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Ugh!!! This is all I can say about my situation. WARNING: Rant/huge pleed for thoughts/opinions/sympathies if I'm lucky lol!

I love my Meenu with all my life. She is my heart and soul, apart from my fiance. Since I have graduated with my degree, I have been unable to get a job (ironic isn't it that as soon as I get the degree, employers say no thanks!). Because of this, money ran out and we found that our next option was to move out of town. My fiance's parent's generously offered to help us out by letting us stay at their house, use my fiance's bedroom, the guest bathroom, and the basement as our own private areas, until we got back up on our feet. Although we knew this would come with a few personal issues, the biggest worry I had was how we would handle my cat and their new dog, Sandy, getting along.

The main issues: Sandy is not a well socialized/trained dog. He is a smaller mixed breed dog (shitzu something) who they rescued from deplorable conditions when he was young. Keep this in mind, as the in-laws have adopted a "poor sandy" mentality, and does not discipline him because of his past. I think he is about 1-2 yrs old and they have had him his whole life. Even with me and my fiance, because he is not used to new people, he will bite our ankles as we walk. He has directed most of his attitude towards me, where he will chase me around (i will always walk and he will dart back and forth) nipping at my heels. If I am standing in one spot, he will growl and bark at me. Once I turn around though he will run away from me and growl and bark at a distance or circle around and continue to pester me. ODD THING about this: he only does this when the in laws are in the house! When they leave, he may watch me but he will lie down on his pillow and leave me alone.
The other thing is when he does this and I go to reprimand him, the in laws will tell me to stop! I am not allowed to tell the dog to leave me alone!
Now for the issues with Meenu: before she got sick (which ended up with us having to keep her in the basement the past 3 weeks), we would be upstairs watching tv with the rest of the family and Meenu would want to be with us. But Sandy, rightly so, being inquisitive, wants to check her out. Meenu, on the other hand, could do without it. So she will hiss at Sandy. This revs Sandy up, he will start barking, growling, jumping, and snapping at her (this is NOT rightly so!). Meenu would then attack Sandy (aka she would give him a whap in the face), but it would get worse. Sandy would run away from the cat, and the cat would give chase! She would get in a couple whaps, then he would dart back at her! And the cycle would continue, if we didnt stop it of course.
I thought "well like all my foster dogs that I have had, I will teach Sandy that when Meenu growls, he has to give her space". I had the plan to sit on the floor, and when Sandy would get too close and I heard Meenu growl, I would take my pointer and index finger and touch sandy on the shoulder to tell him "thats far enough". This, however did not work because the in-laws would say I was hitting him and that I was telling him he couldnt go where he wanted. UGH.:fust

Soo, I am stuck now in this perpetual cycle. If in-laws are out, I can walk around the house in peace,no cat and dog fights, and no terror going at my feet. In-laws come in, I am subjugated, with Meenu, to the basement, where Sandy will not go. I will not make Meenu sit in a basement the entire time we are here because the dog cannot learn. But at the same time, I am harming my relationship with my in-laws.

The last big blow up was when my fiance, his mother, meenu, sandy and I were in the kitchen dining room area. I did not see how it happened, but I heard a hiss and scrambling and growling... and before I knew how it started, I saw Meenu under the dining table, wapping away at sandy whos is just staying out from under the table, kinda antagonizing meenu. I push sandy away from the table and towards mother, who was trying to call him to go potty outside. She proceeds to tell me Meenu was not allowing sandy to go past her in the hallway to get to her and that she started it. In my head: whatever! It doesnt matter who started it at the time I saw, it mattered that the dog get out of the way and calm down, stop antagonizing the cat so that things could settle down. Once again she accused me of hitting the dog. I said "I would growl at him too if I were a cat". Mother said "he is allowed to walk where ever he wants thank you" and I said "so is she thank you!". and then she walked out the door.:boxing

