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Cats/Cat acting up


Hi Ali. I have had my cat "Midnight" for ten years, and I love him dearly. However, lately he has been exhibiting some atypical and upsetting behavior. He has always been fairly well behaved, but I started having some trouble with him after bringing another pet into the home (I got a puppy for my birthday in March). Everyone said that in time they would get used to each other, and possibly even become the best of friends. "Abby" is a typical puppy, very energetic, curious, sweet and playful and only wants to be Trouble's friend. But Trouble is used to it just being the two of us, and is very anti social, territorial and posessive of me. Lately he has started urinating on the floor and in my bed! It is disgusting! I am guessing that this is his way of showing his displeasure with the change in his environment/routine, and I have heard that cats can be quite spiteful and vindictive. Needless to say this is very upsetting. I don't know what to do! The cat and dog can't be in the same room together because the dog will chase him and "Midnight" will run. He also hisses and swats him with his paw. I have also seen on more than one occassion the dog eating the contents of the cats litter box (his feces). Gross I know! Is all this normal? And what can I do about it? I can not get rid of the dog because I am very attached to her. The dog is sweet and not at all aggressive (she is just a little poodle), but the cat won't give her a chance. I love them both and just want for us all to be able to live in peace and harmony. Any advice/suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks very much for your time.


My first suggestion would be to have Midnight examined by your veterinarian to be sure that there aren't any medical issues contributing to this behaviour such as a urinary tract infection. Another important thing to consider is that if you have had Midnight for 10 years he is an older gentleman and is accustomed to having a peaceful environment - puppies are generally quite exuberant and that may be upsetting him, so providing Midnight with a "puppy free" zone that he can escape to by perhaps putting up a baby gate to keep Abby out of one or more roomes in the house may help to ease his stress... He will know that when he's had enough of Abby being a goofy puppy he can get away from her without her having the ability to follow him.

Obviously providing a puppy free area for Midnight to relax in is just one part of the puzzle if Midnight urinating outside of his box is medical he will need to be treated THEN the behavioural component can be addressed if he still urinates outside of the box. Typically puppies and cats should not be introduced without careful thought and planning. Having Abby be calm on the leash and perhaps lie down without bouncing around will help Midnight to see that she is not a threat. Providing Midnight with some forms of vertical space such as cat shelves, a tall cat tree, window perches or other such escape routes that keep him above the action, are easily accessible to Midnight and allow him to feel safe will also help to ease his anxiety.

Ideally you want to slowly introduce Abby to Midnight at times when she is absolutely relaxed and calm, when she wants to goof off and be a normal, playful puppy then perhaps guiding her away from Midnight by redirecting her attention to toys or other distractions is a good plan to ease Midnight's stress. This process will take time, but I am confident that by taking Midnight's senior age (and therefore his desire for peace and quiet) into consideration and presenting Abby to him in less threatening ways than having her be a bouncy little pup right in his face things will settle between them. Once Midnight and Abby understand that neither is a threat or a toy they may even become friends, but settling for having them tolerate each other would be good.

Unfortunately dogs who live in households with cats will often eat cat feces. This is a completely normal, if disgusting behaviour because cat food contains more protein than dog food so it smells and apparently tastes appealing to dogs - kind of like a special treat. The way to solve this issue is to consider putting some sort of barrier in place to prevent Abby from accessing the litter box (incidentally this may also contribute to why Midnight is urinating outside the box if Abby frightened him while he was using it or leaving it) such as a cat door. Maybe placing the litter box in a dog free room will solve the house soiling issue if it is purely behavioural, but there is a chance that Midnight has been frightened away from his box and you may have to change the type of litterbox and/or the type of litter to help guide him back to using his box reliably.

Again I must stress the importance of having Midnight thoroughly assessed for medical problems common to senior kitties as well as things like urinary tract infections because if the cause of him urinating outside the box is medical behavioural modification won't help. If you have any further questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me again at any time - I'm more than happy to help in any way that I can.

Kind regards,



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I am the proud guardian of 5 mixed breed cats ranging from 12 weeks to 13 years old and one purebred ragdoll. I have 20+ years experience working with mixed breed cats from a variety of different situations. I have fostered cats/kittens with special needs/behavioral issues. I have rescued/rehabilitated/re-homed a variety of stray/abused cats. I can offer advice on managing feral cat colonies, rehabilitating strays and finding them forever homes. I can help you to determine whether a cat is stray or feral, there IS a significant difference. Improperly introducing a new cat/kitten can result in aggression between newly introduced cats because cats are territorial by nature and they don't like sudden changes in their environment. To learn more about a peaceful way to introduce a new cat into a home with other cats please check out my previous answers on this subject. Proper nutrition for cats can be confusing, I recommend checking out which was created by a veterinarian (Dr. Lisa Pierson) who takes a common sense approach to explaining feline nutrition. Cat behavior and instincts are different from those of humans, I can help you understand your cat's needs so that you can meet them adequately and have a balanced, psychologically and physically sound kitty. Cats vary in personality, energy level and intelligence, different approaches may be required to achieve results in terms of training and interaction with your feline companion. An intelligent, high energy cat must be kept busy or they will make their own fun. I am NOT a licensed veterinarian and I can't offer medical advice. If your cat is ill/injured my advice is always the same: get prompt medical treatment provided by a veterinarian. If finances are an issue I will try to find resources in your area that can help with medical costs or make other choices to ensure the welfare of your cat.


I have fostered feral and stray cats, rehabilitated and homed cats that many people recommended euthanasia for. I am willing to make an effort to do the research and ask questions because I care enough to find solutions to behavioral problems rather than giving up. I have an interest in the use of alternative therapies to help provide the best possible care for all cats and I can say in all honesty that I've seen some incredible things happen for some incredible cats and their human caregivers when the right alternative therapeutic modality is used by a qualified veterinarian with expertise and experience in the field.

I've earned my diploma as a veterinary assistant with honors.

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