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New Behavior Towards Cat - Growly, Etc.


Guest lasharp1209
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Guest lasharp1209

We have had our grey for 7-8 months. He has pretty much ignored our 2 cats from the beginning, which is great. However he has always seemed to have slightly more of an "understanding" with our male cat and a slight distrust of our female cat - VERY slight, only that I felt he would let our male cat get a bit closer to him (or maybe he's just braver).

 

He used to scarf his food down as quickly as possible, but as he's settled in he's become a slower eater and sometimes doesn't eat at all in the mornings. As a result, our female cat who is interested in all things food, has taken to reaching up and sampling his food after he's walked away. I didn't think much of it (SHOULD have, but didn't) until this week when I realized that he has become growly with her - not always, but sometimes if she walks by his bed a little too close, and especially if he has something like a pig ear he's working on.

 

Last night he came in from outside, and she was over by his bed sniffing his toys. He ran over to where she was, she ran quickly out of the way to the other side of the room, and he followed her. When he got up to her, he bared his teeth at her. No sound, just baring his teeth. I should have corrected him but was so shocked and by the time I recovered it was too late to do anything about it. He left her alone and went back to doing his own thing.

 

To my knowledge, he has not snapped at her so far, and most of the time he just ignores her. I instituted a new rule this morning in which I am locking the cat in another room while he eats, and putting the bowl away when he is done. It worked well today, no problems. I am also thinking I will start some "positive association" training with him and the cat, treating him whenever she walks by his bed or anything like that.

 

He has no problems with our other cat. He is crated at night and muzzled when we are gone. I am also almost 6 months pregnant and I know that can have an effect on the animals in the house. Although I can understand that, I don't think that excuses the behavior or means that I should not take steps to take care of the issue.

 

Is there anything else I might try doing? I'd like to nip this in the bud and not let it escalate into anything else.

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It sounds to me like his issues are mainly associated with things he considers "his". Good job with the feeding. I think that will help a lot, especially since she was trying to help herself to his leftovers. If you see him getting ugly with her again, I would definitely correct him and your idea of positive reinforcement is a good one.

Judy, mom to Darth Vader, Bandita, And Angel

Forever in our hearts, DeeYoGee, Dani, Emmy, Andy, Heart, Saint, Valentino, Arrow, Gee, Bebe, Jilly Bean, Bullitt, Pistol, Junior, Sammie, Joey, Gizmo, Do Bee

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I have two cats, and one hound. He growls at the cats if they get too close to him when he's on his bed and he's not in the mood. I do NOT correct him for that beyond a saying something like, "That's enough" as he has, I think, the right to tell them to back off. Consequently, one of them is smart enough to say away from him when he's on his bed. The other one is totally unphased by the growling! The other reason I don't "correct" is that the cat who doesn't care about the growling will actually attempt to chew George's tail; I correct the cat when I hear the dog growl and see him batting at the dog's tail. Not that it does any good...:rolleyes:

 

Your hound is most likely becoming more secure and confident in the home, and is therefore being more vocal about his likes and dislikes.

 

Providing he's not going after the cats but is only warning them, I'm not sure I'd do anything.

 

But I also have complete confidence that George is only warning the cats. Frankly, most of the time they're growled at, they total deserve it.

 

90% of the time, it's a very peaceful relationship. See:

 

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Susan,  Hamish,  Mister Bigglesworth and Nikita Stanislav. Missing Ming, George, and Buck

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Guest lasharp1209

Mostly it concerns me because near the beginning of our 2-month foster period with him he growled at us a few times (for space/resource guarding issues) but also bit twice, so we know that he is capable of escalating his growls to snaps and bites. He has not done that in a very long time and never growls at me or my husband anymore but knowing his history makes me more concerned for the cat :unsure

 

Before anyone decides to jump on it, no we did not know I was pregnant when we adopted him - we found out exactly a week later :blink:

 

He did growl tonight but the table was in the way and I couldn't tell if he was growling at something outside the window, which he does sometimes, or at the cat, who was on the windowsill. I told him "no" anyway... but we will definitely keep monitoring closely over the next several days.

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I think you have the right steps in mind, specifically keeping them separate when food or other high value items (like chews or even toys) are out and working on reinforcing (hopefully with really yummy people food) when the cat approaches him. You might consider being very generous with the reinforcement initially and rewarding any time he sees the cat in the room so you're not risking a situation where he feels he needs to growl. I would not correct him for growling though, just try to avoid the situations where he needs to until you've done the positive associations.

 

It sounds to me like he just views the cat as another dog, but one he can tell off. Neyla was terrified of Cisco when I first fostered her, but as she settled in and became confident in our home (she was a spook when I got her) she started to growl at Cisco if he'd jump on the couch too close to her. They worked it out on their own, but given your pup's history, I think you're right to be proactive here.

 

Sounds like you've taken really good precautions all around actually, with the muzzling, etc. :)

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Jen, CPDT-KA with Zuri, lab in a greyhound suit, Violet, formerly known as Faith, Skye, the permanent puppy, Cisco, resident cat, and my baby girl Neyla, forever in my heart

"The great thing about science is that you're free to disagree with it, but you'll be wrong."

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Guest Mollysmom10

We had our first grey Molly for six years. She never growled or was interested in our cat Momo until the last couple of years. Momo is a rescued lab cat and very friendly and liked to roll around on anything on the floor - including Molly's bed. Whenever Momo would get too close to Molly, and she wasn't in the mood, she would let out a bark. And, if Momo ever got near her food, she would give her a warning. It never escalated into anything, but we sure did notice the change. Momo was always quick w/ her get away and Molly never was interested once she walked away.

 

I was pregnant 2x with Molly -- she was very attentive and concerned when I went into labour, she was like my birthing coach! Good luck with the cats and also your pregnancy!! :colgate

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