I want to say it's all Sandy's fault, but tonight I saw Meenu go sabertooth kitty on the dog!:evil: Sandy had gone upstairs, and meenu followed him up the stairs and proceeded to beat him up! I don't what got into her. Every other instance I could find an action that sandy did to (not necessarily start but) antagonized and prolong the fights they have. This time, he had not went for her, touch, barked, sniffed, or otherwise anything to make her follow him up the stairs and beat him up! And I saw this entire occurence this time. I grabbed Meenu, told her NO and made her stay up and let sandy get near her and sniff her. I also fed them some treats together, but after that, they stayed at different floors the rest of the night (on there own, not because we kept them away from each other).

I am stuck feeling that this dog, who acts COMPLETELY fine when the in-laws are gone and then does a total 180 as soon as they step in the door, is ruling the roost, herding meenu and I downstairs, and that the in-laws don't care! :crying
I'm also stuck wondering why Meenu has gotten into the aggressor position. Could it be because she senses I am not comfortable with the dog? Does she feel she has to beathim into submission to get him to leave her alone? Or is she just going rabid on the dog?:-|
 

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Is there any chance of sitting down with none of the animals present and talking it through when nothing is going on?
 

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The normal case is that dogs and cats don't get along. They are two carnivores and view themselves as competitors for territory. The uncommon case is to find them getting along or even train the dog to avoid the cat. That said, there's no point arguing with anyone about who's fault it is. Since the situation is temporary, then you really should try to make the best of it and avoid friction with in-laws. I would just try to keep them apart. Also, since Meenu is starting to take the aggressive role, it has added a level of complexity to the problem. A solution for the problem WAS to completely train Sandy to avoid Meenu when she hisses before Meenu realized that responding with more aggression scares Sandy away. I think it will start to appear that Meenu is the aggressive one in your in-laws eyes.

One last thing, catforum = 90% cat lovers :D so we probably take the cat side in all cases. :2kitties
 

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Wow, if your mother-in-law thinks that is hitting, she needs a wake-up call... since when does the dog's right to be a brat outweigh your right not to have it nipping at your heels?!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
The normal case is that dogs and cats don't get along. They are two carnivores and view themselves as competitors for territory... That said, there's no point arguing with anyone about who's fault it is. Since the situation is temporary, then you really should try to make the best of it and avoid friction with in-laws... I would just try to keep them apart. Also, since Meenu is starting to take the aggressive role, it has added a level of complexity to the problem. A solution for the problem WAS to completely train Sandy to avoid Meenu when she hisses before Meenu realized that responding with more aggression scares Sandy away. I think it will start to appear that Meenu is the aggressive one in your in-laws eyes.

One last thing, catforum = 90% cat lovers :D so we probably take the cat side in all cases. :2kitties
Yes I know it would be unreasonable to think they would completely get along, Meenu doesnt play with dogs like some cats do. But I have taught MUCH bigger, and more stubborn, dogs to respect boundaries. The boundary that should have been set from the start for Sandy is "if that furball makes a noise, I should probably leave it alone". And most dogs I have fostered learn that EXTREMELY quickly, especially after the cat gives it a couple whacks on the snout ("ouch! maybe I'll leave this crazy thing alone, I have more friendly toys to play with"). But since Sandy doesnt even respect boundaries with people, I knew it was virtually impossible to expect any different with the cat. And it's just downer that my in-laws dont seam to understand that this isnt cute or fun behaviour, its antagonistic and not behaved.

I unfortunately think my heart would break if I had to keep them apart the whole time. This would mean Meenu would be secluded in the basement (which they did to their previous elderly cat the last year of her life, just leave her downstirs because "she would be mean to the dog"), and the situation is looking to be a bit longer then the amount of time I would be willing to do that (up to next april - a whole 7 months of this :sad:). Meenu is SO social that she will come up and peak her head over the top stair into the living room to see us, and if she tried to come in, Sandy would be in her face, they would fight, she would go downstairs, and then pop back up a few mins later. I would give up and move downstairs, where she would then be content to stay with me the rest of the night.

