I just registered as I've adopted a cat recently and I would really appreciate some advice/insight from you folks.
6 days ago today, I adopted Hutch, an absolutely darling 5-year-old orange and white tabby. His owners could no longer keep him because since discovering she was pregnant, buying a home was looking to be much further in the future than they had hoped. They had just moved here at the end of 2012 and have two dogs as well, but the pet limit in their apartment is 2, and they were hiding Hutch from the landlord. They loved him dearly, had him since he was adopted at 8wks old and he grew up around two dogs. They got along fine, even snuggled together sometimes, and Hutch held his own when they were being a little too rowdy.
He's adjusting really well for his entire life being turned upside down. Within the first five minutes of being in his "safe room", he was pawing at the door to get out and explore. He stays on the second floor mostly still, but if I can coax him to come downstairs, he'll stay in the living room for hours. The only place he really ever falls asleep is on my bed (my bedroom was his "safe room" and has the food/litter) or in the living room. He won't go into my brother's room still, it's on the other side of my house on the 2nd floor. He actually explored it the first two days he was here, but after that hasn't gone near it, even with coaxing. Not that I'm worried about it, I'm sure he'll come around.
I have a dog as well. His name is Charlie. He's a 7-year-old 35 lb cockapoo. He's a sweetheart, but he can definitely be rambunctious (Hutch lived with a rambunctious dog around the same size). We had a (brave!) cat for the first 4 years of his life and they were best buds, before he was hit by a car (RIP Bagels). Charlie learned to respect Bagels, and they would sleep together and lick each other all day on the couch. So we know he's cat friendly. But it's been a few years.
Charlie has had his roam of the kitchen for the past six days, which we've closed the doors to so Hutch doesn't interact with him yet. A few times we've put Charlie in the den and closed the doors there so Hutch has been able to explore the kitchen, taking extra sniffs of his dog bed. I took the furminator to Hutch and rubbed some of his fur in Charlie's bed, too.
Now, the biggest PITA in my house is my brother. On the second day of Hutch being home, my brother insisted that it was time for introductions. Before this, every two hours he was saying "when can Hutch meet Charlie?" "Weeks,"
I said. He scoffed and said no way. (You'd think he's 14, right? Nope, he's a 28 year old doctoral student...) Hutch was chilling in the living room when my brother opened the kitchen door with the leash in hand. "Get the heck out of here with that. He's not ready yet."
My brother didn't listen. He had treats in his hand like I had talked about for when the time was right. Some profanities were strewn about, but then we were at the point of no return...Hutch was immediately in defense mode under the coffee table and Charlie was on his leash, huge eyes, tail wagging, occasionally jumping up and pulling. After a few minutes of stare downs and Charlie getting rewarded for being still, Hutch began hissing. He approached Charlie, hair standing, and gave him a big ol' scratch on the face along with a nasty hiss. Charlie snapped back. It all happened in a split second. I'd never seen Charlie snap. I was emotional after that happened, told my dad how upset I was over my brother's behavior. That night my dad yelled at him and he hasn't brought up them meeting since. Hutch has been a bit more reserved since, but he's still being a trooper. It was really disheartening though. And now I just get negative thoughts in my head, like "what if they never get along? What if Hutch is terrified of him forever? What if Charlie snaps again? How far did that push our progress back?"
This all must be so hard for Hutch, and he really is such a loving, gentle soul. I just want to do whatever I can to make this easier for him, he more than deserves it.
When and how should I go about introducing Hutch and my dog?
Should I let them sniff each other through a cracked door for a few days/weeks? I've done that once since the meeting, but Charlie was very excited and kinda creeped Hutch out.
Should I wait until Hutch is walking around like he owns the place? (That's how he was with his old family, he loved everyone and was very confident. When we first met him he was right there by the door with the dogs, wondering who the new people were. He supposedly handled the move better than the dogs). How long do you think this might take for him?
As you can understand, them getting along is my absolute priority as they are both loved members of the family. I know six days isn't long at all I wasn't planning on introducing them for a few weeks, so I'm willing to wait. Sorry for writing such a book. Thanks so much to anyone who helps.
And the other star of the show:
Adopted a 5-year-old confident/social kitty 6 days ago who lived with dogs growing up. He's adjusting pretty well but my brother attempted to "introduce" the cat to our dog (7 y/o 35lb cockapoo) without my permission on his 2nd day home. After a stare down, cat hissed and scratched, dog snapped back (he was restrained on a leash whole time). Dog has lived with a cat growing up so we know he is cat friendly, and vice versa. Dog never snapped before that. What steps should I take next to ensure they'll get along when they're ready? What is a good method of cat/dog introduction given this situation? Thank you!