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Dogs & cats...what else can I do?!

Hi there ladies! I needed to ask a non-biased group of folks this question, and thought you guys may be my best bet!

Put yourself in my shoes for a minute. You had one dog, two cats. They got along ok enough, however one cat was pretty timid around dog. He would interact with the dog, and come out to get attention/play with us humans as he saw fit. We adopted dog #2 in June, and he has a pretty big prey drive. He chased the timid cat once, and now timid cat is even more timid! He never (neverrrr) comes out of his safe space voluntarily (safe space being the basement - baby gate at the top of the stairs so the dogs can't get down). He doesn't even come up the steps at all. He's scared to death. This hasn't improved at all since adopting new dog. 

They animals are supervised whenever they are together. When we are unable to supervise them 100% - the cats go to the basement (finished) with door shut, and the dogs stay upstairs. So...when we're at work, sleeping, or busy doing work somewhere in the house - the cats are in the basement/dogs upstairs.

DH wants me to get rid of the cats, or put them outside. I'm working hard to avoid that situation, but part of me does think timid cat would be sooooo much happier in a different environment.  

The cats have been together for 3 years - I'd feel terrible separating them (although they don't seem all that bonded, really). The other cat is more outgoing, and is fine with the dogs, and is not scared.

Should we keep doing what we're doing...? Or should we start to think about other living arrangements for the cat(s)? 

DH thinks it's "cruel" to keep the cats in the basement. But I think it'd be more cruel if our new dog killed one of the cats when we weren't watching.  I also think it'd be cruel to "rehome" a cat, and possibly have it end up at a shelter and euthanized. 

So...what I really want to know...do you think its cruel to keep a cat safe, if that means confined to a certain area of your house?  

The cats currently do not get out of the basement every day. On days I work 16 hours, they're in there all day. DH is not on board with helping at all, and to be honest - I wouldn't trust him to supervise dogs/cats together, anyway. To him the cat/dog problems are my problems. 

Give me your thoughts, ladies!! 

funny gifs Anniversary
FF

Re: Dogs & cats...what else can I do?!

  • I don't really think keeping the cats in their safe place is really that bad.  Do you spend time with them in the basement?  Do the dogs ever get seperated in another room so they can have some house time?  If one of my dogs could spend all day under the bed she absolutely would because she is comfortable there so I guess I don't see the negative of them staying in their safe spot. 

     I would not give the cats away and, in my house, it would not be an option.  While I am not a cat owner, I think that if you spend time with all of them, feed them, and give them a nice home over their heads you are just fine. Never throw an indoor cat outside.  There is so much that can injure your cat or worse.  I think it is more cruel to uproot the animal than keep it where it is happy and well cared for.  Hopefully some cat ladies can chime in with some helpful cat training tips, unfortunately I am not that person! Big Smile

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  • I am going to try to remain coherent and thoughtful, but honestly, the fact that your husband suggested throwing the cats outside or rehoming them REALLY pisses me off. 

    It sounds like your cat has anxiety. Bringing another dog (with a prey drive, no less) into the house probably was not the best idea, but since it's already happened, you have to work with what you have.

    Have you tried anything to correct the anxiety issue?  Taking your timid cat and dumping him a new environment isn't going to make him "happier". It could actually make things much worse since you'll be taking him out of the environment that he knows. I am certainly not an expert, but these are the initial things I generally suggest when working with a timid/anxious cat--a combination of them have worked for me with my anxious one:

    Feliway. It comes in a spray and a plug-in. The plug-on only covers a certain amount of square feet, you'd probably need more than one. It's a synthetic pheromone that helps cats feel safe in their "territory". You can find it at Petsmart, or online. It's cheaper from Amazon.

    Calming collar. Pretty much what it sounds like. Collar. Put it on the cat. Helps calm the cat. :) You can get these at Petsmart, too.

    Rescue Remedy. This is a liquid you can put in the water.  

    Do the cats have a cat tree? Some cats really like vertical space, and the more you have the better off they'll be. Then they can hang out up high and watch what's going on.  

    I would google Pam Johnson-Bennett and invest in some of her books. She has some really good tips for dealing with timid cats. I like Cat vs. Cat. Even though you aren't having cat/cat issues, she has some tips for dealing with timid/shy cats in that book and some of the others.