Funny you pointed out the whole cat forum thing. I have tried to post the same thing on a dog forum, however it hasnt been approved yet, so waiting to see what remarks I get from the other side.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Is there any chance of sitting down with none of the animals present and talking it through when nothing is going on?
Unfortunately I do not think so. I can put Meenu downstairs, but if I asked them to put Sandy somewhere, they would not do it ("oh why can't he be with us? He's allowed to go where ever he wants; this is his house"). I hate the last one: "This is HIS house". Um, EXCUSE me last time I heard you guys were the ones paying the mortgage. And think about it, Sandy is now the one delegating where I can go, and where my fiance can be at one time. Also, we have tried to talk to them when nothing was going on, and they make up reasons for why Sandy acts the way he acts. I think the most common one seems to be that he is just trying to be cute (they have small dog complex going on in their heads) and me or meenu over react when we try to get him to stop (me by telling him no and meenu by hissing at him).

I dont know how many know or care for cesar millan, but I follow some of his techniques to a tee when it came to my foster dogs. AKA exercise, discipline (or training), and affection, and teaching rules boundaries and limitations. This dog has been given only one of the six traits: AFFECTION... And that causes a spoiled dog.

Unfortunately I will probably end up making the ultimatum that either they put their dog away when I come upstairs so that meenu and I can move freely around the main level of the house, or they will never get to know their daughter in law.

THAT is how much I love my cat. Lol.
 

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The normal case is that dogs and cats don't get along.
Not true at all. I have a dog and three cats. My youngest cat is closer to my dog then any of the cats. They are best friends and she kneads my dog on a daily basis. Only one of the cats doesn't like her and they mainly avoid each other.

The issue here is the dog is untrained. Most little dogs are nasty (hence the foot biting). I don't like them at all. Obviously the dog isn't cat friendly. You best bet, seeing how your mil is uncooperative , is to keep them seperated for as long as youre living there. Keep your cat in the basement or your room. Let her out when the dog is outside. It isn't a solution but unless the dog is trained this will continue.
 

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The normal case is that dogs and cats don't get along.
Not true. It depends on how they are raised and/or trained. This is a terrible stereotype to continue.

That said, I have to agree with Hoofmaiden. I'm sorry but if I was kind enough to let someone live with me, they better treat my furkids even BETTER than I do. I don't CARE if someone thinks they are spoiled and ill behaved, it's THEIR home. If MowMow wants to rip up every piece of paper you have or if Book steals every piece of food off your plate too bad. Would I let them act like that? No, I wouldn't BUT that doesn't mean anyone else has the right to reprimand them or try to 'train' them the way THEY think they should act.

Also, I think they've been pretty patient. If someone used what I thought (because MY opinion would be the only one that mattered in such a situation) was excessive force on one of my cats and I told them not to and they did it again.... I would have already kindly asked them to leave.

You're going to have to keep kitty locked in the basement until you find a job and move out, imo. I agree that Sandy is a badly behaved dog. If he were mine he wouldn't be permitted to act that way, BUT since it's not your home and not your dog, it's not your business, even if I'm sorry kitty has to be in that situation.
 

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Personally, when talking doesn't work, I'm for writing letters of explanation. The trick is to kill them with kindness and act like you are more worried about their dog then your cat (if we don't work on training the dog to leave the cat alone, the cat could seriously injure the dog! (scratch it's eye or something..). It seems like these people don't realize that cats and dogs don't think like humans do (my grandma is the same way..) and you have to train animals for them to be well behaved, not just "talk" to them. So write out your concerns.. and then rewrite it nicer because it probably won't be the first time ;)
 

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The normal case is that dogs and cats don't get along. They are two carnivores and view themselves as competitors for territory.

