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My (First) Grey And My Cats... Not Sure How To Read The Signs


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Guest greytmiles

Hello all! I adopted Miles (he's 2) five days ago, and he's my first grey (and my first DOG!!). Things are going really well so far, but I feel a little confused about how to proceed with the 'cat' issue.

I have two cats - one white and tiny, one gray and fat. :) In the past five days the cats have definitely gotten more comfortable with sneaking downstairs (past Miles) for food and litter. One is even hanging out on the first floor with us, just watching the dog.

 

1.) Sometimes Miles stares at the cats and when we wave a hand in his face or try to turn his head it's like he's made of stone. Once we heard the faintest little 'chatter' when he was like this. We spray water at him and say "NO KITTY!"

2.) Sometimes it seems that Miles is 'looking' for the cats when they're not there - going to the basement door and looking up the stairs for them. Is this 'stalking' or just curiosity?

3.) Once when watching the cat come downstairs, his posture was tail curled upwards, front paw lifted, and ears up. Again we say "NO KITTY!"

4.) He has never lunged at or chased one of the cats, and last night stood 3 ft. away from one with a slack leash... just looking and looking - then looked away.

5.) Sometimes he reacts immediately to our correction, and other times it seems he barely notices.

 

I don't know...I'm not sure what to do next. IMO the cats will keep getting bolder with the interactions, but he might too? I feel like his responses to their presence are kind of all over the board - from over-interested to not paying them any attention.

I'm worried that overdoing the corrections will just start to desensitize him to them. Is there a system to this? Should we correct him the second he starts staring? Should we let him closer to them for investigation, see what happens and THEN correct?

 

He's been muzzled and leashed for all encounters so far, of course. Please know I'm not at all interested in compromising my cats' safety. :P

 

Thanks so much for the help!

Erin

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Guest mpportraits

Hello there! I was just where you are 3 years ago! One white and HUGE cat, one small black cat. Let me just tell you, it gets better. The first month was the hardest for us. With all of us getting used to Phoebe. Did Miles test ok with cats? You seem to really be concerned about your cats, so I'm guess he testing good. We really just let the cats and dogs get it all figured out. We did the muzzle the first few times and then finally said, enough, they're fine. Sometimes, Phoebe will dart after them now but it's more playing. The dogs are so big compared to our cats, so it's easy to perceive their curiosity as a threat when in reality, they are simply curious. I think you'll be fine. Miles sounds like he's really good with them and curiosity is good! Let them all just get used to the smells and new presence. Also, you're really nervous and they can pick up on that...you relas, animals relax :colgate

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Hi! Welcome to GT!

 

I also have two cats and my first greyhound was also my first dog. Like you, I was so very nervous about the safety of my cats. But as I calmed down about it, everybody else calmed down too. I created several safe zones for the cats (baby gates are wonderful inventions) and was crazy cautious about putting kitty hidey-spots (like sofa created tunnels and high bookshelves with a carpeted edge) in corners so that the cats would never be trapped without an exit. That might be over-cautious, but it helped me feel better. The cats did their part by smacking (claws velveted) an over interested nose. All went well. Within a month we had forgotten the need for such precautions.

 

Later when we had a more prey-driven greyhound visiting in the house, I learned the difference between curious and trouble. I was pleased to see that the cats knew the difference too. They headed to the safe zones and once when cornered under a chair smacked the dog's nose with claws out.

 

Now, I have Avery (the best darn greyhound alive) and he loves the cats. He wants to play and lick and cuddle them. They recognized his curiosity as harmless before I did, and they taught me when to tell him "No Kitty" and when to let him be. Now they play and lick and cuddle Avery to their comfort level. If somebody has had enough, cats hiss or go to their safe zones. Avery does not chase or snap or act overly interested in a cat who is done playing. He will, however, look for the cats when they have been out of sight for quite some time. Again, it took us about a month after Avery first arrived to draw our lines and all feel safe together.

 

I hope some of that will help you. I know there are people here who are excellent at training and can help you with whatever cat-dog issues you might need to work out. My best advice is to watch, be calm, create safe zones or escape routes, and trust the cats to read the signals. Good luck and much joy!

