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How will cat respond if we got a dog?
25

Babamamananarama · 27/10/2019 19:45

Hi all

After much deliberation I think we are in the position where we could get a much-wanted dog, finally. Only real barrier is our cat.

I've had cats and dogs before, but my old cat was pretty feisty and would bop the dogs on the nose if they bothered her. I can't work out how current cat might react and worry she is too low status to assert herself.

Cat is a 6yr old rescue, very affectionate but has overcome initial nerves around the kids when they were smaller (now age 6 & 3). She's entirely placid, has never bitten, scratched or hissed at anything. She's been content at times to share the garden with other cats. She's also weirdly confident in some situations - eg I take her to a relative to look after when we go on holiday, and she settles there immediately, no hiding under the sofa etc. But I worry that her reaction to a dog would be to run away, which would encourage a dog to chase.

I know there are ways to introduce new dog to cat, and that cat must always have escape route, be kept separate when not supervised etc (have read up). I'm just wondering if anyone else has been successful with a fairly low status cat and a dog or if I'm just asking for trouble?

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FelicityFeather · 27/10/2019 22:00

Don't do it. It's very unfair to your cat. If you go ahead, you'll be asking for trouble and it's not right that you put your cat in a position of stress

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NonUrinatInVentum · 27/10/2019 22:05

Your poor cat! If she's been nervous and is now more confident this could knock her back, a lot. Cats do better when they're introduced to dogs as kittens. I don't think it's fair. Why not try "borrow my doggy"? Then you get the best of both worlds?

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Wolfiefan · 27/10/2019 22:07

Blue Cross have great advice. We did it but it meant scent swapping and keeping them separate and then dog on a longline so it could NEVER chase. It was hard work.

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Babamamananarama · 27/10/2019 22:43

You're probably right about it being unfair/setting her back. The only way I could see it possibly working is with a calm dog that totally ignored her from the offset, and I know those are pretty difficult to find. I have had it work before with 2 adult cats acclimatising to dogs, but I'm not going to expose her to something that could be traumatising for her.
Borrow my doggy wouldn't cut it I'm afraid - I really miss having my own dog. 

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StillMedusa · 27/10/2019 22:53

Our house is divided for now... our 5 yr old cat has the upstairs and the dog is not allowed up (stair gate) She does sometimes come down to the kitchen but mostly she sleeps on the beds and comes in and out via DS1's bedroom window as there is an extension roof there so she can hop in easily. She eats there too.
We spend as much time as we can giving her extra attention.. she is not the cuddliest or friendliest of cats at the best of times but she hasn't run away, she still purrs and when she comes in she shouts on the landing and we go running!
I fully expect it to be at LEAST a year before she is ok with the puppy..probably longer. Our puppy is 5 months old now, and we have been very careful not to let her near. They did come face to face last week when someone left the gate open and she ran into my room and stuck her nose under the bed... cat hissed and puppy jumped onto the bed in terror! Cat stayed put :)

It's not easy..but to be honest your cat sounds more confident than ours and she has handled the change better than I expected.

We deliberated for a long time, but my autistic adult son has only ever asked for one thing...a dog to love, and the time was right. I think if you are realistic...the cat may always hate a dog, and you make sure she has access to the house in a way that the dog can get to, it can be done, but it is unlikely to be easy.

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Wolfiefan · 27/10/2019 23:05

The thing is that it doesn’t matter how feisty your cat was. It’s still up to you to prevent the dog from chasing. Teach a “look at me” when it sees the cat and teach it to settle. It could work well. Rescue that’s used to cats?

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Bunnybigears · 27/10/2019 23:14

Our rescue dog was cat tested by the rescue before he came to us he doesnt pay them any attention and I have to make sure the cats dont stwalnhis food because he just lets them take it. We had 2 cats when he came, the older cat hissed at him a few times and swiped him on the nose when she felt cornered by him but after that they act as if each other doesnt exist Our younger cat moved upstairs for a few days but then went back to normal. When our 3rd cat adopted us he kept getting under Ddogs feet and sniffing his butt etc so Ddog tends to just avoid him which isnt hard because the cat sleeps an extraordinarily long time even for a cat.

