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Can I have a dog, when I have cats?

(16 Posts)
StillMedusa Sat 19-Nov-16 23:08:34

Please be gentle with me smile
I have three cats, one old girl of 17 and two two year old Maine Coons..both are quite timid types.
We would love a dog. My son in particular, is 19 with autism (he is gentle and kind and adores all animals) and is desperate for his own dog to love and walk... he spends as much time as he can with friend's dogs and they seem to sense his difference and need.
He is home all day as he has a little p/t job in the evenings and I am home by 4pm so a dog would never be left alone at any time.
While my Dad had a dog, and my Gran, I have never been a dog owner myself and am very anxious to get it right.
Is it possible to introduce a dog to a home with cats? I think my old lady cat would simply retire to the bedroom as she is in the sleepy old stage of life, but I don't want to make my younger ones miserable.
But my son NEEDS a dog and I would love one.
Would it be better to consider a puppy, or an older rescue dog?

Any advice on how I could do this, and are any breeds an absolute no no? (I assume lurcher types are out?)

Thanks for any advice. I just want to be a responsible owner to all of my much loved animals!

Wolfiefan Sat 19-Nov-16 23:13:56

Retired greyhounds have a leaflet about introducing cats and dogs.
I'm not sure a 17 year old would cope that well. Well enough to get away if necessary?
You do get cat "safe" lurchers and greys.
The key things (I think) are to allow the cats safe (high?) space away from the dog. Never allow dog to chase cat. Don't leave them alone together at all until you are certain the cats will be safe.
I'll tell you if this works soon enough. Hoping to get our first pup end of the months!
Other things. Size of dog? Grooming? How much exercise? Size of house and garden?

StillMedusa Sat 19-Nov-16 23:20:24

My garden is small to medium I guess. Walking not a problem as I only work school hours and my son would do a morning walk then I'd do the evening one . My house is a decent 3 bed with a large extended living room.. I would plan on making upstairs a no go zone for a dog until the cats are comfy. I am prepared to wait until old girl dies (not that I want her to...but as she is 17 and definitely OLD now I can't imagine she has many years left)
I think my ideal is a greyhound... I just love them... or a setter. I like larger dogs (and cats...my boy Coon is a 24 pound monster grin smile

KittiesInsane Sat 19-Nov-16 23:23:50

Well, we did it, for very much the same reasons, with a 19-year-old cat and a six-month kitten. We went for a puppy who started out smaller than the cats and was easily intimidated. The ancient cat spat and swiped at her on day 1 and won instant respect from there on.

Ancient cat has now gone to a happier hunting ground, and the younger cat is reaching a different accommodation with the dog. Both are fairly wimpy animals, so though they chase each other a bit, there's never been any harm done.

KittiesInsane Sat 19-Nov-16 23:27:37

Just read your update - bloody hell that's a big cat! Our old mog was about 4 lb wringing wet. Still had the dog under her paw though.

mmmuffins Sat 19-Nov-16 23:28:39

I intoduced an irish setter puppy to my cats when they were 3 years old. It was hard going at first; the cats were terrified and the puppy loved to try and play with them. I would say it took about 8 months for my bold cat to accept the dog, and 14 months for my timid cat. We are 18 months in now, and everyone is happy. Bold cat now roughhouses with the dog, they will curl up on the couch together, etc.

EasyToEatTiger Sat 19-Nov-16 23:45:16

Yes of course you can! Our old dogs were chased down the road by a cat. In fact often the dog will come out worse. It's really worth looking at rescue centres as they will find the dog to suit you. If you are going for a puppy, look carefully and find a suitable breeder. You could also investigate local dog training clubs. I support Guide Dogs, and it happens that the trainee dog isn't suitable as a guide dog but will go on to become a support dog. Guide Dogs may be able to find out about how to get a support dog or advise you in where to look or what to look for. Your vet might be able to help. It's not easy to decide on breed. You may find yourself with a Great Dane or a Terrier. Some dogs are just rubbish with cats. I don't think it's always the breed. Happy hunting!