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Guest Greyt_dog_lover

Before I answer, did you adopt from a group, or another method? If you did adopt from a group, did they say this animal was "cat safe" or "cat workable"? Reason I ask is that from your description of behavior, your hound could be potentially unsafe for your cats. Also, when you say your hound "looked" at the cat with a slack leash, then looked away, was your cat moving? What is your hounds reaction when the cat moves? If your hound looks at the cat, and chatters, as well as stares (not being able to move his vision away from the cat), these are all red flags. If he does this when the cat is not moving, watch out when the cat does move.

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Four greys and three cats here, with no problems.

 

It sounds to me like things are going fine. Unless he's been in a foster home and living with cats 24/7 he will and should be curious about these new little creatures he's living with now. Keep correcting him when he's too interested and praising when he's acting appropriately - no stick without a carrot! Things will gradually get better.

 

Make sure you give your cats safe zones and escape routes they can access if your greyhound gets to be too much for them. Don't let the cats tease the dog either - rules exist for both parties and shoudl be enforced. So if your cat is doing a behavior that excites your grey (sitting out of reach and staring at the dog, deliberately running back and forth, that sort of thing) it should be stopped.

 

Keep muzzling during encounters until you feel comfortable that they're going to get along.

 

Good luck!

Chris - Mom to: Lilly, Felicity (DeLand), and Andi (Braska Pandora)

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Angels: Libby (Everlast), Dorie (Dog Gone Holly), Dude (TNJ VooDoo), Copper (Kid's Copper), Cash (GSI Payncash), Toni (LPH Cry Baby), Whiskey (KT's Phys Ed), Atom

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Hello :)

 

From what you have said, I would take NO CHANCES AT ALL and I would leash and muzzle at ALL times until your dog has learned to look at YOU as soon as he sees a cat - or at least learned to look in another direction as soon as you tell him to.

 

I don't particularly like the sound of him going stiff/like stone whilst watching the cat.

 

Also, I'd steer away from spraying with water and instead use one very strong word as the command. The word I use is LEAVE and if necessary, the word is issues reasonably loudly, always firmly and sometimes accompanied by a small jerk of the lead. I am not talking about yanking the dog around in any way - I am talking about a small tug :) And then very importantly, the second the dog looks away from the cat, you must give massive praise and fuss to show that you are very pleased.

 

When I have gone through this with some of my greyhounds, it has taken anything from 8 -16 consecutive days of being muzzled and leashed at all times (other than when sleeping in a crate or when eating in a totally cat free room).

 

Do not take chances.

 

Best of luck :)

Deerhounds Darcy, Duffy, Grace & Wellington, Mutts Sprout & Buddy, Lurchers Ned & Jake plus Ella the Westie + cats. Remembering Del, Jessie, Maddison, Flo, Sally, Stanley, Wallace, Radar, Mokka, Oki cat, Tetley, Poppy & Striker.

 

Please visit our web store at http://www.dogsndubs.com for our own range of Greyhound related clothing for humans!

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Guest FastDogsOwnMe

Definitely never take chances. None of my dogs are catsafe- the ones that are were ruined by the pack frenzy of the ones that are not. We separate at ALL times. None of mine look for the cats or try to get into the cats' room. At night, the cats have free reign and the dogs are in the bedroom with me I have a gate blocking them from the kitchen/living room, so I can safely let them out into our gameroom (directly off my bedroom) which leads to the deck and back yard for night time potty breaks if needed. The cats NEVER come back here. They ain't no fools! ;)

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Guest gecko_foot

Hello all! I adopted Miles (he's 2) five days ago, and he's my first grey (and my first DOG!!). Things are going really well so far, but I feel a little confused about how to proceed with the 'cat' issue.

I have two cats - one white and tiny, one gray and fat. :) In the past five days the cats have definitely gotten more comfortable with sneaking downstairs (past Miles) for food and litter. One is even hanging out on the first floor with us, just watching the dog.

 

1.) Sometimes Miles stares at the cats and when we wave a hand in his face or try to turn his head it's like he's made of stone. Once we heard the faintest little 'chatter' when he was like this. We spray water at him and say "NO KITTY!"

2.) Sometimes it seems that Miles is 'looking' for the cats when they're not there - going to the basement door and looking up the stairs for them. Is this 'stalking' or just curiosity?

3.) Once when watching the cat come downstairs, his posture was tail curled upwards, front paw lifted, and ears up. Again we say "NO KITTY!"