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SleepyKat · 27/10/2019 23:25

I did this with a greyhound and 2 cats who weren’t used to dogs! Introduction took place in a closed room as per rescue advice with dog on a lead, so cats couldn’t run.......one went up the chimney!

She did eventually come out.

Dog always ignored the cats which helped.

Cats weren’t happy at first. We had a stair gate up so dog couldn’t get upstairs. But they had to get from the stairs to cat flap and vice versa.

They spent two weeks in the garden during the day. I was just about beginning to think the dog would have to go back when they started coming in and everything was ok.

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Elieza · 27/10/2019 23:29

Poor kitty. Has she not been through enough without a great scary dog arriving Confused

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cherryblossomgin · 28/10/2019 06:58

Do you have any friends with a dog? You could introduce her to a dog that way. We tried this with my cat, it wasn't a successful visit but at least we know that she doesn't like dogs.

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Babamamananarama · 28/10/2019 07:19

Bunnybigears which rescue did you use?

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Bunnybigears · 28/10/2019 07:49

Babamamananarama it's a small local rescue in the North East, if you are in the North East I will give you their details. I think a lot of the smaller rescues that have dogs in foster homes are more likely to know how the dog is with cats rather than those that keep them in kennels.

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FelicityFeather · 28/10/2019 07:51

It's not about whether the dog is good with cats and ignores them totally. It's about the cat being scared and stressed about a dog arriving in the home

You go ahead with this at your peril

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Branleuse · 28/10/2019 07:56

I have cats and i got an older little spanish rescue dog who had been cat tested and showed zero interest.
Its worked out brilliantly. Cats accepted the dog far quicker than when i brought kittens home a couple of years ago. They were furious about that.

I would go through the rescues again. I know the one I used has cat friendly dogs often. What part of the country are you?

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Perpetuallyperplexed27 · 28/10/2019 08:14

It really depends on the nature of the dog. We have two dogs and a cat. One dog is much more placid than the the other and leaves the cat alone so the cat will tolerate him and they can be left in the same room together. The other dog won't leave the cat alone. Constantly trying to chase her and play with her and the cat hates it. So I have to segregate those two. It can work but unfortunately it's probably one of those things that you won't know until you try.

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Babamamananarama · 28/10/2019 08:46

cherryblossom doing a dog test with a friend's dog is a good idea. I'll try to think of one which would work. We have a very lovely dog next door who she is used to seeing in the garden. Maybe I could ask them?

To those warning against: I hear you. I am giving this a lot of thought and research, and am not going to go ahead with it if I am not confident it will work out happily. As others on this thread have testified, it can and does sometimes work out but requires a lot of thought. If we did get a dog, it would be through a rescue, and therefore improving the life of another animal. But not if it was at the detriment to our current pet.
Our cat is specifically nervous about some things (people's feet, black boots - I imagine that she was kicked in the past) but also unusually calm and confident about other things (fine in the car, at the vets, going to stay in a new house, accepting other cats in the garden) so it's hard to judge how she might respond to a dog. A test is a good idea.
Please be assured; I care a lot about my cat, and I don't want to make her life miserable! That's why I'm thinking and researching before doing anything.

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79andnotout · 28/10/2019 11:00

our greyhound is very food orientated and was easy to train around the cats. She'd never met a cat before though so it did take a good few months of separating and training before we could ungate the house, and it took another couple of years before our eldest cat would enter a room with her in it. Our young cat accepted her straight away. We are about to do it all again with another rescue greyhound, so will begin the process of gating the rooms, rewarding calm behaviour with hot dogs, etc. Should be easier this time with more experience.

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AnnaNimmity · 28/10/2019 11:04

We have a stair gate too and have been keeping the dogs downstairs. The cats are fairly feisty and do hit back - but the dog (one of them, the other isn't interested) just wants to be their friend! They don't appear scared, just scathing.

It's improved - today I'm at home and the dogs and cats are free. Both are ignoring the other.

