Post # 1
Husband and I close on a house next week, and since we’ll finally have a yard we are wanting so badly to get a dog. We currently have an 18 month old formerly-stray-but-now-completely-indoor cat and would love some advice on the following:
1. Ensuring the move goes smoothly – I’m not too worried since he adjusted pretty quickly to life inside after being a stray for the first 5 months of his life, but any tips to keep him comfortable would be great!
2. Introducing a dog when we get one – we plan to let the cat settle into the new house for a bit and won’t be getting a dog the first week or anything crazy, but we do want to adopt a dog this spring or summer. As I mentioned my cat was a stray and now lives indoors so I have no idea if he has ever encountered a dog before. He’s not super timid (and has his claws fwiw) and actually can be kind of a playful biter, so I just want to make sure neither animal gets hurt or spooked. We are looking to adopt from a shelter and limiting our search to dogs that have been tested with cats, obviously.
3. Bonus: keeping the cat from bolting out the door. Our cat will occasionally bolt out our apartment door when we leave or come home, but it just opens to a hallway and he can’t get anywhere. I have no idea how he would react to a door opened to the outside, but I’m terrified of him taking off. Any tips on keeping cats away from doors or discouraging that?
Post # 2
1. Introduce the cat to small rooms first (laundry room, bathroom) and let him wander around in there. Make sure to have things he is familiar with in there too. Then you can move to your bedroom and then open it up to the living area. My cat adjusted pretty quickly like 2 days lol
2. This is going to be a little harder for you because you will have to train the dog at the same time. My dog LOVED the cat, but came on too strong and terrified him. What really worked for me was putting up a pet gate. They can see/hear/smell eachother without the threat. And i would put their food bowls closer and closer to the gate until they would both eat on opposite sides. Then the gates came up and i used cans of tuna to keep their interest on food rather than eachother.
It took a while and this was a daily thing, but i did the same thing moving them closer and closer. Until one day they both ate out of my hand at the same time. Don’t feel bad if they have a tiff or one runs off scared. Just separate and try again later. Now they are great friends and I have no concerns about leaving them alone together.
3. Someone may have a better idea than mine? Next time he runs out scare the crap out of him with a loud clap or some pennies in a can.
Post # 3
I dont have comments on the first two, PP had good advice
As for 3. You wont be able to discourage it. Try your best to be quick when going in and out. If he gets out, dont panic and run after him because it’ll scare him and he will run. I talk in my “cat voice” and calmly go towards them.
If he bolts out the door and keeps running…. I dont know. Try to lure him back with treats, I suppose.
Post # 4
We have a bolter too. What we do is actually just go ahead and lock the cat in our bedroom whenever we go out so there isn’t a worry about a bolting cat.
As for the dog and cat, I would wait until you’re in the new house for a good bit before actually introducing the two together. Or getting one.
Post # 5
If you are getting a rescue, look at organizations that utilize foster homes. Shelters/breeders can “cat test” but that is such a short interaction, it can still be risky. If you look at fosters that already live with cats, you have a much better chance that the dog is actually fine/indifferent to cats vs well he didnt pay attention to him for that 20 minutes we tested.
Post # 6
I second what PP said about the gates. We got these when we got our puppy last summer and put them up in the doorway to the master bedroom and the laundry room. Our cat is able to escape into our bedroom or the laundry room when she has had enough of the dog. We also keep her litter behind the gate so he can’t get into it. These have been a lifesaver for us.
Post # 7
If he’s not super timid that works in your favor. When I introduced my rescue cat to our dog, he scratched her nose and a 90lb doberman ended up on a rug in the office, quivering with fear. Make sure the cat has a place to go that is safe and dog free and keep them away from each other when you’re gone. I’ve gotten 4 cats to get used to our dog, it’s not a very difficult thing, it just requires patience.
Post # 8
this makes me feel better, I was nervous that these “cat friendly” dogs might have not been around a cat like mine. I’m afraid that my cat would take a swipe at the dog and the dog would go nuts on the cat. Obviously every animal is different, but your experience is comforting!
Post # 9
this makes a lot of sense, some of the rescue orgs I’m looking at are just a network of fosters without a brick and mortar “shelter” so those might be a smart choice.
Post # 10
UPDATE! Attaching a picture of our new handsome boy. We have had him for almost 3 weeks now and he is an absolute angel. No accidents, not a barker, crate trained in about two days, can even handle being off leash in the yard without running for short periods of time. Most importantly, so far he is completely non reactive to the cat, which is great! However, my cat is certainly pushing the limits of what he can get away with. He sneaks up behind him and bites him in the ankles then runs, or sits on the coffee table and paws him in the face. I’m always able to redirect them, and so far the dog doesn’t retaliate, but I can’t say I would blame him if all 65lbs of him got sick of the 14lb cat going after him with his razor sharp claws and teeth. Has anyone dealt with a very bold cat?? I really think he’s just playing because otherwise they seem to get along, even found them sleeping in the same bed together (when the cat allows it, otherwise the XL size dog beds I purchased have fallen under kitty domain while dog sleeps on the floor, go figure). Any insight would be appreciated!!!
Post # 11
The two behaving, for good measure: