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Cats and dogs

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
I hope this is the right forum to post this in. I'm mostly looking for support and ideas.

My husband and I have 2 very wonderful cats. They are spoiled rotten and we love them a lot.

We are buying are first home and, before I ever got these cats, I have always been a dog person. Since we will be owning the home, I really want to get a dog.

However, I'm feeling a lot of guilt about this. Both cats have lived with a dog in the past when we were staying with my mom and they did alright. Tigger wanted to play with the dog and she wanted nothing to do with him and Tora just stayed away.

I'm mostly feeling guilt about how the cat's lives will change. They are very adaptable cats but I feel very guilty about disrupting their lives so much. Like I said, they are very spoiled and I worry that with the other animal they may not be the "center of attention" anymore like they are used to.

We're considering an older rescue dog and will only consider dogs that are cat tested. We've also considered a puppy so we can teach it from the start that the cats are part of the family but I'm not sure what the best idea is just yet.

Those of you that have cats and dogs, how does it work out for everyone? Can cats and dogs be good friends? Is it too much to expect that the cats will get a fair share of attention like their used to or will they ultimately become "background" pets? Any ideas for coping with the guilt I'm feeling for even considering this? We wouldn't be getting a dog for at least a year and I can't stop agonizing over it.

I want a dog because I do a lot of animal training and want to get involved in competition events as a way to meet new people. I also would like to do some dog training as a side job but need to have an animal that I trained to make my self reputable. And like I said earlier, I've always been a dog person.

Tora and Tigger (the cats) have moved with me several times without any ill effect and have lived with other dogs and cats without problem. I think Tigger may actually like a puppy because he was always trying to play with the dog we lived with before. Both cats are confident, friendly and social so I'm sure they will adjust and be just fine, I'm just not so sure about me

Any advice you can offer is greatly appreciated

post #2 of 11
Hey Sara! I'm surprised no one has answered you yet. I have 4 dogs and 7 cats and they get along ok. Well, I should say they tolerate each other most of the time, but every now and then I will find one of each species snuggled up sleeping together. Most of the time they just ignore each other though.

I had my 3 oldest cats when we brought home the first dog. One (Monster) couldn't care less, but she's usually stoned all the time anyway (seizure meds) so she doesn't care much about anything. The second (Harley) was fascinated by the "strange looking cat" but was a little timid at first. The third (Little One) didn't speak to me for a month. Yeah, she wasn't happy about the intruder. But they all adapted and were fine with it after a while.

Make sure you have a room the cats can escape to if they want where the dog can't go. Either block it off with a baby gate that they can jump over and the dog can't, or make sure the dog is trained that the room is off limits.

Getting an older dog that is used to cats is MUCH better than a puppy, IMO.

We crate our dogs at night for 2 reasons. 1) to save our house! and 2) to give the cats a break from them and let them have the run of the house. Also, night-time is our quality time with the cats. Harley won't let us go to sleep unless he's allowed in the bedroom for his nightly lovins. None of the cats seem to mind not being the center of attention during the day...they're too busy napping.

It is possible to have a happy house and happy pets with cats and dogs together. It just takes a little time management and time for them to get adjusted to each other. Hope this helps! Good luck and let us know when you get your pup!
post #3 of 11
Originally Posted by calico2222 View Post
Getting an older dog that is used to cats is MUCH better than a puppy, IMO.
This was my thought exactly. An older dog will hopefully be more mellow and have a bit less energy than a puppy. Please keep us posted.
post #4 of 11
We have 2 dogs and 2 cats. Both dogs get along great with both cats. If they've been exposed to dogs at a younger age and you get a dog that is used to being around cats and treating them nicely, you should be ok. Our Chihuahua, Rusty, and our DSH Jason love to play with each other. They'll wrestle, bite, and play fight each other just like my 2 dogs do. When we first got Jason at about 10 weeks old he was frightened of the dogs, but both of them were friendly to him so he loves both of them. He's still unsure how to play with Buck though (our 37 pound Brittany) so he just chooses to run up to him and bite him on the butt Alafair (our 13 year old girl) also plays with them, though she tends to sit on something and bat at them from overhead. She's seen quite a few dogs come in and out of the house for various reasons (some of them staying for quite awhile, some not long at all) and it doesn't bother her a bit. Like has been said before, it's probably your best bet to find a dog who's grown and has been well introduced to cats over his life
post #5 of 11
Cats and dogs can get a long great! We have always had both up until recently. Our great dane was afraid of the cats at the beginning but then snuggled them. And our Shihtzu was more of a cat than a dog! LOL!
I would recommend a dog at least out of the puppy stage.
You said you wanted to get into competition events, what kind are you looking into? This will also come in handy when picking out a dog, (But should not be the only reason you go with the dog you get!!!) just because if you are wanting to do agility or search and rescue or water events some breeds and mixes are just better suited for some competition than others.

