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Introducing Cat to Dogs

DSterne
November 4th, 2005, 03:02 AM
Hi all,

I am new here, and I'm pretty sure that this topic has already been covered in the course of conversation, but I hope you will bear with me and help me out with this.

My boyfriend & I have decided to "officially" move in together. We have in effect been living together already but we have decided that now that it is official, that he should bring his cat with him. We don't have enough money to affor a place of our own, so we are living with my folks.

I have 2 dogs (mixed breeds) of around 6 - 7 years old. He has a cat of about the same age. My dogs were adopted from a rescue organisation and came from abused homes, so they have a few little quirks. Petal (1 dog) is Lab x Retriever x Border Collie (we think) and Mica (the other dog) is a Lab x Jack Russel x Bull dog (as near as we can figure). Twinkles (the cat) is also a mixed breed.

We know that Twinkles should be fine with my dogs as she was raised with other dogs and lives with one at the moment so she is used to other animals. My dogs however, only know each other and don't socialise with other animals and do not like cats that much.

I am pretty sure that Petal will adjust quickly, although I know she will get very upset & depressed and her digestive system will be upset for a while. But I am very worried about Mica. She is by far the more aggressive of the two and has chased the cats across the road from us. I am worried that she will try and attack Twinkles and very possible try to kill her. She (Mica) does have a sweet nature but she is very jealous and possessive and will occasionally even get a little agressive with Petal (the other dog) and she defintely has a much stronger hunting drive than Petal does (if they catch a bird, Petal is just curious and will let it go, but Mica will try to kill it). I know for a fact that she will not dare try anything while one of us or one of my folks are watching her, but it is when we turn our backs that there are problems.

Taking all this into account, what is the best way to go about introducing the animals to each other with the least amount of fighting and how long do you think it would take for them to adjust to each other.

There is almost always someone in the house, and we doubt very much that Twinkles would actually want to leave my bedroom, but still, we would like for her to be able to roam around in the house without having to worry about her being attacked.

What are the chances that we will be able to sucessfully include the cat into a household with two older dogs? I really would like to avoid the situation of my boyfriend having to give his cat away, but I am very worried about her safety as well.

Any thoughts?

Thanks in advance.

Lucky Rescue
November 4th, 2005, 10:16 AM
What are the chances that we will be able to sucessfully include the cat into a household with two older dogs?

It's possible. Many dogs who will chase cats outside wont' harm their "own" cats in the home, as they see them as part of their own pack. OF course, no guarantees.

Keep the cat in the bedroom for a week or so. Bring some blankets she is lying on out for the dogs to sniff so they'll get used to her.

Then try putting a baby gate on the bedroom door and let the dogs see the cat, but do NOT take either dog into the bedroom. This way you can better judge your dog's reaction to the cat. If you haven't taught your dog to "Leave it" or "NO Cat!" now is the time.

If and when the cat does come out of the bedroom, keep your dog on a leash so you can correct her if she tries to go after the cat. When she obeys you and leaves the cat alone, praise her and give her a treat.

Under no circumstances leave the cat out alone with the dogs. You may be able to teach them to behave if you are present, but don't trust them alone, ever.

As for your b/f "giving away" his 6 or 7 year old cat - it's nearly impossible to find homes for tiny cute kittens, never mind cats this age. And never give animals for free, since they could very well end up in experimental laboratories, so suffer any one of a number of terrible fates.

cpietra16
November 4th, 2005, 10:50 AM
Please don't trust them yet. I once brought in a stray puppy and she was fine in the home with all our cats. I actually have a picture of her and this little kitten sleeping together. I let puppy out one day and she chewed throught her plastic and metal leash ( this happened after 3 months) came in throught the cat door all excited and started chasing the kitten, ( I assume she wanted to play ), but she was so rough that she grabbed her by her neck and killed her. This is something i will never forget or forgive myself for. The kitten was fast asleep and I was in the kitchen, but by the time I went into the living room to see what was going on she was already dead. Please if you have any doubt take your time with the intros...even after 3 months I was shocked at this behavior.

Lucky Rescue
November 4th, 2005, 12:24 PM
cpietra, that is just horrible! I can only imagine how you feel.:(

Many cats have been killed by dogs in the home by what starts as play, even when cat and dog are best friends.

You can never be too careful. One bite/shake by a dog can kill a cat.

jesse's mommy
November 4th, 2005, 01:49 PM
Absolutely. We even kept Jesse and the kitty we rescued a few a couple of weeks ago separated. Jesse and her were wonderful together, but we did not let them roam the house together if we weren't here and if we were here, we still were very careful. We kept the kitty in the spare bathroom with his litter box, food, water, toys and a bed and shut the door. We even did this in shifts while we were home because in reality, you can't keep an eye on them ALL THE TIME. Please be careful introducing them and do it gradually, not forcefully.