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Adding a dog to the mix (english bulldog)... suggestions?

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
Hi all - SUMMARY: My wife and I have a 4 year old tabby, indoor cat, NO other pets. She is the princess of the house without a doubt (although my wife would say the cat is queen, not the princess). We have both wanted a dog for years and are finally able to get one. We will be receiving an English Bulldog from a reputable breeder friend of ours in early December. I am worried (my wife isn't) at how our cat will react.

MY CAT: She is a female named Chopper (for her purr that sounds like a Harley it's so loud) and she is 4 years old. She is spayed and is NOT declawed. We found her out in the cold 4 years ago and she used her litterbox the very first day we found her, even though she was only about 2 weeks old and tiny (and by "litterbox" I mean an egg carton we filled with litter so she could get in it). She also has NEVER scratched our furniture, carpet, people, etc. She loves her scratch pads and we've never had a scratching problem with her. She lets us cut both her front and back claws (as long as there is a treat involved). Sometimes she swats/bites at us when she's in a bad mood, but it's usually a pretty weak warning "Im not in the mood to be touched" (although we dont "let" her do that). She likes to play for short periods of time, but she is mostly a "chill" cat that would prefer to sleep or lay beside me on the arm of the chair while I read. She has been a really good cat. She is and always has been an indoor cat.

She has a weird personality with people. She always has to "be around", but she doesnt like to be touched by anyone other than my wife and I (and sometimes not my wife and I, either!). If the doorbell rings she will come to the door to greet the person, but WONT let them pet her. If we have people over she will always be with us in the same room, but she wont let anyone touch her. I dont know if this is weird or not, but its just the way she is (I dont like strangers touching me either, so I kind of dont blame her). One thing that set of alarms about getting a dog has been that Chopper is VERY scared of my 3 year old niece, and always has been. Seeing a small mammal (my niece) run around and make lots of noise really freaks the cat out. And if my niece tries to pet her, Chopper will run and hide. If she is cornered whatsoever, Chopper will hiss and gets VERY ticked. The only time Ive ever heard my cat hiss is when my niece corners her, or one of my friends/relatives tries to pick up the cat and hold her. In other words, when shes "scared". I am really worried she will have this same reaction to a dog.

CONCERN: My wife thinks that Chopper will be fine if we introduce an english bulldog puppy to our house. I really want the dog as well, and I have read that bulldogs are great with pets (and kids, etc), but I dont know how the cat will react. I have read that "high stress" situations like that can make cats start to do weird things like urinate outside of a litterbox (which shes never done), scratch furniture (never done), hide (doesnt do), etc.

I am looking for:

1) Opinions as to how you all think a situation may turn out, or if you have done this, how did it work out for you?
2) Advice as to how to how to handle this.... How to introduce them to each other so that neither the dog OR the cat is stressed, scared, hurt, etc (I am worried about the dog getting a claw to the face, etc).

I love my cat and I dont wont to stress her out to the point of death. I worry that such a drastic change in the house could decrease her lifespan, etc.

Thoughts? Thanks.
post #2 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by keith5 View Post
Hi all - SUMMARY: My wife and I have a 4 year old tabby, indoor cat, NO other pets. She is the princess of the house without a doubt (although my wife would say the cat is queen, not the princess). We have both wanted a dog for years and are finally able to get one. We will be receiving an English Bulldog from a reputable breeder friend of ours in early December. I am worried (my wife isn't) at how our cat will react.

MY CAT: She is a female named Chopper (for her purr that sounds like a Harley it's so loud) and she is 4 years old. She is spayed and is NOT declawed. We found her out in the cold 4 years ago and she used her litterbox the very first day we found her, even though she was only about 2 weeks old and tiny (and by "litterbox" I mean an egg carton we filled with litter so she could get in it). She also has NEVER scratched our furniture, carpet, people, etc. She loves her scratch pads and we've never had a scratching problem with her. She lets us cut both her front and back claws (as long as there is a treat involved). Sometimes she swats/bites at us when she's in a bad mood, but it's usually a pretty weak warning "Im not in the mood to be touched" (although we dont "let" her do that). She likes to play for short periods of time, but she is mostly a "chill" cat that would prefer to sleep or lay beside me on the arm of the chair while I read. She has been a really good cat. She is and always has been an indoor cat.

