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Cat keeps herding border collie

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Q: My cat is herding my border collie. My 3-year-old border collie is calm and polite. I adopted her last year. About six months ago, I adopted a 4-year-old cat, who is also pretty calm and who gets along well with the dog. Sometimes the cat naps in the dog's crate. Now, the dog wants nothing to do with the crate. The crate was a part of the dog's daily routine and he seems upset about it. I've tried to keep the cat out, and to wash the pad inside the crate. At bedtime, the dog now circles the crate trying to decide where she should sleep, even if the cat is completely out of the room. I thought about a second crate, but I only have room for one. Can you settle this problem?

A. G., Appleton, Wis.

A: The fact that your cat is herding your border collie suggests your dog may be intimidated by his feline housemate. Still, if they get along - as you suggest - there's no other concern, except for the sleeping arrangement issue.

Amy Shojai, author of "PETiquette: Solving Behavior Problems in Your Multi-Pet Household," recommends finding another place for your cat to catnap. Arrange a cozy, soft bed or blanket, perhaps fleece, on one or more window sills where the sun frequently hits. Encourage your cat to come to the bed(s) at times when you know she typically snoozes, not when she's all riled up for play. Periodically deposit treats to add allure.

Your cat may prefer an enclosed space that replicates a dog crate. Offer a soft blanket inside a kitty carrier or even an empty cardboard box.

"Meanwhile, encourage your dog to return to the cat-free crate,'' Shojai said. "Fist offer special treats inside the crate, and then begin to feed her meals from the crate.''

Shojai, based in Sherman, Texas, has one more point. "It's possible the cat has nothing to do with your dog's apparent sudden dislike of the crate. Perhaps the furnace made a loud noise or something else happened that frightened her while she was inside the crate. And now she's associated the fear with the crate.''

Credit: Reviewed by Amy I. Attas, V.M.D.
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