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Kitty's assault on dog

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
OK, here is my story. My cat is 7 years old. She is set in her ways and has recently come into a lifestyle change. I got married in May, and now we are living in a different home and with a dog. My husband and I started the two getting used to each other last year, and did it slowly. So when my cat moved into the house with the dog, they were pretty OK with each other from the beginning. She has her days, and she will slap him sometimes if he gets too close of if she simply feels like it. The dog is a lab mix, and is very sweet and mild mannered (thank goodness). He has learned to bark at her when she slaps him, and they have had a showdown once, where she retreated first. I don't think the dog would hurt her, he is just starting to stand up for himself probably because he's been slapped enough. However, last night we were all sitting in the living room - my husband and I were watching a movie, the dog was on the floor and the cat was beside me on the couch. The dog got up and walked toward my husband to kiss him, and my cat went crazy. She slapped him several times, her hair stood up on her back, her ears went down, and she was growling at him. It was similar to how she acted during their first meeting. She hasn't really acted this aggressive since we put them together, so I was wondering what the problem might be? We keep her food where the dog cannot get to it, and we have bought her a domed litter box to help keep the dog out. They get treats at the same time, and they both get a great deal of affection/attention. We're assuming something happened during the day while we were at work, or she is just now getting upset about not having the house to herself. Any suggestions? Any help would be appreciated. These two are very loved and we don't want this type of thing to happen again.
post #2 of 6
I'm not experienced enough in cat behavior to offer advice on solving the problem (hopefully others here can help), but for the safety of both your cat & your dog I think you need to separate them whenever you can't be there to directly supervise their interactions - either put the cat in one part of the house and the dog in the other, or crate the dog & place the crate in a location where the cat can't get to him. Even the most patient dog in the world has limits, and if he gets tired enough of the abuse he might retaliate, with sad consequences. And if you suspect something might have happened to change things while you were gone, keeping them separated will prevent any further upsetting incidents.

Here's a link to find a certified applied animal behaviorist:

I hope your kitty will calm back down
post #3 of 6
By the way, Welcome to TCS!
post #4 of 6
Seems like either your dog made a sudden movement and gave the kitty a fright, or perhaps she wasn't happy seeing the dog "lay claim" to one of her humans...I'm just speculating here.

I don't think crating the dog or cat long-term and not giving them full access to the house is going to help. I'm sure they do enjoy the freedom to roam and might be unhappy cooped up.

I had neighbours once who owned a Golden Retriever (also a very sweet boy) and 2 longhair cats. One of the cats was always giving the dog grief, slapping him around and what not. But fortunately he always tolerated it or turned tail and ran away. You would know your dog's temperament better than anyone else, do you think he would retaliate in a serious manner?
post #5 of 6
Originally Posted by decadenz
I don't think crating the dog or cat long-term and not giving them full access to the house is going to help. I'm sure they do enjoy the freedom to roam and might be unhappy cooped up.

Just to clarify, I meant that you should be sure to separate them whenever you aren't home to supervise. IMO that's safest for anyone owning both dogs & cats, but it's especially important when there's animosity on the part of either pet. In that case, supervision is very important.

Our own two dogs are incrediby gentle and I can't imagine them ever hurting our cats, but nonetheless I never leave them loose alone in the house together when we're not home. It's just too great a risk too take - if the cats started fighting and somehow stimulated the dogs' prey drive, or someone suddenly got possessive of something without me around...I've seen too many victims of preventable tragedies come in to the emergency vet clinic to ever take things for granted. Even a small dog can easily kill a cat.
(Not trying to make owners of dogs & cats paranoid...just aware, so you can take precautions to prevent problems)
post #6 of 6
Hmm yes it's probably better to be safe than sorry when it comes to unsupervised pets. I had thought you meant to keep them separated all the time, since humans can be home, but they cannot be in every room at the same time
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