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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
We live in the country. The neighbor is not very close by, like he would be in a suburb. He has a couple of cats that wandered onto his property from a farm. They live outside, he feeds them, and they sleep in his outbuildings. He is not going to keep the cats inside the house.

One of the cats is about a year old. She has come to our place a few times to greet my husband and my teenage sons when they come home. If my daughter weren't severely allergic to cats, my husband would have asked the neighbor if we could have this one, before we got Aidan.

I saw her for the first time the other day. I went out to put Aidan in the fenced area and then went down to my car. There were two cats sitting in the middle of the acre of lawn on the other side of the driveway. One ran away into the woods immediately. The female made a beeline for me, at top speed, and jumped up on me to be petted. I disengaged her claws from my pants leg, petted her, and shooed her away.

Aidan, meanwhile, was barking, running, jumping, twirling, and hopping because he saw the cats. I didn't know this, but Aidan can stand on his hind legs and hop backwards several steps and forwards, then twirl around and do it again, all while remaining upright on his hind legs.

Aidan is fixated on this cat. She visits us many times a day now. She comes onto our porch and walks around the yard and the fenced-area we have for Aidan. When Aidan is in the house, I know she is there because he starts hopping, twirling, and barking, and he is desperately eager to go outside. He must hear her, because when I look outside, no cat is there.

Aidan's only interest when going outside is in finding her. He pulls heartily on the leash and refuses to go into the fenced area (which I don't let him get away with) because all he wants to do is sniff around for the cat. He won't go for a walk.

The cat comes to sit on our porch wall while Aidan is in the fenced area, which begins 3' away from the wall. She just sits there, staring at him while he go nuts. The whole purpose of having the fenced area is for him to do his business when the weather is bad, and for us to have a place to play with him off leash when the weather is good. It was just installed a couple of weeks ago. He isn't out there very long at all, but the cat shows up every single time.

How would you handle this situation? It is driving me crazy. This is a very sweet, affectionate, friendly, and tiny cat. I do not want to scare her. Even though Aidan wags his tail when he barks at her, I do not want to introduce them. Aidan is a strong dog, and I don't want to take any chance that he would grab the cat. I've seen how hard he shakes toys and if he got ahold of that little cat, he could break her neck in a jiffy.

I've been through a cat being fascinated with a dog before. For years, our collie was visited frequently by a neighbor's cat, Rosie. Teddy would lie in the yard, and the cat would lie across his front legs on her back, wiggling around. She'd suddenly run at him from outside the fence just to watch him jump back. She'd follow him into the house and prance around like she owned the place. Rosie liked to tease Teddy, and Teddy just put up with her. I always rescued Teddy from Rosie because he was not happy about her attention.

Aidan is not anything like Teddy. Aidan has a real strong prey drive, while Ted had none. Frogs, shrews, chipmunks, lizards, birds, and cats were perfectly safe with Ted.

If anyone has any ideas, please give them to me. Except for cayenne pepper -- I don't want to sprinkle anything to keep the cat away because Aidan will sniff it for sure.

Thanks,
RC
 

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I don't know. Our neigbor's tiny "Pomapoo" is obsessed with our big Coon Cat. Every time the dog is out and she sees our cat, she is running the fence, barking and generally getting hysterical. Their other tiny dog could care less. The cat is big, about 16 pounds and the little dog only weighs about 7 pounds. I KNOW the cat teases the dog, I've seen him sitting on the other side of the fence and staring at the dog while it goes crazy. The cat likes dogs, he plays with our 52lb puppy! I think he's just amused by the little dogs antics. If I go out and find this going on, I remove the cat, bringing him in or putting him on the other side of the house, where the dog can't see him. A couple of times, I've brought him over to their yard (with the owner's OK) and showed him to the dog, hoping that would stop it...nope, the little dog took off, terrified of the big cat. She just likes to hassle my cat when she thinks he can't get her (it hasn't occurred to her that he could easily jump their fence if he cared to) and the cat likes hassling the dog by sitting there just out of reach. It's their very noisy version of playing and amusing themselves. Cats SURELY have a sense of humor, I've never met one who didn't, though their humor is pretty subtle. The cat might like the attention it gets from your dog and finds it fun.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
It's their very noisy version of playing and amusing themselves. Cats SURELY have a sense of humor, I've never met one who didn't, though their humor is pretty subtle. The cat might like the attention it gets from your dog and finds it fun.
Boy, they sure do have senses of humor. The cat, Rosie, who tormented my collie, was the funniest cat I've ever met. She wasn't subtle about her sense of humor; she was having a rollicking good time! The juxtaposition of a 100 lb. collie and an 8 lb. cat was pretty funny, too.

