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Discussion Starter #1
Dorothy, the dog, has been with us over a year. When she came to us we had a cat. All was well between them. We have always had a dog and a cat(s) without issue. The cat passed away in November. On Thursday we brought home a rescued mama cat and her nine week old kitten. Mama cat is really sweet. But..........OMG!!!! Mama cat is mean to Dorothy. I think she has food aggression. Every time food or treats is present for either the cats OR the dog she starts attacking Dorothy. The dog is a lover, not a fighter and now TERRIFIED to walk around the house. This morning mama cat literally attacked Dorothy full out like a nasty cat fight. My daughter jumped in and got bit, on her arm, by the cat. And it's aallllll mama cat. Dorothy has always had a cat and gets along fine - even with BIL's cat at their house. WTH? How do we fix this? For now I will put mama cat in a different room when I feed the dog. But eventually they'll need to work this out. I feel terrible for Dorothy. She's half the size of the cat.

Also, it's taken until about two month ago to get Dorothy to a place where she's not constantly afraid, and looking over her shoulder, when she eats. I'm worried about regression.

I know the cat came from a hoarding situation of 17 cats so I understand why she might have food aggression but this is so violent! And at non-food times she's a lovely cat.

Has anyone dealt with this?
 

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if you live in the country and the cat is not declawed i would put mama cat outside. just let her in when it rains. our cat lives 50% the time outside all though she is a maincoon which is a large cat breed. she dont care for cat food we catch her all the time eating rabbit's and birds she's caught. she used to have a juvenile bobcat for a play mate that showed up one day 2 month's later she had kittens. i swear those kittens where half bobcat they where mean as all get out and grew larger then there mom. we had her fixed after that.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
if you live in the country and the cat is not declawed i would put mama cat outside. just let her in when it rains. our cat lives 50% the time outside all though she is a maincoon which is a large cat breed. she dont care for cat food we catch her all the time eating rabbit's and birds she's caught. she used to have a juvenile bobcat for a play mate that showed up one day 2 month's later she had kittens. i swear those kittens where half bobcat they where mean as all get out and grew larger then there mom. we had her fixed after that.
We live in the city and I want her to stay inside. She would get hit by a car within a week if I let her out.
 

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For now I'd just feed mama cat in another room. That should stop the attacks. Just prevent them. After a month or so, when the kitten and the cat are more relaxed you can try again. Poor Dorothy! The other thing you could do to protect Dorothy and yet have the cat around is buy a playpen/exercise pen and buy one with a cover. Put the cat in there when you feed mama. meantime, no treats or food allowed when mama cat is around.
 

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Sometimes, the safest thing you can do is prevent aggression by keeping them separated when food is involved. If you can feed the cat on a higher place, like a counter, table, or something else, that may help the cat feel more secure. It sounds like a pretty frustrating situation, especially since Dorothy is afraid.
 

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forgot to tell you, you can try a vibration collar on her. i used one to train my Maine coon to not kill my chicken's. it stops her dead in her track's by surprising her. there a safe and humane alternative to shock collar's and work very well. you can get one on ebay for about $20.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
For now I'd just feed mama cat in another room. That should stop the attacks. Just prevent them. After a month or so, when the kitten and the cat are more relaxed you can try again. Poor Dorothy! The other thing you could do to protect Dorothy and yet have the cat around is buy a playpen/exercise pen and buy one with a cover. Put the cat in there when you feed mama. meantime, no treats or food allowed when mama cat is around.
Yeah, that's pretty much what I'm doing. It's really the only solution right now. And I realize it's still early days. But it breaks my heart knowing Dorothy is afraid in her own home. :(

Today Dorothy was at the back door looking through the glass so I would let her back in from her pee. The cat ran over and starting "fighting" her through the glass. Not my best moment but I went over and tapped the cat on her butt (literally a tap) and told her a stern "NO!" and made her leave the area.

I feel for the cat, I do. Because, let's face it, something in her history is making her act this way. But I have to keep them BOTH save and secure and happy.

We have always had cats but they have always come with zero issues - even the two other ferals I have had over the years. Dogs I understand and pretty much every dog I have ever had came with issues. And because I understand dogs it was easy for me to help them overcome their issues. But cats? Pfftt.....they are much harder, IMO.
 

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Was there food involved this time (thru the glass)? If not, then this is just plain aggression towards Dorothy. Maybe when the kitten gets older, mama might calm down?
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Was there food involved this time (thru the glass)? If not, then this is just plain aggression towards Dorothy. Maybe when the kitten gets older, mama might calm down?
This is what I am hoping, as well. The kitten turned 9 weeks old on Saturday. If you are not familiar with the growth and development of kittens a nine week old is basically a Tasmanian devil furball that acts like a freaking lunatic 20 hours of the day. ;) It runs around non-stop, climbs everything, and takes 20 minute cat naps. It's exhausting just watching it go, go, go. Point is, I am hoping that since the kitten seems to be spending less time WITH mama then maybe she'll be nicer soon.

As for today, no - there was no food involved when she went crazy at the door with Dorothy on the other side. But I now remember the foster saying she would go nuts if there were other cats outside the window.

