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Another introduction question

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 
I've been reading up on introductions for cats and dogs...but this is going to be rough.
I'm pet sitting my parent's Westie at the end of September. This dog, by nature, is made for barking, chasing, and playing. Squirrels are his arch enemy, and he doesn't seem to have been informed that he is a dog, not a person. I live in a two bedroom Condo, and even if I lock the cats in one room and let the dog have the downstairs, he'll be able to smell them. I would LOVE to see the cats and dog get along, but as there isn't time for a long introduction I'm not sure what to do. I know the dog wouldn't intentionally hurt the cats (they're as big as he is really) but his sniffing and curiosity will frighten them and I don't want them to lash out at the dog. Is there anyway to make this work, or should I count my blessings that I can close the cats off and leave it at that?
post #2 of 3
Hi Rina, I've never had to introduce a cat to a dog...well actually, i did several years ago, but the dog was very old and the cat was a little scared at the time, but managed to coexist. Anyway, I would definitely take the advice here with some grains of salt, but keep the cats in a separate room is you can. How long are you pet-sitting? If it's a week, it will go by fast. If it's for an extended period of time (like a month or so), you may need to play it by ear if the cats seem interested in meeting the dog...sure they might be scared, but try to get some toys in the room with them, engage them in playing and give them some comfort foods like treats and snacks!
post #3 of 3
I'd be very cautious introducing your cats to the Westie - a Westie is a terrier breed, and terrier breeds have been bred for centuries to chase & kill small animals (primarily rats), so they have a very strong prey drive. Even though he might not intend to hurt the cats, a sudden move on their part could trigger his prey instinct to chase & bite. You'll need to treat him as a potential danger to your cats even though he's not a very big dog - be sure to keep your cats separated from him any time you can't directly supervise their interaction.

Do you have a crate for him? You could put him in the crate & allow the cats to approach him at their own pace. If he doesn't get too excited about them, and if they seem open to more interaction, you could try introducing him to them on a leash, but since it's a temporary arrangement (how long will you be keeping him?) I wouldn't go farther than that, just to be safe.

My $.02.

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