My adult son took in a small dog the police had rescued from a puppy mill. A lady friend adopted him, but she had a heart attack and died. The dog finally bonded with my son. The problem is that I have a tamed feral kitty who is going to live with my son, too. We have them visit each other as much as possible, and they've made amazing strides, but I don't fully trust the cat. She likes to get the dog cornered. The kitty is actually a little larger than the dog, and I don't trust that she will keep her claws in. I've heard that spraying each animal with the same fragrance or odor might help. Do you have any suggestions?
M.D., Cape Coral, FL Mar 28, 2011
Many years ago, I advised putting the same perfume on animals who are going to be living together and are not yet clear of fear, distrust and possibly aggression toward each other. Now, natural cat and dog scents called pheromones are available and help to bring animals more amicably together. So try the Feliway for the cat and DAP (dog appeasement pheromone) for the dog, using a plug-in diffuser for each. If your cat is friendly and the dog is not a fear-biter (and has your son's close attention and restraint if needed), they should work things out themselves. This could be quite soon, once they attune to each other's body language and intentions. Cats' playful intentions and restrained use of claws and jaws while playing, often interrupted by affectionate purring and licking, are behaviors that dogs can come to understand, just as the cat will learn that a dog's playful panting, tail-wagging play bow, gentle mouthing and pawing are non-threatening gestures and intentions. They should be fed, groomed, and petted in sight of each other and, ideally, have your son sleep in the same room with them until they are settled.
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