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Introducing a puppy to a nervous cat(11 Posts)
No puppy yet, but in the pipeline for end of summer.
I have two cats, one who hops in and out of houses, has met my brother's puppy this weekend, looked horrified but still came in for food and sulked on the stairs, and the other Ophie.... has refused to come near the house.
Obviously this was a one night visit but I know we will need some serious planning for the actual pup and cats. The living room is a large room with a little bedroom off it, where Ophie prefers to sleep... that will have to be her safe space but she will still have to come in the living room to get there unless we can rig up access through the window.
The puppy will be crate trained for sleeping I hope, but a wondering if we should have stair gates so the cat can come in the front and go up stairs (her other spot is under my bed)..and basically how is the best way to go about it. I'm not worried about the other cat, Obie, he will adjust quite quickly, but Ophie is a nervous, and demanding diva, and I am expecting to feel very guilty about ruining her life ( as she WILL see it). But she is only 4 and I now is the right time for us to have a dog so I'm not prepared to wait anout 12 or so years!
She might never accept the dog... what happens then?
I’d be prepared for her to move out , many cats do IME with friends / colleagues who have got a puppy .
Be prepared to lose your more nervous cat - if they don't like a situation (which it clearly doesnt) they will leave as they can't trust home is a safe place any more. DM acquired a cat this way - neighbours 'introduced' a puppy to a 3 year old persian indoor cat and she escaped and never went back. They weren't prepared to compromise on the puppy because the kids wanted one so let DM adopt the cat.
Actually if I had a cat I wouldn’t allow anyone else’s dog to visit , it’s one thing to get your own dog it’s another entirely to allow your cat to be upset in its own home by a visiting dog .
She will be moving with my DD2 and her partner who are currently living with us but hoping to move out around Xmas time... (they are her people ..I got dumped when DD2 moved back home!) so we do have a plan B. But need to keep things as good as they can be until then.
I know it's not ideal but the timing is what it is for a variety of reasons.
I am after practical ideas on how to make the period as stress free as possible for her :/
Wait till shes gone. Its unfair to disregard her well being because you want a puppy. Its such a short period of time.
She will have the upheaval of a dog and them moving.
When I introduced my rescue hound to my then older nervous cat, I arranged two entirely separate living areas within the house. Luckily my cat could come and go through an upstairs window and so the cat had the upstairs all to himself and my hound was only allowed downstairs. I thought it important the cat always felt safe. It took about two years for them both to even be in the same room together and I let the cat choose his own timing on this but after some years they ended up sleeping together on occasion.
I'm really not trying to stress the cat out..I have had cats forever and love them dearly but the timing is just as is.. I'm in a position to not work at all for a period at the end of summer and then go part time while my son works the other half of the day... if we could leave it another year we would but as it is we have to find ways to make it work. I am planning to divide the house..so she can have upstairs (dog in living room /kitchen) or vice versa depending on which she prefers as she can also come in through the upstairs window and does when she feels like it... currently she has just come in, sniffed disgustedly and come upstairs for a cuddle (as DD2 is away I am second best) and now gone to sleep under my bed so that is actually better than I expected considering the house probably smells very doggy to her. I will also be installing a lot of feliway plug ins... they helped hugely when she first came here and our older cat camped outside for a month until she relaxed.
Make her room non dog accessible so she can get away from dog when needed. I have two cats one dosent mind dogs the other hates them. When we have dogs to visit cat stays away but will leg it past the room dog is in. Dog doesn't chase so not an issue. But a puppy might think it's a fun game to chase the cat. She may move out. Is there a friend that can have cat until your DD moves out with cat?
Also, don't necessarily assume it'll be your nervous cat who struggles more. We have two 5 yr old siblings - confident male and much more timid female. We assumed our girl would be the one we'd have to worry about when we got Glorydog (6 months old now).
In fact, our girl cat, while still not being the dog's biggest fan, has no real issue with him now she's worked out he's not actually a threat to her (the cats are allowed upstairs and the dog isn't, so they've always got a safe place to sleep). I'm really hopeful that by next winter they'll be curled up together by the fire in the evenings 😊
But our boy cat still hasn't accepted the dog. He comes in for food and most mornings will dash past the dog and go upstairs to sleep but we definitely see him less than we used to (he's always been a visitor to our ndn who has an elderly cat and a non-chipped cat flap. He just goes there more often now). I'm gutted about that and, although I haven't given up hope that he'll eventually come around, I have to let him do what makes him happiest. I think his issue is that he's the territorial one, the one who's job it is to protect him and his sister from interlopers. And this is preventing him from seeing the dog as benign as his sister does.
I get your point about your timing being what it is but I certainly wouldn't be allowing any other dogs in the house until then. It's one thing to get used to a dog who is there all the time and another to just expect them to cope with a random one for a weekend.