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Thinking of adopting a rescue, but have a cat...
  • DaghainDaghain
    Posts: 113
    I have a ten-year-old calico cat that I got when she was five. She was raised with dogs but hasn't seen one in five years.

    Until yesterday.

    The local Shiba rescue brought two by (one at a time). Pixel (the cat) hated #1 on sight - hissed and retreated to the bed in the bottom of her cat tower (dog #1 was EXTREMELY shy and stayed by the door the entire time).

    For dog #2, Pixel got on top of the dresser and hissed, but eventually got on the bed (where, presumably, the dog could get to her, although the person who brought her and I were watching them) and complained a bit.

    After the dogs were gone, she whined and cried (calico, they're vocal) and went under the bed. I went out to get dinner and when I came back a couple hours later, she was herself again. She very much hates change but has gotten better as she has gotten older.

    I really fell in love with dog #2. The dog could care less about the cat, but I don't want to ruin the cat's life introducing a dog (this cat is my baby).

    I live in a one bedroom apartment but can baby gate the place in such a way that the cat gets the bedroom (the bed is HERS) and the bathroom (her litter box is in the walk-in closet off the bath) and the dog gets the living room and kitchen. The dog would be crated while I'm at work and at bedtime, so Pixel could roam the house and check out her new roommate.

    Thoughts? I'd like them to at least tolerate each other, but I am completely devoted to the cat, so I don't want to make her life miserable either. What are the chances this might work out? Any help is appreciated.
    Post edited by Daghain at 2013-03-27 00:13:03
  • knnwangknnwang
    Posts: 645
    Pic of cat?
  • DaghainDaghain
    Posts: 113
    Mommy wouldn't move the laptop so she could sit on my lap: image

    But, she really is adorable:

    photo Photo0193.jpg

    So, you see my dilemma. How can you make anything this cute miserable?
    Post edited by Daghain at 2013-03-27 00:24:07
  • knnwangknnwang
    Posts: 645
  • DaghainDaghain
    Posts: 113
    Well, the dog came in and mouthed her two favorite catnip toys yesterday. I refilled them today with new catnip, which would normally make her VERY happy. She took one sniff, smelled dog, and ran off.

    I think we have our answer. LOL
  • I think it could eventually work out, but maybe ask if you could foster the dog for a week or two on a trial basis?
  • redcattooredcattoo
    Posts: 1960
    I really don't think one or two interactions with a cat can make or break the long term possibilities. I have two dogs and three cats, they really have never been "friends" but the cats have the bed and a gated off huge (I mean like 30 ft by 7 ft) master closet and the dogs have the rest of the house.

    When the dogs are real tired the cats roam, and I crate the dogs for 1/2 the night and the cats roam.

    It took a long time though for everyone to fall into a more normal as our family grew one dog at a time (cats came first).

    If you want a dog and you want a rescue, as long as the rescue has been socialized previously to cats, there is no reason you couldn't with time and proper handling find a peaceful household for everyone. It will take lots of time for a cat to come around though. Also with my cats their habits changed. For example my oldest doesn't come to the computer as often since that is out in the living room, she now prefers to mainly hang in the master bedroom.

  • RikkaRikka
    Posts: 1501
    I've never owned a cat, but I don't think they're known to automatically enjoy, or even tolerate, dogs on first sight. I would recommend having the foster stay for a week or two and go from there?
    Lauren, living with a 4 y/o Shiba named after a scientist. ☆
    Posts: 1507
    I have two Shiba and a cat. It took awhile for the cat to adjust to them. The most important thing is to create an area where the feline can escape to and feel secure (their own private area).

    Ally also figured out that if she does not run they will not chase her. We also finally got to the point where all three will sit together and wait patiently for a treat.

