Puppy and Big Sister Cat - Doberman Forum : Doberman Breed Dog Forums
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 01-08-2018, 12:06 AM Thread Starter
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Puppy and Big Sister Cat

Hello, it's me again!

Yes, I'm a newbie with lots of questions, but I really want to be a responsible dogie owner and make sure Zeus grows up happy, healthy, and well balanced!

So, Zeus has a big sister named Gypsy who is a nine year old cat who I've had for 8 years. I did a lot of research prior to bringing him home with how to properly introduce the two. One method was to keep them in separate rooms for a while, then switch rooms so they could get used to each others scents, and then eventually letting them interact with one another from behind a closed door. Well, the way the house is set up... that wasn't really feasible. Plus, we started crating him right away, and his crate stays in the living room and Gypsy's litter box is in the laundry room and we didn't want to keep her cooped up in a little area.

I digress!

We've had Zeus for about 2 weeks (19 days to be exact) and we've kept him contained to the living room area by blocking off the hallway and kitchen area with baby and pet gates. Gypsy still has free roam of the house. At the beginning, Zeus and Gypsy mostly looked at each other and that's it. She kept her distance and he kept his. But as he became more comfortable being with us, he really wanted to interact with her. He gets so excited when he sees her! His little tell wags and he play bows at her. She, of course, doesn't take kindly to his advances and usually gives him a growl or warning hiss. Before, he would leave her alone. But now, he's taking to chasing her around and barking at her. He's still being playful, as the bowing and tail wagging is still present, but his newfound vocalness and lunging at her is causing a greater reaction from her. Her growls have gotten more fierce.

The last thing I want is for her to attack him out of fear. I know since he's so young, he probably doesn't understand that cat language and dog language are different (I don't even think he's ever seen a cat before until now) and that she doesn't play the way that he does. Any advice on how to get these two to get accustomed to each other? Is it just a "give it more time" thing? Should I discourage him from yapping and chasing at her? Thanks in advance!
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 01-08-2018, 12:33 AM
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You should not let him chase her or bark at her....put him on a leash when you have them in the same room together. Even a puppy accustomed to a cat friend can forget himself and chase a moving target. Right now and probably for a long time, you need to be with them whenever they have a chance to interact.

Also, the cat should have places where she can go to get away from the puppy. In addition to the gates you have, which I’m assuming your cat can jump; provide higher places (maybe a cat tree, chest tops, window shelves, for example) in the rooms that they share.
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 01-08-2018, 06:40 AM Thread Starter
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Yes, Gypsy has a tall cat tree in the living room on the opposite side from where the puppy's crate is. And my husband or myself are always present when Zeus is out of his crate in the house and keep a close eye on them when Gypsy joins us. Thank you for your advice!
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 01-08-2018, 10:07 AM
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We have three cats, two Dobermans.

As Mel said, give your cat plenty of places to get UP away from the puppy. I would strongly recommend investing in more cat trees, in multiple rooms. Your cat should always have a place to get up away from a dog and just observe.

With a puppy, I would also be gating rooms - set up gates so that your pup can't get up "speed" to chase and kitty has lots of ways to get away. I like to set gates so cats can easily go under them - much easier to slip under than to have to go over. That allows the cat to come and go on their own to check out the dog on their own terms. The cat should have their own "room" with litter box and food, so kitty never feels unsafe while eating or eliminating. Keep that room either gated off or the door should have a cat door in it that kitty feels comfortable using. We keep our entire upstairs gated off - dogs are only allowed up when invited so the cats have plenty of cat territory. They love our dogs but they also appreciate a peaceful space of their own.

With a pup, as Mel said, keep him leashed to you - prevention of bad habits is KEY. Leashing him is going to help with potty training and other stuff anyway. You don't want to scold him, but instead teach him what you DO want - calm behavior around the cat. I reward puppies for basically ignoring cats...they are just NOT interesting in our house. Lots of treats, and I teach "leave it" early. Distraction and making kitty very uninteresting. No opportunities to chase, and making sure the cat never feels like they need to run, so chasing isn't provoked.
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 01-08-2018, 05:18 PM
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I have the same ratio of cats to dogs that MeadowCat has and the information given by Mc and Melbrod is essentially what I do and have done for years.

For my group it's fairly easy since I have three cats who are all accustomed to dogs and two dogs who know the dog/cat rules.

The oldest cat will actually invite dogs to play--and his favorite play game is to meet me if I'm coming in the front door with a dog and wait long enough for me to let the dog off leash and turn him loose--Leon (the cat) says prrrrrp to the dog and runs down the long hall with the dog on his heels--they make a loop in the bedroom at the end of the hall and come racing back except that coming back Leon gets to chase the dog.

As puppies come (and sometimes go) I keep puppies on leash and don't let them bark at the cats--I do let them play bow and the cats all know enough dog language to read that play bow as friendly.

Presently the oldest dog checks every cat at night when we go to bed--it's cold and I keep the house cold so the cats all end up on the bed with me--the dog comes and snuffles at each cat, one by one and then goes to his big dog bed and heaves a huge sigh--all his cats are there and safe. Cracks me up.
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