So, our family has just gone and adopted our first dog. She's a Great Pyrenees and huge. Our family has always had cats, and we're fanatical about them. We've seen almost every behavior possible, from the disdainful snobby glare given while a cat pees on the wall next to the cat box out of spite, to furniture shredding, hand shredding, cat shredding.... a lot of shredding. But, we've never tried to throw a dog into the mix, and, frankly, this type of cat reaction is one we've never had to deal with before.
The dog is extremely mellow and mainly ignores the cat, and had no problems with cats at her foster mommy's. It's the cat with the problem. At first, she just would hide under the couch or table and growl and hiss without stopping. She'd walk around in a careful, low crouch and be careful of where the dog is. However, in the back yard, they ended up a foot away from each other, and, despite the cat's hissing and growling, the dog ignored her, which made the cat realize she wasn't about to be attacked any time soon... so she started stalking the dog, following it at a distance hissing, growling, posturing, and swatting (and missing) the dog. She's also launch herself at the dog from under the couch if it was passing by. The other night, the dog saw the cat behind something from down the hallway, and she bounded at the cat but stopped about two feet away from the cat when we yelled for her to leave it alone. We think the dog might have thought she was a shadow. However, the cat was terrified.
Since we brought the dog home we turned the basement into a dog-free zone (it's a living room style garden level with three bedrooms, not a cellar!), and we put Deci, the cat's, food in my bedroom in the basement, and she's been sleeping in there with me. The cat would creep upstairs and hiss and spit and the dog, but after being rushed by it, she's been sticking mostly to the basement and even needs encouragement to go out side at times, despite the fact that she's free to come and go. She's always had this neurotic thing where she's obsessed with being petted while she eats, and now it's the first thing she asks for if you go downstairs, which means she stressed. We want them to get along, and we're going to start kenneling the dog in her own room at night, but since we've been trying to keep their outdoor times separate and the cat is sticking to the basement, I'm afraid there'll not be enough face time for a slow familiarization to take place. We love our new dog, but our cat has always been Queen of her domain, and, as far as we've always thought of it, we're her willing slaves, at the ready to lavish her with pettings and tuna. But now that she's sulking in the basement while the dog is upstairs getting all the loves, it makes us sad because we don't know how to help our cat accept the dog into her kingdom, and, hopefully one day, allowing it to become one of her subjects.
Any one else ever have to get a cat to stop attacking a calm dog? Is time and patience and the occasional closed door the only thing that really works? It was the only thing that got our dear old cat to accept this new cat while he was still alive and supreme ruler of our house, but they at least spoke the same language. It took a month, but it eventually happened. Is a cat coming to terms with a large dog much the same?
Thanks to any one who has any suggestions, stories, or advice. I appreciate it. I know it's long, I'm a ranter, but I'm also deeply, madly in love with my cat, and forming a new, strong love with my dog, and I don't want an unfortunate misunderstanding.