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Dogs and cats

(20 Posts)
groma1 Thu 21-Nov-19 16:22:09

I hardly dare adding another dog problem post, but here we go...
D and SiL have lovely but completely bonkers springer spaniel , dh and I have two cats. As we live a couple of hours away from each other, visits either direction tend to be weekend visits including one or two nights. Initially they brought the dog with them and we hoped this would not be too much of a problem, but she gets overexcited and I have been told that springer spaniels don’t on the whole really calm down for quite a while. Our cats on the other hand get completely freaked out and just move out , sitting on garden walls looking at us rather reproachfully, only just coming back in for their food. One of them disappeared completely for a couple of days.
Particularly now that there is a little grandchild, I don’t want to become the difficult family, but I am also beginning to resent having been put into this position in the first place where this seems to be our problem to solve. Grandchild is more important than pets, no doubt about that , and I would like to find a solution that is fair to everybody.

I have been told that the dog is part of their family and have said that I hope they understand that the cats are part of ours too and that perhaps we can work out some sort of compromise .
Visiting them is of course not a problem, as we wouldn’t bring our cats. For their visits to us my idea is at the moment as follows: For summer visits the dog can come and the cats won’t come to any harm camping outside most of the time. In winter however I am not really happy with them being driven out of their home and having to stay outside, so D and SiL would have to find a solution for not being able to bring the dog. I would also offer that if they really can’t find a dog sitter , they would have to let me know early enough, and I would look for places in a cattery.
Reasonable? I so don’t want this to be one of those situations that festers!

kathsue Thu 21-Nov-19 16:37:02

I think you are being very reasonable. You're not banning the dog just asking for a little consideration for your cats.

rosenoir Thu 21-Nov-19 16:59:00

Although it is only once a year the cats do not know that, my cat always seemed to be on edge after a dog visit never knowing if it was going to come back. The worry is that the cats may find somewhere else to live.

FlexibleFriend Thu 21-Nov-19 17:44:23

Can't you use dog gates to contain the dog when they visit so the cats could still access part of the house rather than leave. Most cats would just go upstairs out of the way to avoid the dog. I'm guessing they manage to control the dog around the GC so why not around the cats?

Callistemon Thu 21-Nov-19 17:55:07

We had a Springer too and I agree, they can be quite boisterous, perfectly behaved when it suits them then not at all other times and they need lots of exercise.

I think you're being very reasonable but, if they insist on bringing the dog with them, could you do as FlexibleFriend says and put a gate across the stairs or the kitchen door to keep the dog self-contained?

DD's cats have tended to put any of her dogs smartly in their place!

Smileless2012 Thu 21-Nov-19 18:09:05

You are being extremely reasonable gromal. Yes, you can find a cattery for the times your D comes to visit but TBH the onus is on your D to find a kennel or someone to look after their dog.

Containing their dog by use of a baby gate is a good idea but your cats will of course be aware that there's a dog in the house which they'll find unsettling.

I wouldn't be happy with the cats spending a lot of time outside in the winter either, and even if the dog is contained they may not want to come in because they know the dog is there.

If you are worried that asking them not to bring their dog might not go down well, there will I'm sure be a good cattery where they can go for a little holiday.

Hope you can find a workable solution.

Nico97 Thu 21-Nov-19 18:42:10

Can't it just be agreed between you all that when you go to visit them you put the cats in a cattery, and when they visit you they put their dog in kennels. That way the pets don't ever come into contact with each other and the adults are more relaxed too - and able to enjoy your grandchild smile

anniezzz09 Thu 21-Nov-19 18:47:34

I once lived next to a 16 old Springer spaniel, she was still bonkers!

I'd agree with the baby gate solution but would also say that a dog that cannot be taught not to chase is a problem and potentially a danger outside. You can assert the superiority of the cats by doing things like encouraging them to sit higher than the dog, feeding them first on a high surface etc, but these things depend on the cats being brave and confident enough to take charge.

I've lived with a cat and a dog together several times and also had visiting dogs when I had, or have, a cat. The cats are usually more than willing to be in charge with a little help. We had a dog/cat pair where the cat would walk over the dog to get to the other end of the sofa, the dog used to sigh heavily!

Tedber Thu 21-Nov-19 19:00:35

Mmm not sure the kennel idea will go down well. Unless they suggest it themselves. How often are the visits scheduled?

How old are all the pets? Is it likely to be a lengthy problem? Even Springers can slow down in later years. I take it they have never introduced it to a crate? Invaluable when away from home but they don’t generally take to it as adults. The gate is good idea to contain the dog but the cats may still be stressing knowing dog’s there. You could try containing dog to downstairs putting cats upstairs with their food/litter tray, and plugging in some Feliway! They would probably realise the dog can’t get to them but of course he isn’t there long enough for them to get used to it! Then you have to start all over again the next weekend visit.

Other possibilities- maybe you make more trips to their house than they do to yours? Perhaps less in the warmer months?

Yehbutnobut Thu 21-Nov-19 19:11:24

Every dog owner needs to have somewhere or someone they can leave their pets with. We are lucky and dog dig exchanges as the family live close by. We also have a dog sitter.