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Ihaventgottimeforthis · 28/10/2019 12:10

I am in a similar position to you, but I now have a puppy.
Our cat is v shy, to the extent she bolts at sudden movements and loud noises from any of us, and has been like this all her life - she's 11.
She has always spent most of her time outside, apart from short lap cuddles and sometimes sleeping on our bed if weather is especially bad.
Anyway, we finally got the puppy I have been dreaming of for years.
She's not happy, but after 6 weeks we're establishing a new routine and I think it'll be ok but I do still feel guilty.
What we're doing - confining DPup to downstairs during the day, only upstairs if shut in a room with us. At night he is in a cage, and all the doors are open so DCat can roam free (and dash past his cage).
She is fed in her new preferred place, the loft. She's fed lovely food twice a day and free access to biscuits etc in loft. She gets lots of cuddles when we see her. We've never tried direct introductions, just letting her do her thing. She has occasionally wandered into a room when he's been asleep on a lap, and quickly tiptoed out again.
DDog shows a bit of interest but by the time he's stuck his head up it's usually just to the sound of the cat flap banging.
So basically yes it has disrupted her and yes I feel guilty, but we've made a new routine, she seems to be coming to terms with it and has spent nights on our and DDs bed, and I think in time it will be ok, her habits won't be that different from what they were before.
We're lucky that we've got a big house with plenty of rooms and space for her to run to, and access to countryside out the back, but it's the only downside to the arrival of DPup.

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SJane48S · 28/10/2019 15:06

I'll be honest, I'd leave it. We'd (or rather dog obsessed DD) spent quite a bit of time researching dog breeds most likely to get on with cats. We had 2 rescue cats, we assumed as they'd previously lived with a police dog handler who often had dogs staying that they would be ok. Unfortunately, both cats took an instant loathing to the dog which managed contact didn't improve and we had to divide the house up, giving the cats access outdoors only in the late afternoon through to the morning. Our rather timid female cat got so fed up of being bullied by her brother and avoiding the dog she decided to move over the road. We ended up having to re home her which broke my heart - she obviously just didn't want to live with us anymore! I love my dog very much but I don't think we did right by our cats. Not only is our house still split, to be fair to our other cat and make sure he's not loosing out, I go and spend at 30-60 minutes of the day upstairs with him. I do feel like he feels like the forgotten child!

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Majorcollywobble · 28/10/2019 15:11

Twice we introduced a dog into the home after cat already our pet . Both successful and they ended up best of friends . Mainly .
Made a big mistake with our previous cat by bringing in a kitten that needed a home . One step too far . Had to rehome kitten .

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Tensixtysix · 28/10/2019 15:15

We are in the same position. We're going to start with a puppy and go from there. Otherwise we'll never get round to having a dog.

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adaline · 28/10/2019 15:44

We had two cats and we got a puppy. Our cats were two and three respectively when we brought the puppy home at 12 weeks old.

They've been absolutely fine. Yes, there have been some spats and some chasing (and not just from the dog) but eighteen months down the line we've had no problems. If the cats get fed up with him, a swift smack on the nose stops him in his tracks and he'll back off and let them be.

We never did slow introductions nor did we restrict his movement by putting him on a leash. It would be different if we introduced a kitten to him, or if he was a rescue dog who'd never been around cats, but he was raised with cats in the breeders' home so it never occurred to us that it might be an issue.

Might not be the recommended way to introduce pets but it's the way we've always done it and there's never been a problem. Even when we got the second cat, they just got left to get on with things....

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narcissistseverywhere · 28/10/2019 18:54

I have a Cypriot dog that had been supposedly cat tested. However, her prey drived turned out to be too strong and she would try to chase the cats from day one.

The fiesty one stood up to her straight away and swiped her on the nose (not too many problems there); the nervous rescue took a long time to come around, and he mainly stays upstairs now. Elderly placid cat also took a long time to come around, but now completely ignores dog.

Dog no longers chases any of my three cats, but will chance her arm with a neighbour's cat! (given the chance)

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