One last thing, catforum = 90% cat lovers :D so we probably take the cat side in all cases. :2kitties
This couldn't be further from the truth and is usually just the stereotype. Yes, a dog will chase a cat that it does not view as part of its pack... sometimes.

There are two dogs and three cats in this family, and have been various dogs and cats my entire life. Often dogs will embrace cats as part of the pack, and often cats will enjoy dogs more than other cats, as cats are the ones - members of the same species - that they have territorial issues with.

Here's examples from my home:

Blaze and Tara: Blaze (the cat) is scared of everything new and as far as people goes will take several months to start warming up to strangers, hardly batted an eye the first time he met Tara, like they'd known each other their whole lives... except Blaze had never met a dog before, and was at least 7.

Tara on the other hand was unnaturally obsessed with Blaze for several months, she wanted to follow him everywhere. This is a dog that is indifferent/unsocialized/aggressive to every other animal she meets.

Blacky and Tara get along, and largely ignore each other. Tara used to run up to Blacky, but Blacky knew Tara, and knew she wouldn't do anything. She'd just calmly stare at the dog, not bothering to move.

The dogs and Zoey: Zoey is a cat with mental issues, I'm convinced. She's hated other cats since she was a kitten, is very aloof to people and scared. Dogs? She is not best friends with them but does enjoy teasing them out of reach with toys, and we've never had a issue between any of them. Dogs have likely helped her a bit.

Growing up there were several cats and two dogs as well. One dog was generally indifferent to all cats, the other, a Jack Russell (prey driven dog that constantly chased raccoons) was really close to one of the family cats, the deaf one! Later on, we had a linx point cat (looks racoonish) and I admit the dog never stopped chasing her, but the cat stood up for herself and the dog never was in a killer-mode, the dog otherwise was accepting of all cats and even good friends with one.

And my favourite example, Blacky and the puppy get along better than any other pets in the family, started out a little iffy, the puppy didn't know Blacky was part of the pack as she'd always see her outside and chase her, but she came to learn she was... and now the puppy (who's approaching two years old!) and her sleep on the same bed and the cat enjoys the puppy virtually mauling her in greeting. They've been good friends since the puppy and her got to know each other, about two months into getting the puppy.

My best friend has a Springer Spaniel and cat... they play rough and are absolutely best friends, hanging all over one another. The cat was also best friends with their previous dog, another Springer. And their previous cat got along fine other dogs as well.

I could actually continue listing examples, I know countless people with peacefully coexisting cat and dog households, it's the norm, not the exception. Usually it takes very little work for dogs and cats to tolerate each other, and if their personalities click, they can become best friends. Meanwhile, I know tons of cats that don't get along, not even in the realm of tolerating each other. Including every cat in this household.

To the OP: This dog has not had a natural growing up, and is spoiled and unsocialized. It may never change, due to its past. I know a puppymill dog that was rescued, he is not normal. He likely never will be. Your in-laws are not helping bring about positive change, but that said, it's their home and their dog. Their rules, unfortunately. If it were me, I would leave the cat in the basement when not home and not feel bad about it. I would also only allow the cat out under supervision, if the in-laws are unwilling to help, only do this when they aren't home.
 

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To the OP: This dog has not had a natural growing up, and is spoiled and unsocialized. It may never change, due to its past. I know a puppymill dog that was rescued, he is not normal. He likely never will be. Your in-laws are not helping bring about positive change, but that said, it's their home and their dog. Their rules, unfortunately. If it were me, I would leave the cat in the basement when not home and not feel bad about it. I would also only allow the cat out under supervision, if the in-laws are unwilling to help, only do this when they aren't home.
This is basically what I do. Like I said, Sandy and Meenu get along fine when the in-laws are gone. So I leave the door to the basement open, and have been keeping her downstairs lately do to her sickness. So I will continue to do this. The problem comes when we are all home and all want to sit together to watch tv or something. I just want Meenu to be able to be with us. Otherwise she would be kept downstairs most of her time while we are here. But apparently, this is a reality that many believe to be acceptible.

