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Pet World: Give cats space they need to adjust to new home

By Cathy M. Rosenthal, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Cathy,

We adopted a two-year-old cat. She was captured as a stray and spayed. She is very social with people. We were told she "hates" other cats but is okay with dogs. We have a 13-year-old male dog who is totally complacent about everything. The cat has started to lay her ears back, meow annoyance, and chase him from wherever she doesn't wish him to be. Thus far, our corrections have been clapping hands with a displeased tone of voice. She will exit the situation but will repeat the behavior later. I've also sprayed pheromones around sleeping areas and tried calming cat treats.

I'm getting the sense she does not want to share us or her space. I would appreciate any suggestions to curtail her behavior. A can of coins or noise correction would freak out our old dog.

–Regina, Northampton, Pennsylvania

Dear Regina,

It’s always a transition when a new pet enters a home with other pets. Your new cat has to establish her space to feel safe, and your dog may have to give up some of his usual territory to achieve harmony.


You are doing all the right things with the pheromones, and it’s okay to correct her with the hand clapping when she is chasing the dog. As long as she is not attacking the dog (or anyone in the household), let her vocalize and express her anxieties without repercussions. Talk softly to her, but don’t touch her when she is stressed. Wait for her to come to you. Make sure she has plenty of places to hide, like inside baskets, boxes, closets, or under the bed, since this adds to her feelings of well-being. Keep up with the pheromone spray but add a pheromone collar for her to wear.

I think she will adjust without much interference. Her and the dog may not be best friends, but they will work out their spaces in the home eventually.

Dear Cathy,

We recently adopted a one-year-old female Yorkipoo. She has a great personality and loves to play. The problem is we cannot housebreak her. When we got her, we thought this would be a temporary situation but have since learned the previous owner permitted her to eliminate in the house. We have her peeing on paper but continue to try to transition her to outside. I take her out right after she eats in the morning and evening, but she does nothing for over an hour. As soon as I bring her in, she will go. Any pointers would be greatly appreciated.


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