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Dr. Kris
Dr. Kris, Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 1049
Experience:  I am a small animal vet and I see mostly dogs and cats and an occasional exotic pet, pig and goat.
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my 3 yr. old cat has been traumatized by the dog from next

Resolved Question:

my 3 yr. old cat has been traumatized by the dog from next door (it jumped our fence) My cat left and didn't come home for over a that he is back, he only comes late at night, eats, and then leaves again. If I bring him into the house it increases his stress. I would really like the "old Joey"" back, what can I do to help him?
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Kris replied 7 years ago.
HiCustomerbr />
I'm Dr. Kris. I'm so sorry that you and your cat are going through this. A similar thing happened to my cat when a dog killed her sibling while they were both outside. It took about 8 months but eventually she became her old self again.

What you need to do is create a safe place in your house. Somewhere dark, quiet and with the illusion that it is difficult for you or anyone else to get into. You can put boxes or similar things in this place so that he'll have somewhere inside the safe place to hide too. When cats get scared they like to squeeze themselves into tight spaces so provide things for him to crawl in, under or in between.

The next time your cat comes home show him this place and see if he'll use it when he gets scared. Don't force him into it. Give him the choice of the safe place or outside. You can let him eat and then put him there. If he chooses to go back outside let him. Do this for 3 days. If he still prefers going outside after that, what you can do is let him go crazy for a little (make sure you ignore him) when he wants to go back outside, take him to the safe place again, put him in it and walk away. If possible try to ignore him until he gets the message that you're not going to let him out then put him in the safe place. There is a plug in pheromone called Feliway (get it from your vet or online) that has a calming effect on cats. You can place these all over your house.

The next step if he won't use the safe place or if the Feliway doesn't help will be anti-anxiety drugs. Hopefully it won't come to this but if it does you can discuss this option with your vet.

It's going to take time and patience on your part. Try to ignore him when he won't settle so you don't reinforce that behavior. Good luck and I hope this helps.
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