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Tue May 1, 2012, 11:06 AM

Animals in the lounge

Humans in the lounge, too: I'm looking for helpful stories, suggestions.

I have 3 cats. An old friend has just moved here to share the house & cost of living. Friend has a dog, a beautiful sweet BIG one. We're trying to make a go of it. The cats and the dog haven't yet hit it off, it's been about 2 weeks. Dog is curious but hasn't yet had a taste of the cats. Cats are really nervous and are making themselves scarce and I miss them but I'm also falling in love with the dog. (dammit, I swore I'd never have another dog)

All 3 cats are indoor-outdoor. Very safe outdoor area, lots of good hiding places, they stay pretty close to home. (usually come when I call them). Dog is never loose on property -- if not off on adventures, tied on the side of the house, or closed in their room for the night. Dog is not unhappy. (Landlord requests dog not be loose on property outside.)

When dog comes in and out, we usually give her a tour to sniff around house, as long as cats are outside. So they are all getting used to the others' smells. Sometimes one cat watches dog through the window, and dog watches cat back.

Cats have the entire night to themselves, indoors and outdoors, though they haven't quite figured this out.

Will they ever co-exist without trauma and drama? I don't want poor dog to always be restricted or confined at home.. (she does get out, on lots of walks and runs with her master.)

Is canine-feline friendship even a remote possibility in such a situation? (Cats are all around 3 years, neutered males. Dog is 2.5 year old lab-golden, F)

I had the brilliant idea to get a kitten, for the dog, to bridge the gap between dog and cats. My idea was that the kitten wouldn't have preconceived notions about dogs and would bond. Dog would learn how to speak cat language and become better able to understand the other cats. As kitten matured he would educate the other cats about how to deal
with a big dog. The other cats would learn by watching the kitten grow up that dogs are a cat's best friend.

If anyone has ever done this unsuccessfully, please talk me out of it immediately. Thank you!

19 replies, 2170 views

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Arrow 19 replies Author Time Post
Reply Animals in the lounge (Original post)
Voice for Peace May 2012 OP
Kaleva May 2012 #1
Voice for Peace May 2012 #3
AnneD May 2012 #2
Voice for Peace May 2012 #4
suninvited May 2012 #5
Voice for Peace May 2012 #10
TrogL May 2012 #6
Voice for Peace May 2012 #9
haele May 2012 #7
Voice for Peace May 2012 #8
haele May 2012 #12
Voice for Peace May 2012 #16
bluedigger May 2012 #11
Voice for Peace May 2012 #14
nadine_mn May 2012 #13
Voice for Peace May 2012 #15
Rhiannon12866 May 2012 #17
Voice for Peace May 2012 #18
Rhiannon12866 May 2012 #19

Response to Voice for Peace (Original post)

Tue May 1, 2012, 11:13 AM

1. I wouldn't get a kitten

We have 2 dogs and then the wife got a cat. One of the dogs hit it off right away with the new arrival but the other took 1-2 months before he'd even tolerate the cat. More time passed and now they even lay together once in awhile.

I think that if you stick to your routine, the animals will at least get used to each other. They may never be buds all animals are different.

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Response to Kaleva (Reply #1)

Tue May 1, 2012, 02:07 PM

3. thanks!

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Response to Voice for Peace (Original post)

Tue May 1, 2012, 12:50 PM

2. Give it time....

For a while I would have one safe spot for the dog-and keep him there, gradually introducing them. I would do the same for the cats. They will get curious about each other and get to know the others smell. Let them know what is acceptable and what is not. They will get the hang of it. Give them time.

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Response to AnneD (Reply #2)

Tue May 1, 2012, 02:09 PM

4. thanks.. good point

only one of the kitties that worries me, he seems easily traumatized by change and tends to hide somewhere outside. but last night he came in and again today took a nap... so hopefully they are getting to know dog's schedule. Dog is a great benevolent creature, she makes me become still and centered.

