog.(59 Posts)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 Just keep at it! It took my cats about a month to realise that our puppy wasn't ever leaving again
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
So if things don’t work out you have already decided to rehome the cat? The poor cat!
Yep poor cat.
You want a dog. The cat may have liked the last dog but clearly doesn’t like this one. The ideal is for the dog to ignore the cat and not bother it.
You’ve seriously messed up. They should have been separated. Scent swapping etc. Teach the dog to look to you for a treat when the cat passed. Dog on a longline to ensure it never chases.
But hey you wanted a dog and now you’ve got one.
Shame the cat no longer has a home.
The cat should take precedence because it has been there longest.
Ugh you've swapped your cat for a dog. How mean. You should feel a bit ashamed of yourself
Poor bloody cat. Poor thing won’t know what it’s done wrong. Just knows it can’t go home any more. People are so fucking selfish.
You should rehome the cat it deserves someone who wants and loves it. I don’t understand people who don’t fulfil their obligations to their animals.
You mentioned in your other thread about the new dog and your cat that the cat had previously lived with two dogs, one of which he got on really well with. Was the second dog the one you ended up rehoming? I realise it was a couple of years ago but I’m wondering if the cat found that whole situation stressful and that’s having an impact on him accepting another new dog.
I would honestly be reconsidering whether it’s fair on either the dog (who the rescue described as nervous) or the cat (who is clearly very unhappy with the situation) to expect them to cohabit happily, especially when they’ve each already had a bad experience involving the other.
If you do keep both then you might have to accept that they will need far more management to keep them happy than your cat and previous dog did. You may need to go for total separation (i.e. out of sight, not just with a baby gate between them) for a while so the cat feels comfortable enough to come home and the dog doesn’t need to worry about being attacked again. The FB group Dog Training Advice and Support has a good guide to introducing dogs to cats (I believe it’s called ‘Dogs and Cats/Small Furries’) in the ‘Files’ section which I’d recommend reading. Obviously you’d not be starting from an ideal point as they’ve already had a bad experience with one another but it may help. As Wolfiefan says the goal shouldn’t be direct introductions so much as teaching them to ignore each other’s presence so neither is forcing any kind of unwanted interaction on the other.
Border the cat got on well with both dogs but the eldest more so as she mothered him from a baby, 2nd was introduced a few years later and yes we sadly had to regime him (not sure why that’s relevant to this thread), the cat never really noticed the 2nd dog leaving as he was still close to the first dog. He’s fine with the neighbours dogs (sits in the garden with them).
I think people are being a bit harsh saying I’m cruel, I didn’t plan for this to happen, of course I knew the cat would take a while to get used to the dog as he has with the other dogs and I still hope he comes around to this one. I have not replaced him with a dog 😐, he’s still very munched lived or I wouldn’t be posting on here worrying about the situation. I came on here for advice on how to get them used to each other not to be slagged off and made out to be a shit pet owner. I know I may not of introduced them correctly which is why I came on here to ask advice. The cat is very strong willed and spends a lot of time outside in the summer, it’s hard to do slow introductions when I can’t get near him, at no point have the cat and dog been alone, the cat did approach the dog, the dog did not respond until the cat attacked his face and now the dog is obviously scared when the cat attempts to come near him. I can’t stop the cat from approaching him as they both have access to the garden, all I can do is to stop the dog chasing him (which has only happened once).
Please if you haven’t got anything useful to say don’t say anything at all, if you do have any advice on how to re introduce them please let me know. At the moment I am trying to get the cat to at least come into the house whilst the dog is in another room behind a door or gate.
And to begin with it was the cat initiating contact with the dog, the dog was happy for the the cat to be around until the cat started following him around and then attacked him.
Try some smell things, like leaving the dogs bedding out for the cat to sniff. Our cat sulks for England but his stomach always gets the better of him, dreamies.
Thanks, I will put the dogs blanket out near his food. He’s happily coming for food just outside the front door and will allow me to have the door open (where he can see the dog from a distance) but won’t come into the house for more than a few seconds. I will give the smell thing a try 🙂
A couple of weeks is nothing really.
It tooks weeks and week for one of our cats to get used to our dog. She now just trots past him and under his legs and sits in the same sofa as him.
We have indoor cats (that have a cattio outside) so out cats couldn't just leave. But the dog isn't allowed upstairs so cats did have their own space. The cat in question did spend most of her time upstairs to behind with but the gradually came down so not an issue.
I'd worry though that if your cat is out all the time then it's never going to get used to the dog. It needs to learn that the dog is OK and not a threat.
Maybe try keeping it in for a little? Especially as it does have it's own spaces in the house?
