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Will we be a good home for Lusa? Your thoughts, please.

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
This question has been on my mind for days now, and I want to make sure that my husband and I are making the right decision for our kitten Lusa. Please, if anyone has some advice or experience to share with me, I'd be very grateful.

Here is our situation: I found Lusa last week on the side of the road. She's about 5 weeks old now and is recovering from a URI, fleas, and worms. She's very affectionate and playful. I've wanted a cat for years, but my elderly dog, Stockey, was not socialized with cats (he's a rescue). He's been obedience trained, listens well, wants to please, but has a strong prey drive. There's a chance he won't accept her and will try to chase her. We haven't allowed them to meet yet because she's so small and is still under the weather. We've come up with a Plan A and B that hopefully are acceptable.

Plan A: We have an upstairs bedroom (converted from our attic) that is spacious and being used for storage. We thought we'd let Lusa live there, and continue to let the dog live downstairs. If she and the dog get along, then we can all hang out together downstairs in the evening for 4 or 5 hours.

Plan B: If they can't co-exist, Lusa will need to live upstairs until Stockey passes away. I'm worried that she'll feel socially isolated up there and unhappy if I can only play and visit with her upstairs a couple of hours a day. My knowledge of the emotional needs of cats isn't good. Lusa seems to be a social kitten and I don't want her to be lonely. Will her need to socialize decrease as an adult? Could she be happy in this situation if I provide her with plenty of toys, a cat tree, scratching post, etc., plus some social time with me in the evening?

Thanks for listening. She means a lot to me and I've become very attached to her in a short time. I want this to work.
post #2 of 20
We have a cat door that goes down to our basement. That way the kitties know they can get away from the dogs that way if need be. I would also think that if you provide lots of vertical space, she might be ok. Have you ever seen those things you can hook on your walls, sort of like book shelves, but carpeted? The cat can walk on those all around the room without touching the floor!
post #3 of 20
Thread Starter 
Thanks, kluchetta! No, I've never heard of the shelves. They sound great. Are they easy to install?
post #4 of 20
I'll see if I can figure out what they are called. I think at least one person on here has them - they were showing photos, but it was about a year ago...

http://www.katwallks.com/customerphotos.htm

Actually...here you go. I'm sure there are different brands...
post #5 of 20
Sometimes I swear that cats find US, rather than the other way around. It seems you could be her perfect forever home, you sound like you really care for your animals.

I would keep Lusa in one room of the house until she is fully recovered and playful, then let her in with Stocky, while you are supervising. Leaving her in a separate room from Stocky, for just a short time will definitely get him curious, but he will either be curious or not anyway... You may find that Lusa ends up attaching herself to Stocky's leg and him just tolerating her, you never know how they will be together. Especially since he is an older dog.

Make sure Stocky knows that Lusa is the "dominant" animal. If he gets aggressive with her, step in. You may want to try what some dog handlers do (and this is highly debated in the dog discussion forums) which is gently place him into a submissive position, on his back, while Lusa is standing nearby.

In any event. I think you will be okay. Just keep in touch with us here. The dog people may also help you, and they can be quite informative and opinionated as well~
post #6 of 20
Here is someone who did it themselves...
http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/ny/p...tairs-3-010732
post #7 of 20
Looks like upside down door stoppers for the swivel-hardware....

Always looking for a way to do things myself. I just love the idea of this.
post #8 of 20
If your dog is very obedient with you, then there should be a respect shared from him toward your affection toward the kitten. I would definitely keep the seperate while loose, but introduction of the kitten while in your arms and speaking , guiding your dog to be nice and friendly would be good to. I had an amazing cat, Chleo, who I introduced to a ferret, Bella(also amazing). At first there was the open mouth, hunt kind of natural instinct in Chleo, but after a while they were best friends!
post #9 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vik61 View Post
Looks like upside down door stoppers for the swivel-hardware....

Always looking for a way to do things myself. I just love the idea of this.
I think one of those articles said they used hand railing brackets. I couldn't believe how much they wanted for those, and you could build them out of scraps!
post #10 of 20
Those shelves certainly do get the cats up off the floor--plus they're just really neat, and yes, cat trees AND these things are expensive. You could really sell a lot of them for the right price, and have a nice little production line for making them. $20-$35 might be okay for most people but I can't afford it. I do need a nail gun. Once I get one of those I am going to town on the cat toys/scratchers...

Back to the other subject, I remember I had a rabbit and a dog once. My dog did that thing with his mouth open, teeth showing--it was almost instinctive and he never did it with the cat we got many years later.

He used to chase that bunny around the house like mad and never got over it so I had to find bunny a new home. The kitten he just tolerated. It used to just grab on and hang onto his leg while Hayden would walk around carrying the little thing. Almost rolling his eyes and pretending nothing was amiss.

