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NancyH, Dog Expert:Rescue, Train,Breed,Care
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 31958
Experience:  30+ yrs dog home vet care & nursing, rescue, behavior&training, responsible show breeding, genetics
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senior cat living with a young bulldog

Customer Question

How to make a senior handicapped cat happy with a young English Bulldog living in the same house
Submitted: 11 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  NancyH replied 11 years ago.
The best bet is to introduce them slowly. Keep them apart unless supervised so you can control the pup's antics.
Give the cat time to become use to the pup's smell in the house.
I have cat safety zones set up for my cats as I have a pretty busy household of dogs. These consist of short baby gates blocking off a room to dog access. The rooms have the cat's favorite sleeping places and the food, water and litter box area. Plus two of the rooms are places we humans frequently are so the cats get people time too. If your cat cannot go over a gate and your pup is bigger than the cat then you may be able to raise the gate up enough for cat to slide under and dog to be left behind.
They can choose to be out and about and mixing with (ie tormenting :-) the dogs or safely relaxing in their own space.
If you bring pup and cat together have the pup on a leash so that it can investigate but not get too wild.
Praise the cat for checking out the pup, praise the pup for being polite with the cat.
My cats often express great displeasure in any change such as the addition of a new puppy. They are pretty disgusted over the whole concept right up to the point I realize they are busy teaching the new canine the household rules and that cats are to be seen and not chased or slobbered on. A few whacks to the pup usually instills respect for cat laws like that.
Older cats do take more time in getting use to changes so be patient.
These sites also have some good helpful advice that you might like to read
Customer: replied 11 years ago.
Reply to Nancy Holmes's Post: Okay I appreciate your response my concern is my senior cat is terrified of everybody except me. She literally lives under my bed if anyone other than me is in my apt. I am planning a move to a 2 story house with a well behaved bulldog, but he currently has free rein of the entire house. I am hoping to keep a dog door up to seperate the upstairs from the downstairs, do you think my old kitty will be okay with the change?
Expert:  Steve -- a.k.a. Oreport replied 11 years ago.

You state that your 'senior cat is terrified of everybody except me.
She literally lives under my bed if anyone other than me is in my apt.'

Even a 'well behaved' young dog is unlikely to quietly give up half of his territory.

Even if your cat never sees the dog, she will hear and smell it. 
Given her age and temperment, it seems to me to be wishful thinking
that your kitty would do well with the change.

And we haven't even added in the stress involved in your cat having to adjust to the new human(s) involved...

Good Luck!



Customer: replied 11 years ago.
Reply to Oreport's Post: Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX afraid of that.
Expert:  NancyH replied 11 years ago.
My advice if you are putting this cat through what you know will be stressful is to consider talking to your vet about a medication to help your cat adjust to the coming changes.
You also need to work out with the people you will be living with about changes in pet access to areas so your cat has some of its own space.
You should have a plan in place for if it does not work out that the cat shares space. Can your new room accomodate being the cats only living space? so it will only have to deal with you?
Can the dog be crated or kept in a single room overnight so that the cat has some time when it has control of the environment without doggy help?
I used a giant dog crate set up to be a whole cat apartment when I brought in a cat that was afraid of dogs. The cat got to meet the dogs from a safe place (she had a bed she could hide completely inside of) and she learned that she was safe behind the bars from the other animals here. Took time but it worked out. If it had been a senior cat instead of a young one I would have asked my vet for meds to help the cat be calm and adjust.

PS Dogs are *very* trainable if you are willing to work at it and bulldogs (the English type anyway) usually are pretty placid easy going animals on top of that.

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