Introduction of a Kitten Into a New Home... With a Dog.

Discussion in 'Sphynx Cat Questions?' started by saintbabby, Aug 11, 2009.

  1. saintbabby

    saintbabbyLairian

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    So, My dog is sweet as pie, but something BIG occurred to me the other day: My dog may be sweet, but even to the sweetest dog a kitten would be seen as a prey animal, and honestly, I fear the worst. Once when i was a small child, a dog we were sitting got ahold of a brand new kitten we had just adopted from the shelter. Let me just say that the kitten was nothing but a snack (RIP, i still feel horrible. the dog got to it even though we locked it in the bathroom with food water and litter) to this dog, and I really am afraid all of a sudden for my new kitten's life when she comes home in October. It's not that this dog shows any hints of being vicious or even playful in a more violent way, but does anyone have pointers on how to avoid this kitten being eaten (God forbid) or seriously wounded, or even messed around with at all? I want to make my kitten love her new home, not be terrified of a big black beast (the dog) that lives in the same house. Im riddled with fear since I realized that this might end up being a problem. I'm sure that once the cat is an adult it will be able to hold its own, but until then.. I need pointers. Maybe there are some pointers from some of you about how to introduce the kitten to its new home, then the kitten and the dog ... Oh, I just dont know. :Sweat:
     

  2. Brooke

    BrookeBanned

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    How does your dog react when you take her for walks around the neighborhood? Does she (or he, but I'm just going to assume its a she) react at all to squirrels or cats that might be passing by outside? Have you ever had her around any other smaller animals?

    My dog absolutely LOVED cats, so I didn't worry one bit when I brought my first sphynx home. I was more concerned with what Harold might do to my dog! But, I never had a problem. They were friends from the first minute they met. However, my sister's dog would growl and run around the house if she even heard a cat meow on TV, so when my sister found a tiny kitten inside the wheel well of her car during a hurricane, you can imagine she had the same concern you have.

    She kept them separated when she wasn't home, and when she was home they had supervised play time. She thought after a couple weeks of this that they were adjusted enough to be left alone. Apparently Molly (the dog) thought Desmond (the cat) was a squeaky toy. She picked him up with her mouth one day and shook him pretty violently - not trying to hurt him, but playing too rough. Desmond had to go to the vet for a few days because he got pockets of air under his skin. It sounded like crinkled up plastic wrap under his skin. Freaky. And it could have been much worse...they were afraid he may have had a punctured lung - fortunately he did not.

    Anyway, my sister went back to separating them while she was away, positive reinforcement and supervised play time, and after a few more weeks she tried again. Leaving them for short periods of time, then longer, then longer still until finally these two are absolutely inseparable. Molly thinks she is Desmond's mom. They sleep together, Desmond can't walk past Molly without wrapping his tail around her face, they groom each other, they play tug-o-war with their toys. It's so cute it's disgusting!

    They had a close call. This story has a happy ending, but you do have a very valid concern. Definitely supervise them until you're sure how your dog feels about the cat. Start with the kitten safely in her crate and let your dog sniff her to see her first reaction. Hopefully she'll be like my dog was and just instantly fall in love.

    I wonder if there's anything you can do between now and October to get your dog acclimated to being around other animals. Do you have a dog park nearby that you could take her to?
     

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  3. ilovemysphynx

    ilovemysphynxAdministrator Staff Member

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    We have an older dog and A puppy and don't have A problem if anything it's the cat chasing and scratching the dog but that is only Athena when the puppy sits outside her door and she is just keeping her babies safe! We have A baby gate up in the family room and one outside the spare room this works for 2 reasons, the cats can jump the gate and get away from the dog, and the litter box's are in those rooms so I don't have dogs eating litter:Woo:
     
  4. PitRottMommy

    PitRottMommyBanned

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    First things first, and I don't want to sound crass, it's not your cat's job to defend itself. It's your job to make sure they live harmoniously. If you view this otherwise, you run the risk of paying $1500+ for a cat that may be killed. If your dog has not already had experience with cats, now is the time to find a friend who has one that has been exposed to dogs and work on introduction.

