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Help! Cat scared of next door's new Alsatian

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

I live in a first-floor flat (ie one storey up). At the back is a door w/catflap leading to a staircase down into the garden which I share with the flat below. The flats are semi-detached, ie there is another upstairs and downstairs flat attached to ours.

New neighbours have moved into the flat below next door, and have a large Alsatian (German Shepherd) dog which is permanently kept in the small garden.

It seems friendly but has growled and barked at the sight of my cat, which has been enough to scare the cat into not going out. The neighbours/dog only moved in a few days ago but the cat has peed and pooed in the flat since the dog appeared. Even when the dog is out (it's owner is some kind of parks policeman and the dog works with him) my cat has been too scared to go out.

Tonight I even put the food bowl outside to force her out and show her the dog wasn't even there, but as soon as she'd finished she came back inside and attempted to poo under a chest of drawers! She used to have access to both gardens, via a gate at the bottom of the stairs. The new neighbours have replaced this with a fence, which is obviously good as it stops the dog getting through to our side, but to reach my garden the cat still needs to go down the stairs, taking her right past the dog, which she won't even contemplate.

What on earth do I do? I can't have her doing her business in the flat, but I don't want to put a litter tray in the flat as this will reinforce her belief that she needn't go out. In any case, it seems rather unfair that I/she should now be 'chained' to the litter tray when she's gone outside quite happily for the last three or four years.

Sorry for the length of post, any help gratefully received.
post #2 of 7
Have you talked to your new neighbors? If this is a police dog, he sounds highly trainable. Hissy has a great article on the board about introducing cats and dogs (I believe she has german shepherds also). I think the only way your cat and this dog are going to be able to coexist is if they become friends or atleast tolerate each other. It's definitely possible, my cats are pretty friendly with my neighbor's pitbulls.
post #3 of 7
Do NOT force your cat out there! Speak to your landlord and get him to speak to the other landlord (unless he's it too) about having the dog on a lead or something, because it's unfair that he's taken over the yard, but dangerous to expect your cat to be there with him - and it doesn't sound like he's actually a police dog, more like a guard dog for the parks guy, and you have no idea what he might be trained to kill or not.
post #4 of 7
I agree with speaking to the landlord. If the garden area is intended for the use of several tennants then how can one be allowed to take over the spot?

In the mean time I would setup an indoor litterbox.
No way would I even try to force a kitty into a situation where she is that frightened. Cats need to feel secure to go potty, and forcing her into stressful situations is bad for her overall health.
post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 
Thanks all.

Just to reiterate - these are two seperate gardens. The dog is next door, but he and the cat can see each other when the cat emerges through the catflap at the top of the stairs.

I've had no choice but to reinstitute the litter tray, but what I really need is for the dog to stop barking every time the cat dares to go out! I have spoken to the dog's owner. He's amenable, happy to try and 'socialise' the cat and dog, but that seems impossible if he barks at the first sight of her and she then refuses to come out for the rest of the day.

NB: I own my flat; the dog owner is renting but not, I imagine, breaking any rules. Though I think it's pretty inconsiderate of his landlord (who has only just bought the flat himself) to let the place to someone with a great big dog without at least consulting the neighbours first.
post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 
[quote=MeowsersMom] Hissy has a great article on the board about introducing cats and dogs (I believe she has german shepherds also).[quote]

Thanks- where would I find that?
post #7 of 7
Well, I guess it's kind of unrealistic to expect the dog not to bark (one of the hardest things to train a dog out of, and certainly not something the dog's owner will be able to correct once the dog smells the cat). The cats may well just get used to him and be braver once they realize he can't get at them.
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