I KNOW she must have gotten along with other cats because she came from a hoarding situation of 17 cats.

Let's hope she gets over this FAST or I'll be back on here asking for more help.

Poor Dorothy. :(
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Crap. It just happened again! Dorothy was playing fetch and came back with her Care Bear (her toy) and the cat attacked her.

This MUST stop or I'm gonna have to give the cat back. I hate the thought of that but I'm not sure how long I should let Dorothy be abused like this.

Thoughts?
 

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I'm afraid that mama cat was traumatized by the hoarding situation. The only thing I can think of is to get one of those cat enclosures and keep mama cat in there. She can be out when Dorothy is not around (in another room, closed door etc.) I personally would maybe keep the kitten and rehome the mama, or give her back to the shelter.
 

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please try a vibration/shock collar before giving up on the cat more then likely she'll be put down then rehomed. here's one it's for small/medium dog/cats 4 in 1 Remote Small Med Dog Training Shock Vibrate Collar Trainer Safe for Pet | eBay. trust me they work just use the vibration at first if that don't work hit her with the shock feature. she may freak out at first but she will be fine. after a month or so she will either avoid the dog all together or will start being nice to the dog. or you can try the squirt gun method it's not the most effective and takes longer every time you see her being aggressive or about to spray her with the squirt gun until she submit's or is soaked. a squirt gun with large flow is best. eventually she will learn attacking the dog equals getting wet.
 

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Oh. I'm so sorry. Kitty is lucky to have a good home. I don't think separating them will be a long term solution, this will not allow them to socialize and get used to each other. We had a similar situation and my vet recommended having Grady kitty declawed. I was totally against this and thought it terrible cruel. But after watching her attack my dog, I finally agreed it was my only option. That was 14 years ago
Grady kitty goes in and out the dog door, and being declawed has not slowed her hunting lizards and snakes. However when she would jump on kippers, kippers now thought it a fun game. Without claws, kitty still attacked, but kippers enjoyed the tussle. It worked for us and Grady kitty is now 15 years old and she and kippers were inseparable. Kippers past away a few weeks ago and kitty walks around crying and looking for kippers (so do I) we were all family
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Oh. I'm so sorry. Kitty is lucky to have a good home. I don't think separating them will be a long term solution, this will not allow them to socialize and get used to each other. We had a similar situation and my vet recommended having Grady kitty declawed. I was totally against this and thought it terrible cruel. But after watching her attack my dog, I finally agreed it was my only option. That was 14 years ago
Grady kitty goes in and out the dog door, and being declawed has not slowed her hunting lizards and snakes. However when she would jump on kippers, kippers now thought it a fun game. Without claws, kitty still attacked, but kippers enjoyed the tussle. It worked for us and Grady kitty is now 15 years old and she and kippers were inseparable. Kippers past away a few weeks ago and kitty walks around crying and looking for kippers (so do I) we were all family
Yes, I will admit that declawing has crossed my mind due to this issue. I am going to give her a few weeks and watch for improvement. If there is none then I hate to say it, but.....yes, we will have to consider declawing.
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
I've been reading about 'hoarding cats'. As in, cats who come from hoarding situations. It's her, to a "T". So sad. :( It's heartbreaking to read about how psychologically damaged these cats can be.

People suck sometimes. Now I start working with her. I have to help her through this. She deserves a stable home.
 

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Please don't resort to aversives to solve this problem. I think a vibrating collar will do more harm than good. Imagine you are scared of something, and every time you see that scary thing something horrible happens. (eg your collar vibrates, or you get squirted with water or whatever) Would that help you to be less frightened, or would it make you hyper vigilant of the scary thing?

Positive reinforcement, counter conditioning and desensitisation works on all animals, not just dogs.
I would only have the two together when one is safely in a crate, so the cat has no opportunity to attack.
You may even need to start with them both in crates.
Praise calm behaviour.
You are at an advantage knowing that food is the trigger. It will take some time and effort, but having them eat around each other is something to aim for long term.
Concentrate on just having them relax around each other for now.
If you can get the cat to sit on your lap with Dorothy in a crate in the same room, you can gradually move the crate nearer and nearer until puss is happy and relaxed even with the dog really close.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Please don't resort to aversives to solve this problem. I think a vibrating collar will do more harm than good. Imagine you are scared of something, and every time you see that scary thing something horrible happens. (eg your collar vibrates, or you get squirted with water or whatever) Would that help you to be less frightened, or would it make you hyper vigilant of the scary thing?
I wouldn't. I did not respond to the post suggesting as such because it's not something I find acceptable, either. Like you, I also think that gentle, kind behaviour begets gentle kind behaviour. I am MORE than willing to work with her - especially since I have been reading up, the last few days, on the psychological impact of semi-feral cats in a hoarding situation. I do feel sorry for her.
 

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Have you heard of nail caps? They are little pieces of plastic that go over the cat's nail to keep a cat's claws from doing damage. You have to replace them every month or so, but they might be a good alternative to declawing or having Dorothy beat up. They might even help while waiting to see if the cat's behavior will improve.

Soft Paws® Nail Caps for Cats
 
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