Chasing cats...

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Postby DeeNtheChillas » May 2nd, 2010, 9:57 am

Thank you for this thread! Our newest addition, a dashing young pit boy we call "Valentino," thinks the cats should play with him! He is usually confined to the living room and dining room, and the cats stay away, but if we are heading outside or upstairs, we might encounter them. He play bows and wiggles and does all of his play-initiating behaviors and the cats - who are very dog-friendly and well versed in dogs both large and small - have no idea what to do, so they puff up, hiss and book to their "safe room" (the attic). This thread has some excellent suggestions. I want to nip this in the bud while he's 25 or so pounds, instead of twice that.
Dee and the furry babies:
Lizz (11 y/o beagle x toy fox terrier)
Blazer (7 y/o chihuahua x boston terrier)
Valentino (less than a year old pit bull)
Tyler and Victoria, the kitties
and the 'chillas
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Postby PetieMarie22 » May 3rd, 2010, 10:49 am

:) That's good to hear Amalie!!
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Petie Marie - spoiled rotten Pit Bull Terrier
Sunshine Honeysuckle Smith - DSH cat that lives under the couch
Sasha Marie - Bombay Mix = DIVA
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Postby amalie79 » May 3rd, 2010, 11:02 am

One of the things that I think is helping tremendously is that the cats are starting to relax more around her-- as long as they don't run away or act out, she pretty much leaves them alone. When they swipe at her, she thinks it's a super fun boxing game and tries to swipe back. It's cute, but has such potential to go so wrong!

The cats are finally starting to learn that dashing out of the room makes it worse, though, and just ignoring her means she's tolerable.

When we first got Robin, I was putting Rescue Remedy and Beech essence into the cats' water bowl, and putting an extra dose in the food of the most nervous cat of the bunch. We eventually phased that out, and the nervous one just hid out for a while (a vast improvement to spazzing out and attacking everyone and everything). Now in the last week or so, she's starting hanging out again and looking for attention. She's a loner, but she could only isolate herself for so long. She wouldn't admit it, but I think she missed us... :wink:

Slowly but surely.
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Where you invest your love, you invest your life." --Marcus Mumford

--Amalie
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Postby HappyPuppy » May 4th, 2010, 5:56 pm

There also the baby gates that have little square 'cat entrances' at the bottom - you'd have to buy a new gate tho... Glad you are making some progress!
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Postby amalie79 » May 5th, 2010, 2:46 pm

Sadly, I worry that either our big guy would get his butt stuck going through the cat entrance, or that little Robin would get her head stuck trying to follow. lol My cats are also not entirely bright when it comes to running away; they will continue to back into a corner instead of running when they have the chance-- the broader their means of escape, the better. Robin can get under the gate we have, but not quiiiiiite as quickly.
"In these bodies, we will live; in these bodies we will die.
Where you invest your love, you invest your life." --Marcus Mumford

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Postby amalie79 » May 12th, 2010, 11:05 am

Robin is still doing ok. She managed to get her mouth on one of the cats this morning trying to play, but backed off when we got onto her. Her recall is improving tremendously, as is her general impulse control. We just have to keep a pretty close eye on her.

But now I have a little twist to add, and wanted to throw some ideas out there...

We have one outside cat, Bella; she's a sweetheart that showed up as a stray and never left, so I got her spayed and all her outdoor-kitty shots. I had just helped my mother socialize and re-home 2 litters of kittens left under her house by strays, so I wasn't about to let that happen at our place. She's great, but we cannot fit another cat into our tiny house.

She tends to stay on the front porch (and we bring her in when it's super cold in the winter), but if it's storming, etc., she goes into our garage. Right now, the only way for her to get in is through the backyard. Last night I let Robin out to do her business, and she became obsessed with Bella's scent at the fence and garage; then she found her behind a piece of plywood in the garage and went apeshit. She whined, paced, sniffed and trembled wanting to get to Bella. Bella would growl from inside the garage, and Robin would scratch and bite at the siding on the outside of the wall where Bella was hiding. While Robin loves to try and play with the inside kitties and is fully capable of ignoring them, sleeping with them, etc., I have very little doubt as to what would have happened if she'd gotten hold of Bella. She killed a bluejay the other day (a young one that got out of the nest and never had a chance, really). Although Bella is quick, agile, and has lots of hiding places, and she is clearly not a bird, these 2 incidents reminded me how strong Robin's prey drive can be.

This morning, I ran Bella out of the garage and Robin and I went onto the front porch and played look at the kitty-- she'd look at Bella and then I'd ask her to look at me, and she got treats. She was interested, but more the way she is with the inside cats and less frantic. So it seems to be a lack of generalizing Bella as the same thing in front of the house vs. in back of the house.

First things first, I'm going to make it so that Bella can get into the garage from the other side of the fence; I was going to then block backyard access, too, but I want her to have somewhere to run if she's in the yard. That way she'll have less reason to even be there. I'll continue to play look at the kitty on the front porch. But I was thinking that I might put Bella in her carrier and put Robin on her leash, and play look at the kitty in the backyard...? Associate the front porch activities and my sanctioning of Bella as a member of the family with those same smells in the backyard. It might help Robin make those connections and simultaneously make Bella scared enough to stay out the backyard :wink: .

So if you made it this far, congratulations! What do you think of our gameplan? I know she may never be totally ok with an outside cat, but I'd like to do as much proofing as possible.
"In these bodies, we will live; in these bodies we will die.
Where you invest your love, you invest your life." --Marcus Mumford

--Amalie
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