    Ally also has her own room that INU will not enter unless I tell him to. However, Penny does not see it as the cats exclusive space.
    Post edited by INU RYUU at 2013-03-27 11:57:20
  • amtiamti
    Posts: 1066
    I say go for it! Ask for a trial period of 2-4 weeks- don't rescues already do this? You'll know within that time frame if your pets will be able to live together. Some cats are so curious they will be watching with evil eyes from a distant. Other cats will hide and not come out until it gets really quiet and they suspect the dog is sleeping. I have one of each. Your cat may be angry at first and potty in areas other than her litter box, but she may be pretty tolerant if the dog ignores her. Give her lots of attention during this time but don't change any routines. Give her the option of getting in and out of the bedroom while the dog cannot get in. Let them watch each other from a distance and let the cat make the first move. Most dogs are pretty smart and learn to leave cats alone. I would also highly recommend crating while you are gone. And if you can, try to limit the dog to just the kitchen the first day or week to ease the transition for both animals.

    I had two cats and brought in a puppy. We adopted the cats about 7 years ago from the shelter as kittens so they have never had a house with a dog other than the few times we watched some dogs for relatives and friends. Vader normally beats up dogs bigger than him, but ignores the smaller ones. Because Kaji was a puppy and smaller, he sort of watched Kaji from a distance. Within a day, Kaji was sniffing Vader and then chewing on his ears. I was surprised how well Vader took to Kaji. We also have another cat, Lily, who dislikes the dogs but has learned to live around them. She spends all her time upstairs. We also use a gate to keep the dogs from going upstairs, so the cats have a place of comfort. The cats can go upstairs freely, so Lily only comes downstairs to potty and eat. Vader spends most of his time downstairs with the dogs.

    I added a second dog in December, hence the plural. This boy was used to cats, so he didn't chase them. Therefore, he was accepted by Vader and ignored by Lily with no problems. But when the dogs both chase the cats, the cats will get very defensive and put the dogs in their place. I had to rescue Kaji once who was on his back, showing his belly to Vader. He was whimpering in the corner with Vader sitting within reach with his paw and claws sticking out in mid air. Now Kaji knows is not Jedi and has to stop when Vader gets mad.

    ETA: be sure you have the cat food up high where the dog cannot eat it. We have our cat food on top of the washing machine in the utility room. The litter box is in the garage with a cat door so the dogs cannot get into that. We also have to keep the dog food in the pantry with door shut at all times or Vader will tear open the bag and start eating it. He will also finish up any uneaten dog food, so I have to close the crate doors and make sure the bowl is not on the rug or he will claw the rug to him and scoop out the dog food to eat it. He's very clever and must think he is a dog.
    Post edited by amti at 2013-03-27 13:01:21
  • DaghainDaghain
    Posts: 113
    Well, I got the email today, and Keiko (the Shiba) will be mine! I'm not taking her until after April 5, as I had plans already to be out of town that night, and didn't want to bring in a new pet and then have to turn around and board her or get my pet sitter in. Also, this gives me a week or so to put up the baby gate so Pixel will get used to that before I add the dog into the mix.

    For the dog's part, she could care less about the cat. The nice thing is she will be crated while I'm at work and at bedtime, so Pixel can come out of the bedroom if she wants and check out her new roomate. I suspect eventually there will be some sort of truce, and since Pixel will still get all the bed privileges I'm hoping she'll get over it. I'm going to baby gate off half the apartment for her, so that when I'm home and can supervise, the dog still cannot get into "her" space. She'll be able to come out if she wants, but if she feels threatened, she can hop the gate and be in safe territory.

    When I first brought her home, at 5 years old, I literally did not see her for two weeks. She went under the bed and stayed there until I left, then came out and ate (I only knew this because the food was going down and the litter box was being used). It took another week for her to cross the room while I was there to get to her dish in the kitchen, at which point she immediately retreated to the bedroom. Another week and she would sit on my lap as long as I didn't touch her. Now, I can't get her off me. She's either next to me, following me, or on my lap ALL the time.

