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Cher
Cher, Cat Behavior-expert
Category: General
Satisfied Customers: 20975
Experience:  40+ years Cat Behavior Consultant; Vol. Vet Asst.
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My cat is very vicious towards the dog at home we have to keep

Customer Question

My cat is very vicious towards the dog at home we have to keep them on different levels in the house and it's getting bad how can we make them friends so my cat doesn't viciously attacks the dog anymore
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Cat Behavior
Expert:  Cher replied 1 year ago.

Hello and welcome!

My name is ***** ***** it will be my pleasure to help you and your cat today.

First, I would like to get to know the situation better, so I can best assist you.

What are their names and ages?

What kind of dog do you have?

Who was in the household first, the cat or the dog?

How were they first introduced?

How does the dog react when your cat goes after him/her?

Is this aggression a new behavior, on your cat's part, or has s/he always been aggressive towards your dog?

Thanks for all your additional information and after you reply, please allow me some time to read through it, compose and send your detailed answer.

Warmest wishes,
Cher

Expert:  Cher replied 1 year ago.

Hi again,


I was hoping to hear back from you with some additional information about your cat and dog, but I’ll send my answer now, and if you have any further questions, just click reply.

Being of different species, they act differently and think differently. Cats will never be pack hunters and dogs will never be as confident as cats, when in solitary situations. It’s just the ‘nature of the beasts!’ You can find more information on this, from an article by Jackson Galaxy:

http://jacksongalaxy.com/2010/10/01/introducing-dogs-and-cats/

Also, click on the links within his article for additional information.


As you know, cats can be very territorial and she may not like sharing her space with the dog; however, if you are able to go back to square one with an initial ‘introduction’ process, this may help. The first thing I’d recommend is a ‘scent transfer.’ Take a slightly dampened cloth or paper towel and pet your cat with it, then pet your dog, then, vice versa. Do this frequently throughout the day. You can also take an old t-shirt of yours and pet them both, so your comforting and familiar scent is carried on their fur all the time. Giving rewards (healthy treats) to both of them (especially your cat) for good behavior, is also a good idea, as cats associate eating as a pleasurable experience which will then be associated with the dog.

When the cat starts going after the dog, stand out of sight and shake a can of pennies or pebbles; this will stop her, but it’s important not to let her see you, because you want her to associate that noise with her actions and not you.

It also depends on what type of dog you have, the size, breed, etc., if they will ever be ‘friends.’ You will be able to have them get along better, and hopefully stop the vicious attacks, but they still may need their separate spaces and never become ‘best friends,’ unfortunately.

You can use the following products to help your cat with stress, and therefore, aggression:


http://www.feliway.com/us

http://www.petco.com/product/122726/Vetri-Science-Composure-Feline-Bite-Sized-Chews.aspx

http://www.drsfostersmith.com/product/prod_display.cfm?pcatid=3550

Don’t use the Rescue Remedy and Composure chews simultaneously; choose only one. However, both can be used with the Feliway. There is also a collar that contains calming pheromones similar to Feliway; one is made by Sentry and the other, by Nurturecalm:

http://www.petco.com/product/109457/Sentry-Calming-Collar-for-Cats.aspx

http://www.meridiananimalhealth.com/product/feline/nurturecalm.asp

Try to interest your cats in interactive toys and others, so she’s kept occupied and won’t be as interested in going after the dog.

When you get the new toys, divide them into several groups. Change out the groups every few days, and she will feel like she is getting 'new' toys, which will intrigue her!

You should have or can get, a tall kitty condo or cat tree with different levels, shelves, and 'hidey holes' for playing, sleeping and scratching (these are covered with carpet). Cats like to be up high, so if she can be on top of the kitty condo, she will feel this is her domain and will feel safer. She will also enjoy a foraging toy, which fulfills her natural instincts of stalking and hunting prey. (more on that, below)

Interactive toys you can play with her, are laser pointers and feather dancers or fishing pole toys. There are even 'automatic' laser toys which you can set on a timer. Another thing she will like is a dvd with 'critters' of different types playing and doing other activities. I will list information for these types of toys in the links below:

Foraging toys


http://www.zootoo.com/pet-product/cat-toys/funkitty-twist-n-treat

http://www.batarat.com/


http://www.catdvd.com/

http://www.shopfatcat.com/Cat-Toys_c_7.html

http://www.amazon.com/FroliCat-BOLT-Interactive-Laser-Pet/dp/B0021L8W6K

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As a last resort, it would be advisable to have your cat evaluated in person by her vet, to make sure there are no underlying medical issues that may be causing her pain or discomfort, and therefore, being so aggressive to the dog. If everything is fine, medically (hopefully), then you can discuss a prescription medication to help modify her behavior, such as Clomicalm. Here is more info:

http://www.petplace.com/article/drug-library/library/prescription/clomipramine-clomicalm

I hope things will improve, but this may take time and I know it's frustrating, but patience is key in this type of situation.

Please be so kind as to rate my answer with positive feedback so I receive credit for my assistance. Thank you.

Rating will not cut off our communication and you can click 'Reply' at any time to keep in touch with me or ask for any clarification or additional information.

Warmest regards,
Cher