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View Full Version : How to introduce a dog to a cat?



shippers
22nd August 2007, 11:33 PM
I was wondering what is the best way to introduce Sally to my parents cat. The cat is almost 3 and has never mixed with a dog. Since we have had Sally she has only been to my parents house once and my parents just panicked about her upsetting the cat! He hid under the duvet and seemed terrified of her. I think if Sally had been off the lead she would have wanted to play and I don't know how the cat would have reacted. Although he has been known to lash out. It would be great if we could take Sally to my parents more often. It means I rarely get to go if I can't take her. My parents are even worried about her being in the garden in case the cat can smell the scent and runs away. They love the cat to bits which I understand. Any tips?

Cathy Moon
23rd August 2007, 02:44 AM
Don't let her too close to the cat or the cat could scratch her in the eye - that could be a painful and expensive injury.:yikes

Karlin has a link to some great information - I will look for the link and post it here.

Ah, here it is (with a lovely photo of Jaspar and his kitty friends :luv:):

http://board.cavaliertalk.com/showthread.php?t=8862

Karlin
23rd August 2007, 10:56 AM
Keep the dog on the lead around the cat at all times and be sure the cat has easy routes to escape. It isn't ever wise to just let them mix (for the safety of both cat and dog) -- we do have board members with dogs who have lost an eye or had it seriously damaged by cats. A single swipe of a paw in defense can blind a cavalier -- especially with those big eyes. So introductions need to be very slow and cautious. If the dog is only gong to very occasionally see the cat and isn't used to cats I would *always* keep the dog on a lead around the cat, espeially if the cat doesn't look happy. Dogs including cavaliers can have a very high prey drive and can decide to take off after a cat and terrify it enough that it will run and never return. They an corner and try to kill it. Or they can corner it and get attacked by the cat. None of these are options anyone would want!

That said: I have FOUR cats that live quite happily with three dogs :) but initial introductions are always very careful and my cats are quite comfortable, if careful, around new dogs. It is a lot easier to cat-train a dog that is around a household cat all the time, than a dog that will only occasionally see the cat in question. If you have the time, most cavaliers will be easy to train to be cat friendly, at least with cats they know.

Basically you'll need to be cautious and assess the situation all along the way to judge whether you have reached a point where the cat is OK with the dog and the dog will be polite to the cat. :thmbsup: I always, ALWAYS err in caution in favour of protecting the cat as a dog is a LOT more likely to go for a cat than vice versa and a scared cat is the cat that is going to swipe at the dog's face.

Do read thrugh the links Cathy posted as they have some great advice. :)

loveisokay
23rd August 2007, 11:03 AM
Personally, I think making too much out of a cat being there will make a Cavalier more interested in them. When my puppy was very young, we had her in her crate & the cat just roamed (my parent's cat too). They didn't realise each other's existence for a while & when they did, they were relaxed about each other. No chasing, no interest but the occassional rub along each other.

Though I would always supervise! All the cats I have had all lie on their back at some points in what looks like a submissive position to a dog as a "lay in wait" approach & can be quite evil! If that happens, call the dog away immediately.

Karlin
23rd August 2007, 11:25 AM
How do you make too much of a cat being there? I am just not sure what that would mean! :lol:

I completely agree that people should act as normal and never make a big deal out of anything when training as the person's reaction as owner gives clues to the dog to how to react. But I'd certainly always be most protective of a cat in any introduction as cats get killed or injured by dogs far more often than dogs are injured by cats. Keep the dog on a lead or carefully controlled in some way til they get used to each other and you are pretty sure of the relationship. :) I give lots of praise to a dog and some treats when they are polite around my cats and they get time outs in a crate when they decide it is time to chase... :dogwlk: Cavaliers can retain a surprisingly high prey drive. My three are all pretty laid back around anything from cats to birds and squirrels but I just had a foster who would take off after birds or other animals. :yikes

sallymum
23rd August 2007, 12:02 PM
I totally agree with Karlin always keep the dog on a lead at all times as this has happened to me before a dog that i took in for awhile got at my cat, even though he didnt really get her he gave her such a shock that she died of shock.
Also the newest member of my cavalier family is not great with cats Coco even though he is getting alot better i still cant trust him with my cats he will now just stand and look at them and when i say no he will look at me, look at the cat and u can tell he is dying to chase them still. I still have to make sure he is on a lead when the cats around as he can and will chase them if im not quick enough to spot him or one of the cats is in the same room. Like i said he is getting better and hopefully things will improve.

loveisokay
23rd August 2007, 01:19 PM
How do you make too much of a cat being there? I am just not sure what that would mean! :lol:

I completely agree that people should act as normal and never make a big deal out of anything when training as the person's reaction as owner gives clues to the dog to how to react. But I'd certainly always be most protective of a cat in any introduction as cats get killed or injured by dogs far more often than dogs are injured by cats. Keep the dog on a lead or carefully controlled in some way til they get used to each other and you are pretty sure of the relationship. :) I give lots of praise to a dog and some treats when they are polite around my cats and they get time outs in a crate when they decide it is time to chase... :dogwlk: Cavaliers can retain a surprisingly high prey drive. My three are all pretty laid back around anything from cats to birds and squirrels but I just had a foster who would take off after birds or other animals. :yikes

I find if you try to stop a dog from doing something, they become atuned to there being something of interest when you pre-empt it by putting them on a lead or holding their collar or whatever it is that a person does. A perfect example of this was when I went for a walk with my dog & my OH. She was perfectly under control (good recall from a very early age) but my OH doesn't know her that well & doesn't trust her (:rolleyes: ). She saw two young women in the park, looked at me for approval & I told her to stay. These two women SCREAMED & RAN away in the opposite direction in "fear" from a tiny Cavalier puppy. Now, what is any dog going to do in that situation? They will think it is a game. So she ran, I called & she came back. These two women walked past us again & my OH saw them so he stood up & ran at the dog to get her. What did she do? She looked around to see why she was being so quickly restrained, saw the women & ran off from my OH. The next time we all went to the park & there was someone there, she looked at me & I told her to stay & I also told my OH to stay too & there was no issue!!

I agree about protecting the cat but not when it's a 9 week old Cavalier, obviously! I'd, personally, have the dog in a "normal environment" (say, a crate or pen) & have the cat in it's own roam-free environment. A dog on a lead in the house is going to get confused & know something isn't as it should be.

For all I have heard about the high prey drive in Cavaliers, I've yet to have a problem! :xfngr: I used to take my old Cavalier to a field full of rabbits & he barely batted an eyelid - mostly because I saw rabbit, it saw me, it ran off, I called the dog over for a play.

OhMarley
23rd August 2007, 04:32 PM
yes yes yes watch those claws, my cat who is 8yrs punctures marleys cornea with her evil claws when he was only 14weeks old!

laram
23rd August 2007, 11:12 PM
I don't mean to steal this thread, but I have a very similar question. I want to bring Sammy (11months) to a friend's home for a few days. We've been there before. The problem is that my friend has a 10 week old rescue kitten. The kitten apparently has a similar personality to Sammy - sweet and submissive. Sammy is very enthusiastic though, so he might scare her. I really don't know how they'll react and Sammy has never met a cat before and vice-versa. Will it be easier when they're both young or should I just not go?

angie
25th August 2007, 11:25 PM
my cat shy was made a hermit when we moved house 6 years ago by dogs aas we live next to a park frequently used by dog walkers. you would think that i would have thought twice about getting our own but i weighed it out and decided that an older cat and pup was a better combination than older dog and kitten. not so likely to get mistaken for prey. (my own personal choice, others may disagree)anyway...it took a while, shy was allowed the upstairs as sanctuary and jadan was taught from the word go that that was out of bounds. if she needed to get away for some peace then she would retreat upstairs otherwise she would look at him from a high mount with distain and just turn away! like i said it took a while and i always made sure that jadan was secure in the kitchen (where he sleeps) if we were out and the cat was out. anyway...like i said it took a while and jadan sees her as higher in rank so wont even eat his food until she has finished. they lay on each other and kiss but my cat HATES the hoover and jadan knows this! as soon as he sees it coming out he goes looking for her because she would run and he could give chase...she on the other hand is toooo clever for him and has sussed this out so now she slyly moves out of range very slowly then pegs it either upstairs or outside! i agree that them living together made tehm more tollerant as opposed to just visiting. my sisters kitten got the shock of her life even though jadan was kept on lead. they can smell each other before they even see each other and she runs a mile. i dont think they will ever get used to eahc other as they dont spend enough time together.

Karlin
25th August 2007, 11:32 PM
Will it be easier when they're both young or should I just not go?

I think it is good for kittens to meet friendly dogs and vice versa but I'd have your dog on a lead so he won't be straining to run after the kitten. Also be cautious about the kitten feeling frightened. Don't force them together. Give lots of praise to both if they have a friendly sniff etc. But the prime responsibility is to keep your dog restrained as it is the dog that is most likely to go for the cat and either terrify or harm the cat, or prompt the cat to go on the attack and hurt the dog. My cats are pretty low key around dogs that come in short term as fosters but they give them very wide berth til they have a sense of what the dog is like, if it is going to try and chase them, etc. They have plenty of places to go to hide. Dogs that chase get time outs and a firm no.