The cat must like this or she wouldn't keep coming over here, since she is definitely here for the dog. You're right, the dog likes it, too. There hasn't been this much excitement around here in the 2.5 years we've lived here, except when the hawks decide to eat crow. The crows (in murders of about 100) chase off the hawks. It is a very noisy process that is interesting to watch, especially since no birds are harmed.

This morning, the cat did not show up when I put the dog out. Maybe he's boring the cat with all those re-runs (same show, every time). I hope so.
 

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I don't know how to help. Maybe the cat will eventually become old news? Could you bring the cat close to the fence so Aiden could get a good sniff? No idea.

But maybe you should take a video of Aiden's dance and post it here. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
But maybe you should take a video of Aiden's dance and post it here. ;)
I thought about that. I have to get my daughter's video camera and figure out how to use it. He looks like a Lorax now -- I just clipped 5" or more of hair off him the other day -- so he's both funny and funny looking. :)

Hey, maybe that's why the cat is interested in him for the first time - she came to check out the "new" dog. He's changed color, too -- he is wheaten now, whereas he used to be golden tan. (This is normal.)
 

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I agree with Avery PLEASE post a video of his dance :D I'd love to see it!
Aside from that, I've got a dog obsessed cat, and it has taken the last year to get Caeda to be really good with her (though she still occasionally gets too exuberant if the cat taunts too much). You've got the additional challenge though of the encounters not being in the house, so its not such a contained area.
My suggestions (though whether they would work or not I dunno, but perhaps worth a shot): Get together the BEST treats in the world (or toys if Aidan prefers), have Aidan on a drag lead, just in case and go outside in the yard with him when you KNOW the cat will be there. If you're using a clicker you can use that too if you want, though if it gets him excited don't.
Does Aidan have a "correction word", like "No" or "Ah" or something that tells him you don't like what he is doing? if he does, that's fantastic, you'll need to use it.
Stand with Aidan and when he sees the cat from a distance if you have a moment before he starts jumping, use it and give a treat. keep treating whenever he is calm while looking at the cat. When he is consistently calm at a particular distance, move closer. Maybe get somebody to pick up the cat (still at a distance) and walk around with it, or play with it, treats for calm. Get closer, whenever he bolts for the cat or pulls for it (or unfortunately when he does his dance for it) use "NO" and back up until he is calm. You could also offer something else to satisfy the prey drive, kind of saying "chase this, not that"
This is sort of what we did with our cats and Caeda, it isn't perfect and takes a LOT of time, but it improved things dramatically, and Caeda has a heck of a prey drive. They actually cuddle (well....the one cat does, the other cat keeps his distance). Caeda now only chases if the cat instigates, and we progressed to giving treats (to both cat and dog) for good interactions, everything is pretty gentle now.
I dunno, it might work for you....the only other option I can think of, and I hate to suggest, is a squirt bottle to teach the cat to not come by any more :(
Good luck, if you come up with any innovative ideas be sure to let us know!
 

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Could you talk to the neighbor about finding the cat a new home? It sounds like the farm life is not agreeing with her.
She wants a family of her own to hang out with. Advising your family to ignore her when she comes to visit could discourage her visits. You could try training the ' leave it command' to Aidan. I taught my JRT this command. Comes in very handy when we are out horse carting and squirrels are running across the path up ahead of us.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
There are a ton of cats around here because it is rural, mostly dairy farms. I'm surprised more of them haven't wandered over here. The local shelter is a no-kill one and they are not taking cats right now because they are full.

I tried to convince the neighbor to let the cat live in his house, but he won't do it. He is elderly and he isn't used to animals living in the house. I don't think there are very many house cats around here.

Anyway, I haven't seen the cat at all today. Aidan has not been sniffing around, so she definitely hasn't been here.

I'm going to try your ideas when she returns. Aidan knows the leave it command, but he doesn't associate it with barking and trying to get to the cat. Meanwhile, I'll work on Aidan in a setting in which he is easily distracted, to see if I can get him to pay attention and calm down. There will be plenty of opportunities, such as when the kids are around, or anyone comes home.

Thank you for your suggestions.

RC
 
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