4.) He has never lunged at or chased one of the cats, and last night stood 3 ft. away from one with a slack leash... just looking and looking - then looked away.

5.) Sometimes he reacts immediately to our correction, and other times it seems he barely notices.

 

 

I agree with what has already been said: anything with intensity - focused stare, ears pricked, tight mouth (like a herding border collie), raised (or high) tail-set, trembling, whining, etc. - is a big red flag. A lot of signals are very subtle and can be overlooked if you're not extremely watchful. I know I've missed a gracious plenty and have paid for it in the past.

 

I am still new to greyhounds, but not dogs in general. The best advice I can give you is to be careful and take every precaution you can. I muzzle Tumnus - even though he is definitely cat safe - when I can't supervise and monitor every interaction closely. Mako (my cat) has the option of hiding in the bedroom, which has a baby gate in the doorway just high enough for him to go under. If I catch Tumnus with his ears pricked, I give him a stern "Leave it!" and, if necessary, make him back away from the cat. Tumnus is pretty sensitive, so it doesn't take much of a reprimand to get his attention.

 

Here are a couple shots of Tumnus interacting positively with Mako. Tumnus' ears are back, his tail is in a neutral position, and his face is relaxed. Furball on the other hand, is being downright obnoxious. :lol

Tumnus and Mako - first meeting

Buffet line...

 

I hope this helps. Good luck with your greyhound!

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Hi-

 

One of my greys did this when I first got her and now she's fine. I was nervous for awhile though. Maybe you're already doing this, but just in case you're not...whenever you successfully call your dog away from the cat(s), give him lots of praise and love. That way, your dog will learn that the cats aren't as much fun as walking away from them. This worked well for me.

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Bloomer is not cat/or Guinea pig safe. we have an outside cat, who likes to come into the kitchen to eat.. thimg went ok the first couple times, but our weiner dog hates the cat, so bloomer does too now. as far as our guinea pig goes, i saw bloomer clear a 4ft wall to get after it.

The Fruitloop crew: Piper, Bloomer, Sirius Black the kitty cat, Goober, .....Insane human crew: Nikki, Chuckles, Jakob (ds), Naomi baby girl........... and Our Angel babies,, Betsy (Betsy Kiss), Momma Cat, Blue Fish, and Georgie the g-pig.

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Guest Harry702

Based on your comments, I'd urge you to take it more slowly and be a bit more cautious. If it were me, I'd be using the crate at first... gradually moving up to muzzle and leash... then muzzle and baby gate and so on. Like others have mentioned, some of the behaviors you describe are a little discomforting... while I definitely think you may have a cat trainable dog on your hands, he doesn't sound cat safe right off the bat. Even a dog who is merely curious, or just wants to play with a cat can do serious damage. I've seen a dog try to pounce on our cat... and it was totally a playful gesture, but still inappropriate and dangerous.

 

Training a dog to ignore the cats can take time, but it does work. When we have a "cat interested" dog in the house, we toss yummy treats in his/her crate for good behavior (i.e., ignoring or looking away from kitty). Staring for more than a few seconds will get a stern, "No Kitty!" and maybe a hand clap for emphasis. The difference between a cat trainable dog, and a dog who will never be safe with cats is that the cat trainable pooch will respond... a cat-zapper will not.

 

Bottom line is that it may take time (likely months or more) before you can trust Miles around the cats, and even after you feel comfortable, I'd still consider muzzling or crating him when you can't observe. We typically do this with Harry, even though he's quite possibly the most cat safe dog I've ever met. You just never know.

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Good advice above. We had three cats when we got Lily (she was our first GH) and what really worked for us, were the safe zones for the cats, "NO KITTY!" and make sure you give Miles lots of treats when he does something good around the cats, like they walk by and he ignores them, or they are playing and he doesn't get in there. He will learn much quicker what "to do" rather than what "not to do".

 

One more thing - it can be quite stressful at first, but it gets much easier and it's totally worth it.

Image removed. Not within the GreyTalk signature guidelines of <15 KB file size limit. Your image was 17.51 KB (17,929 bytes) file size.

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Guest rhodasmom

I didn't thoroughly read all of the responses, but will add my $.02. We've fostered 20+ dogs and have 2 cats. I do my best to distract the dog EVERY time either cat is nearby. Especially in the first week or two. A sharp "leave it, no kitty" and then praise, praise, praise when the dog looks away. Good luck!