And also while you do not have to have your own dog to be a great trainer it does help, but you could start by volunteering at a local shelter and offering a free training class to new adopters or help train their adoptable pets before they leave for their forever homes, and maybe a discount on services to people who adopt from that shelter.
(PS- this is coming from someone who is starting to train dogs but doesnt own a dog lol)
post #6 of 11
I've had both dogs and cats together for most of my adult life and I love both species pretty equally. Having dogs doesn't have to mean that you give up quality time with the cats, unless you are so much of a dog person that you devote all of your time to the dog and start ignoring the cats. If you know enough about dogs to want to be a trainer, then bringing one into your life should be easy. My advice to anyone that adopts a dog with resident cats is to get the dog under control right away through training. You've got a leg up on most people.
post #7 of 11
I have 2 cats and I live wit my bf's family, and they have a dog. Duke (the dog) had been very good friends with bf's RB kitty Mitch. Duke isn't so fond of Monster or Mittens, but he tolerates them, and also puts them in their place when they bother him lol. But they get along pretty well. Monster has an unusual fascination with the dog; Mittens stays out of the dogs way. That's because Monster grew up around Duke, since he was 4 wks old; Mittens, however, was born into a house wit Chihuahas, and later lived with a woman who only had birds. Now she is with me, but because she is not used to big dogs like Duke, she stays away from him and hisses when he gets too close to her. Anyway, cats and dogs can live peacefully together, and since your cats have been around dogs before, things should be fine. Especially if you get an older dog who has lived with cats in the past.
post #8 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thank you everyone, you've helped me immensely.

We're considering getting an Aussie or Border Collie or mix of those breeds. I've grown up with those breeds and spent a lot of time with them. My husband wants a shih tzu so we will probably get one of those also in the future.

We want an older dog but had just heard that puppies were better with cats but I feel better hearing all of you saying that an older dog would be better.

I worked as a dog trainer in college and have done a lot of exotic animal training so I think I have the starting experience and just want to start building on it.

We have plans to have a room for just the cats, with a bed and gate or door that they can get in but the dogs can't. We'll put their boxes in there and their food and some toys. We also have 3 cat trees for them and other areas up high for them. We're debating about furniture privileges for a dog, since that would be another place for the cats, but any dog I've ever owned has been allowed on the furniture so we'll see. We'll also crate the dog or confine it to a room when we are not home, just to further protect the cats.

I really think that Tigger will like having a dog. He always wants to play but he plays too rough for Tora, so maybe having something a little bigger and sturdier will be good for him. He also always wanted to snuggle with the other dogs we lived with but they did not like him. Tora is pretty nervous about dogs but I think she'll be fine.

Thank you all again!

It will be a couple months before we get a dog but I will keep you all posted when we get it

post #9 of 11
I have two dogs and a cat who are all best buddies and actually am of the opinion that a puppy is better if the cat is used to a dog. Our previous cat "trained" Zircon when he was a puppy as to how to show his respect to cats properly . When we got Brady, Zircon knew better than to try to play with him the way dogs do. (Although Zircon can't get the hang of the "bat bat bat" game that Brady sometimes wants to play.)

I'll be curious how it goes so good luck!
post #10 of 11
I have Dobes with kitty
post #11 of 11
Originally Posted by 2dogmom View Post
I have two dogs and a cat who are all best buddies and actually am of the opinion that a puppy is better if the cat is used to a dog. Our previous cat "trained" Zircon when he was a puppy as to how to show his respect to cats properly . When we got Brady, Zircon knew better than to try to play with him the way dogs do. (Although Zircon can't get the hang of the "bat bat bat" game that Brady sometimes wants to play.)

I'll be curious how it goes so good luck!
Good point - Stumpy is the dog trainer in our household. And even though puppies can be more rowdy initially, you start mentoring them very young to be respectful of cats.

When we got Sam and Spike as puppies, we gave them the kitchen and porch to live in and gated off the rest of the house for the cats. We had a cat tree in both the kitchen and the porch so that the cats could watch the puppies from up high. I think it's important to keep as much space for the cats as they are used to, and ease the dog into their lives.

For furniture privileges, my dogs do get the sofas, but I've taught them that they cannot push a cat away that is laying there. They have to place a paw up on it and ask me before they can go up. If there is a cat up there already, you can see they get frustrated because they know the cats come first (they are so much smaller).

My last adopted dog (Lola) is part border collie, and I've had border collie mixes in the past. They are great with cats, although there are times that they do try to herd them, or at least do things like study them while sleeping to make sure they aren't trying to move. My OTB Jethro would stand next to them and watch them, drooling on the cats while they slept and they would wake up wet. I clocked him standing guard for 90 minutes one time. When I cat woke slightly and moved, he'd nudge his nose on them to put them back into their sleep position.
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