Post # 1
I feel kind of uneasy about my decision. Fiance and I have been searching for a male shih tzu dog for a year now and we finally found a 1 year old for sale at the right price, our cat is 8 years old and we are unsure how she will react to a dog being in the house.
The owner of the dog assured me that it has been socialized with cats in the past so I do not need to worry about the dog becoming aggressive with our cat for no reason.
I know it’d probably be best to keep them separated for a bit and not leave them alone but I don’t know what I should be prepared for. Our cat has had some limited experience with dogs, we’d take her out for harness walks on the sidewalk and when a dog would be near I would pick her up and she’d just look at them without hissing or trying to run (maybe a good sign?).
Any kind of heads up or tips would be appreciated!
Post # 2
WeddingBells2014: I definately wouldn’t worry too much. Dogs and cats can get along when properly socalized. When I was a kid, my family adopted a cat before getting a dog ( a chow shepard mix). The dog and cat LOVED eachother. The shepard would carry the cat around (by its head) like a mother dog carrying her pup. It scared the neighbors half to death, they thought our giant dog was eating our tiny kitty. But it was just a sign of love. The cat would follow the dog when we took him on walks, and the two would cuddle. It was total frienship.
When our shepard died at 13, we got a new dog, a pug. The cat DOMINATED that little pug. The cat would stand in doorways not letting the pug by or hit it on its head with its paw. But they would never hurt eachother. However, the cat would still follow the dog on walks. They definately got along.
Post # 3
The most important thing is to take it slow while introducing them. Try to change your cat’s surroundings and access to the house as little as possible, which will mean isolating the dog to one specific place. Using baby gates is a great way to introduce a new animal to a resident animal. Keep the pup on a leash and let the cat have freedom of movement to hide/run away if it feels threatened. Also, and this works better with two people, bring the two animals to either side of the gate and “jackpot” them with lots of treats (really yummy treats that you know they are interested in, not just kibble. Little bits of string cheese for the dog and some little bits of chicken for the cat) while they are near each other, and then when the cat moves away the treats stop. This will help them associate each other with positive things. Don’t be afraid if the cat swats or hisses at the dog a little, she needs to assert that this is her home and she’s not to be messed with. After keeping the animals on opposite sides of a door/gate for a while, you can begin introducing them in the same space, but make sure to keep the dog on a leash within your reach for a while so he knows he cannot chase.
Also, learn the difference in body language signs. Some dogs with interact with a cat playfully, with no intention of hurting it, but it can look like he’s going to attack. This is called being play driven, and it’s generally OK as long as the cat is ok with it (my dog is play driven and the cat loves it, she teases him into chasing her around the house, and will swat at him without claws out). A dog can also be prey driven, which is when it may not work out. You really just need to watch how they are interacting. There will also be times when the cat says “enough is enough” and may his or bear claws (make sure they are trimmed!) in which case you will have to recall your dog to you so he knows where the line is and how far is too far.
With patience and practice most dogs and cats can at least learn to tolerate each other, if not become friends, but the key is to never rush or force the interaction. Let them work it out carefully under your supervision, and always keep them separated while you’re not around. Good luck!
Post # 4
Lots of good advice, especially the jackpot treats. Another important thing to do is give the cats a place to sit up high. It makes them feel safe and they can safely look down on their domain without being bothered by a dog. ours loved to sit on top of the cupboards anyway but you could get a cat tree or make the bed off limits to the dog. they basically need a safe place the dog can’t go if they feel the need to run. I was so close to giving our dog back because I was so wortied when the cats didn’t seem to be adjusting. Now the youngest one will play chase and they both allow the dog to walk by and smell them and lick them. just be ready for it to take a while. It was about three months before i felt they weren’t upset anymore.
Post # 5
Just thought I’d give an update and ask a couple of questions if anyone is able to answer them.
I ended up getting home from work (FI leaves for work only a few minutes later) and the dog had been in its own room for a couple of hours. I went in and visited the dog and left the cat to roam the house – she didn’t like that. So then I went out and sat with the cat – the dog didn’t like that. I decided to test letting them both hang out together and it isn’t all that bad.
There has been the odd hiss and raised paw from the dog getting right in the cats face but they seem to have a level of civility after 3 hours of getting to know one another. There was the tragic moment where the dog seen the wet cat food sitting out (not eating his dry food) and ate the entire bowl right infront of her… and then the moment he went and peed on the bedskirt even though he went pee on his walk. The cat could not bother less with me right now, the dog is sleeping in the other room and I can’t even get her attention, she is just sitting there and watching it sleep.
I had a couple of questions that I hope some bees could answer for me:
How long is too long before bringing him for a vet checkup. On his tags it shows that he went to a vet in town to get his rabbies shot when he was a puppy last year and his owner assured me that he is up to date on his shots. With our work schedules there really isn’t a good time for about the next month to bring him to the vet for just a checkup.
How can I get him to eat dry food? Some people online say to mix in some water but to me I worry it’ll become some weird soup mess that he won’t go near. The owner apparently made the dog his foods from scratch and recommended this type of dry food, but he refuses to eat it and at the cat food instead.
Is there anything I can do to prevent the whining and barking when he is in his own room at night? I tried putting him back into his room today and he had a complete fit once I closed the door, I would’ve ignored it but I have a migraine and couldn’t tolerate the noise. Seeing how good he is with the cat I considered letting him roam and sleep where he wished for the night but after him peeing on the bedskirt I’d rather him be in that room.
Post # 6
WeddingBells2014: Adding just a little beef/chicken stock to your dogs biscuits definitely helps, we used to do this! Just don’t add so much that its like a soup.. just a little to soften the biscuits.
I’d get him to the vet as soon as you can but if you have paperwork to show he’s up to date with his vaccinations and there are no obvious concerns you probably don’t need to rush there.
In regards to the dog being alone, I’d try a few things like putting a hot water bottle under a blanket for warmth (they usually associate this with having a companion there) or having a small radio on in the room so they can hear voices (these were suggestions we were given from both cat and dog breeders). It would probably be worth gradually letting him out so that eventually he can wonder and not always be shut in a room on his own at night. I know a tonne of people with both cats and dogs and they’re fine together (usually the cat rules the house though haha)