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Guest Jubilee251

Here's how we've been handling the situation with Molly and the cat. She is cat-safe and has lived in a foster home with cats before (more like cat-workable), but she IS interested. Our cat is 100% NOT dog-savvy, so that makes things worse. Molly will stare and trot after him sometimes, although not lunging.

 

We put up a baby-gate, and first began interactions through the gate so there was no chance she could get him. When she froze and stared at him, we would say "Ah-ah-ah!" and if she looked at us, praise and reward with treats. If that didn't get her attention, I would give her a little poke on the side of the neck to get her attention. Once she looked at us, same thing - treats and praise.

 

Right now, we're working on opening the baby gate, and letting her have access to him, but with the same technique. Tonight, we stood in the bedroom, cat and dog a few feet apart. Whenever she looked at him for a few seconds, I would do the "Ah-ah-ah!" and then treat and praise. She's becoming much better at looking at me and ignoring the cat now, but we still have a long way to go.

 

It's stressful for a while, and does take some time for everyone to get settled. Just keep at it, and assuming Miles is cat-workable, one day it will click. Good luck! :)

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Guest TexasGreytMom

Our Shelby was TERRIFIED of our kitty when she first came home. We weren't afraid that Shelby would seek her out to hurt her, but we were concerned that our kitty would approach Shelby to nuzzle and Shelby might hurt her out of fear. In fact, the first week or so, Shelby would run FROM kitty. We just didn't want the fear to turn to aggression. We kept a close eye on them and separated them when we weren't home - kitty was closed in our bedroom.

 

One day, DH walked thru our living room and this is what he found:

 

IMG_0601.jpg

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Guest gecko_foot

Our Shelby was TERRIFIED of our kitty when she first came home. We weren't afraid that Shelby would seek her out to hurt her, but we were concerned that our kitty would approach Shelby to nuzzle and Shelby might hurt her out of fear. In fact, the first week or so, Shelby would run FROM kitty. We just didn't want the fear to turn to aggression. We kept a close eye on them and separated them when we weren't home - kitty was closed in our bedroom.

 

One day, DH walked thru our living room and this is what he found:

 

IMG_0601.jpg

 

That is the most precious thing I have ever seen! That cat has to be a male to be that sweet. :P

 

I wish my two would do that, but my cat seems to like me better than the greyhound. Mako just thinks Tumnus is supposed to play with him.

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Guest Zelsdad

FWIW - We adopoted Gatsby, a one year-old male Snowshoe Siamese in late-October, and then brought home Zelda, our three year-old retired racer, in early December. Zelda had tested "cat tolerant," but were a little concerned given G's rowdy and youthful nature. After some muzzled introductions, it appeared that neither pet was going to be an issue. We did, however, use a baby gate to control access to parts of the house for the first two weeks. The gate was raised off the floor enough for the cat to get under, but not enough for the dog to make it - this gave G a place to enjoy some peace and quiet, if he liked. The gate lasted about three weeks before it was retired - G knocked it over once and scared the whatsis out of Z! We count ourselves lucky that these two get along so well. I am no expert on this stuff, but it sounds like you are off to a pretty good start. Best of Luck!

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Guest greytmiles

Thanks so much to all of you for your encouragement and valuable advice! :colgate

Miles did indeed test 'cat safe' with the adoption organization we used, and imo things have been getting better.

Our two cats definitely have plenty of escape routes and safe havens at their disposal, and I'd say the majority of the time now Miles will notice and then ignore them. Also, our oldest cat is getting bolder about standing his ground and is now hissing at Miles if he gets too close.

From what I can tell, Miles doesn't seem at all aggressive about the cats, but rather seems more interested in chasing them as playtime. I suppose some folks consider those to be the same thing? :blush

 

We're definitely still on high alert about muzzling, correcting, and praising him on the issue, but are feeling more secure about the future. We've just finished Week One, and are trying to wait at least a month before 'worrying' any more about it.

 

Erin

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Guest Jubilee251

Erin - let me know how it goes. We're in the same boat, so I like hearing about other "success" stories. Molly is not aggressive around the cat, and there were a few accidents where if she had REALLY wanted, she could gotten a hold of the cat (silly cat ran INTO the baby-gate instead of through the cat-door!). It seems she really just wants to chase and play/sniff, but the cat never lets her close enough. Perpetually frustrated! :rolleyes:

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  • 2 weeks later...
Guest greytmiles

Well we're into Week 3 with Mr. Miles, and there's been some progress with the cats. We have an elevated baby gate on the "cat room" upstairs, and Miles is muzzled whenever we're not in the same room with him.

