Fram & Sax News & Advice - June 2021
25 May 2021
It is not uncommon for Fram & Sax CP to receive calls
from cat owners who want us to find a new home for their cat because they have acquired a dog and the two do not get along. The cat may have been with the family for many years, but it is the cat rather than the puppy/dog (which they often say has cost them many hundreds of pounds) they wish to rehome. We will ask how long the situation has been going on, and what they have tried to do to ameliorate the situation, but by this time it is probably too late to rectify the damage. The cat is probably either showing signs of stress and anxiety behaviours or has started to stay away from the home.All this can be avoided if plans are made to make introductions as easy and pleasant as possible for all parties. Successful introductions will need consideration of several aspects including the dog’s breed/type, age and the control you have of it. Preparation is the key. By taking time to introduce a cat to other pets their chances of getting on well are greatly improved. It is much easier to manage a controlled introduction than it is to repair a damaged relationship. Pets can’t be expected to manage their own introduction.
Gradual introductions are essential. Start by giving the cat a room that is not accessible to the dog. Swap their scent by way of cloths stroked over them and leave the cloths in each others rooms for a while. After this process you should be ready to make the first face-to-face introduction; the dog should be kept on a lead and kept calm. It may help to take your dog for a vigorous walk first. Train your dog to show relaxed, non-threatening behaviour around the cat and ensure you are in control at all times.
Ensure the cat doesn’t feel cornered and that they have a safe escape route or a high ledge where the dog can't reach them. Never restrain your cat or force them to approach the dog. Let the cat leave the room whenever they wish. Close external doors and windows to avoid the cat bolting. Give your cat treats so they associate the dog with something positive.
Ignore the cat. Your dog will feel that the cat is more important if you focus on it. Do some training tasks with your dog to keep their attention and reward good behaviour. Never
allow the dog to chase the cat. Praise and treat your dog if it remains calm and then return the cat back to its own room. Repeat short introductions until the dog shows little or no interest and the cat is not fearful of the dog. Progress to the dog being on a long line which can be picked up if necessary.
Once your cat and dog are unconcerned by each other's presence you can take your dog off the lead, but make sure your cat has its escape route. Never leave the dog and cat unattended until you are absolutely sure that they are happy and secure in each other's company.Looking for a home:
Trixie is looking for a very special home. This attractive five year old can be unpredictable. She will rub around legs affectionately one minute but without provocation may bite and scratch, for no apparent reason. She enjoys her home comforts and will play with dangly toys, but because of her unpredictable nature she will need an adult only home with experienced ‘cat people’ who understand her. See more about her here: https://www.cats.org.uk/framandsax/adopt-a-cat?cid=300021