She has a weird personality with people. She always has to "be around", but she doesnt like to be touched by anyone other than my wife and I (and sometimes not my wife and I, either!). If the doorbell rings she will come to the door to greet the person, but WONT let them pet her. If we have people over she will always be with us in the same room, but she wont let anyone touch her. I dont know if this is weird or not, but its just the way she is (I dont like strangers touching me either, so I kind of dont blame her). One thing that set of alarms about getting a dog has been that Chopper is VERY scared of my 3 year old niece, and always has been. Seeing a small mammal (my niece) run around and make lots of noise really freaks the cat out. And if my niece tries to pet her, Chopper will run and hide. If she is cornered whatsoever, Chopper will hiss and gets VERY ticked. The only time Ive ever heard my cat hiss is when my niece corners her, or one of my friends/relatives tries to pick up the cat and hold her. In other words, when shes "scared". I am really worried she will have this same reaction to a dog.

CONCERN: My wife thinks that Chopper will be fine if we introduce an english bulldog puppy to our house. I really want the dog as well, and I have read that bulldogs are great with pets (and kids, etc), but I dont know how the cat will react. I have read that "high stress" situations like that can make cats start to do weird things like urinate outside of a litterbox (which shes never done), scratch furniture (never done), hide (doesnt do), etc.

I am looking for:

1) Opinions as to how you all think a situation may turn out, or if you have done this, how did it work out for you?
2) Advice as to how to how to handle this.... How to introduce them to each other so that neither the dog OR the cat is stressed, scared, hurt, etc (I am worried about the dog getting a claw to the face, etc).

I love my cat and I dont wont to stress her out to the point of death. I worry that such a drastic change in the house could decrease her lifespan, etc.

Thoughts? Thanks.
The only thing I'm worried about is the dog will be a puppy, as in "want to play" and your cat is out of the play mode for the most part. It can still work, definitely...it just takes some adjusting of schedules. (I've got 4 dogs and 7...12 cats..don't ask, and they get a long fine, so it can be ok).

First, if you don't have a cat tree with higher platforms, get one. That will give your kitty a place to get away and feel safe from the over excited puppy. You have to teach you puppy the word "no", when it comes the kitty, cat toys, cat food (VERY bad for a puppy...found out the hard way), and litter boxes (also very bad..and they, for some reason think it is a candy dish ).

Also, I would get some feliway plug ins. It is a natural calming agent for cats, and it may help with the introductions.

When you first bring the puppy home, keep him/her separated from the cat for a while, until they get used to each other's scent. If you have a comfy room, keep the cat in there until the dog gets settled and calms down (puppies are ALWAYS hyper). Are you planning on crating him to house break him? That would be my recommendation, but it's up to you. Also, if he is crated, that gives your cat free time and she can inspect him, sniff him, without worrying about being attacked (even if it's only in play). 3 of my 4 are crated at night and the other one sleeps in our room with the door closed, and they actually seem to like it.

Good luck. I hope I helped! Cats and dogs can get along, but it does take time. Here's proof!:

post #3 of 13
I totally agree with the above post. 3 dogs and 11 cats here and while we've always had dogs and cats, when our last group of dogs finally crossed, we waited a year before we adopted a puppy. We forgot how much energy a puppy has, and even though my cats liked dogs, the puppy really ticked them all off.

A puppy needs his boundaries in the first place, and we were able to restore the peace when we kept the puppy in a confined space (our porch and kitchen). We had baby gates to keep him out of the rest of the house and a kennel on the back porch. We then put a cat tree in the kitchen so that if the puppy got rambunctious, the cats could escape up the tree.

A puppy is a puppy and even if you work on behavior with him the first day, they will still be rowdy for a bit. If they had littermates, they will try to engage your cat in the same manner as they did their littermates. The cat will hate it at first. Thus the need for an escape route, and thus the need to confine the puppy to its own place.

You'll probably be more stressed than the cat about all of it, but keep reminding yourself that it will all work out.

