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Advice Wanted! - Cat / Dog Integration Plan 2019

alandsim

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Mar 14, 2019
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...or so we have been calling it in my house. I posted yesterday about getting a 3-year-old don sphynx Sim when I have a 2-year-old husky Jo. Thank you all so much for the warm welcome!

I am going to post my detailed game plan here and I welcome any feedback, especially things I may have overlooked due to inexperience. These are my first pets as adults (and anyone else like me have parents that were awfully laissez faire when it came to their pets?) so I’m a blank slate! I am so sorry it’s about to be so long!

Everyone in the house is on board, I made sure to explain to my partner, who is not used to cats, that she is going to have to help me implement this. The cat was my idea, it is my responsibility to make sure all animals can get their needs met, but everybody in the house has to be on the same page!

Whew! So:

My house is two stories. Downstairs we have a room that was listed as a bedroom, but is awkwardly placed two paces away from the front door. It has lovely french doors leading into it and an en suite bathroom that happens to not have a door and is currently sectioned off with a curtain. It is pretty bare right now because we have to collect some more furniture! We think of it as a sitting room and will make it a guest bedroom when we can get a futon or pull out couch.

Phase 1- One week or longer if I see signs of stress!

This room is basically where Sim will live with the door closed. I’ll have her food dishes, toys, wall-mounted cat tree and some odd comfy chairs placed near the windows for lounging. Litter box in the bathroom. Nothing around that she can hurt herself with.​
I am driving to get Sim next Sunday with my housemate, who is as excited as I am to have a feline in the house. We’ll probably get home well into the evening so I’m just going to give her the tour and then go to bed. I’ll sleep down there with her on an air mattress or maybe we’ll throw a couch in there temporarily. I’m prepared for her to keep to herself until she gets the lay of the land.​
During this phase the only exposure the animals will have to each other is swapping scents. During the week we both work, so when we’re out of the house Jo will be in our master bedroom upstairs by himself (“watching TV” out the window and napping like he always is).​
I’m literally thinking of rubbing a bandanna on Sim and tying it around Jo’s neck for him to wear. Also petting him and reinforcing him verbally while he’s sniffing any cat smell thing. Obviously not going to rub her smell on any chewable toys, and not going to reinforce with treats lest he associate her smell with food! We’re also going to exercise Jo outside more than usual (extra trips to the dog park) to make sure he’s happy AND in a weakened tired state so that he’s easier to train, bwahahaha!​
The whole house probably smells like Jo, but I will make sure there’s blankets or towels that smell like him, and same thing. Positively reinforce any calm behavior around the smell. Maybe give Sim treats for going and laying on a blanket, etc.​
We might introduce Sim to the rest of the house when Jo is outside just to let her get the lay of the land.​

Phase 2- One week or longer until they are bored to sleep at the sight of each other

All of the above and we will set aside planned periods of time once or more a day for them to be able to see each other but not touch each other in one of two ways.​
Option 1​
We can remove the curtain from the french doors while Sim is in her room and Jo is outside it, with one human on either side. Humans’ jobs are to distract pets with treats. We’ll give each animal a high value treat right away (chicken for Jo, tuna for Sim) and then wait for them to notice each other.​
Jo is rewarded with small treats and praise for being calm and quiet. We are prepared for him to scream like a banshee because he wants to get to where the cat is (unlikely but it’s what he does when we’re at the dog park and he wants to get in) in which case we’ll close the curtain and take him outside to distract him. If needed we’ll put him up in the room.​
Sim is rewarded with small treats for approaching Jo at all, calm body language. We’re prepared for Sim to run to a safe space like the bathroom or up in the cat tree in which case we’ll just focus on the dog.​
Option 2​
We can put Jo in his crate with a Kong and let Sim roam free. Reward her for going anywhere near him. Reward him for being calm if he notices her.​
Phase 3- As long as it takes!

Put Jojo on a leash, give him a high value treat and let Sim roam free. Reward him for being calm and not pulling towards her. Reward her for going anywhere near him. If he’s pulling towards her too much, time for a walk or to go outside until she’s back in her Sim cave!​
Eventually transition Jo to a retractable leash.​
ONLY let the two of them together off leash when they are both reliably calm and unbothered by each other.​

FOREVER-
When we leave the house I will have them separated for my own peace of mind.

