What steps can you take to provide escape routes for a cat in a cat-dog household?

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Providing escape routes for your cat so that he can get away from your dog is essential in most cat-dog households. Cats need to be able to evade unwanted attention from an overly-friendly dog, as well as threatening behavior from a dog with a high prey-drive. Having access to quiet, safe resting places will help your cat feel relaxed and content in his home.

Cats feel safer when they can find a place to escape up high. They are out of reach of the dog and better able to observe their surroundings. To create cat friendly spaces in your home:

  • Place a chair next to a bookcase so that your cat can jump to the top.
  • Purchase a tall cat tree that your cat can climb and perch upon. It should be too tall for the dog to reach the top and too sturdy for the dog to knock over.
  • Attach several small shelves on a wall at increasing heights. Your cat should be able to walk up the shelves until he reaches the highest one.

Additionally, you can create areas of the house that your cat can access, but your dog cannot reach:

  • Use a baby safety gate to block off a favorite room, such as the bedroom where your cat prefers to nap. The gate will stop the dog from entering but your cat will be able to jump over it easily. Don’t forget that taller dogs need taller gates. They may see the small gates as hurdles.
  • If you are worried the dog will jump over the gate, you can install a cat-sized, flap-style door in a bedroom door that will remain closed. The cat can access the room through the small door and the dog will be too large to fit through the space and unable to follow the cat.

Because cats are susceptible to various stress-related health problems, maintaining a peaceful living space will have a direct affect on your cat’s wellness and make your home a more positive environment overall.

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