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New Cat...and the rest of the zoo...

post #1 of 2
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Marishka has been in the house with the family for about two weeks now. She is 6 months old and was a stray. She is pretty comfortable in the house and has adapted to indoor living extremely well. We have two dogs, a german shepherd and a jack russell are super close. They are both young but not pups, and their only experience with a cat is one we had when we got both dogs 4 years ago (Leo, the cat, died Feb 2004, got the dogs as pups 2002). They left Leo alone except for the rare time they would bring him toys to which he ignored them...or just left the room.

Now that Marishka is here, she generally stays seperated in the living room, dining room and finished basement (where I am a lot of the time). The dogs are usually in the back of the house with kitchen, family room and stairs to second level because they will not leave her alone! No agression, but they both want to play. Hans (german shep) tries to thump her with his paw (like he does to all dogs when he wants to play). Jasmine (jack russel) is right behind him with a toy. This scares Marishka to death!

Any tips on how to calm the dogs down? Marishka has caught on that the jack russell will leave her alone if they are in a room together, but Hans is too excitable-and Marishka knows that. He lays down in front of her bed and cries at her thumping his tail, or rolling on his back waiting for her to play like Jasmine does. Both dogs are well trained through bark busters (and my dad trained dogs for law enforcement, but they aren't working dogs), but for some reason we can't get Hans to just leave her alone. It's only been a week, but I am at my wits end keeping all the animals in seperate rooms! The dogs want back in the front of the house, and Marishka wants to hang out upstairs since she hasn't explored it much yet (she's pretty brave lately).

Also, Hans looooooves poop . Took a whole winter to break him of eating his own, and now he has discovered the litter box that I thought was well hidden. I scoop twice a day, and he doesn't have direct access to it with the animals parted, most of the time, but I would like to make sure he doesn't revert to his poop-eating ways. Any tips?

Thanks so much in advance!
<3 Kelly & Marishka

ETA: the vet advised seperating with gates so they could sniff and get accustomed that way, but Hans can clear gates easily...which is why we added doors to seperate the front of the house form the back when we have company. lol, so we've tried that route!
post #2 of 2
What do you normally do with Hans to stop him from doing something inappropriate? When mine were younger and started getting rowdy with the cats, I very calmly told them to "be careful with the kitty" and physically stopped them.

When you trained them as puppies, you watched them constantly, and redirected them outside immediately when they had to go. Do something similar here. Never let them together unless you are supervising them and stop Hans if he tries to play - redirect him to his own toys. The cue words that I use are "be careful with kitty", but you can pick your own. I did this likewise when they tried to play with the cat toys ("that's a kitty toy, not a doggy toy"). They figure it out pretty quickly.

If you have control of your dogs, they will respect your decision for them to not play with the cat. If you don't have control, read Jan Fennell's book, The Dog Listener for the best advice.
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