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Hi,

We have a 1 year old dog we rescued at the beginning of the summer. He's very excitable and very spazzy, but loves dogs and cats and people. I just took in a foster cat who is a very friendly, outgoing kitty. We're hoping that these two will become friends. But right now the dog barks when he sees the cat (wants to go play), which freaks out the cat, which upsets the dog. So we're keeping them seperated, sight-unseen, until the dog gets used to having a cat in the house (he knows he's here somewhere, and he's hyper), and the cat gets used to the barking. I put one of the dog's towels in the kitty room to see if that helps them get used to it.

So any suggestions on how to help this along? At least on the cat's part. How can I help him relax around the dog? How should I go about this?
 

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Go slow. At first, all interactions between cat and dog should be done with the dog on a short leash and in a down-stay position, or (ideally) inside a dog crate so that the cat can explore him safely (and if the dog knows the "quiet" command, use it frequently to keep him from barking at the cat). The cat shouldn't be restrained or forced into interaction during the introduction process, and should have ample escape routes and absolutely safe (where the dog just cannot go) areas for eating and litterbox. The idea is to let the cat become comfortable with the dog at HIS own pace, and with the dog under very secure and positive control, and to convince the dog that it's in his best interest to leave kitty alone. Gradually, you can make the together time longer, and keep praising the dog when he ignores the cat. If he starts to bark, chase or try to go to the cat, correct him gently and reward him when he complies. If the dog is behaving well and the cat is unagitated, you can gradually lengthen the leash, but reel the dog back in if he gets overly interested in the cat or if the cat gets freaked out. If you can eventually feed them in a space where they can see, but not reach each other, it will help them build nice associations with each other. Then gradually, you can move the feeding spots closer together so that eventually they're eating on, say, opposite sides of a baby gate.

The cat is going to work on his own timetable, and may take some time to get used to the dog (and some cats like mine, just won't tolerate even the best-behaved dog). The best thing you can do is supervise their interaction and keep the dog well under control when the cat is present. It's very easy for a dog (especially a spazzy, barky, or flighty one) to insult the dignity and personal space of a cat without even trying, :roll: so you'll have to make sure he doesn't do that. Dr. Jean also has a section about new pet introductions in the free article part of her website at www.littlebigcat.com that's quite good, too.
 

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wow gudewife, thats some great information you sharred! :D

KittyEnvy--Welcome to the Cat Forum Family! make yourself at home! 8)
 

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Thank you much, Gudewife. I've been trying to follow those basic ideas around here, but this dog makes it all very difficult. Every time they saw each other, the cat would hiss and the dog would bark and I'd have to break eye contact (move the dog to another room). And this was when the cat was on something, behind a baby gate, with the door cracked open. I tried putting the dog in his crate and letting the cat explore at his own pace, but the dog freaked OUT. So that definitely didn't work.

That setup didn't seem to work so I moved the cat and all his stuff to the top of the fridge - he has the top of the fridge, microwave, and a washer/dryer combo (really tall) to lounge on. He seems much more relaxed up there, knowing the dog just can't get up that high. His litter box, food, and toys are all up there so he doesn't have to come down if he doesn't want to - but he can also come down and explore if he wants to. The dog is ALWAYS supervised in the house because he likes to "eat" things (like the couch), and whenever we're not watching he goes in the bedroom or his crate.

I found the key to this whole thing was not focussing on either animal. I had the dog on a short leash, the cat on the fridge, and I just went about my business in the kitchen, doing dishes and getting the pet food ready. They both seemed to take my cue. They both even ate at the same time in the same room! I'm really happy about that.

Now the cat seems to have relaxed a lot and is settled up there. The dog is pretty much ignoring him - EXCEPT when we pay any attention to the cat. The dog apparently has jealousy issues. So I've been practicing his sit-stay, pet the cat, pet the dog, pet the cat, pet the dog. I'm so thankful that we went through obedience class and he has a semi-reliable sit/down/stay!! It's helped so much today.

If the dog had his way, he'd barge right up to the cat for immediate introductions. The cat disagrees. Now that they've both checked each other out from a distance they seem satisfied enough, so I'm letting the cat take it at his pace. When he wants to come down, he will. :)

PS, the dog needs some time-outs and I need some breathing room so he goes in the bedroom for a while. I took the cat down and brought him to the couch to me to watch TV. What a lovable cat! He purred and cuddled and settled on the back of the couch with me. How comfy. :)
 

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KittenEnvy -
This sounds very similar to the introduction between our cat and Rottweiler. The Rottweiler was 6 at the time and had never been around cats before. When we were at home we let them just kind of sort things out for themselves. When we not at home we kept them separated for about a week or two. Of course, we had a feel for the situation and knew that the dog was just curious and not going to actually bite the cat...so we were comfortable taking this route.

This probably will NOT work for all dog cat introductions, but luckily it did for us. After a few weeks, they were best of friends and it became obvious very soon that our cat Franny was the boss and she'd often swat the dog around for no apparent reason. Our dog would just lay on the floor and give a heavy sigh! It was the cutest thing.

If you feel the same about the dog...that he's not going to actually attack the cat, I think what you are doing is probably going to work out just fine. Sometimes, they need to work things out for themselves. Other times, this is simply not an option.

Good luck.
 

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With my dog - we did intros and everything - of course he was just a bit smaller than my cat - so we weren't too worried.

Sometimes our dog would try to mate with the cat... 8O or try to sniff him enthusiastically in certain areas. Anyways - we always let the cat handle how he wanted to deal with the dog as long as he didn't hurt him too much. He put the dog in a hold - had his claws out - the dog went still and he would either do the bunny kick or bite his ear - then let him go. A few times of this and he soon learned kitty wasn't going to put up with it.

I'm not sure how my other cats are going to deal with our dogs when we get them - and we might have to change around how we introduce them - but we'll figure it out.

Congratz on getting them to at least stay in the same room together. :D
 
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