I will continue to go downstairs with my cat to gain relief from the dog who rules the roost.
 

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Not true. It depends on how they are raised and/or trained. This is a terrible stereotype to continue.
You are adding human to the cat + dog equation I didn't say that the normal case can't be changed. If we examine the origins of a domestic dog (a wolf) and that of a cat (african wild cat) and confine them together. Our chances of making them get along are even much much worse. Thousands of years of domestication tell us that dogs are easier to train than cats. I am not an expert in dogs but I do acknowledge evolution. My senses tell me that the dogs that have been bread for purposes like shepherding dogs etc.. can be easier to train. Therefore, there's a lot of things to consider in dogs and cats if you do desire them to get along. Some will even get along without any human intervention, others will take big effort.

You may have not agreed on what I said at the beginning but most of you have suggested something along these lines "Don't train spoiled Sandy, keep Meenu in the basement, find a way out!"
 

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It's almost impossible to come into someone else's house and try to dictate how they should behave. Some people will be more sensitive to guests and some won't. If they're not willing to correct their dog's behavior, then your hands are really tied when they are around.

Saying that most little dogs are mean is a sweeping generalization that is totally incorrect. How can it be correct? Have you MET most little dogs? I'd warrant not. I could say that most cats are rotten and mean to dogs. Would that be true? Well yes, if my focus group just contains ONE animal ... mine! :) My dog (an almost 13 year old shih tzu) is perfect with my cat, but she's a snot to him. I think she wants him to play-she's forever running up to him and thwapping him, but he's not gonna. He pretends like she's not there or oozes away casually trying not to draw more fire from her. She is much too big for her britches most days!
 

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I don't agree that cats and dogs don't get on - they don't initially understand each other but that's a different issue altogether!! Their body language is utterly different. I currently have only one dog and six cats but I almost always have a mix. My current dog adores the cats and vice versa
 

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You are adding human to the cat + dog equation I didn't say that the normal case can't be changed. If we examine the origins of a domestic dog (a wolf) and that of a cat (african wild cat) and confine them together.
This is pretty ridiculous. They aren't their ancestors, and people are always going to be a factor. If you had two cats together, they won't want anything to do with eachother either unless people were involved. Cats are solitary creatures by nature. You only get feral colonies because they have a food source, as far as wild cats go, they don't often live in prides or roam together either, except lions.

Dogs are pack driven creatures, when a dog understands that a cat is part of its pack, they can become great friends. Cats can also be extremely receptive to dogs, as I said, more so than to other cats, even with human intervention.

Some dog breeds may have more issues - the high prey driven breeds - but otherwise, there aren't usually problems.
 

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Even when there is a high prey drive it can work - my dog is a Staffie X Greyhound (+ some) and is superb with cats.
 

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I know, I've met many that are great friends with cats that also have a high prey drive, that was just me making a sweeping generalization. ;)
 

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Aside from the great suggestions everyone else has given Id' suggest seeing about getting a (positive methods!) dog trainer in to consult on the issue. Th thing with that cat is a problem, yes, but the dog shouldn't be allowed to chomp at anyone either!

Maybe try looking up a few trainers nearby and offer to split the cost with your MIL? Make sure the trainer is positive based, as it'll work better and also be much more fun. Not to mention any sort of punishment based methods would likely convince your MIL that you're 'out to get' Sandy.
 

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You are living in their house, for free, out of the goodness of their hearts.
You have moved into your future in-laws house and expect to set the rules.
You are putting what you see as the needs/wants of your cat over what they see as the needs/wants of their dog.

Personally, I'm shocked that you haven't been kicked out for being a bad guest and ungrateful for having a place to stay. If the dog had been a child that you were correcting, how would that go over? For many people, their dogs are their furry children, just like cats are for others.

Keep your cat downstairs. It is temporary and it doesn't sound like a dungeon. Better safe than sorry.
 
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