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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi I am new here and joined because I don’t know what else to do! I’ve asked my vet who suggested psychiatric drugs for my cat but I don’t want to do that yet.

My cat is going to be 16, my dog is going to be 15.

my dog has health problems- she is nearly deaf and blind and has lupus. But she still enjoys life and isn’t in pain. I mention her health issues because ever since my dog got worse, the cats “bullying” got worse.

my cat will hiss and growl at the dog for no reason that the dog purposely does. The dog does not go after the cat and never has. They never were best friends but they left each other alone and grew up together. I had another dog also who died too young that the cat had always bullied. The cat had peed on his sleeping chair Constantly and also made him get out of his bed so she’d take it over. After he died, the cat never bothered with his bed or the chair again.

I know this must be a dominance issue but it’s at the point where me and my mom are just plain frustrated. My cat has 2 large litter boxes. They are baby gated so my dog can’t get to them but there’s a tiny door for the cat.

Yet my cat started peeing in the guest bedroom on the bed and on my dogs sleeping areas (a dog bed and her blanket)

She was at the vet and is healthy. The vet said to spray with water when the cat hisses,but we’ve tried that for months, it doesn’t do anything. She runs from it but that’s all. In fact I think it has made the cat even worse.

aside from shutting the cat in one room which I wouldn’t like doing. I don’t know what else to do to stop her from urinating on the dogs sleeping areas.

I also don’t like her hissing at the dog because it stops the dog in her tracks and she doesn’t know where to go.

I give the cat special attention.The cat sleeps with me every night in my bed, and spends time on my lap when I’m home from work while I pet her and give her treats. The cat also has my upstairs loft all to herself when I’m at work because my dog doesn’t go up there when I’m not there. And she has 2 cat trees to climb.

please help. Any advice please. Thank you in advance.
 

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Hi C. Sorry your cat is bullying your dog. It's difficult to figure out why, maybe she senses she's sick and it's causing her distress, or she's taking advantage of your dog's weakened state to dominate her, or she's picking up on your stress because you're worried about your dog and lashing out. Regardless, the bullying needs to stop. I'm not familiar with cat/dog interactions so maybe others here can help. The one thing I will tell you is not to spray your cat with water. You're right when you say it's making her worse, because it's increasing her fear and anxiety. You could try giving your cat and dog some extra attention and treats when they're together, and it's possible a cat calming method like a diffuser will relax her a bit. Best of luck to you!
 

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I agree with giving them both attention and treats when they're together. Maybe she'll learn that being around him can be a good thing. I would also suggest a pet version of Prozac. I know a lot of people frown on drugs, but it helped my sister's dog so much. I think it would help your cat, too.
 
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you both for the replies! Both my cat and dog love plain boiled skinless chicken breast. I can give them that together for a special treat for the cat because even with her ordinary cat treats if the dog walks near the cat will hiss and jump off my lap and run away. Then she comes back in after my dogs laid down or left. It’s so weird since my dog has honestly never attacked my cat.
So no more spray bottle but what should I do then when my cat hisses or growls? Just ignore it?
thank you!
 

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I wouldn't ignore the hissing and growling. She's telling you she's upset about something. You could try to redirect her with a cat toy or wand. I don't know what her activity level is, but even if she doesn't chase it and just tracks it with her eyes, it can break the cycle of anxiety. It's not enough to tell a cat not to do something, we need to give them a better alternative . If you can't stop her from hissing/growling, you could remove her from the area. Unless she becomes aggressive, don't put her in a closed room because it could increase her anxiety. I would try the calming diffuser first, and if it doesn't work, reconsider your Vet's advice about anti-anxiety meds.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I’m back and need more help!
Here’s what I’ve done and I know it hasn’t been long but I need some change ASAP because she is peeing on my moms furniture and ruining them. Every time we block her from peeing one place, she picks another.

(my cats name is Bella my dog is Leia.)

