Introducing a puppy into a house w/cat...trouble?
Moms View Message Board: General Discussion: Archive October 2006:
Introducing a puppy into a house w/cat...trouble?
I'm a cat person, my dh is a dog person. I'm not opposed to dogs, I've just never had one. Since marriage, we've had cats. We have one (spayed female) who is two years old. We've been talking forever about getting a puppy (dds are crazy about the idea), but I'm wondering if there's any way for them to live together (the puppy and cat, not our daughters). Will the cat disappear, never to return from the closet? Will the puppy get permanently maimed by the cat? And while we're on the subject, what's a nice, mellow, medium-size breed of dog that likes kids and cats? Am I dreaming? TIA
They will almost certainly live together very nicely, with the cat ruling the household. What generally happens when you bring a dog into a house where a cat is already ruling is that the cat rules the dog. There is a little trying out, but the cat always wins. And especially if you bring in a puppy. If your cat has its front claws, do trim them back safely. The puppy will try to put its nose where the cat doesn't want it, the cat will hiss, the puppy will back off ... the puppy will try again, and may get a scratch on its nose, but eventually they will sort it all out. As for breeds, I'll ask Scott. I would say definitely NOT a hunting breed (spaniels, setters, beagles), but I'll ask him.
I know we (my parents and I) had dobermans, and they were all ruled by the cats. My son Scott had a Keeshond, and now a Rottweiler, and his cat tended and tends to just ignore the dog. Sometimes the cat, Pooh, will come near the dog, Sascha, and even nuzzle up to Sascha. Sascha (the Rottie) will then stick her nose out and lick the cat a couple of times and the cat will stalk away and sit down several feet away, grooming himself. Scott says the cat is internally saying "yuck, dog spit, yucky dog spit" as he grooms.
Our last doberman was a rescue, about 4 years old when we got her, and did have a tendency to think of the cats (7 at that time) as fuzzy toys. I simply put a gate up at a point where the cats could get into my mother's bedroom, into the kitchen, and into the basement for their food and boxes, and be safe from the doberman. It usually was not a problem, but I did not want to leave them alone in the house without the cats having a safe place. You can do the same.
We brought a corgi puppy into a house with three cats and they got along quite well. The cats' food went up high where the dog couldn't reach and there was an initial getting to know each other period, much like Ginny described. Ultimately, your cat hiding out permanently is up to your cat's personality. None of these cats were intimidated but a different cat we had moved into a kitchen cupboard when our current dog moved in and she stayed there. She came out once each day, to use the litterbox and at night, again for the litterbox and to eat.
I really like the corgi breed with kids because they are small to medium but quite sturdy and I didn't have to worry about her getting hurt accidentally. As she got older, she did try to herd the cats and kids (they are a herding breed so it's instinct). The kids were fairly easy to herd. The cats? Not so much. We always tried to have some area where the cats knew they could go to get away from any nuisances (of the canine or small human variety).
Corgis are indeed nice dogs. And watching them run is a hoot! Their legs are so short and move so fast it looks like a speeded up movie film.
We did it the other way, when I was a kid. We already had the dog, and then got the cat, as a kitten. Yes, even the kitten hissed and swatted at the dog, a bit, in the beginning, but they eventually co-existed peacefully.
My cat was 8 years old when we got our puppy 5 years ago. The cat just ran away whenever she got annoyed. As long as you make sure to give the cat extra attention, she should be fine. My dog and cat get along just fine now, and even play with eachother once in a while.
Oh yeah, I forgot to mention, the cat's food was up on a cardtable, because the dog would eat it, too. Once, the cat didn't like his food and was feeding the pieces to the dog! It was the funniest thing. The cat was even watching the dog eat it, and then pushing another kibble over the edge! So, you try to keep cat food away from the dog and then the darned cat gives his food away!
