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Cats & Dogs

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
We have 3 cats, and one temporary dog, I'd like to get a puppy.

Tyler is about 7, lived with a dog until I got him when he was 2 and for 1.5 years while we lived with my mom. When we visit my mom he was still ok with the dog and enjoyed visiting his feline friends at mom's house. It's been 2 years since he's seen the dog, as it passed away.

Simoriah is 5, lived with the same dog Tyler lived with for 1.5 years while we lived at my mom's. She hates ALL new animals with a passion, could not stand to visit the dog, other cats that she had also lived with before we moved or any other creature.

Perry is 4, never lived with a dog, has only seen a few. When we visited my mom he was ok with the dog BUT my sister got a psycho puppy (it had some kind of rage syndrome and had to be pts), and brought it over while we were there. The puppy attacked Perry, throwing him over his body and chasing him up the Christmas tree before it bit me and attacked my dad. So Perry got attacked then the additional trauma of listening to us try to subdue the puppy without getting mauled. After that he didn't even want to associate with mom's dog.

Enter JD ... the dog. We rescued a dog and are rehoming him. We're waiting for the rescue to find him a suitable foster home right now. The dog is a 7 month old German Shepherd (white, loving, housebroken, and playful if anyone is interested in adopting him), who is starved for furry affection. He wants the cats to play with him, but Tyler is too dignified, Simoriah too antisocial and Perry too traumatized for that. As it stands the cats have the basement to themselves. The basement is a virtually kitty wonderland with ledges, shelves, beds, litter boxes, hiding holes, rodents to chase, windows, and a recent addition ... a lake (note the sarcasm, we're working on that lake thing). The cats also have a "secret" passage between the spare bedroom and the office so they can come visit us. We fetch Perry at night so that he can sleep in our bed and don't allow the dog in the bed room (although the dog can get in).

At first the cats were shy and hid, so we gave the dog the basement and he spent every night down there. But he couldn't be left unattented down there (destructive) and the cats were coming out more and more and going down there. So we moved his crate to the living room, where the cats can see if he's crated or not. Now the cats have taken to their basement prison / palace and barely come up to see us. Perry is regaining his confidence, as he sees the dog get scolded for harrassing him and he gets praise for not reacting to the dog. Tyler just goes about his business, but is upset because the dog tries to chase him when he goes in the kitchen. Tyler's really taken to the secret passage sytem. Simoriah goes nuts with growling every time she sees the dog, BUT the other night I caught her curled up asleep with him in the hall.

It's been a month and I've seen some progress but I don't want to loose my cats as family members because we're getting a dog but I spend a lot of nights alone here and as big as my Perry-baby is, he's no watch dog. So when this dog leaves (soon I think) I want to get another dog. I'm leery of trying an older dog that has lived with cats, as I think our cats would try the patience of any seasoned dog. But I know the engery level of a puppy is going to drive them nuts.

Any suggestions?
post #2 of 5
Honestly....I would suggest the older dog over a puppy. Especially since your cats are 4 and up...a puppy's energy level will most likely annoy them. What kind of dog were you looking to get?

post #3 of 5
We always had dogs and at least one cat, and I've found that cats, if not used to dogs, overcome their initial fright rather quickly (hmmm - warm and cuddly! They smell, but aren't going to steal my place above the radiator). Jamie is the third cat we've had in the past two and a half decades that doesn't get along with other cats, but has a real soft spot for dogs. They are definitely able to form close bonds. I think it works best if both the cat and dog are very young, or if you combine an adult cat with a puppy, or vice-versa.
post #4 of 5
I adopted Sam the first of the year at 8 weeks old. He came from a large litter and immediately tried to make every cat in the house his littermate. Needless to say the cats were not happy. Puppies are high energy, and while you can get them cat friendly if they live with them all their lives, that young period is very trying.

After a month, we went back to the shelter and adopted one of his littermate brothers who was still available. Sam immediately left the cats alone as his entire energy was focused on his brother (and us). They have chased the cats and are immediately stopped and it rarely happens anymore.

My cats with dog experience put the puppies in line. My cats with no dog experience tried to play with them and were overpowered quickly. After 5 months, we have finally achieved harmony.

So, on the one hand, having 2 puppies puts their energy towards each other and away from cats. On the other hand, even though we are extremely dog experienced, raising 2 littermate puppies is exponentially harder than one. It takes a lot more time and patience to train them, as you have to separate them to gain any ground with them.

But a last thought - while most puppies will be rambunctious, there are breeds that are smaller and calmer than others. I have a golden retriever mix and a black setter mix (yes, same mom) who are high energy dogs in the first place. Select your breed carefully!
post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 
Well our breeds are the american pitbull terrier (high energy in spurts, loyal and accepting of smaller pets if raised with them) and the boston terrier (high energy in spurts and generally good with other pets). We've selected them based on breeds we've had in the past, and how their energy level suits us people. We've not yet found a way to work the cats into the equation. I'm afraid of an older dog because most dogs, even cat loving dogs, would probably eat Simoriah is she attacked them like she attacks this puppy we have. He tries to eat her too...but strategicly placed escape routes prevent this.

So if we got a dog / puppy, and partitioned it off in the kitchen, giving the cats a secret dog proof passage through the kitchen (the kitchen is in the middle of the house). Would that most likely solve some of our cat / dog relation problems? I can't do this with the dog we have now ... he's too big, there's really no way to keep in the kitchen and it's too small for him. A puppy would be small enough for this to work for a couple months at least.

The cats are older but still young, Simoriah and Perry haven't calmed down a bit, they're still hyper kittens.
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