So every time I let Leia out to potty in the backyard I allow Bella out too because she’s been meowing. Bella is a skiddish cat and stays on the patio cement so far. I’m right there. I know it’s taking a risk but I figured if this helps her anxiety I’ll try it. So she’s liked sniffing outside so far. Then she walks to the door to go back in when she wants. I can only do this on days I’m off from work (I’m a nurse and work 12 hour shifts so no time) but my mom said she’ll do it when I’m working.

then I let her and Leia inside and give them each boiled chicken for treats. They sit side by side on the kitchen floor for this. Bella only hissed once the first time.

But I noticed today still not a lot of urine in the litter boxes. So that’s when I found she’s been going on a different couch, one that Leia lays on sometimes. It’s the only couch Leia is actually allowed on.

also Bella didn’t sleep in my bed for the first time last nite in I have no idea how long. She slept downstairs where her litter boxes aren’t.

ok when I found the urine all over the couch I picked Bella up and put her nose near it and said no. I don’t know if that has any effect.

I don’t know what to do next aside from shut her up in one room with her litter/water/ food when no one can watch her. I put a plastic table cloth over this couch but I can’t let her destroy my moms best furniture next.

Her bloodwork from the vet is perfect. The only thing off with her health is tartar on her teeth the vet said.

I got her only natural pet cat anxiety pills at petsmart. It’s only day 2 with them though.

any advice what I can or should do next or what I should not do please? I need to stop her urinating on things ASAP. Thank you!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
ive tried cat nip spray and toys in the past, she isn’t interested! Actually the spray even seems to make her walk away!
She likes a laser light in the past but I read that can cause anxiety so I stopped that. Other toys don’t seem to hold her interest.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
Forgot to mention. About 8 months ago I changed her cat litter to dust free kind because I couldn’t stop coughing anymore with the dust. The urinating didn’t begin with that change though or get worse immediately following the change. However I did get a new litter that says cats love it I’m trying this new one today.
Also I wanted to mention Bella ignored her “lap time” last night too. Where she sits on my lap and I give her treats.
She didn’t come to me at all. That and not sleeping in my bed is strange. I haven’t sprayed her any more with the water and I think shes hissing at Leia a bit less. But I wonder what’s going on with her.

edit: I’m just thinking about this, I’ve had 5 days off from work which is super unusual. I let my mom go on a vacation (lol she is the animal babysitter) and I’ve been home. So Leia is upstairs with me more. When I’m at work she stays downstairs with my mom. Now Bella is staying downstairs… does she really hate the dog this much?? I have no idea why though.
 

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You mention bloodwork but did the vet take a urine sample and run it for a UTI? That is what needs to be tested, and it's not a blood test. Make sure that you get a urine sample to the vet for a UTI test.

Just a tip: I keep a dust mask right next to the litter box scoop and I put it on every time I am going to scoop the litter, no matter what kind it is, because even the "low dust" kinds have some dust. It works great - I never start coughing any more while scooping the box.

Putting her nose next to it and telling her No is very counterproductive and highly inadvisable. She will have no idea whatever why you are doing that, and will have a negative emotional reaction. Doing this, or spraying her with water, or anything else of the kind is only going to make things worse. These actions on your part may have damaged her trust in you and might be contributing or even causing her to not want to hang out with you. Cats lose trust in a person pretty easily if they are treated like that. I know you are only trying your best, but that is not a good approach.

If she is anxious there is a reason for it (assuming she has been tested for a UTI>>>?)
Ask yourself what changed in the time prior to her starting to not use the litter box. Think of details, because something very small and insignificant to you might be huge and important to a cat, so give it some long thought. It is possible that something set her off into fear or anxiety and she is doing this as a result. In my opinion, any time an adult cat who knows how to use a litter box suddenly stops using it, there's a specific reason for it. It is either a health problem or a psychological one, and if you can figure that out, you have a chance of correcting it.

Be really nice to her, and don't let your irritation with her show, no matter what. If she is anxious it will only exacerbate it.
 

