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Hints about dog & cat accepting the other!!


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Hi All,

Just re-homed a stray dog from Limoges SPA, he is approx 18 months to 2 yrs old and is a Labrador cross (possibly Border Collie they think).

When we walked him around the cat compound, he was very well behaved and not bothered about them. Our problem has started since he arrived home yesterday, as he seems very excitable about our cat Izzy. I guess it may be just natural curiosity, but he tends to chase her if he can.

We're doing all we can to try and make them get on together, not helped by her wailing, hissin & spittin!!

He is otherwise very well behaved and must have had some training with his former owners. The SPA have no details about him, as he was just abandoned hence the guess about his age.

Any tips to help with this problem would be v much appreciated.

His name is now "Togs" BTW,in honour of our Tels' last broadcast.

He is a bit camera shy at the moment,but will post a piccy asap.

Best regards,


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I think you just have to leave them to it.  I've gone through this several times with no long-term ill effects, even though it's a bit disturbing to start with (say for a month or two).  Just ensure that your cat has a nice peaceful place where she can get away and be alone and safe.  I'd only be really concerned if I thought your dog had a lot of terrier in him - they can be un-cure-able cat chasers in my experience, but I'm sure there must be people who've managed to mix the two successfully.

Bon courage.

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Lovely to hear you have given a rescue dog a new home!

As the cat was in your home first, he should be able to learn to accept her.  It is important that you show him that the cat is higher in the pecking order than he is, so when she is sitting with you on the chair (for example) he is not allowed to make any aggressive or assertive gestures, although calm curiousity is fine.  (Nor, I hasten to say, is the cat allowed to hiss, spit or whatever when she is "protected" by you and not menaced.) Then they can be rewarded.  I assume there will be places in the house "forbidden" to the dog.  Make sure the cat's territory is respected this way.  And he should not be allowed to chase her in the garden - if necessary do some lead training with the cat around.  (And don't be afraid to use a lead in the house as well, until he knows what you expect of him.)

We have managed this a few times, and it takes a bit of patience.  I was never happy leaving them unsupervised for some time, but the dogs always learnt quite quickly that the cat was to be untouchable.  A lot depends on the cat's age, as well, as young cats are often more able to show a dog that they mean business, whereas older ones just trot off and hide somewhere for peace and quiet.

I hope you can make this work to the happiness of all concerned!

Chrissie (81)

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Hi Chrissie and Coops, thanks for your help and information. Latest is that they are getting on a lot better, she is still quite wary when he's around, so have to make sure we are there to supervise! Now that the boys are here for christmas there are four of us to keep watch too.

Both are being a bit picky with their food,but seem to like eating the others when possible!

He's still a bit camera shy too,so will post photos when we can get some!!

As for Wooly, its a second marriage alright!! Literally for both of us,so just have to take things as they come and get on with it:):):)

Well finally,we wish you all a very happy christmas and the same to all on the forum.Coops, very best of luck with your operation too, we'll all be hoping things go well.

Johnnyboy and family.

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Congratulations on your new arrival. [:D]

I'd be cautious with the new marriage partners. Once the dog has figured out who is part of his new family the cat should be fine but I have read enough horrified posts where a new dog has - once the owners have assumed things have settled down - injured or killed an existing cat, so I'd be very wary for several weeks. I definitely wouldn't leave the cat and dog alone, shut in a room together until I was convinced that the dog had lost interest in the cat.

There are some tips in this link here... go almost to the bottom of the screen to get the introduce cat to dog information.


I would feed cat and dog separately and certainly prevent the cat eating from the dog's bowl. If the dog has been short of food in the past, he may not be relaxed about the cat taking what he believes is his. Equally, the cat is vulnerable when its head is down eating and the dog may want to muscle in and eat the cat's food.

Don't force the issue because you want them to get on; leave them to establish their own relationship but definitely keep an eye on things. Perhaps give the cat a few beds on top of cupboards etc so s/he can take herself out of his way easily if she feels she needs to. Good luck.

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Just to add my quick thoughts.   We had a similar situation and I did find it very stressful (plenty of old posts on here somewhere where I whittered away about it !).    I have to say that it was probably about a year before I felt comfortable enough to leave the dog and cat together if we were out, but that was probably paranoia.     Now they get on fine, I don't kid myself that they will ever cuddle up together but the dog protects the cat like a fiend; she only has to hear a cat crying out and she races over to the cat, sniffs him all over to make sure he is ok and stands guard in front of him.    For which, she more often than not gets a whack across the nose, no gratitude there whatsoever.     However, occasionally she is rewarded by a little nose rub and this seems to be sufficient occasional reward for the dog to continue it's protection!    Which is not to say everything goes the cat's way.   If they both settle down at opposite ends of our old futon in the evening, the dog waits until she thinks we aren't looking, stands up, yawns and then jumps up and down a few times ..... exit cat !!!!

Good luck, it will work out I am sure, but it may take longer than you think !!

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Our newish lab (8 months) and kitten (5 months) are either the best of friends, sharing the blanket in front of the fire, or sworn enemies chasing each other (really!) with lots of growling, hissing and molesting.  And at other times they totally ignore each other.  They are both picking up each other's characteristics too - I caught the cat chewing a piece of wood, holding it between his front paws and growling, and I have seen the dog patting a ball around the garden with his front paws. 

I work on the basis that the cat can get away if he wants too (either through the catflap or jump on top of a piece of furniture) so I just leave them to it.


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