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Lisa, Certified Veterinary Technician
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 16554
Experience:  CVT with a special interest in behavior modification through structure, boundaries and limitations with positive reinforcement.
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In May, a stray cat appeared on my driveway with her 3 kittens.

Customer Question

In May, a stray cat appeared on my driveway with her 3 kittens. We were able to trap her and the kittens and get them to the rescue for TNR. The Mother cat was extremely affectionate, therefore, I knew she was not Feral. The kittens however, were approximately 3 mos old. I could not bear to just release them and put them on my screen porch to try to socialize the kittens. They socialized fairly quickly and one was successfully adopted. The other 2 are still with us and hav been moved inside the house. My problem is my 2-1/2 year old precious 14 lb dog. He is the love of my life and it hurts me that he is very aggressive toward the kittens, one in particular. How can I help him to stop this behavior. He has never been aggressive in any way.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Dog Training
Expert:  Lisa replied 2 years ago.
Hi there. My name is ***** ***** I'm happy to help you with your question today. Just like an in person consult, I have some questions of my own to help ensure I give you the best advice possible...What does he do to the kittens?Is he crate trained?Will you be keeping the kittens?Does he seem afraid of the kittens or want to play with them?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
He chases and corners one in particular. The other day, he looked as if he was going to bite him. All the kittens have been neutered. He is normally very obedient and we do not use a crate. He has been perfectly trained since he was 14 weeks old. We are keeping the mother cat and the 2 remaining kittens, unless a good adtive family comes along for the kittens. Then we would just keep the mother cat. She is approximately a year old and Beau does not bother her. His tail is wagging when he is barking and seems to be vicious. He obviously wants to play with them...but the kittens are afraid of him right now.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
That should be adoptive
Expert:  Lisa replied 2 years ago.
Have any of the kittens smacked him on the nose yet?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Not the kittens, but Mom slapped him across the face yesterday, claws retracted. He had cornered Tiger and after I stopped Beau and rescued Tiger, Sheba walked into the den went up to Beau, picked up her right paw and slapped him across his face.
Expert:  Lisa replied 2 years ago.
DId Beau back off after that?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
So far, today we have peace. But it's still early.
Expert:  Lisa replied 2 years ago.
Great. Thanks for putting up with all my questions. I really appreciate it.Ah the joys of introducing cats into a house with an already established dog. I vividly remember the hissing, the barking, the scratching and the yelping when I brought my 4 year old Maltipoo home to live. My cats DID NOT find it amusing in the least...but after a few days of them fighting it out (The dog got scratched across the nose and one of the cats got bit on the tail), things were figured out and the pecking order was re-established in my house...with the cats on top, of course.There are a couple things you can try to help your dog figure out the boundaries with the cats:*Use a leash. Keep the dog on a leash at all times when in the house. If your pup begins to chase the cat or begins to bother her in a way that is unacceptable to you, pick up the leash, give it a solid tug and say in a stern voice, "NO!". Make sure you correct the behavior as soon as the dog does it...timing is very important here.*Use a crate. Kennel training your dog is a good idea anyway, but using the kennel to keep your pup confined when the cat is out and about will teach the dog that the cat is allowed to go anywhere she wants in the house and they can go there without his bothering them. Most dogs react to crates pretty long as it's not a forced issue...put in some blankets, some of his favorite treats and make it a nice place for him to hang out.*Allow (while supervised, obviously) interactions between the cat and the pup. Understand that there will be some hissing and some growling from the cat, and they may take a swipe at him (cutting her claws is a good idea before any interactions between them, just to be sure that the pup won't get an eye injured), but they need to establish who is the boss in the house and where the dog lands in the pecking order of it all. Just make sure that you're standing by when these meetings take place so that you can break it up if things get too heated. The fact that Beau backed off when mom took a swipe at him tells me that it's unlikely that he'll continue to go after the kitten once it gets big enough to take a couple swipes at him.Just be patient and realize that it will most likely take a good bit of time before the cat accepts the dog completely (it took mine almost a year before they'd stop hissing at the dog whenever he came in the room) and vice versa. The cat has been there forever and now this hyper little dog has come in and is taking over. Eventually though, things will settle down and either the dog and cats will get along famously, or they'll ignore each other.I hope this helps!
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I do put his training collar on with the leash and correct immediately. I hesitate to introduce the crate at this point. He is normally so well trained. I keep telling myself, it's going to get better. So, I'm doing virtually everything you suggest.
Expert:  Lisa replied 2 years ago.
Cats and dogs can generally learn to live together. Once Tiger gets bigger, I suspect Beau will decide it's not worth it. You could use a baby gate to keep Beau away from the kittens, but will allow him to see Tiger through the gate. It's a decent way to keep the kitten safe while allowing Beau to still see and get used to him.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Lisa, thank you for your time. However, I already knew everything you suggested. I guess, my natural instincts told me what I needed to know. I would, respectfully, ***** ***** refund.Eileen Midman
Expert:  Lisa replied 2 years ago.
You can contact customer service for the refund...we experts don't have anything to do with that part of it. I hope Tiger and Beau can get along!!
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thank you...
Expert:  Lisa replied 2 years ago.
You're welcome!