Also I think cats need to know that they CAN defend themselves (especially if the dog is a lot bigger) so I maybe wouldn't have told the cat off initially.
One of our turning points was when the dog kept wanting to sniff the cat's bum and they both learnt that they could 'bop' him on the nose (without claws) and he'd stop.
They hardly do it now because they know they can just wait until they've had enough and then they can get him to leave them alone.
We also found teaching the dog "stay" and "leave" was invaluable. "leave" when he was already excited by the cats was too late - but doing it as the cats entered to room worked perfectly and the cats learnt that they could just walk past him.
Thank you Carol, I will try and get him to come in. The slow introduction thing kind of went out the window as I had to spend 4 days in hospital (not planned) a couple days after the dog came, my DM was left in charge and in that time the cat did spend one night at home but since then he’s not been in the house but has entered the garden. The dog isn’t much bigger than the cat, slightly smaller than our old dog but similar breed. The cat is huge 🤣 which is why it seems odd that he’s not standing his ground a bit more. He will happily go next door with their large collie. It will be 2 weeks tomorrow I picked the dog up so still early days I guess?
You need to reward your dog for good behaviour - treats when he doesn’t react at all to the cat, so keeping his attention on you, even when behind the stair gate.
I should think you’re right about the weather - outside is a nice place to be right now so he’s staying out. He’ll come around! But you need to keep the dog calm.
One of ours - an 8 year old rescue who had lived with dogs before - took about 4-5 months before she’d come downstairs! Other cat - 18-month-old who’d never lived with dogs before - was happy by day 3. You just can’t tell, and you can’t rush it.
Feliway diffusers would be good, and keep fussing him when the dog is not around. Dreamies or his treat of choice don’t go amiss either!
I think it is quite useful pointing out that you've been rather selfish here. Maybe you won't do this again? And it was you who off handedly said you'd just rehome the cat and keep the dog.
I know it's hard to accept that you've made a mistake here but you have. You're placing stress on your cat when you didn't need to do so. And it's laughable to say ' the cat won't dictate my life.' Errr it's a cat? How are you expecting it to behave?
Stop getting animals without proper planning and then rehoming.
You’re putting this all on the animals and expecting them to sort it out. You need to manage the behaviour. Dog on a lead. Never allowed out in the garden without you. Stay between cat and dog. Monitor and intervene before issues occur.
Silver I haven’t said I wanted to regime the cat it’s the last thing I want to do, I just said that he might move in next door by choice.
Wolf no one can predict how a cat will react to any change in the home, be it a new dog, cat or baby. I did plan and I thought it might take a while. I’m just asking for advice to see if there’s anything I can do to help my cat. I have always had dogs and have always had cats and they have always lived happily in the same house so I wasn’t that concerned about adding another dog to the family, obviously I was wrong but I’m trying to get advice to help fix things but I don’t want to give up and send the dog back after a week as I know cats can take time. Also it’s summer and he would be out a lot anyway so who’s to say he won’t come home when it rains?
How much research did you do prior about the bonding process?
It can take a long, long time and requires an incredible amount of patience. Speaking to an experienced vet or animal behaviourist may help.
In my experience of cats and dogs living together the cat will come round. Telling him off wasnt brilliant....but give him some love and attention away from the dog.
I agree with @nosquirrels completely.
Our cat who we thought was a wimp and who is scared of plastic bags and slippers, was pretty fine with dog straight away - the other who isn't usually bothered by anything was terrified.
2 weeks really is nothing! But I do think you have to try and get the cat in so it can actually get used to the dog if it can and let the cat know it has plenty of it's own space.
I loved my cats more than anything but our dog came from Romania and there was no way he was going to be sent back unless absolutely necessary so I can understand why you don't want to get rid of the dog. Honestly, sometimes you just need some patience and to keep at it.
Thank you, I will try and get the cat in, that all I can really do at the moment as I can’t really do any introduction whilst he’s not in the house.
coral it’s a similar situation with my dog, it wouldn’t be easy just to send him back, he’s not the easiest breed to home and his siblings are still at the rescue with no one showing any interest in them, he was badly treated and has changed so much since he’s been in a stable home, sending him back would destroy him.
I did research, I also posted on here several times about introducing a dog and got some good advice, I didn’t just go out and get the dog without thinking but I probably assumed because we had introduced a dog before that it would be similar this time.
I saw the cat yesterday evening, we managed to have cuddles outside, he let me check him over (wanted to check he had no ticks or wounds), he seemed fine, I tried to get him to come into the house and he came in for a few seconds before leaving again. The dog was behind a gate which I covered so cat couldn’t see him but could smell him, the dog stayed calm. I guess it’s a start, I will try again tonight and leave the door open for him to come in (we don’t have a cat flap).
