Getting a dog with cats(13 Posts)
Tell me your stories of getting a dog when you have cats?! Is it possible?
I am having a major wobble about the prospect! I have 3 rescue cats who mean the world to me and finally we are in a position to get a dog at home. We live in the ideal area, at home and have lots of time. I have put our name down for a rescue lurcher puppy (10 was) who is currently in foster with cats and not slightly fazed/chasing. In fact photos of the cuddling up etc.
However my worst nightmare is my cats being hurt and chased. It is very likely one of them will run away and hide when a puppy/dog first arrive so I can't say I have brave cats which may make the situation worse. And I have read that sighthounds don't develop the prey instinct until they are older so we may adopt a puppy who becomes a problem later on.
So do I pull out of applying for the lurcher puppy (who looks lovely) and do I think a dog may not be an option for us? Which will be gutting..
We had 2 tabby brothers when we got a husky puppy and a lurcher puppy!! All get on great and any nosing /attention is all done amicably all round. .
Actually a while ago our lurcher was barking in an odd way and dh went into the utility room and cat was eating her food and she just stood there barking at him!!
We inherited two dogs when FIL died, we already had 3 cats. Luckily we still had baby gates up around the house so cats could escape and dogs could be contained when necessary. Dogs had lovely natures and were not chasers, even though one was a terrier. There were a few stand offs through the gates, then gradually the cats started coming through and ignoring the dogs, there may have been a couple of chases with me being very hot on disciplining the dogs if it occurred.
One dog died after about a year (of old age and cancer) and the other dog got extremely friendly with one cat, to the point they would snuggle up on the couch together. Unfortunately that cat died fairly recently and the dog hasn't been that happy since, and has been 'boxed' by another cat when he got too close (they are ambivalent but not friendly). Heis now wary of the cat and won't come in the door if the cat's in the way!
So, after all that, it can work, but I was quite nervous for a few months! Dog is very relaxed so that helped, and cats are quite young and brash, which helped them cement their status. I would be very careful and think long and hard about it tbh, though I'm not a dog person and it was only fate that we ended with dogs (and I can't wait till he keels over, if I'm honest!). I don't thinki would get into that situation on purpose, iykwim.
Plenty of people do keep sighthounds and cats together just fine but you do need to be realistic about what the dogs were originally bred for and also prepared to implement some level of management to keep everyone safe.
This (my link) is a good little article about keeping dogs, particularly those with a potentially high prey drive, with cats.
This (my link) is also worth a read. This philosophy applies very well to getting a puppy used to cats.
The cats should always have access to plenty of areas which are completely safe from the dog. High places are good (providing there's no opportunity for the dog to get up there or hurt themselves/the cats in the process of trying), as are tall baby gates the cats can fit through but are enough to discourage the dog from following. It's also wise to never leave them with access to each other when you go out, however well they get on when you're around.
It is important to consider that even when brought up in a home with cats a dog may very well not be safe with other cats and this can sometimes spill over to chasing "their" cats when they're outside the house.
If you already have cats that are likely to be skittish then it might be better idea to go for either a puppy of a breed/type where prey drive is much less likely to be an issue or an adult dog who has been extensively cat tested and is preferably living in a foster home with cats.
(Any links appearing in this post other than those marked as my own have been inserted automatically by advertising software and may link to companies or products I would neither support nor recommend.)
I have two cats, two lurchers, and a variable number of lurcher puppies that I foster. My cats do have a baby gate on the kitchen so they can eat in peace, and come and go through the cat flap in peace. Until we were confident in the adult dogs behaviour around the cats they went in their crate when we were out and at night (they still sleep in the crate as evilgingercat opens doors and I object to sharing the bed with two big dogs).
Puppies get introduced to the cat with dog on lead, and told firmly to leave it if they do more than sniff. Just like training them to leave anything alone
We have an almost 2 yo spaniel. We have two cats. Both are 16 this year. One is a stoic fellow who isn't scared of anything, including a daft puppy chasing him and barking in his face. Now they fight over who gets to sit next to DH on the sofa and have been known to snuggle up next to each other. Other cat has always been a bit skittish and utterly detested the dog from the off (was never that keen on the kids to be fair either). He started going to our neighbour's house and he has been living with her permanently for about a year now. I used to bring him home to feed him every day and give him his arthritis medication but he was nervous and now he never comes home. I see him most days and give him a cuddle and a stroke and I miss him terribly. He's an old puss and not in the best health. I still take him to the vet as required but he's much happier where he is and I just want him to be happy although it makes me sad. To be honest he has form for this in our old house before we got the dog, that neighbour always turfed him out at night though and didn't feed him, this one lets him sleep on her bed and gives him lots of tasty treats.
I have an Irish Wolfhound and two rescue kitties! It is early days as pup is 5 months old.
I found the document from the Blue Cross about introducing dogs and cats (search online sorry can't link!) really helpful.
We have separated them initially. Lots of scent swapping. Eg switch blankets and stroke one then the other. Dog or cat in garden can see the other but not get at them. Teach leave. REALLY teach leave. (Mind you that applies to the cats too!) Use a longline. Give cats high spaces to escape to (back of the sofa and dog not allowed on the sofa. Dog stair gate.
So far so good. But I do think you need to be aware of the tendency to chase and the damage a dog could do. We wouldn't leave them together unattended.
I have a terrier who chases cats he sees in the street (well, he would if he were off lead). Our cat was horrified when he arrived but tolerates him now - they will curl up with me together and nose sniff every morning. The dog still occasionally tries to play with the cat as if he were another dog (play bow etc) and the cat whacks him if he gets too pissed off.
I have a baby gate on the stairs so upstairs is always out of bound to the dog during the day.
I do think it depends on both the dog and the cats. We had three cats including two ex strays, one still definitely semi-feral, when we took on our husky x puppy.
We were super careful to give the cats plenty of space and escape options. What we didn't realise was that the reverse was also needed as in practice the cats bullied the puppy mercilessly. We had to feed him in a room with the cats shut out otherwise they stole his food, make sure he had access to water regularly away from them, as they wouldn't let him near the bowl etc. It took a good 2-3 months before they grudgingly accepted him (I think when the weather turned colder and they wanted to use him as a hot water bottle) and he was distinctly wary of strange cats throughout his very long life!
My mum had many cats and adopted a German Shepard heinz mix as a pup and we had no problem at all, in fact when we got a new kitten (another unwanted one) her favourite thing was to ride on the dogs back (the dog grew up huge). We introduced the cats slowly to her and made sure they had places to hide if need be and they just viewed her as a very huge hairy cat. I think a lot is down to training from day one and positive praise every time she behaved with the cats. She even used to play tag with the rabbit in the garden (the rabbit would even use the cat flap to come and look for her when he used to escape from his hutch).
Just take it slow and don't stress.
Thank you all for your advise and anecdotes. I'm going to speak to the rescue fosterer as well (obviously they are totally aware of the cats!) I do feel a bit more confident the responses
We had 2 cats when we got our dog.
A year later one tolerates him and the other just avoids him.
I would say they are ok but certainly less happy than before we had him and they tend to just stay upstairs ( where he isn't allowed) and rarely come in the lounge for cuddles at night.
I do feel a bit guilty to be honest
My last dog would chase the cat when she was younger but as she got older she pretty much left her alone, although she did occasionally have her nose up her bum or told her off for scratching things
My new puppy just wants to play with the cat. Barks at her a lot but she's getting better... slowly.
Poor cat is old and just wants to be left alone.
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