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Response to Voice for Peace (Original post)

Tue May 1, 2012, 02:38 PM

5. After three years

the full grown neutered male cat at my fathers could be in the same area (primarily the greenhouse) without confrontation as the grown dog I brought home, but they were never friends.

The dog took a couple of swipes across the nose before peace was made. The dog just wanted to play with him, and he just wanted to be left alone with no canine interference.

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Response to suninvited (Reply #5)

Tue May 1, 2012, 11:01 PM

10. aww yeah .. sigh

If I just deal with them all one day at a time it's not so hard.

Hopefully they'll all adapt.

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Response to Voice for Peace (Original post)

Tue May 1, 2012, 05:52 PM

6. I've got two dogs, four cats

They manage with varying amounts of success.

One dog likes to lick cats. One puts up with this, the rest don't.
One cats hisses at everybody and everything. That usually sets the dogs off and she gets chased but she's back in 10 minutes.
The other two cats ignore the dogs and each other.
The dogs bark at dogs (but not cats) they see on the TV.

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Response to TrogL (Reply #6)

Tue May 1, 2012, 11:00 PM

9. ahahah I guess they are as unique as we are

thanks very much

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Response to Voice for Peace (Original post)

Tue May 1, 2012, 06:13 PM

7. A safe area for both is a must -

One room that the dog has her retreat - her bed and toys, and one room that the dog will not be allowed in for the cat retreat, with at least one litter box, a cat tree or lounge area that they can all get up high in, and the items that they are comfortable with (favorite blankets, beds, toys).
Don't feed and water them in the same area, and make sure the dog can't get to the litter box. At least until there's an understood armistice between both.
Keep an eye on both; the cats will generally try to avoid the dog when she's active; they might come near when she's asleep, but for the most part, they will want distance, so if the dog comes up to you when there's a cat on the lap, that cat will most likely get hissy and disappear as soon as he/she can.

Don't get a kitten; that would just increase the chaos the cats are presently perceiving and upset them even more - they're going to associate the kitten with the dog, rather than learn from the kitten that the dog is their buddy.

Especially if the dog thinks the kitten is a squeek-toy; my dog, Shari, had that perception of kittens, and when I got two, I had to keep her from them until they got large enough she wouldn't try to paw at, mouth, or "hug" like she did her other toys. Shari was a sweet, dumb, mug of a dog, that always wanted to be happy and wanted everyone else to be happy around her, but the kittens never took to her, and the other cats did not get a better impression of her. And she was raised by my first two cats, who practiced puppy bowling with her until she got too big, so she knew all about "Leave the Kitty alone".

I've had cats and dogs living together, and even though I love them both, I will be the first to admit that cats have a real problem with anything that changes in their environment; it takes a long time for them to get over when there's another animal (or even person) in the house. Heck, it takes them a while to get over the fact you re-arranged the front room if they don't get an advantage from it (like more "up high" space they can get to).

Haele

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Response to haele (Reply #7)

Tue May 1, 2012, 10:59 PM

8. thanks! much great information

except at first I thought you had written: "a cat tree or lounge area that they can all get high in"

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Response to Voice for Peace (Reply #8)

Tue May 1, 2012, 11:08 PM

12. Well, Catnip is a must.

I've had two different vets tell me that when my cats are in a situation they don't like, spread some fresh catnip, and they'll eventually calm down.

Cats have a very odd associative nature; a friend with two cats had that were perfectly happy brother and sister, until she got caught up in one of those "plastic" grocery bags and slid off the table in it, hurting her pretty badly, enough for a vet visit. She apparently associated the fall with the other cat - who had been on a nearby counter - rather than the ride off the table wrapped up in grocery bag, and it took about a year before she forgave her sibling.

Haele

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Response to haele (Reply #12)

Wed May 2, 2012, 01:37 AM

16. catnip!! thanks for the reminder

I have 2 bags of fine organic catnip in the freezer.

they love rolling in it outside if I spread it around..
so many great suggestions coming, I love DU

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Response to Voice for Peace (Original post)

Tue May 1, 2012, 11:07 PM

11. I grew up with a dog and two cats.

Inside the house the cats would sleep on top of the dog. Outside the house the dog would chase the cats up trees.