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C. wrote: "edit: I’m just thinking about this, I’ve had 5 days off from work which is super unusual. I let my mom go on a vacation (lol she is the animal babysitter) and I’ve been home. So Leia is upstairs with me more. When I’m at work she stays downstairs with my mom. Now Bella is staying downstairs… does she really hate the dog this much?? I have no idea why though".

First, I agree with what Mosi said (great idea about the dust mask!), and really need to emphasize to never punish a pet. It just creates confusion, anxiety, and fear. It may take a while for Bella to trust you again, so keep everything you do as positive as possible. I think the other steps you're taking seem to be working so keep up the good work!

There have been several articles lately about how pets are reacting to the pandemic and it seems to be causing a lot of behavior problems. People who were at work all day are home, people who were home are away, people have been working crazy shifts. Pets like their routines and can get very anxious when something changes. I don't think Bella hates your dog. When cats are stressed, they will take it out on whoever is near them, and Leia may be getting the brunt of it.

If you've ruled out medical problems, then focus on changing her behavior. Some people have had luck with Feliway spray or diffuser, and you could google "Jackson Galaxy and Cats Urinating Outside the Litterbox". He's pretty much the Cat Whisperer and I refer to him often.

About laser lights, I do think it can cause anxiety in some cats because they can get frustrated when they can't catch it. Mine just seem to get bored after a minute or two, so I toss them a toy mouse on intervals so they can catch their prey and feel like the Queens of the Jungle!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
I’ve been trying to think of changes, but the thing that makes me thing she hates the dog is for example today she came to my lap and I was giving her pets and her treats. As soon as my dog walked into the room, Bella stopped eating the treats and stared at Leia. Wouldn’t take another treat and after Leia laid down, Bella got off my lap and left the room.
We didn’t do urinalysis at the vet (The vet said she could straight cath her but I didn’t want that) so I keep trying to get a sample but it’s pretty hard to! However she did this before with my other dog who’s passed away, she’d urinate on his sleeping spots. After he died she never did again and ignored his bed that she used to “kick” him out of.
Anyway last nite I picked Bella up and put her in her litter and she did go twice but this morning she went on the couch again.
she also slept in my bed last nite after I picked her up and put her there.
I’ll check out that cat whisperer resource thank you! And I’ll keep trying to get a urine sample. Also good tip about wearing a mask for the dust!

Oh I wanted to add, a major change that happened a year ago was I moved here. I was a travel nurse for a year in Florida and Bella loved it because I had a screened lanai. She could go out there and stalk lizards (who were on the other side of the screen) or just lay in the sun. But her anxiety or aggression with the dogs didn’t occur exactly around the move. My first dog died about 6 years ago when I was living up north here and she did this with him. Then with Leia and the hissing this started around January. Then the urinating began a few weeks ago. I think maybe spraying her with water did that damage. Definitely won’t do that again.
 

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To me that behavior doesn't say that she "hates the dog". i don't think we know for sure why she is doing that, and to assume one thing and then run with that idea even though you have no proof is a very understandable and human thing to do, but it is not helpful.

I suggest instead that you observe her very carefully, and observe the dog and their interactions, and see if you can detect through that observation what the dynamic might be between the two animals. Often animals have motivtions for their behavior that are completely different from human motivations, and it's better to observe than to come to conclusions.

You can get special stuff for collecting urine from a cat. I am actually very surprised that your vet doesn't have this stuff. Most vets here will keep your cat until he or she pees in this stuff so they can get the sample.

Here is one example: https://www.amazon.com/Nosorb-Absorbent-Litter-Veterinary-Products/dp/B01L1EL5E8
If you can get her to pee by putting her into the box, this would work. All you need to do then is tip the box so it all runs to one end and then get it out with a pipette or eye dropper or even a spoon.

A urinalysis is very important because if she does have a UTI, going without treatment can ultimately lead to kidney failure and death, so I would encourage you to get on top of that.

those are a lot of changes, for sure, and it's possible she is having a sort of delayed reaction. but as I said, try to look for much more subtle things as well as big things, because sometimes something really small (to you) something you wouldn't even think of, can be a big thing to a cat.
 
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