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Interactions with cat advice


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#1 lucaslavia

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Posted 09 October 2017 - 05:04 PM

Hello all,

My pup is approaching 7mo old and keeps getting in the way of the cat, should I be worried and stopping this behaviour?

For backstory, the cat has always taken a long time to adjust to new things so when I got Bob as a lil'un i baby gated upstairs for the cat and kept him down stairs. We went through the usual slow introductions - sharing smells, treats either side of a door and as expected the cat retreated for the past few months. To make sure Bob was used to her when he younger I would bring a load of catnip and sausage, take him upstairs on the lead and reward both copiously for lying down quietly in view of each other.

In the past couple of weeks the cat has been growing in confidence and now regularly comes down stairs, she will walk up to and sniff Bob with no heckles or claws and seems to barely acknowledge his existence now.

Bob has been great so far but he is fascinated by the cat and he has to know where she is and what she is doing. He will follow her around and if he thinks she's about to go back upstairs over the baby gate he'll get in the way, she ignores him and jumps over anyway but it's starting to look like he's trying to round her up. It's also hard to call him away is she's in the room, his recall has had to go back to basics anyway since becoming more of an adolescent but it's usually near perfect in the house.

Should I be concerned about this behaviour and if so should I be cutting off contact between them?

#2 Sue R

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Posted 09 October 2017 - 06:15 PM

I'm going to go out on a limb and say "that depends". 

 

I have three Border Collies and two cats, and only one of the dogs tries to "work" either cat or fixates and stares. Since I really didn't know any better at the time to nip this behavior in the bud before it became ingrained, and because the cats both ignore the dog completely, I just ignore the behavior. 

 

However, if this is just beginning and you are able to redirect your young dog and avoid this becoming a habit or escalating, then I would suggest you work at doing that. Redirect your dog to another behavior, get him to focus on you, get him to offer other behaviors to you, reward redirection/focus on you/other behaviors, and (if needed) let him know that this behavior is not acceptable (a simple "uh-uh" works for some dogs to let them know that what they are doing is not acceptable, and then redirect/focus on you/ask for an alternative behavior/response). 

 

The reason I said "that depends" is that neither my cats nor I find the one dog's behavior to be at all disruptive or bothersome - it's his version of "Border Collie TV" and occupies his mind while it absolutely does not affect either cat. But this type of behavior can escalate or become a bother to a cat or frightening to a cat, and in that case, you would be best off to avoid it entirely. 

 

Other people will have differing opinions and I'm sure will offer good suggestions on how to deal with this so it doesn't become an issue for your dog or cat. 


Sue Rayburn - Cleverly disguised as a responsible adult, but not the brightest firefly in the jar.

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#3 Gloria Atwater

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Posted 09 October 2017 - 10:35 PM

I agree with Sue. A couple of my dogs will annoy the cats - one 8 month old wants to prod and nuzzle the cats, while my 3 year old wants to stalk them - but while it's not harmful or dangerous, I prefer to keep the behavior as minimal as possible.

Basically, if the behavior can be curbed or limited, I'd say do it. A border collie really doesn't need to develop an obsession and no dog needs to be rude to the cat.  :)

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#4 Liz P

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Posted 10 October 2017 - 08:18 AM

I don't think it's fair for the cat to be followed constantly, let alone herded (cut off from going places).  I correct my pups the minute I see them staring or following.  You may not be able to stop a dog from being obsessed with the cat, but you should be able to stop them from acting on their obsession.

 

Imagine how annoying it would be if someone followed you all the time and constantly got in your way.



#5 Shandula

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Posted 10 October 2017 - 08:38 AM

Imagine how annoying it would be if someone followed you all the time and constantly got in your way.

 

You mean like my Border Collie?  :D



#6 Sue R

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Posted 10 October 2017 - 08:43 AM

I don't think it's fair for the cat to be followed constantly, let alone herded (cut off from going places).  I correct my pups the minute I see them staring or following.  You may not be able to stop a dog from being obsessed with the cat, but you should be able to stop them from acting on their obsession.

 

Imagine how annoying it would be if someone followed you all the time and constantly got in your way.

And that is one reason why I said "that depends". My one dog does not follow either cat constantly nor does he impede where either cat chooses to go. The cats essentially ignore him. Most of what he does is watching and a lesser amount of what he does is walking along, hoping to be influential and not being influential. And, if I had known then what I know now, I would have avoided this behavior before it became ingrained, which is the importance of acting on this now for the OP rather than letting it become a habit. 

 

At fifteen years of age (in less than four weeks), I'm happy with just about anything that makes him happy as long as it is not making anyone or anything else unhappy, which his level of interest in the cats is not doing. Now, about the multiple wake-up calls during the night when I am trying to sleep...


Sue Rayburn - Cleverly disguised as a responsible adult, but not the brightest firefly in the jar.

Celt, Megan, and Dan

"When the chips are down, watch where you step."

"The happiest people don't necessarily have the best of everything. They just make the best of everything." - author unknown

#7 D'Elle

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Posted 12 October 2017 - 09:20 AM

Here's my experience, for what it is worth.

When I got my cat as a barely-six-weeks-old kitten, I had three adult border collies in the house. The kitten held his own, and felt confident with the dogs, who were not interested in molesting him. In fact, with my foster dog he developed a wonderful rough-and-tumble play relationship that they both loved.

 

However, my Jester thought it was fun to spend several minutes each day circling the cat as he sat or lay in the middle of the floor. He didn't bump him or otherwise touch him, just circled. I thought it was harmless, and gave Jester something to do for a while (I would put a stop to it after 10 minutes or so), so I allowed it to continue, even though I certainly could have trained Jes not to do that.

 

After Jes died, the cat's demeanor changed radically. He was happier and more relaxed all the time.

I felt terrible, because I had not realized how stressful it had been for the cat to be circled. He didn't seem stressed; would just lie there looking calm while Jes went around and around. But clearly he was hugely relieved when it ended with Jester's death.

 

So, my conclusion is that you don't necessarily know what is stressing out your animal.

 

I know now that it is much, much better simply not to tolerate any  pestering behavior from one animal to another in the pack. It is up to me to keep everyone happy to the best of my ability. Little squabbles or pecking-order struggles I allow, because that is their business to work out as long as no one is getting harassed or harmed. But I will never again allow one animal consistently to behave like that toward another.

 

(The only exception, of course, is a baby puppy, who will harass the other animals because it is a baby, and in that case I will *mostly* leave it up to the other animals to set the puppy straight on things, while monitoring interactions closely.)


D'Elle

and family.

Left to right: Kit, Jester, Boo, Digger

 

 

Mydogs12-2013Smaller.jpg
"You gonna throw that?" --Jester:  2001 - June 24 2016. Remembered with much love.
"I'm grouchier than you are" --Kit

"I love everyone!" -- Boo

(Boing! Boing! Boing!)--Digger

And not pictured, Benjamin the cat, who thinks he is a small border collie with superpowers.

 

 

 


#8 Caesg

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Posted 12 October 2017 - 11:21 PM

Thanks @D'Elle for sharing your experience. I'll be circling a lot of these inter-pet relationship questions soon and appreciate your insight.


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