Wolfiefan Sat 19-Nov-16 23:48:53

Ha. I'm definitely getting what you'd call a large dog.
Stair gate is a good thing.
We waited partly as we had a 19 year old cat but lost her last year. sad
You do get cat friendly grey rescues but not often. Setters are vv different. Think mad as hatters!!

luckylambchop Sun 20-Nov-16 08:07:44

Hi, we have just adopted a greyhound and we have a cat. As someone else said, the Retired Greyhound Trust provide very clear instructions on how to do it. So far (we are two weeks in) it's going fine. Also most rescues will tell you if a dog is likely to be able to live with cats or not. X

GrabtharsHammer Sun 20-Nov-16 08:10:13

We have a mini dog and an aloof cat. We got ddog as a puppy and dcat put her in her place very early on. They have a grudgingly respectful relationship now.

Noitsnotteatimeyet Sun 20-Nov-16 08:35:08

We grew up with various combinations of dogs and cats - at one point there were five cats and three dogs ... we currently have two cats and one dog. The cats have always, without exception, had the upper paw!

We got our dog when our timid cat was 14 and our thug cat was about 4. They were both a bit discombobulated for a few days but very quickly worked out that this Creature was no threat, a process helped by a couple of well-aimed paw swipes from thug cat.

Three years on and the dog adores the cats and the cats tolerate the dog. He's very respectful - won't look them in the eye, won't go past them on the stairs - and is in absolute heaven when one of them unbends enough to have a mutual nose sniffing session.

A bit off-topic, but our ASD teen found the puppy stage really hard but loves the dog now. He has no friends so it's lovely to see the two of them curling up together on the sofa for a cuddle

Jellyshoeshurtmyfeet Sun 20-Nov-16 09:53:13

We have a maine coon cat and a border collie and they get on great. We had the dog first and then the cat came in as a kitten. The dog knows his place though - sometimes she will play with him, sometimes she hisses at him, so he keeps his distance a bit. She has never scratched him or anything though. My DM has a retired greyhound and an elderly cat and hasn't had a probben either.

Mner Sun 20-Nov-16 20:41:29

We brought home our DWhippetPup at the start of the year. Introduced them really slowly, gave the cat space to get away (e.g. stairgate up)... Our cat is 10 and very grumpy. He didn't even get on with his rescue feline buddy (who has since died) and we were told at the point of adoption that they were inseparable.

The cat swipes at pup a fair bit. Sometimes the pup won't walk past him, sometimes he just ignores him. They have occasionally tried to play with each other and the cat is taking over one of the dog beds... (cat who would hate all cat beds).

Outside is different. Dog much more likely to chase him. Cat much more likely to run. If cat turns and stands his ground, the dog will stop.

Considering the grumpiness of our cat and his past form for finding new homes, I am amazed it has worked as well as it has.

Snoopysimaginaryfriend Sun 20-Nov-16 22:14:05

Our dog loves cats.

We have two and joke the one in the picture is his girlfriend. He licks her head to say good morning and hello when he comes back into the house.

He spends time at my mum's and she has three cats. He thinks they're amazing.

All the cats were here before the dog. I think he knows his place haha

Darklane Wed 23-Nov-16 11:58:49

We've always had both.
Had both when growing up & same ever since.
Without doubt it's always been the cats who've been in charge, didn't matter if the dog was tiny or huge. One cat used to wait behind the back door & give each dog, seven of them, a good swipe as it came back in from the garden just to remind them who ruled the house.

Costacoffeeplease Wed 23-Nov-16 12:26:44

We have 2 dogs and 15 cats, and until recently it was 4 dogs. So we've had all combinations of kitten/puppy and older cat/dog

One of our dogs is fairly ambivalent about the cats but the younger one loves them, and most of them love him, they always cuddle up to him, rubbing their heads under his chin etc, so it can be done

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