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Dr. Deb
Dr. Deb, Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 583
Experience:  DVM VMRCVM '89, 20 yrs experience in progressive small animal medicine and surgery
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cat: now runs and hisses..chasing

Resolved Question:

My new dog got off to a rough start with my cat. The cat now runs and hisses when the dog is around. I can get the dog to stop chasing but the cat is still terrified. Any ideas?
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Cat
Expert:  Dr. Deb replied 7 years ago.
Hi Shelby.
It can be difficult introducing a new pet into a household. Introducing a new cat to an established cat in a home is usually the hardest. Cats are very territorial. I have heard it said that a dog belongs to its people but a cat belongs to its house. Your cat believed your house (call it the cat's house, if you will) was her own. When a new dog showed up and disrupted her routine, she felt violated. Now this new beast is in her living room, in her kitchen, with her people.

I would advise restricting the dog to a limited area of the house and making some areas "cat safe" no dogs allowed. Let her get comfortable in her house again. Then you can allow the dog into "her space" with supervision only. She needs to feel non-threatened to accept this new house-mate.

It may take only days or maybe a few weeks for the cat to regain some feeling of safety. Once this happens, maybe put the dog in a crate in a room previously just a "cat room" and let the cat in so she can feel safe even when the dog is in the room.
It should be possible for the dog and cat to become tolerant of each other and perhaps even friends. Don't give up too soon, I usually advise a 3 month window for adjustments to be made and an understanding to be reached.

Make very sure that the new dog does not have any sinister motives for chasing the cat, be sure there is not a safety issue. The vast majority of the time the dogs just chase the cats because its a game in the dog language world, not because of any malicious intent.

I hope this helps, any more information- how long have you had each pet, breeds, etc. may also help.
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