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  #1  
Old 02-07-2016, 02:15 AM
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Default Fin's a tyrant!

I need help, big time! Finley, who is now about 9 months old, has in the last three-four weeks turned into a MASSIVE a-hole to my cat.

Oliver is our cat - until last July, we actually had three cats, but had to put one down a few weeks before Finley came home and just had to put the second down yesterday afternoon, both due to illness. So, that makes Oliver now an only cat. Oliver is HUGE - like five times the size of Finley - an absolutely massive cat. But as large as he is, he's equally a giant chicken. He is an extremely timid cat, will not stand up for himself...we had issues for years with the two female cats bullying him, which got REALLY bad about six months ago when the first cat was put down and that left the two. However, the second female seemed to really lighten up on him the last couple months and they were actually quite friendly with each other for the last stretch - so now I'm also concerned about Oliver simply because both his "sisters" are now gone and he's suddenly an only cat, which has never happened before in his life. And he's so damn fragile...

Anyway, Finley chases him. As I said, Oliver refuses to stand up for himself, or even hold his ground. He spooks easily. About three-four weeks ago Finley would start trying to play with Oliver, and Oliver wouldn't know how to handle it, so he would run - and Finley would chase after him. It has now progressed from Fin trying to play, to full out bullying. The SECOND Oliver makes a move to walk somewhere, Finley charges at him - and Oliver flees in terror, and Finley chases after him full tilt barking at him as he goes. Oliver flees downstairs, which we have gated off so the dogs can't get to, but it means Oliver is basically in the basement all the time. And now that the other two cats are gone, it means he's in the basement all alone while the rest of us are upstairs in the main living area. Oliver is NOT an independent cat - he is the most loving, cuddly, attention-needing cat on the planet, so this is obviously not ideal.

In the 24 hours since we had to put the other remaining cat down, we have tried to make some adjustments to help Oliver. We have opened up our spare bedroom, which has always been off limits to all the four-leggeds, gating it off so he can have an upstairs room that he can be safe in and get away from the dogs. We have moved a couple of the cat towers upstairs to make it more inviting. But Finley is being an absolute terror to him. We are trying to teach him not to chase Oli - when we can see it coming, we try to intercept Finley before he even gets going (but then Oliver spazzes that we're moving quickly or raising our voice at Finley, so he freaks out regardless and books it). But it often happens so fast when we aren't paying attention, and we certainly can't catch Finley once he's already flying after Oliver. So we haven't been able to prevent all occurrences, or even MOST of them...

Any ideas on what to do? I feel SO BAD for poor Oliver, I wish he could understand english so I could tell him to grow a pair and stand up for himself so Finley will stop. Sorry for the long post, but I wanted to fully explain the situation. I don't know what to do!
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Old 02-07-2016, 04:02 PM
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Wow!! What a perfect situation for Finley! I see Oliver, and I chase and he RUNS away!! Just like the postman! I bark and rush him, and he runs. Oh so much fun!

There are a couple of ideas: a long 10-15 foot string leash. No loop in it for a handle. He has to be safe, and not catch it anywhere. Not to be used when you are not in the same room. I would bring in Oliver and sit down with him if he'd let you. If Finley makes a move, have someone step on the string and put Fin in a pen, or a stay if he knows that command. Give him a treat everytime you bring in Oliver, so that eventually Fin knows that when Oliver is around he gets a treat. The other idea is that to use a pen for the dog, and leave the cat have the run of the house at certain times.

I have a siamese cat that can bully my 4# chi, Bonnie. Bonnie has a love/hate relationship with her. Loves to chase her, but is afraid of her too.
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Old 02-08-2016, 11:45 AM
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Oliver sounds like he has the same personality as my Asher. Usually Shayna starts trouble chasing Asher and then all the dogs follow Shayna. Asher dashes outside and over the fence where the dogs can't go. If Asher would just stop in the hallway the dogs would stop and do nothing. None of them dislike cats and Asher is not even afraid of dogs. He was raised with them and when one of them approaches him at a normal speed or lays down with him he's fine. What I've done is keep Shayna near me when I'm in the same room. When Asher comes in the room and she perks up for the chase I tell her "no". When she calms down I give her a treat and tell her how good she is. Usually Ash will come right over to me. Shayna perks up again. I tell her "no" and pet her and Asher together and let her sniff him, etc. as I talk to her quietly and give her a treat. I hope it works eventually. She doesn't chase the other cats because they don't run from her.
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Old 02-08-2016, 02:09 PM
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Yes, sounds exactly the same. Finley never chased Tessa because SHE didn't put up with his bad behaviour, totally stood her ground. She also punched him a couple times when he was really little lol. Oliver just won't. It's not that Finley doesn't like him, it's just that Oliver runs and Finley likes the chase of course.

That's essentially what we have been doing. Keeping a very close eye on them when they're together, intercepting Finley when they get near each other and praising him for being nice to Oli. We're also trying to work on Oliver at the same time, encouraging him to be around the dogs and spend time with them without freaking out, so he's not so easily spooked when they start moving quickly. We're doing not bad considering, only chased him once yesterday which is a big improvement.
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Old 02-08-2016, 06:27 PM
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Susan has it spot on, chasing a cat is a self-rewarding behaviour. So you have to break that chain so Fin no longer associates barking at cats with a lovely chase game.
Sounds like you are getting there.
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Old 02-08-2016, 07:13 PM
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Just borrow my Huly for a few days! LOL

Scarlet will not even look into his eye LOL
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Old 02-08-2016, 08:21 PM
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My last dog, Bella was pretty nasty to our cats when we first got her. And then one day our most docile, sweet cat, who had SUPER long legs, had enough. I was in the basement and the dog and cat were there. And I hear a "yelp, yelp, yelp". I turn around to see the cat pummelling the crap out of the dog. It was one of the funniest things I have ever seen. Needless to say, the dog never bothered either of the cats ever again. LOL!
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Old 02-08-2016, 11:31 PM
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HAHA! Too funny, he does look like he wouldn't put up with any guff from a puppy!
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