There are people and organisations who cater for this. The best vine, I am reliably informed is called, Borrow my Doggy. It links up dog owners with dog lovers who for various reasons cannot have a dog of their own full time.

Yehbutnobut Thu 21-Nov-19 19:11:51


Hithere Thu 21-Nov-19 19:12:20

A 4 hour trip (2 hours each way) can be easily made in a day and each family is back in their own homes in the evening.

Your cats are part of your (you and your dh) family. They live with you 24/7

Your D's dog is part of her family (D and sil's).

That said, I am not going to displace family members to accommodate any guests.

As said above, there is no need to make it a weekend trip due to the commute.
Problem solved! Dog stays in his home, cats in yours, humans are the only ones that travel.

Yehbutnobut Thu 21-Nov-19 19:13:35

Borrow my Doggy

Here is the link

sodapop Thu 21-Nov-19 19:31:53

You are being reasonable gromal the gate is a good idea in the short term. Usually cats will not let dogs get the better of them, my dogs and cat live more or less harmoniously. If a dog does step out of line the cat will slap his face. Maybe more dog training is needed.
In the end probably Nico97 has the best solution to keep everyone happy.

Esther1 Thu 21-Nov-19 19:54:57

You sound a lovely reasonable person, and it’s always good to discuss all options through with everyone. I would, for the sake of harmony and not putting the family off visiting, which is the last thing you want, just offer to put your cats in a cattery for the visits - get your Brownie points for being so accommodating, and with a bit of luck they’ll arrange something for the dog instead.

groma1 Thu 21-Nov-19 22:19:17

Thanks everybody: really helpful!
We have tried the stair gate, but that got the dog even more excited! Day trips rather than overnight visits is also something we do: to be honest I would not want to give up all together on the adult time in the evenings though or the morning visit of our GD joining us in bed. That’s the compensation for not being a local GM!
So maybe more visits to them on the winter and pursue the cattery option .
Interesting though isn’t it? If this was a situation with friends, I would just ask them to please not bring the dog, or they wouldn’t impose in the first place. Things can get sometimes so much more complicated with adult children ?

Grammaretto Thu 21-Nov-19 22:33:34

I agree about day trips only so as not to worry the poor cats.
What induced them to get a springer?? They never calm down.
I think you are being incredibly reasonable.

I accidentally left our back gate open whilst dog sitting and she escaped very scary but was eventually found at the pub, propping up the bar and being fed by customers.

Foolishly, I told DD and am now forbidden to dog sit. That's fine by me!! They leave her at home and a neighbour looks after her.

Washerwoman Fri 22-Nov-19 17:42:55

In defence of springers we have two and they are complete livewires on a walk,but very well trained with great recall,but far more relaxed in the house than any of our Labradors ever were.They are thrilled if guests arrive but not jumping up, and if not out and about love chilling on their beds.
But OP you sound to have been very reasonable.Our DD is coming for Xmas with her 2 dogs and her French bulldog is obsessed with our grumpy old cat.So will have to be shut away a fair bit to allow him some space and time in the lounge. Our springers would never pester a cat.They had a firm putting in their place by our cat when they were puppies and treat every cat with the utmost respect now !
However if we were guests and it was going to cause stress to our hosts cats we would definitely make arrangements for our dogs for a short stay.Luckily another DD is always happy to have ours overnight.Or I would find a dog sitter.Good luck sorting things.

Tedber Fri 22-Nov-19 18:49:32

Washerwoman Just to say I agree. Don't tar them all with same brush lol. They ARE very energetic dogs but not all will continue to be a problem throughout life if trained well so whoever said "whatever possessed them to get a Springer" is out of order imo. They are fabulous dogs when understood. Also many Spaniels are very gentle with other creatures as opposed to terriers for instance.

Now, that is not helping OP lol but just wanted to get it in!

In my experience, cats and dogs can live amicably together once boundaries are set (and yes in my experience it is the CATS who set the boundaries) BUT in this case the cats/dogs don't have the time to get adjusted before the dog goes away again.

I think the OP has come up with the best solution. Travel more to Daughter's house in winter and let them come to them in warmer weather when the cats may take the huff but will be fine outside (or in Cattery)

Although have never had this problem as my cats just moved upstairs when 'strange' dogs arrived. I accept some cats may 'freak out' totally...

Dinahmo Sat 23-Nov-19 11:06:34

I used to have both cats and dogs and they generally co-existed. However, when I brought a rescue Cairn home, having been told that he was OK with cats, he chased them up the stairs and they ended up in my airing cupboard for a couple of days. After that everything was OK until one cat was killed on the road. The remaining cat was small, but feisty but she found it difficult with 2 dogs and so climbed up a tree growing against house to get into the top floor. The tree had to be cut down and my OH made a cat ladder and she and 2 subsequent cats used that thereafter.

Cats are rather silly though. These two used to cross the road so that they could sit on the fence railings of the opposite field to watch for creatures, despite having a very large garden with an adjacent copse and a field at the bottom. Sadly, she too was killed on the road.