Give them more time to adjust - they'll be OK if the dog isn't aggressive.

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Response to bluedigger (Reply #11)

Wed May 2, 2012, 01:32 AM

14. aww maybe in a couple of years when she's older

she doesn't mean to be aggressive, she just gets so excited
and wants to follow them rapidly

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Response to Voice for Peace (Original post)

Wed May 2, 2012, 01:20 AM

13. Our cat was a stray that showed up at our house one night - we had 2 large dogs

who had never met a cat. It was raining and nasty, so of course we took the cat in and monitored activity, our cat was less than 6mos old at the time, not still a kitten but not full grown either. Our 2 dogs were more afraid of him than he was of them. My black lab had the hardest time adjusting to the cat - they fought a lot (kitty has a piece of his ear missing from one tussle) and for awhile the cat had the upstairs and the dogs the downstairs.

When we adopted our 3rd dog, another black lab mix, the house had settled down and our new dog (6mos when we got her) learned to treat the cat just like a pack member. For about 8 yrs we lived in harmony - our cat, Scout, sleeps in their beds, plays with their toys, wrestles with them and snuggles with them on the couch. About 3 1/2 yrs ago we adopted our 4th dog, my mom's german shepherd - he was about 3 at the time. He had the hardest time learning that Scout - while a pack member - needed to be treated a little more gently. It helps that Scout has no problem laying down the law.

We lived for a short time with 4 large dogs (2 black lab mixes, collie mix and the shepherd) for a few months. Then the oldest dog died, followed by the second oldest about a year later. Scout is 13 and still plays and rough houses with the german shepherd.

Despite the early squabbles (my lab mix was jealous of any person or animal - my fault for favoring him), our cat has always gotten along really well with our dogs - all very large dogs averaging around 80 lbs each.

I think we have a unique cat (of course he is the only cat my husband and I have ever had, so what do we know) and it helped that our first 2 dogs showed the next 2 dogs that our cat is ok.

So much depends on personality of the animals I think... we have been very fortunate.

I don't think starting with a small kitten is a good idea. You might want to rescue a cat that has grown up with dogs - one that knows how stand their ground. My cat has always let our dogs know when the play gets too rough, and the dogs back down. Scout has instigated many rounds of play and also is very comfortable sleeping with our dogs, so their bond is very strong.

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Response to nadine_mn (Reply #13)

Wed May 2, 2012, 01:35 AM

15. thank you

what a wonderful pack you've had.

I would love to move into a house full of dogs and cats and be their pet.

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Response to Voice for Peace (Original post)

Wed May 2, 2012, 04:37 AM

17. Are you familiar with Feliway?

It's a synthetic cat pheromone, most commonly used to eliminate cats' spraying, but it works because it mimics the pheromones that cats have in their cheeks, which is the calming pheromone. It's also recommended for cats under stress, moving to a new place, adding a pet to the household, that sort of thing. I got it for my cat who I rescued from outdoors, since she was a nervous wreck in the beginning...

It comes in both a spray (which I got) and now a diffuser that you just plug in. I never even noticed it was there. From what I can see, the price varies widely, and some sites offer rebates. I got mine right at a pet supply store. Here's more on it, and good luck! I live with a dog and two cats, and they're fine, but they've known each other since they were quite small...

http://www.petcomfortzone.com/cats.html

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Response to Rhiannon12866 (Reply #17)

Wed May 2, 2012, 11:21 AM

18. thanks very much -- I've used Feliway in the past

and it's a good idea for the current situation. Maybe I'll look into a diffuser.

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Response to Voice for Peace (Reply #18)

Wed May 2, 2012, 04:37 PM

19. That sounds like the best idea to me.

It sounds like the most worrisome aspect of this is having the cats freaking out, nothing much worse, LOL. Good luck with this. Once the cats discover the dog isn't threatening, they should calm down. The cats that I live with have met other (visiting) dogs than mine, and after they check him/her out and nothing happens, they're perfectly calm. Let us know how it goes.

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