Dog antagonizes sleeping cat

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Dog antagonizes sleeping cat

This is a discussion on Dog antagonizes sleeping cat within the Dog Training and Behavior forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Dogs category; I have an 11 year chihuahua/Italian greyhound mix who is 6 and a half pounds. He is constantly antagonizing my 16 year old cat. The ...

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Old 03-20-2018, 02:36 PM
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Dog antagonizes sleeping cat

I have an 11 year chihuahua/Italian greyhound mix who is 6 and a half pounds. He is constantly antagonizing my 16 year old cat. The cat sleeps behind my couch in front of the heater and my dog will come up and poke and bark at her to get her to react to him. If she walks near him, he will lunge and bark at her. I tell my dog, "No Cat!", and, "Leave her!", which works if I see him right before the act. He just goes right back and does it anyway, though, if I turn my back for a second. If I put him in his kennel for a few minutes after he does this, as soon as he's out, he will go straight back to her!

My cat just went blind about 2 months ago (due to high blood pressure, to which I think the dog helped contribute) She's never been a good jumper, and now that she is blind she doesn't jump at all. This makes putting up gates between cat and dog areas impossible; and, since the dog is smaller than the cat, I can't build low barriers that only the cat can get through. There's also not really a clear line between cat and dog areas. I have two litter boxes. The first litter box is downstairs in the laundry room; in the same room, I have my dog's puppy pad area (I live in Minnesota and my dog is mostly bald). The second litter box is upstairs in my bathroom; we also feed the cat in the bathroom (with the dog locked up so he won't eat her food). The cat sleeps on the floor behind the couch in front of the vent, and the dog dog sleeps on the other side of the room on his bed.

There was an addition of a new baby a year ago, but this has been a problem for a few years.
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Old 03-21-2018, 10:09 AM
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Hi, your cat needs your help more than ever now, being ill and blind and feeling vulnerable. Your cat has had to live in unsafe (if not physically unsafe, at least emotionally unsafe) for a very long time. The past cannot be done, but you can move forward from this make things better for your cat. Your dog will be fine too.
Management will be your only immediate (and possibly best/easiest answer) and you have some ideas about that. These would have been far more useful implemented in the beginning (that's for other readers as cat vs dog problems are common) and a cat going blind might still manage to do the things they did when sighted from memory. However, we can only move forward in life.

Take concrete and absolutely sure steps to ensure that your dog does not harrass the cat again. Use a leash in the house if you must, tether your dog to you if you must, if your dog is not already crate trained, crate train or get an x-pen or other comfortable form of confinement to ensure that the harrassment stops. This behaviour has probably already traumatized your cat, but now that he's feeling more vulnerable than ever before, definitely will traumatize him.

Don't let it continue.

Think about Time Sharing as a solution.

Accustom your cat to being locked in a comfortable place, perhaps the bedroom, a place where your cat can learn that he is safe from the dog, and has a bed, and food, and litterbox & a warm spot for sunning or favourite perch. When your cat is there, your dog can run free in the rest of your home, you can be with your dog, dog time.

Or you can be with your cat, cat time.

Have other times when things are switched around & your dog is confined or tethered (cannot harrass the cat) and your cat can roam.

Hope this helps you and your cat (your dog is enjoying himself a little too much already at the cats expense)
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Old 03-21-2018, 09:28 PM
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I can't agree enough with not letting the dog harass the poor cat anymore. The cat is elderly, has health issues and pretty certainly some type of arthritis, cats are extremely stoic and hide pain as a survival technique until they're literally in agony and can't hide it anymore. He's also just suddenly lost his vision two months ago and has to adjust to that.

When my fifteen year old cat suddenly lost all his hearing from his second year surgery due to cancer and chronic severe ear infections he suddenly became extremely aggressive and started attacking the dog and other cats for no reason, even while they were just curled up sleeping not provoking him. If I tried to stop him he swatted or bit me. He was normally a very sweet, loving and passive cat, who could be assertive but not at all aggressive. He'd had hearing loss for probably years due to the ear infections but the sudden total deafness freaked him out.
Think how you'd feel suddenly going blind, having health issues, being okd and being attacked by a dog and not able to feel safe sleeping or anywhere.
I've probably owned at least eleven or twelve cats, and only two lived past age sixteen. Most were fifteen when they died, only one or two were even sixteen.

I'd let the cat free in the place or as much of the place as the cat is comfortable naturally roaming in since he might still be adjusting to being blind. And the dog would lose all freedom privileges in the house. I'd keep him locked in one room whenever I'm not home for the safety and peace of the cat, and when I'm sleeping. And when I'm home, the dog would be leashed and tethered to me at all times and all attempts to chase or harass the cat would be quickly firmly stopped and the dog would get a timeout, whether a down stay or time in a crate.
Whether or not the dog is retrainable is secondary to the cat living out its remainder of it's life in peace. I wouldn't confine and isolate the poor cat and risk making it feel punished unless it prefers to be in one area or it's safer due to babies or children or toddlers or some other reason not mentioned in the original post.
I've had a lot of animals throughout their whole lives, and the oldest, sickest, weakest, most disabled, always gets their turn to be the most accommodated and catered to. The younger healthier brats who act out or get jealous will get their turn someday, so have to behave and I tolerate absolutely no attacks on old sick animal family members.
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