My cat won't leave the living room

by Paula
(Albuquerque, N.M. )

One of my cats (Chloe) is about 11 years old and has always been a little skittish. About 1 year ago we got a dog who likes to pester the cats so we closed her (the dog) off from the living room so the cats can have peace and quiet when they want it. Chloe, who was always fine with our previous dogs, will not come out of the living room at all. I've been thinking about removing the barrier so she will need to deal with the dog and hopefully roam the house like she used to. Do you think I should do this or just let her be?

Well this is a tricky one to answer as it doesn’t think there is one single answer. It all depends really on how well the cat can cope with the dog. Some cats can get along fine if not perfectly but they are still happy to be around them. While other cats simply hate it and it can cause other behavioural problems such as urinating out of the litter tray etc.

It really all depends on how these two animals get along. You perhaps could try a trial period where by you introduce the animals to each other again in your presence over and over again over a period of a week or so and see if they start to relax with each other or not. Then you can make the decision on whether or not the two can get along ok.

The fact that your cat wont come out of the living room does unfortunately suggest that she is nervous around the dog but perhaps with a period of supervised introduction she may learn to be less nervous around him. I have some information on how best to introduce pets to each other here

Fingers crossed that your cat can learn to relax around your dog. But if you find that your cat simply wants to remain separate then you will have to make sure that her living area is as stimulating as possible for her to keep her happy.

Best wishes kate

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