When they’re not separated I will make sure Sim always has an escape route.

Jury’s still out on whether or not we will sleep with both of them in the master bedroom or not, it totally depends on partner’s allergies, but if we do we will make sure there’s a tall object she can reach but he can’t and rely on them to wake us up with noise if anything’s amiss. Housemate has volunteered to sleep with Sim if we don’t.

I also have both Feliway and the canine equivalent of faux pheromones in a spray which are supposed to be calming. I am not sure what the most effective way to use them would be. Should I let Jo smell the Feliway before Sim arrives so he gets used to cat pheromone smell? Would putting a Feliway bandanna on my dog make Sim like him? Anyone have experience or suggestions for these for this purpose? I am thinking at least I can utilize these if either animal appears to be in distress for any reason due to the lifestyle change of sharing our house.

THANK YOU if you read this far! Do you see any red flags in my plan that you wouldn’t do if you were me or can you think of anything else for me to try?
 

Yoda mom

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Kudos to you for planning !

I like your options amd details !

I used option 2 and 3 to begin then option 1

Built up from crate , leash , free roaming with 110% supervision
and separated in the beginning when not home as you plan

I bought a 54” crate (at Chewy) lol and made it all comfy with extra padding etc
***** I put caribiner clips on the corner of the crate door as well as all door latches!
They can open crates
I had a big boy who pushed out thru the bottom corner of the crate door !
He as sleeping in the middle of the living room floor when I walked in and the crate door was still closed !

Kitty free roamed and Then would go and touch the dog thru the crate!
Then it was a game of walk across the crate ! Dog praised for never minding kitty
He did amazing - he would go to sleep amd snore !
So good idea you have for lots of exercising Jo

Be very carefu with opening doors ! Kitties are lightening fast ! I always open door slowly amd look down at my feet
Kitty proof for life! They are busy buddies

You have a great plan in the works!
 

alandsim

Lairian
Joined
Mar 14, 2019
Messages
23
Points
14
Kudos to you for planning !

I like your options amd details !

I used option 2 and 3 to begin then option 1

Built up from crate , leash , free roaming with 110% supervision
and separated in the beginning when not home as you plan

I bought a 54” crate (at Chewy) lol and made it all comfy with extra padding etc
***** I put caribiner clips on the corner of the crate door as well as all door latches!
They can open crates
I had a big boy who pushed out thru the bottom corner of the crate door !
He as sleeping in the middle of the living room floor when I walked in and the crate door was still closed !

Kitty free roamed and Then would go and touch the dog thru the crate!
Then it was a game of walk across the crate ! Dog praised for never minding kitty
He did amazing - he would go to sleep amd snore !
So good idea you have for lots of exercising Jo

Be very carefu with opening doors ! Kitties are lightening fast ! I always open door slowly amd look down at my feet
Kitty proof for life! They are busy buddies

You have a great plan in the works!
I'm so glad to hear this type of intro can work and I'm really feeling optimistic about it. I'm going to think happy thoughts of the two of them snuggled up together someday! He is very warm!

I hear ya on the crate! We tried crate training Jo once upon a time in a wire crate and he bent the bottom and cut up his nose but didn't get out. He now has a plastic kind like you would take on an airplane and it's zip tied on the corners but it really only serves as his safe space and he is trained to chill out in there for a few hours if he needs to be left alone in it. But during the workday he is so dang happy in our bedroom and he doesn't chew anything we just let him take that over.

And that is a nice reminder for me on door darting! I'm definitely out of practice with having cats so I do have to adjust my mindset for a different size and level of coordination, lol.
 