And this is hopefully what you can look forward to:


post #4 of 13
Awww, both pics are cute but the last one is just adorable!!
post #5 of 13
OMG! The last picture...
post #6 of 13
This thread AND the pictures gave me such a smile!

My dog Zircon was raised by our dog-savvy cat Grey from when he was four months old. We got Sophia (Golden) as an adult dog as a rescue. Grey passed away and we got a feral cat Brady, who decided that living with people was great, but it took him some time to adjust to the dogs.

I think the advice here is great and I hope you enjoy my pics of what you can look forward to when doggies and kitties become buddies!



post #7 of 13
Have to agree with what others have said, dogs and cats can become wonderful fur pals. Your cat should always have an escape route and a place to feel safe. It may take a little while but our dog and cat became instant friends. Good luck!

post #8 of 13
Most have given good advice. I can't add much, but IMO you should never let the dog chase the cats - they should be trained in obedience at an early age and reinforce that at all times.

Good luck with the puppy and hope things work out for you.
post #9 of 13
Thread Starter 
All - Thanks for the advice and the pics! It's nice to at least see that you all have had success with this. We already have quite a few places for the cat to retreat to, but I will ensure there are more and work on training the dog not to chase the cat, etc. Thanks again!
post #10 of 13
Just wanted to add to this because I decided a puppy would be great to add to my household back in January of this year. I brought home a 3, almost 4 month old Pug puppy, and it was interesting to begin with . The cats couldn't figure out why this slobbery, nosy thing kept stealing their toys and why was he so interested in their food? I got a baby gate so that the cats could get away from him and protect the tootsie rolls in the litter box and it worked out great. There were some spats, most notably 3 year old Pepper, cat, slapping Oliver, dog, on the nose and copious amounts of blood being dripped everywhere. All 3 of my critters get along really well now. I don't need the baby gate most of the time and Oliver just sticks with me. He does chase the cats (new development in the last month or so- he knows better!), but the cats just stop, look, and threaten him . Pepper wants to sleep with Ollie most of the time but Ollie is a little leery of that still. It worked out great in my household and I was definately not dog savvy!
post #11 of 13
I would just make sure to separate them at first and then introduce them very very slowly, so the cat can start to adjust to the new situation.

If you're getting an English Bulldog I'd also recommend either getting pet insurance or starting a "savings fund" on your own for vet bills. Bulldogs tend to have a lot of health problems and often end up being very expensive.
post #12 of 13
When we got Franklin we had Hercules who was used to dogs and Fatman who HATES HATES HATES dogs! We brought Franklin in and just let him go up to each of the cats and sniff them while we gave the cats treats and petted them and showed them that good things happen with puppy. Hercules could have cared less about the dog and Fatman just bopped him on the head and stalked off. Nowadays we have a dysfunctional cohabitating agreement between cats and dogs. The cat room is off limits to Franklin and its their safety zone, also the bed (unless its really cold and Franklin is being a sissy boy) is off limits about once a month Franklin crawls in bed too but rarely! Also I only intervene when Franklin tries to be an ankle biter because Fatman will tear Franklin apart its like putting a rottie against a poodle. But 8 mths later we have had no major spats and thankfully no blood shed. I think it helped a lot getting a smaller breed and all the cats realizing that they will always be bigger and "superior" to Franklin..lol
post #13 of 13
I will agree with everything said here! Just take it slowly and have some no puppy areas around the house!

And now for a bit on the dog:

PLEASE socialize the puppy from the very beginning! Dont let bad habits start because "Awww look at the cute little puppy" and "he'll grow out of it" stuff! Where I work most of the english bulldogs we've had have not been well socialized an can be a bit temperamental. (Not saying yours will be!!)
Make sure to get into some basic obedience classes and get lots of busy toys and toys that will make your dog think! (One thing that does work really well is have one special toy that they only get if they do something very well and that is never out where the dog can get it when there is nothing to be rewarded for!)

Good luck! Cant wait to see pictures!
And remember the cute puppy jumping up to greet you when you get home isnt so cute with its a 50Lbs tank aiming for your knees....
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