I look forward to hearing how it goes for Lusa and Stockey.
post #11 of 20
You can keep her in a room alone as long as there are things to keep her busy. I had to do that with my cats because one of my dogs tries to bite if they swat him. They are perfectly happy up there playing, and of course we visit them alot.The cat door thing is a good idea but be careful because I had a baby gate up so the cats could "get away" and my one cat got caught before he could get to the room.. (good thing we were there to stop it!!) I let my dogs in the cat room with me for them to continue getting used to the cats ruling the place. Good luck!!
post #12 of 20
Poor kit. How about you move your computer, your phone, or something else you use a lot upstairs, and socialize with her when you use whatever it is you've moved?

Your dog needs attention too though; don't ignore him with all the fuss over the new animal.

At the very least, if the worst comes to pass, you will have provided a good home for your kitten for a little while, and she will be healthy enough to go live somewhere else without problems. Lots of cats go through fostering before they're permanently adopted, so she won't be traumatized or anything... sad, maybe, but not traumatized.

Suggestion: An outside enclosure for one or the other of the animals... it being late summer now (if you're in the northern hemisphere like me), you would have several months to get them used to each other before it grew too cold; and outdoors is more interesting than indoors.
post #13 of 20
Thread Starter 
Thanks, everyone. I've been keeping late hours trying to balance my dog, cat, and household duties and "cat homework." I introduced her to the kitty-proofed upstairs bedroom tonight and she seemed to have a great time exploring. She found her litter box right away and strutted around like she owns the place I plan on doing yoga / Tai Chi practice in her room, so (I hope) she'll be happy with my presence plus playtime.
post #14 of 20
If the dog is not allowed upstairs, you could confine the cat up there unless supervised with the dog.

What kind of dog is it? And if this dog will chase (and possibly kill) small creatures, you may be better off placing the kitten in another home till the dog passes away.

I don't think I'd want to risk the dog hurting or killing the cat - especially since its a kitten and especially since you know it has a prey drive.
post #15 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoldenKitty45 View Post
If the dog is not allowed upstairs, you could confine the cat up there unless supervised with the dog.

What kind of dog is it? And if this dog will chase (and possibly kill) small creatures, you may be better off placing the kitten in another home till the dog passes away.

I don't think I'd want to risk the dog hurting or killing the cat - especially since its a kitten and especially since you know it has a prey drive.
You are absolutely right that risk of injury to the kitten is unacceptable. I take the welfare of my pets very seriously and only want the best for them. It pains me to say this, but the best option might be to rehome her. Stockey's been less curious about her the last couple of days, so maybe this is a good sign.

Whether Lusa stays with us or is rehomed, I feel obliged to get her completely wormed, recovered from the URI, and vaccinated with her first series. That'll be 3 weeks or so. I'd like to get her spayed, too, but I'm not sure how old she needs to be for this.

On top of all of this, we're now having trouble getting an AC installed upstairs for her because of the strange little windows (bangs head on wall repeatedly).
post #16 of 20
You can spay females almost any time after 2-3 mos. old, much earlier than males.
post #17 of 20
Some vets will spay them very young; I know and work with one who spays kittens that aren't even two pounds yet. My fosters are right now between 1.3 and 1. 11 oz and they are all spayed/neutered already.
post #18 of 20
Its a lot easier to rehome a young kitten then older cat in many cases. And since you'll fix her up before she goes, be sure to recover some of the cost - at least most of the spaying.
post #19 of 20
I'd keep the kitten upstairs and watch the dog at all times. You should be fine as long as they can be separated. A child proof gate at the head of the stairs will keep the dog from getting to the upper floor. The cat could be let out of the attic for play sessions with you in the hallway if the dog was outside or kept on another floor by means of this gate. I don't know how old your 'elderly' dog it, but are you sure that there is no workable situation for you with this newcomer?
I agree that the animals should be kept separate, but it sounds like you have a large enough space to do this.
I hope that you make the right decision for yourself and the pets.
post #20 of 20
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the input, everyone. I have faith that if Lusa is meant to stay with us, she will. We'll find a way to make it work.

I don't mind absorbing the cost of her futuring spaying and vaccinations.

Stockey is about 11 years old. He's still pretty mobile for his age, although his energy isn't what it used to be because of his heart disease.

We've had three brief intro sessions with Stockey and Lusa. So far, so good. We're taking the introduction in baby steps to reduce the stress on both animals. My husband Chris handled Stockey on leash and I held Lusa. Stockey has been a good boy! He's curious but not aggitated when he sees her. He sat when Chris asked him to and even rolled over for belly pats.

Lusa's been hesitant but a bit curious about Stockey. She hissed once during the second intro meeting when Stockey and Chris came into the room, but yesterday she didn't hiss at all. He might be the first dog she's ever seen.

There's a door at the bottom of the stairs leading up to the loft bedroom, so Stockey has no access to the upstairs when the door's closed.

Edited to add: Once reason I've had doubts about the set-up, in addition to Stockey, is the trouble we're having with climate control upstairs. That room is a good 20 degrees warmer than the rest of the house during the afternoon and early evening -- and the electrical outlets are in the wrong place to plug the AC in. Right now, we're using it as a rompus room for Lusa when it cools down at night. We're going to have to "call the professionals" to get this fixed.
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