Yoda mom

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Awhhh Jo is precious !
You got this !
With your dog training experiemce you will find nakids easily trained the same way

I trained mine to their blankies on the bed as well as a meet and greet wait spot

You can ask if Sim is coming with or prefers a certain cat tree , smart cat climber etc

Alway recommend starting out with Sam litter box style and size , litter amd food for an easy transition
I set that up ahead of time
Also with having dogs I always set up at least an extra kitty box

(Oh and the little heat seekers are notorious to stoves stove tops dryers etc
Have to hide razor blades out of shower and hair hot tool appliances,

Some really good litter box hacks if you google! I got a good pet stuff ome thst looks like a planter (I don use moss it came with ) amd you can turn it around
 

alandsim

Lairian
Joined
Mar 14, 2019
Messages
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Points
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Awhhh Jo is precious !
You got this !
With your dog training experiemce you will find nakids easily trained the same way

I trained mine to their blankies on the bed as well as a meet and greet wait spot

You can ask if Sim is coming with or prefers a certain cat tree , smart cat climber etc

Alway recommend starting out with Sam litter box style and size , litter amd food for an easy transition
I set that up ahead of time
Also with having dogs I always set up at least an extra kitty box

(Oh and the little heat seekers are notorious to stoves stove tops dryers etc
Have to hide razor blades out of shower and hair hot tool appliances,

Some really good litter box hacks if you google! I got a good pet stuff ome thst looks like a planter (I don use moss it came with ) amd you can turn it around
I have 2 catit hooded litter boxes. I figured with those you can easily take the door or whole top off to adjust them to what she's used to. I bought two in case we wanted her to sleep upstairs with us but I think it will be handy to have two in case I want to switch litter types someday.

I knew she used unscented clumping clay litter so I grabbed a bag of Dr. Elsey's figuring that had to be close enough, turns out she uses tidy cats. I'm debating grabbing some of that and not sure it will make a huge difference. On the phone the breeder says she is one cat she never had litter problems with but still trying to keep things as close to what she has as I can. I still have to talk to the breeder again to know whether to leave the box uncovered at first or what.

I'll also ask about cat trees! We have a wall mounted one leading up to a high corner shelf that really blends into the decor and will probably make a nice perching spot. It has scratching post-like columns and little carpeted shelves but not opposed to using other models as well, especially because we have plenty of room! I also DIYed a little cardboard scratcher with some of the many amazon boxes we had lying around. If she likes that we'll save a couple bucks since I know how to make them!
 

Monica

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Omg I love it!! You’re as particular as I am!! Lol Are you a Virgo by chance? ; )

Your plan sounds great, and you seem to have put much thought into nearly every potential issue!
The only thing I will add is to view ‘the plan’ as more of a guideline. Allow the animals to set the pace, and watch their cues for signs that you may need to pump the brakes, or speed it up! I too had a well-thought out plan for both Kenzo & Minka’s Gotchas... each spanning a period of weeks. I was pleasantly surprised that, in both cases, we went from step 1 to done in a matter of days. However, had we needed to go slow & steady, I was prepared for the long-haul, just like you are!

Enjoy your Gotcha Day, and bravo to you for being well researched and prepared! {}

Ps. We all shack up in my house. Our king-sized sleeps 2 adults, 1 toddler, 1 boxer mix, 1 teacup yorkie and 2 sphynx cats! Everyone has their own room & bed(s), but we all love a good snuggle-fest! :ROFLMAO:
 

Yoda mom

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@alandsim oh I really like the jumbo litter boxes
Dr elseys unscented is popular here
I like that iit is big amd the lif folds back for easy scooping ! I do like to use the metal scoopers
Kept breaking the plastic ones lol
I always take off pop off those plastic doors on the litter boxes

You have a great plan set up!
Many of us keep on hand vetericyn spray or hydrogel for any skin nicks amd rubs
The VF formula is supposedly a little stronger

Vetericyn is nom toxic which we like
 

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Sheldon13

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To you question on Feliway, I don’t think using it around Jo would make a difference because it’s not HER smell, just generic cat. But I do like your idea of tying a bandana around that has new kitty’s scent on it. Maybe put it where she sleeps so it can get lots of good, concentrated smells on it.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
 

Toa and Ross

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Very good and detialed plans. What a lucky Sim to come to live with such a wonderful mom. Jo and Sim will become buddies easily thanks to you.
 