    So, I suspect she'll be a bit jealous but I think, especially if she has half the house to herself, she'll eventually come around. I plan on lots of attention and snuggles so she knows mommy still loves her. :D

    Also, the rescue will take the dog back at any time if it turns out that things just aren't working, so that's a good thing to have in place. I don't expect to use it, but it's nice to know they won't abandon her, and I don't have to try and find a good home for her if it really does turn out to be a nightmare (though I doubt it will). They also offer training so this should work out nicely.
    Post edited by Daghain at 2013-03-28 00:27:55
  • tatonkatatonka
    Posts: 1210
    Tatonka has been bapped in the face by a few kitties. Every time he has no idea what to think.
  • DaghainDaghain
    Posts: 113
    So, I'm laughing, but when the dog came on Monday she mouthed the cat's catnip-filled toys, and, even with fresh 'nip, the cat refuses to touch them. I'm not going to placate her by washing them until I actually have the dog, as I think it's probably a good idea for her to get used to the smell. Once Keiko gets here, I'll wash them, put new 'nip in, and put them in "her" area, so at least she will be placated.

    Oh, and let me share with you a pic of the newest member of the household, arriving sometime after April 5: Keiko!


    Is she freaking cute, or what? I am madly in love with her. The last time I was this much in love with a furkid, I got Pixel (the cat). So there you go.
    Post edited by Daghain at 2013-03-28 00:37:41
  • redcattooredcattoo
    Posts: 1960
    :) She is very cute and it sounds like you have things in your mind ready to go, along with a period of cat adjustment. She looks like she is going to be a great addition!

    What we did with the baby gate that blocks where we want to go was get one with a very easy door for us to open/close and walk through that was higher, then we put it just far enough off the ground so the cats can go under it but the dogs can't.

    We did this just because we also have a cat that is going on 17 years, she still jumps very well but we thought it better and safer for the cats to scurry under (like they can with the bed quickly) than have to negotiate jumping over it.

    My husband is sleeping right now, but later I will take a picture and show you how we use the baby gate to give the cats a room to themselves.
  • sunyatasunyata
    Posts: 8589
    Sounds like a good plan. I am glad that you are giving it a go and I hope things work out between Pixel and Keiko. It just takes time, patience, and a lot of management to get them used to each other. But it does happen (in most cases) eventually.

    Keep us updated on how things go!
    Bella 2Mountains 2Nola 2
    Casey, with Bella and Nola, hanging out in the mountains of Virginia.
    I Wander, I Ride
  • DaghainDaghain
    Posts: 113
    Thanks, everyone. I am really quite excited and I plan to give kitty some super-extra attention to help her over this invasion of her territory.

    I am blocking off the bedroom from the dog, because the bed is "Pixel's Territory" - she sleeps with me, period. I'm pretty sure that even if the dog goes crateless she's going to have a bed on the floor - the cat gets THE BED, yanno. :D
  • GrayJJGrayJJ
    Posts: 67
    Sounds like a week thought out plan. Congrats on bringing Keiko into your home [soon]!

    I had two older cats (10 + 14 years) when I got Grayson, and my more social outgoing cat is fine with the dog and I feel he even looks for the dog to play... While my more skittish cat still hisses occasionally. He likes to watch the dog but doesn't want to be approached. I've now had my shiba for over a year and maintain the baby gate to give the cats their own space. They also eat and have litter in quiet spaces away from the dog.

    I do allow them some supervised play, but Grayson still gets to excited and wants to pounce on the cats sometimes. Its worked out so far to just keep them separated in my situation.
    Post edited by GrayJJ at 2013-04-02 19:10:53
  • Briona528Briona528
    Posts: 41
    Congratulations! Keiko is gorgeous! We also have cats and dogs and it works out fine. The cats live upstairs and the dogs on the first floor. I try to have supervised play sometimes but the cats are much older and do not much like it.
  • DaghainDaghain
    Posts: 113
    Day three: we have stealth cat:


    She's been in the living room a lot tonight - progress! I'm shocked she came around this soon.

    Still not BFFs, but we're getting there. I'm frankly impressed Pixel has been as social as she has. GOOD KITTY!
    Post edited by Daghain at 2013-04-09 00:48:52
  • redcattooredcattoo
    Posts: 1960
    Glad it is all working well!
  • WolfHallWolfHall
    Posts: 61
    Pretty relaxed looking shiba too! Looks like it's going to work out.
  • WolfHallWolfHall
    Posts: 61
    Pretty relaxed looking shiba too! Looks like it's going to work out.
  • DaghainDaghain
    Posts: 113
    Yeah, Keiko could care less about the cat. LOL

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