What’s his favourite meal? Tin of tuna? Chicken? Keep tempting him and reminding him home is best, whilst keeping the dog calm. We found feeding them in eyesight of each other but the cat safely away from the dog was helpful, so our grumpy cat ate a lot of meals on the stairs while the dog ate behind a stair gate nearby. Trickier for you but if you can tempt him into the kitchen doorway for a meal or two then hopefully when the weather turns a bit he’ll be over it and head back inside.
He only really eats dry food so any wet food is very tempting too him. Have bought some dreamies.
He has been in the house this morning with the dog behind the gate and visible, I moved his bowl in the door so he had to come in to eat, he kept coming in and out, sniffing near the dog and taking a bit of food. I then had to go out with the dog and the cat stood in front of the car refusing to move whilst I tried to load the petrified dog into the car. He’s getting braver so I’m keeping my fingers crossed.
He’s slowly getting braver and will come in for food, has come into the living room through the back door and walked past the dog. He’s still not sleeping indoors but he’s coming in a lot more (2-3 times a day) to sniff around.
Oh good! The more he comes in and nothing happens the easier it will get. Keep up the bribing with Dreamies and tuna!
We have a similar scenario.. two cats (well one and half as Obie is so unfaithful) and picked up our puppy last weekend.
Obie couldn't care less.. he never comes in the living room, but eats then goes upstairs for a kip, so he saw puppy (behind stairgate) and went 'meh..where's my dinner?'
Ophie we knew would not be happy. So weeks prior we set the crate out, plugged feliway all around the house, and started leaving ds1s window open as she sometimes comes in that way anyway.
First day... saw puppy in garden and ran off.
Day 2 came to the upstairs window and ate dreamies there... shouted at me how I had ruined her life and then went to sulk in next door's garden.
Day three.. came into the bedroom and had a cuddle on the bed and food, and ventured to the stairs.
Today... came in, ate food, came into my bedroom for a cuddle, walked downstairs and had dreamies in the kitchen, glared at sleeping puppy and then went back upstairs to sleep..she's there now.
Puppy will NOT be allowed upstairs until she is a much older calmer dog. Realistically I am expecting it will take many months before Ophie feels ok to be in the room, and until then we are taking it in turns to give her maximum fuss upstairs. (Ds1 is delighted that she slept with him last night!)
I really do think the feliway plug in is helping. I was desperately worried that she would run away, but DS2 is an adult with autism and mild learning disability and the ONLY thing he has ever asked for was a dog to love. Now I am reasonably sure she isn't going to run away and has made amazing progress for just 4 days..she's never been near a dog before.
She is getting lots of dreamies....
we have similar to medusa
We have 2 cats aged 15 and 4, they love each other and sleep and eat together.
We have had a puppy since April (he's now 6 months old) The puppy isn't allowed upstairs and we have a gate in place.
The cats were abit wary at first, ran upstairs and hid. (they have their own room and all of upstairs)
Now they sit on the stairs and old cat will touch noses with puppy through the gate. They go in and out at their leisure but prefer it if dog is in another room when they do so. The young cat has come into the lounge when puppy is in there, just walked round and left....I feed the cats upstairs and they sleep on my bed where they are spoilt with Dreamies. Puppy is a large Lab so i think he's abit bouncy for them at the moment. I think it's going to take a while longer yet but things are improving.
Fancy seeing you here @Lovemusic33 and boy you got a hard time on here. Hope everything is settling down and you are feeling better too
I’m glad the cat’s coming back. Don’t rush things now that it’s looking positive.
IMO the dog should be scared of the cat at the moment. The cat has to be able to put the dog in it’s place, it’s much more vulnerable than the dog and feels so. Don’t tell it off for hissing/swiping. Dogs bounce back from a telling off much quicker than cats do (as you’ve found out).
The cats been in and out throughout the day today, even managed cuddles in the garden with the dog near me (me in between them), at one point the cat walked up to the dog and rubbed himself along the dog. The dog then decided he would chase the cat but the cat didn’t run and swiped the dogs nose, the cat then left but has returned since. So things are looking up and with rain forecast this weekend I suspect the cat will be coming in even more.
@lovemusic33 That's great - I'm so happy for you!
(I deleted the mumsnet app but just logged in to see if you'd posted an updare!)
Thanks Coral ,the cats co img in more and more each day, yesterday he strolled in and ate some of the dogs diner and strolled out again, ddog just stood their looking mortified. He still won’t spend the night indoors but is happily walking in and out (past the dog). The dog has attempted to chase several times but I have managed to hold on to him or tell him ‘no’.
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