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Introducing adult dog to 4 cats

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Hi there,
I am new to this forum and am looking for some advice or links. I have 4 cats - all female - 11 years, 14 months, 14 months, and 7 months. My fiance is adopting an 8 year old border collie. She has been through obedience training and agility training and is spayed and very well behaved. The owner is elderly and can't take care of her anymore, so there's no behavior problem with the dog. The owner did say she isn't the greatest with other dogs though. Not aggressive, just tries to make a point that - "hey, this human belongs to me", but from what the folks have said, a simple "no" stops the behavior immediately. They say she's ok with cats - doesn't chase or try to "molest them" as the lady put...haha. My fiance and I are living in two seperate houses right now, but we stay with each other 2-3 days per week at the others home (meaning we would have the opportunity 3 days a week to bring the dog to my home to do a slow introduction to my furry clan). Obviously I want to avoid traumatizing my little girls as much as possible in this situation and need some advice or links on how to do that. My oldest cat has lived with a dog before, but my 3 little ones haven't. As a side note though, they are little and are use to newcomers (we've had a couple other cats on the side that haven't worked out).
I think I'm most concerned about the dog because she's the newcomer - ok - I'm worried about the whole situation.
Any advice???
post #2 of 10
I would keep the dog on a leash for the first introductions and thereafter until the dog and cats get use to each other. Just curious, are you familiar with the Border Collie breed? They are very smart and have a high herding drive. I have two myself is why I ask. Good luck to you.
post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 
I only know a little about them, but my fiance knows a lot more. I wouldn't say he's an expert by any means, he's never owned his own BC but has always wanted one. He's only been around others who've owned them and he's done a lot of research on them.
The good thing about adopting an 8 year old is that she's already set in her ways. She's already trained, been to obedience and agility. Therefore - we can't mess up a poor little pup by bad training....haha. I'm sure this will be good for us to really get familiar hands on with one so that somewhere down the road we can consider getting a pup as well.
post #4 of 10
We Looked after my Aunts 4yr old Husky/shep cross for a year . Our boys were just over a year old . Sky (dog) was well trained and also was mostly a indoor dog too . We had a indoor kennel for her to sleep in at night . The boy's didn't like it in the begining , they did not want the dog in the house and let her know it too . We used a baby gate to let the boys have half the house Sky free. Sky was really good about it , she thought she had new play mates but the cats thought she was dinner most of the time . After a few months of the odd fight of the gate and Rambo growling just like Sky . We let Sky in the living room at night with us , We told her to leave the boys alone , She did . She would sleep in the middle of the floor and let the Boys sniff her and come close and she would just lay there . For the most of it the Boys were unsure but didn't fight it . Nothing like a 5lb runt (rambo) showing the 90'lb dog who the boss is
post #5 of 10
This is what we did when we adopted our dog (black lab) in May (his foster mom did have cats and he never chased them...later I found out that her cats never ran...ours did, which presented a problem)

Cinder (dog) was introduced obviously after the cats were in the house...he knows that they were here first and are in charge.

When he came home, we placed his crate in the living room and put him in it. That way the cats could slowly sneek up and smell them.

Cinder was always on a leash inside the house...that leash was attached to me for the first 2 weeks and later drug behind him. That way if a chase was about to begin I could step on his leash and end it immediately.

That first month, if I saw any sign or even thought about chasing a running cat, he received a darn good stern NO!

But the best lesson he received was the day I ran errands, crated him up, left the house and returned to a loose dog in the house. He had busted out of his crate and I am sure chased the cats around...they were not impressed and he ended up having quite a few scratches on his nose. For the next two weeks after that incident, he would walk very gingerly around any cat, with his tail inbetween his legs. If a cat was sitting on the steps and he needed to go outside, he wouldn't even go down the steps without me stepping inbetween him and the cat. He learned his lesson the hard way, but never has chased the cats again. He isn't traumatized, but knows better than to chase them. They all now lay on the bed together and groom each other, but it has been over 6 months.

Good luck to you and the cats! If they aren't declawed, keep their nails long and sharp just incase.
post #6 of 10
Your dog is going to want to 'herd' the cats all day - it's what border collies do (really well!), so you may have to work out some kind of arrangement where they have separate times in the common areas, and where the cats have lots of high places to jump to when he wants to herd them.
post #7 of 10
I have 2 BC's and 2 Aussies. We have herding central here. They have learned not to mess with the cats, 5 of them, by using the almighty "leave it" command. They all live in perfect harmony now without incident. It takes time, sometimes along time, but It can be done.
post #8 of 10
I'd keep the dog on leash when you have him around the cats at first. The dog, of course, will want to investigate more then the cats will. So I'd put a cat in a carrier and let them sniff each other thru the bars.

The cat will probably hiss or so, but let them alone. Do this with each cat.

The ones that seem the most friendly around the dog, let them out of the carrier first. I'd try to bring the dog over several times a week till everyone adjusts.

We had a 10 yr old cat and adopted a sheltie. The cat was indoor/outdoor and everytime he was in the backyard, the sheltie did her best to "herd" him - he was not impressed at all and continued his walk ignoring the poor dog.

We have a lab now (adopted) who at the time just got done with her litter of 10 pups and mothered 4 kittens who were in the house at the time. She'd push them around, etc. The rest of the kittens over the next year, she ignored. She doesn't chase them in the house, but she will chase them in the yard. She thinks they should be "safe" under the cars. Several of them are wise cats - they just freeze and roll over and confuse the heck out of the dog - no fun to chase if they don't run.

We've tried time and again to stop her from chasing the kitties and she just grins at us like she's doing a big favor of keeping them safe under the cars.
post #9 of 10
If she has been obedience trained it should be fine. She needs to be actively walked and played with though, or in her boredom she will try and herd your cats and could indirectly scare or hurt them in her enthusiasm. If you have a working farm near you, you might talk to the owners and ask them if she can come and visit and work a herd?

post #10 of 10
Thread Starter 
No dog. The woman we were adopting from called us right before we went to meet her that a family member has decided to keep the dog (she had belonged to an elderly woman that could no longer take care of it).
Sad...but relieved at the same time. I was worried things wouldn't work out.

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