Yes, that is very important - keeping the cat food where the dog can't get at it. And, we found that it is important to feed the cat before you feed the dog, so that the dog doesn't feel a need to get territorial if the cat tries to nose in on the dog's food.
One of the moms here once commented that she worked at making sure her dog wasn't territorial about food by sitting down with the dog from the first time it was eating out of a bowl and putting her hand on and in the bowl. This way the dog got used to others nosing around the food - which is very good when you have small children.
Dawn - I can just see it. And am going to tell Scott - I know he'll chuckle too.
I just happened to be at the stop of the stairs, when it started happening. It still brings a smile to my face. I laughed so hard.
It was a lot of work, for the cat, too. He had to get it out of a sloped dish, then push it to the end of the table, until it fell off. Then peek over the edge, while the dog ate it. When the dog looked up, the cat did it again!
Dawn, I related your story to Scott. He nearly collapsed with laughter.
They will all learn to live happily together. Let them work it out on their own. we have 2 dogs and about 8 cats. When I leave for work, I put our dogs in the outside kennel. Before I get out of the drive, all of the farm cats are in the kennel cuddling up with the dogs. We've always just let them figure out who is the alpha beast. It's always a cat.
As for the breed, we've always had labs, beagles, and currently a lab/pitbull mix. They have all been great with the cats. You can find lots of labs and lab mixes in the shelters. My BIL has a purebred lab that's only about 50 pounds. Not all labs are huge.
I love labs, and so does dh. I was reading about them yesterday, and it said they are even-tempered, good with kids and eager to please. Dh and I talked last night about it, and he wants to get a puppy before Christmas, but I'm just scared! A cat, you can leave and it's no big deal. Dogs are so much more of a responsibility... I know a lot of it is because I've never had a dog. I just can't imagine how to potty train a dog, or anything else! What if I'm terrible at being a doggy mommy?
You'll be a great doggy mommy!! We have a lab/shepperd and he's a great dog with the cat and the kids.When we 1st brought him home I just took him outside every 1/2 hour to train.Believe it or not I always took him to the same spot in the back corner of the yard and thats where he continued to go.We didn't have the problem of poop everywhere.We also didn't give him too many toys I think they get confused if they have too much and thats when they can get into your stuff.I never gave play shoes or anything that resemble our stuff.I just stuck to balls and fun sqeaky toys.Your kids will love having a puppy and teaching him/her tricks.They are alot of work, just like having another child in the house.Our dog is the 1st dog I've ever had and I can't believe how different they are than cats and your going to love it.I will always have a dog now as long as I live
Labs are really just toddlers with lots of fur and paws. They are dopey and are so easy to train. They just like to give love and get love. Conni on this board also loves labs. Yes, dogs are not as easy to leave as a cat but it's really not a big deal. Ours are inside dogs except during the day and during extreme weather. We have an outside kennel run for them and they love it.
I think you will be a great doggy mommy. Plus, your girls are at an age where they can really help out. Oh, and to potty train, it's just like potty training a kid. Be consistent, give rewards, and take them out regularly. If you can potty train a child, you can train a dog.
We have had cat, dog, cat, dog, and currently kitten. Like everybody had said, they figure it out almost always with the cat ruling. All of our dogs have had to get a slap or two but nothing maiming. Just try to make sure that you continue to give old pet the usual attention and treats, etc. It's hard sometimes b/c the new baby DEMANDS so much attention and they are just so doggone cute.
The hardest issues for us have been the cat food and litter. The cats don't usually bother the dog food. But the dogs want to eat the cat food and, in the case of our current dog, wants to eat the poo in the cat litter. Gross me out although I've read that dogs consider cat poo a delicacy. But I solved that by put the cat litter in a Rubbermaid tote. I cut out a hole just big enough for the cat to get in and air holes. The cat goes in, does her thing and no more dog eating poo. And we put the bowl where the dog can't get at it.
I love it, that Scott laughed, Ginny!
Thanks to all of you for your comments!