oolahappi

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I have always had cats and dogs and they cohabitated very well together. My first tip (it may be too late considering your plan) would be to expose your dog to cats - see how the dog reacts. You didn't mention if this has been done. It's important to assess the huskys 'prey' drive. Do they like to chase small animals. The best sign would be for the dog to be uninterested or *mildly* interested. It's also important to keep the dogs usual schedule. I've never separated animals when I introduce them - it's generally a free for all - but, one is usually a puppy/kitten being introduced to an adult. Although I have fostered adult cats and dog sat with my existing cat and dog. Cat to cat introductions are much more difficult I find. I've attached some photos of my various cat-dog pairings! IMG_3267.JPGIMG_0755.jpgIMG_5610.JPGIMG_0725.JPG
 

alandsim

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To you question on Feliway, I don’t think using it around Jo would make a difference because it’s not HER smell, just generic cat. But I do like your idea of tying a bandana around that has new kitty’s scent on it. Maybe put it where she sleeps so it can get lots of good, concentrated smells on it.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
You're right, Feliway would probably just be confusing for dogs! I will just swap their normal scents and using fabrics from where they sleep is an excellent idea!
 

alandsim

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Omg I love it!! You’re as particular as I am!! Lol Are you a Virgo by chance? ; )

Your plan sounds great, and you seem to have put much thought into nearly every potential issue!
The only thing I will add is to view ‘the plan’ as more of a guideline. Allow the animals to set the pace, and watch their cues for signs that you may need to pump the brakes, or speed it up! I too had a well-thought out plan for both Kenzo & Minka’s Gotchas... each spanning a period of weeks. I was pleasantly surprised that, in both cases, we went from step 1 to done in a matter of days. However, had we needed to go slow & steady, I was prepared for the long-haul, just like you are!

Enjoy your Gotcha Day, and bravo to you for being well researched and prepared! {}

Ps. We all shack up in my house. Our king-sized sleeps 2 adults, 1 toddler, 1 boxer mix, 1 teacup yorkie and 2 sphynx cats! Everyone has their own room & bed(s), but we all love a good snuggle-fest! :ROFLMAO:
I know! Type A all day! I'm a cancer but my housemate is virgo and we gel and bond over our particular-ness!

I really do hope we're also pleasantly surprised! My MO, which I'm sure you understand all too well, is to freak out leading up to the big event and then just sit back and feel relieved when it all finally happens! Or maybe my partner would call it: make things harder than they need to be and then find out you didn't have to do all that! :ROFLMAO:

I think back to when we were preparing to take Jo, who had a reputation for being an escape artist and very destructive (I think my in-laws were even calling him Devil-dog). I thought our fence wasn't going to be enough to keep him in the yard, that I would spend the rest of my life trying to keep him from darting out the door at any opportunity, and that he could not be walked without a waist leash because he'd get out of a normal leash. He's been an angel and while he is high maintenance, I think all he needed was a routine and someone to fuss over him.
 

alandsim

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I have always had cats and dogs and they cohabitated very well together. My first tip (it may be too late considering your plan) would be to expose your dog to cats - see how the dog reacts. You didn't mention if this has been done. It's important to assess the huskys 'prey' drive. Do they like to chase small animals. The best sign would be for the dog to be uninterested or *mildly* interested. It's also important to keep the dogs usual schedule. I've never separated animals when I introduce them - it's generally a free for all - but, one is usually a puppy/kitten being introduced to an adult. Although I have fostered adult cats and dog sat with my existing cat and dog. Cat to cat introductions are much more difficult I find. I've attached some photos of my various cat-dog pairings! View attachment 91678View attachment 91680View attachment 91682View attachment 91683
Yea he loves to watch squirrels through the window or through the fence. I just don't know that he'd know what to do with one if he could chase and catch one. One time he did catch an opossum in our backyard and... he licked it, it pooped everywhere and then we made him come inside. I don't really know what this says about his prey drive though! He could have SHRED that opossum but didn't or at least hadn't yet. With squirrels it's not like he's licking his lips and drooling over them, but he is very interested and 100% would chase further than the yard if he could.

