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Canine Behavior/Dog And Cat


Hello, looking for some advice on getting a new cat.  I recently lost my cat to a brain aneurysm and want to get another one but the issue is, not sure how old of one to get as I have a dog who is not great with cats.  She chased the other cat so the cat lived on one floor of the house and the dog on the other.  The dog was trained not to go downstairs in the cat area and never has, the cat could be up on the counter eating with the dob below her but the dog would certainly chase her if on the floor together.  The cat was extremely afraid of everything though and always dashed about so of course the dog would chase her.  That said, I don't think the dog has a severe prey instinct of I'm sure no training would have stopped her from going down the stairs after the cat but I don't want to risk the safety of a new one.  The dog would spend hours watching the cat and I know they were company for each other.  Should I be thinking of a kitten or is a young adult cat ok?  Thank you!

Your dog chases cats; I have no way of establishing his prey drive.  But you can, and here's how:

Buy a battery operated toy (go to Toys R Us).  It should be cheap (because the dog will either destroy it, or run from it, and you don't want to pay a lot of $ for something that goes into the garbage).  There are battery operated small animals; a large pet supply store might even have some (for cats).  Put it onto the floor, running, and observe your dog.  Take notes.  If he runs....well, that won't help us.  If he shows interest, the degree of interest will give me some indication regarding his prey drive.

You cannot get an older cat unless that cat has lived with more than one dog AND WILL NOT RUN.  Any cat WILL RUN, even a kitten unless the kitten has been in a household with at least one dog.  I had a cat, Kristo'fur, who was raised like a dog; he was even crate trained.  He had no fear of dogs whatever and, since I did a lot of showing and rescue, I often had many dogs at one time.  Because I am ME....none (not one) of the dogs in my home ever chased him; one point I did in-home, cage-free boarding for dogs that passed my temperament test.  ONE of them actually attempted to kill my cat, much to my shock.  He never got close (the cat hid quickly), but had he gotten close, he would have severely injured my cat.  (Don't have to tell you the owner got a call to come get his dog NOW).

If your dog's response to this toy is over the top, another cat is out of the question (sad to say) unless you have the help of a behaviorist who understands cats AND dogs.  So let's try that experiment.  Report back using FOLLOWUP FEATURE (so I can see your original question and my answer to it).  If you can't find an "automated" toy, make one: buy a stuffed animal, tie a picture wire to its tail (harder for the dog to connect the wire to you), and move it around in front of the dog (unexpectedly).

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Jill Connor, Ph.D.


I have spent my entire professional life rehabilitating the behavior of the domestic dog and I can answer any question regarding any behavior problem in any breed dog. I have answered more than 5,000 QUESTIONS on this site in the past (almost) eight years. If you are a caring, committed owner and need advice, I'm here for you. I am personally acquainted with my colleagues (Turid Rugaas, Ian Dunbar, etc.) who were members of an elite group in EGroups that I founded: K9Shrinks. THERE ARE NO QUICK FIXES for serious behavioral issues; not only is it unprofessional to offer same, it is also unethical. IF I ASK YOU SUBSEQUENT QUESTIONS, I NEED YOU TO INTERACT WITH ME. More information equals more credible answers and a more successful outcome. If you want ANSWERS THAT WORK, participate in any way I request. I'm quite committed to working on this site for YOUR benefit and the benefit of YOUR DOG. Help me in any way you can.


30 years of solving serious behavior problems in domestic dogs; expert in dog to human aggression; Internet columnist for for 5 years; former radio talk show host, WHPC.FM, Garden City, NY "Bite Back" (1995 through 2000). List owner, international animal behavior experts, Seminar leader: "Operant Conditioning and Learning"; "Aggression in The Domestic Dog"; "Solving Problem Behaviors" -- conducted for various training facilities on Long Island from 1993 through 2000. Former clinical director of "Behavioral Abnormalities" in conjunction with Mark Beckerman, DVM, Hempstead, New York.

Member, APDT (UK); Psychologists in Ethical Treatment with Animals

Harcourt Brace Learning Direct: "The Business of Dog Training" "The Fail Safe Dog: Brain Training, not Pain Training"

Ph.D., UC Berkeley

Past/Present Clients
Board of Directors: Northeast Dog Rescue Connection; The Dog Project; Sav-A-Dog Foundation; etc. Pro Bono counselor: Little Shelter Humane Society My practice is presently limited to forensics. I diagnose cause of dog bite, based upon testimony before the Court, for attorneys and insurance companies litigating dog bites, including fatal injuries. I also do pro bono work for bona fide rescue organizations, humane societies, et al, regarding such analysis in an effort to obtain release for dogs being held for death in municipal shelters in the US.

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