    Last resort, you can talk to your vet about medicine. 

    You're doing the right thing by keeping them separated when you can't supervise, and by allowing the cats "cat only" space. Don't let the new dog chase the cat.

    Our cats aren't confined to the basement (we don't have one), but they don't have full run of the house and they are just fine. As long as you can spend time with them when you're off work. Also, I would work on getting the husband to spend some time with them when you're working those long hours. I would be a little concerned about the fact that he's not on board with this and that his answer is to rehome or kick them outside. Pets take work. He needs to be willing to put in the effort.      

    I'm sure I've forgotten some things that you could try, so hopefully someone else can chime in with some other tips.  

    BabyFruit Ticker
  • Thank you both for your replies!

    When we brought the new dog into our home, we were told he was living with three cats, two dogs, and two children (in a foster home). He has proven to be crazy around cats (as you've heard) and dog aggressive/leash reactive. We've spent the last 12 weeks at the trainers twice a week, and can go finally go into public situations on leash and not have an aggressive dog at the end of the leash. He does seem ok around children, although we don't currently have any.  My rescue group was less than helpful, and took over two weeks to even return my concerned calls. He, thankfully, gets along great with our other dog somehow. 

    I have purchased Feliway (two) and a three pack of calming collars on Amazon. They do have a tree, and plenty of vertical space downstairs but none really upstairs. 

    I think DH's other problems stem from the fact that he really never had a choice with the cat situation. I had the cats from before we were dating, and when I moved in they came with (which also took a great deal of discussion). He's never really been fully on board with them. 



    funny gifs Anniversary
    FF
  • image cs026a:

    I think DH's other problems stem from the fact that he really never had a choice with the cat situation. I had the cats from before we were dating, and when I moved in they came with (which also took a great deal of discussion). He's never really been fully on board with them. 

    Oh, he had a choice. You and the cats were/are a package deal. He made the choice to continue the relationship. 

  • I'm normally not an advocate of rehoming, but when one animal in the house is a threat to the life of another and the humans in the house are not all on board about diligently separating and supervising I feel like its a matter of time before the situation becomes deadly.  I can count a number of regulars and other posters who have had a dog kill a cat or cats.  Alive cats in a new home are better than dead cats in their current home.  I'd probably try to place them with a friend or family member though so I could ensure their long term well being and would microchip and register to me just in case.  Its going to be hard to find a responsible home willing to take on two cats though.
    image "...Saving just one pet won't change the world...but, surely, the world will change for that one pet..."
  • image kellbell1919:
    I'm normally not an advocate of rehoming, but when one animal in the house is a threat to the life of another and the humans in the house are not all on board about diligently separating and supervising I feel like its a matter of time before the situation becomes deadly.  I can count a number of regulars and other posters who have had a dog kill a cat or cats.  Alive cats in a new home are better than dead cats in their current home.  I'd probably try to place them with a friend or family member though so I could ensure their long term well being and would microchip and register to me just in case.  Its going to be hard to find a responsible home willing to take on two cats though.

    Just for my own curiosity--why would you suggest rehoming the cats, who were there first, instead of the dog? I hope that didn't sound snarky because I truly didn't mean for it to, I really am interested in your thought process.  

    That said, I still disagree--not seeing the dog behavior in person, I don't know if it's a prey drive or if the dog is just curious in the cats. I would suggest consuting a behaviorist before rehoming the cats to see what they think.

    And besides that, the husband needs to stop being a tool and do his part. I will never understand all these husbands who just say "I don't want to deal with it" and so they don't. Marriage is a partnership. It blows my mind.  

    ETA: Please note that I said behaviorist, OP, not trainer--I realize you said you already worked with some trainers, but a behaviorist is different.  

    BabyFruit Ticker
  • Can you set up pet gates to confine the dog to a portion of the top floor during the day sometimes so the cats can roam a little more freely? I'd also keep trying to introduce them together while you supervise... Keeping them separate will never get them used to each other. 

    My dog likes to pretend to 'hunt' my cat but is very gentle when he actually catches her. However, he has been around her since he was a puppy so he is very used to how to behave with her. She was very very timid at first with him but now loves him, it just takes time.

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