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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 07-18-2012, 03:49 PM Thread Starter
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Location: Southern California
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New from L.A. area

Hi, I'm Quiche! my family has one utterly adorable two-year-old tabby who was rescued as a kitten from a parking lot in South Central L.A. Spark is a sweet sweet girl who is crazy-affectionate and likes to spend lots of time with her people. She especially likes to stalk my husband and jump up so she can ride on his shoulders. We call her the "dog cat" because she's just sociable.

We just added a 20-pound rescue dog to the family last weekend, and unfortunately the reason I made an account here is because it's not going well. He's fine; he's a doll, he lived with cats in the foster home and was scared of them after the mean one beat him up, and has been nothing but submissively friendly. The rescue thought he probably grew up with friendly cats because he approached them very calmly and politely. On the second day we bungled by letting her run away from him and he ran after -- I think he saw it as a play invitation. Otherwise, he's just been very mellow about her, waggy and submissive and easily distracted.

Spark, on the other hand, is TERRIFIED. She either wants to be out in our (fenced, cat-proof) yard, where she will climb a tree and refuse to come down if she sees him through the door, or she's hiding under furniture in a closed room (she is not allowed out after dark). She will come out to sleep with the people after he's crated and asleep for the night, but even then she won't enter the living room, where she used to spend most of her indoor time socializing with us and looking out the window.

We've been keeping them separated in different areas of the house and trying a gradual approach - opening the door between them while he is on the leash and giving him treats and training sessions, so he doesn't really pay any attention to her and is mostly sitting or lying down. She will stay if held, but will not approach him and if released runs under the bed. She won't approach him enough to find out that he's not a threat, even when he's leashed and lying quietly on the floor, or when she has the run of the house when he's in the crate.

It's only been four days, but it's deeply distressing for me. I worry about her not drinking or eating enough if she stays out all day avoiding him, and that she is not having an opportunity to learn that he is safe. She's not a particularly timid cat, but she is just really, really frightened of the dog and is not making steps to investigate or dominate him at all. She won't jump up on high places to watch him quietly, she's always hiding under something ...

Advice or just reassuring stories would be much appreciated! We're all crazy-attached to Spark, and it would be horrible to have her spend her time hiding and lurking the back bedrooms from now on ... and thanks for reading this ridiculously long first post.
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 07-19-2012, 01:22 AM
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Welcome!

I think you might need to start over with the introduction, here are some good guidelines:

Cat-to-Dog Introductions | Little Big Cat

You should focus on making her comfortable and happy and taking things slow, since he's the strange newcomer. Lisa just brought a dog into her 3-cat home.

https://www.catforum.com/forum/47-lou...ly-member.html

Cali, Cinderella, Cleo and Charlee

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Always in my heart, my lovely Cinderella, running free at the Bridge.
Always in my heart, my sweet Cali, running free at the Bridge.

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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 07-19-2012, 02:34 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you! Last night's "watch the dog learn to sit" session went pretty well, and she even jumped down on the floor next to but not under the bed while watching. Then later she came out and went down the hall into the living room where the scary dog was asleep in his crate, so she seems to be adjusting in spite of our bungling.

If she'd just haul off and wack him, I think she'd feel ever so much better.
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 07-19-2012, 08:05 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks! She actually took some big steps last night -- playing enthusiastically on top of the bed with me, watching the dog when he was presented in the doorway from next to the bed instead of under it, and then coming down the hall and into the living room after he fell asleep in his crate. She came in and out several times, jumped up on the couch, wanted to be petted, and went within a few feet of the crate without puffing up her tail.

That Jackson Galaxy piece was very informative, but I wish he hadn't included the story about the terrier killing the cats in its home, now I'm all wound up again ... that is my worst nightmare, that our decision to add a pet leads to a violent death for our beloved kitty.

Last edited by Quiche Lorraine; 07-19-2012 at 08:07 PM.
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 07-27-2012, 03:35 PM Thread Starter
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So, we've had the dog two weeks. He's a total sweetie and shows nothing but submissive friendliness to the cat -- she's still scared to death of him. I'm not sure how long to give it. I don't want my sweet cat to live under the bed and up a tree!
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