When he's been in my family's homes with cats, they always made themselves scarce, and he's just been disappointed that he can't get anywhere near them. He's gotten smacked by a cat at my parents' house (they have a cat door to the basement he was putting his face into). On several occasions we see strays when we're taking walks, and if they run or hiss he throws a fit (he never barks but he has a very unique, effeminate whine/scream) and pulls toward them. If they stay where they are and meow at him (some are not scared at all) he will pull toward them but not act upset or anything (he does the same thing with neighborhood dogs who bark at him). That tells me he would chase a cat if it runs, but we haven't had the opportunity to interact with a calm cat that's not in fight or flight. At our vet's office, there's a cat whose spot is on the counter, and she is not afraid of and I'm told even loves dogs. There, he just sits and watches her and doesn't even pull toward her.

Because of all of the above, I feel like I can't get a read on what his opinion on cats is, so for my purposes I figure I better assume and act as if he has a high prey drive and that's part of why I'm being so meticulous. I do not want to leave it up to them to work it out on their own and have him scare her and risk them never getting over a bad first impression.

ETA: Your furmily (and naked fam) is beautiful! I wish I could go back in time and take puppy Jo and expose him to cats early but I hope we can find the same harmony you all look like you have!
 

alandsim

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@alandsim oh I really like the jumbo litter boxes
Dr elseys unscented is popular here
I like that iit is big amd the lif folds back for easy scooping ! I do like to use the metal scoopers
Kept breaking the plastic ones lol
I always take off pop off those plastic doors on the litter boxes

You have a great plan set up!
Many of us keep on hand vetericyn spray or hydrogel for any skin nicks amd rubs
The VF formula is supposedly a little stronger

Vetericyn is nom toxic which we like
Awesome recs! You can tell I've been lurking from some of my cat purchases! I think I've been guided mostly by threads on this site and amazon reviews.
I too have a metal scooper! I had litter box duty growing up and... I definitely didn't want a scooper that bends (and flings litter) like the cheap plastic ones. Yuck!
Great tip on vetericyn, I'll get my hands on some.
 

Yoda mom

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Ah! Tick tock! I kmow your heart is going pitter patter for Sunday Gotcha day!
Counting down with ya!

We all learn and grow together here
I learn so much everyday
So glad you are enjoying this fun friendly bunch!

Look forward to gotcha pics and tales!
 

oolahappi

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Because of all of the above, I feel like I can't get a read on what his opinion on cats is, so for my purposes I figure I better assume and act as if he has a high prey drive and that's part of why I'm being so meticulous. I do not want to leave it up to them to work it out on their own and have him scare her and risk them never getting over a bad first impression.
Good luck! Just keep an eye on Jo and give a swift correction if you see him staring or showing too much interest in kitty.
 

Condo commando

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Sounds like a fantastic plan.

I think if you've got Jo out of the house for a while it's OK to let Sim walk around and investigate. He'll pick up Jo's smell and he'll leave his own smell for Jo to discover.

FWIW I tried the Tidy Cat litter one time. It stuck to cat paws like cement and was incredibly hard to remove. Dr. Elsey's was fine. However, eventually I got tired of dealing with the 40 lb bags of Dr. Elsey's so I switched to a lightweight litter. It's good to have choices :)
 

alandsim

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Sounds like a fantastic plan.

I think if you've got Jo out of the house for a while it's OK to let Sim walk around and investigate. He'll pick up Jo's smell and he'll leave his own smell for Jo to discover.

FWIW I tried the Tidy Cat litter one time. It stuck to cat paws like cement and was incredibly hard to remove. Dr. Elsey's was fine. However, eventually I got tired of dealing with the 40 lb bags of Dr. Elsey's so I switched to a lightweight litter. It's good to have choices :)
Oh yes, we'll definitely let Sim explore! And exercise Jo as much as possible. A tired dog is a good dog! I predict during the week I'm going to be waking up at 4 or 5 since my mornings are more flexible than partner's and now I am already out the door at 6 with Jo to get his morning walk in. A little extra walking time and time for me to hang out with Sim before going to work! I always come home at lunch to let Jo out anyway, so I'll get to check in on her then as well.

I ultimately want to be able to have her switch to pine pellet litter for cost, allergy, smell and environmental reasons, but she's got a good thing going with clay litter, so I will stick to that till I feel like she's totally settled. I'll probably even buy a tub of tidy cats just to make sure even with a smell difference or anything she could sense, it's what she's used to in the beginning.
 
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