(Closed) Getting a puppy while having cats

posted 5 years ago in Pets
Post # 2
1980 posts
Buzzing bee

We have two cats, 14 and 6 years old. We adopted our puppy (12 weeks) last year. The key is to control the introduction and don’t push it. A proper introduction can take a loooong time and it may be months before everyone is comfortable. There may or may not be times when the dog chases the cats; it happens. You can’t stop everything.

Start with keeping the cats totally separate, and then switching and letting them explore and smell the area where the dog has been kept. We got baby gates and kept Dahlia in the living room for a few months, first with the cats more or less locked in the guest bedroom for a few days (we’d let them out a few hours a day while the puppy was outside, so they weren’t literally locked in there for days), and then we’d give them the run of the house with the exception of the living room. Then we’d let the cats see her, and then come up to the gate. Give lots of treats to the puppy and say soothing things. Don’t get nervous or too excited; we don’t want to impress on the dog that there’s something to be nervous or anxious about, and we want the dog to learn to be calm around the cats. Make sure you still cuddle with the cats and play with them, so they get attention (it can be easy to focus on the dog 100%). Let the dog see you interact with the cats, and vice versa. If the cats don’t want to approach the dog/pen, that’s fine. Don’t push it. At the same time, if anyone gets too fixated, distract and praise/play/start over. The whole process for us took a few months, and crate training helped give her a calm place to go if she got too feisty. It’s important to not encourage play between them until you learn how they get along otherwise. Cats that are 2 years old are still pretty much kittens, and puppies also have a lot of energy and need to learn boundaries. So, be aware that it can take a while! Getting an older dog that is calmer might be a better route in that sense, but honestly finding an older dog that is okay with cats can be a tall order. With puppies you at least have the chance to acclimate them.

Now our cats and Dahlia get along really well together, all things considered! Dahlia and the cats will lay on the couch together (not super close, but still!) and considering that Dahlia is a terrier, we think she does great. A little play here and there, but if we tell her to “leave it” she’ll stop immediately and we always provide a toy or other distraction that is safe for her to transfer her energy to. Always provide the puppy an alternative when you want him/her to stop what she’s doing, that way she’ll learn what is acceptable and she’ll tend towards the toy instead of the cat.

This has all been based on my experience, other opinions may vary 🙂

Post # 3
5019 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: September 2017

I don’t have any advice but wanted to commented since we are in a similar situation.  We have two cats who are also 2 years of age.  SO and I talk about adopting a dog but are afraid to upset the cats.  There’s such harmony in the home and I think adding a dog would ruin that for us.  So for now we will just continue to dream and put off any plans.

Post # 4
1124 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

View original reply
somethingbee:  This is fantastic advice.  Agree with keeping them separate and letting them switch spots often.  It will take a long time.

Post # 5
1311 posts
Bumble bee

View original reply
somethingbee:  This is excellent advice.

I wouldn’t get a puppy, if I were you. When I was growing up we had 2 cats and once we got a dog they both ran away. Absolutely hated the dog and he didn’t even bother them. We did the proper introduction technique (like @somethingbee) mentioned above and it still didn’t matter. 

I wouldn’t want to upset my cats. But I think of my cats like children 🙂

Post # 6
5940 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: May 2014

I just have dogs, but I’ve introduced new dogs to each other in much the same that was mentioned. Keeping them separate, but letting them still be able to smell each – if that makes sense.

My neighbors have 2 cats and got a puppy. ONe of the cats always hid once the puppy was in the home. But eventually that cat came around, too. One cat and the puppy play all the time!

I think you would be fine, but just know it could take a long while and yes, the cats will be wigged out. Patience.

Post # 7
6931 posts
Busy Beekeeper

I got a puppy when my cats were about 3 years old.  They were not pleased, but survived.  My big cat was about the same size as the puppy was.  The real problem is puppies are so rambunctious and cats don’t really know what to do with that besides run or swipe.  

Looking back, I’d suggest that you swaddle the dog before introducing them, so it can’t bounce around and scare them.  Bring it over to meet the cats, let them both sniff some.  And then let your cats get away.  

Make sure the dog can’t get at the catfood, for the sake of fairness.  maybe have a room with a baby gate where the cats can always be safe.

If you’re worried about the puppy chasing the cats, you might want to invest in a remote controlled citronella collar for the dog.  they don’t like that smell.  When you hit one button, collar beeps.  Another button and they’re sprayed with a shot of citronella.  It’s a pretty good deterrant and as long as you’re on top of things, you can use it whenever the puppy starts to chase.  Soon it will associate chase cats = nasty smell and quit it.  Those collars are nice for other forms of training too, though you should only do one lesson at a time.

Suggestions aside, I didn’t do any of that for my cats, they just had to suck it up that a stinky mutt dog had moved in.  They adjusted just fine and had the house to themselves all day.  Now one has been put down, unfortunately.  The other is allowed outside since we have a real property now and she and the dog seem to get along just fine.  He’ll even come bounding across the yard to see her and she won’t run off.

Post # 8
1345 posts
Bumble bee

I think as long as your cats show the puppy whose boss, they will be fine. I would suggest you pick a breed of dog that doesn’t have a high prey drive. Some dogs instinctually want to chase and kill little critters and it’s reallllyyy hard to train it out of them. 

Post # 9
302 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

Some rescues will cat-test their foster dogs, so you could look to adopt from a rescue that does this and has cat-friendly dogs available, whether a puppy or not.

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