    My three cats live in a 1000 square foot house with three pitbulls (47, 50 and 65 pounds respectively). I have trained each of the dogs to be respectful of the cats. They don't drink from their bowls, eat from their dishes or take their toys. The cats, however, have much more leeway. Unlike dogs, they're not aggressive over petty stuff. Therefore, I care much less about them playing with the dog's toys, etc.

    In the video below, you will see Baldwin walk straight up to Brogan's food bowl, steal a kibble, eat it and come back for more. There's no aggression from Brogan, there's no warnings...there's only tolerance. This is precisely what you need to practice with your dog. Again, a lack of tolerance on the dog's part will only result in injured pets.

    The best way to introduce a dog to a cat is to find one that understands that a dog won't hurt it (even if you're not sure). Once you have control over the dog (and that means standing right there to catch and correct him if he does something wrong), allow the cat to become close. If your dog shows excitement, issue a warning. If your dog shows aggression, issue a warning. If your dog shows friendly interest, allow the meet to continue with you staying especially close to ensure that everything is okay. This is the ideal meeting. If your dog is aggressive or excited, you run a very high risk (even with training) of the cat becoming injured either through rough play or through aggression.

    Remember, your girl is going to come home to you at 4 months of age. By that time, Baldwin was a mere 3.5 pounds. That's hardly the size to attempt to defend one's self and Theresa's cats are very curious. They wouldn't know what to do if a dog were mean.

    The best thing that I can recommend for you is a kennel, if your dog does not already have one. This allows you to keep the animals effectively seperated when you're not around. I love my dogs and I trust them, but I also know that they're apt to do sneaky stuff when I'm not around. For such a reason, they remain in kennels when Jason and I are not around to supervise their activities. The short and long of it is that until you're 110% certain that the cat is not at risk, don't trust the dog and the cat together. You will quickly find that it will be difficult for you to live with a cat in a home environment with nails long enough to effectively defend itself from a dog. It's much easier to teach tolerance than to hope the cat will defend itself. You don't want pets that have a respect for each other out of fear, you want pets that will cohabitate nicely. I have 6 pets that live well together (two of which have only been here for 6 weeks), if we can achieve it--I put my trust in the fact that you will too.

    Good luck!


    http://s67.photobucket.com/albums/h296/essaysinglemeye/?action=view&current=100_8826.flv
     
  5. PitRottMommy

    PitRottMommyBanned

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    I love the pictures, Brooke, esp the one of them both looking out of the car window.
     
  6. saintbabby

    saintbabbyLairian

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    Thanks for the input everyone. I appreciate it. What I had planned to do is stay at home for a few days when the cat is in my house at first, that way I can monitor it and make sure it doesnt feel all distressed with no one around. then from there I can slowly introduce it to its new environment, THEN I can introduce it to the dog. while the cat is still locked in its carrier. that way they can sniff and do the "hey what are you" thing, without giving the dog any... opportunities. then, only supervised play times for a long while before they can be alone together.
     
  7. saintbabby

    saintbabbyLairian

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    this dog gets excited when she sees passing dogs or outdoor cats or other small outdoor animals, but shes never run after one. shes not the type of dog that will do anything but tug a little on her leash and get a little vocal, but she wont do the pull-so-hard-shes-up-on-two-legs thing like some dogs do when they see something to chase. so i dont think shes got the hunter instinct in her beyond catching crickets in the grass. and shes been around kittens before, but these kittens were barn cats that were brought inside (my sister had a weird roommate before..) and so they were CRAZY and MEAN, and used their claws with no discrimination. so the dog got a noseful of kitty talons more than once, so perhaps she knows her limitations with cats, even teeny tiny kitties, but i definitely would not trust this to chance. I think that in this house i'm head honcho in terms of the dog heirarchy for little stevie (thats her name). i put food in her bowl and she knows this (its a ritual every day) , i let her out, i give her consistent discipline, and i love on her when shes a good girl ... btw, i hate that dogs need so much structure or they go off the deep end, just one more reason to get cats!... anyways, i think that because im her Momma Dog, shes gonna pay attention to what I say is off limits. all i have to do is look at her, and say no one time, and she wont bark, or she'll get off the furniture, or she wont jump on a visitor.. so hopefully this wont be an exception. It will still take some tender planning though.