 

He's seems to be doing very well with ignoring them/responding to us as long as they're not moving - sitting on the desk, sitting on the bed, etc. Our oldest cat did lots of growling and smacked Miles a couple times on the nose. However, it concerns me a little that his reaction to that was whining... but then he immediately left the room? That confused me b/c i read the whining as inappropriate excitement, but then he just walked away. We're using the spray bottle w/ "NO KITTY" whenever he stares too long and praise praise praise when he looks or walks away. He responds better to the coke can filled with pennies, but the loud racket scares the cats away too and then we have to wait for them to come out again.

 

The big issue (understandably) is when the cats are on the ground and moving - unless of course Miles is lying down and sleepy. :rolleyes: If that's the case he'll just lift his head and watch them walk past.

 

Last night there was actually an incident with him and our younger cat. We're not sure if the cat walked up to him or just past him... but we heard the commotion when Miles got up and found him chasing the cat up the stairs. Lots of "NO KITTY!" as we try to catch up from across the room. The cat seems fine - no hair missing, no blood, was friendly again after the incident. siiiigh.... frustrating.

 

We'll get there though. I want to set up some (SAFE!) 'moving cat' situations this weekend, so we can get to reprimanding on that asap. Wish me luck.

Erin

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Guest Harry702

I'll be honest, it sounds to me like you're giving Miles too much freedom too early. I know others would disagree with me, but at this stage, I'd be crating Miles most of the time, with supervised, leashed times out of the crate (the amount of time out of the crate getting longer and longer with good behavior). You're not training him, you're confusing him. Sometimes he's able to chase/play with the kitties, and other times he gets squirted/startled.

 

There are a handful of ways to work through this, but I have to tell you, I think you're expecting it to all work out too quickly.

 

RE: whining... I've always thought that there are two types of whining when it comes to cat interested dogs... a cat trainable dog may whine if not allowed to get closer to the kitty, but they typically do this and look at your or look around the room, pace in the crate, etc. I read it as a "hey... I want to investigate but I'm annoyed that I can't" whine. A cat zapper will sometimes whine, but won't break the stare at the cat. Truthfully, the most cat interested dogs we've had here won't make any sound at all when they're intent on the kitty. They're predators stalking their prey. *shudder*

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Guest greytmiles

I'll be honest, it sounds to me like you're giving Miles too much freedom too early. I know others would disagree with me, but at this stage, I'd be crating Miles most of the time, with supervised, leashed times out of the crate (the amount of time out of the crate getting longer and longer with good behavior). You're not training him, you're confusing him. Sometimes he's able to chase/play with the kitties, and other times he gets squirted/startled.

 

There are a handful of ways to work through this, but I have to tell you, I think you're expecting it to all work out too quickly.

 

RE: whining... I've always thought that there are two types of whining when it comes to cat interested dogs... a cat trainable dog may whine if not allowed to get closer to the kitty, but they typically do this and look at your or look around the room, pace in the crate, etc. I read it as a "hey... I want to investigate but I'm annoyed that I can't" whine. A cat zapper will sometimes whine, but won't break the stare at the cat. Truthfully, the most cat interested dogs we've had here won't make any sound at all when they're intent on the kitty. They're predators stalking their prey. *shudder*

 

Honesty appreciated! :) As I'm sure you can imagine, being a first time grey (and dog!) parent has meant trying to synthesize about 100 different opinions and possible techniques on many issues all the while supposedly keeping in mind what's right for 'my individual dog.' :blink: So I certainly appreciate your being candid, and will most definitely take it into consideration.

 

Although I'm not comfortable with bringing the crate back out for Miles, I'm thinking we should give gating him in only one room another try (he'd knocked down the cheap-o gates with our first attempts). This would allow the cats to go to and from the upstairs and basement (food and litter) with total freedom. Miles would still be able to watch the cats come and go from his gated dining room, but I guess the big difference is he won't be able to chase them while home alone if he wanted to.... ideally lessening the 'confusing' encounters and upping the carefully monitored 'training.'

 

And what you're saying about the different types of whining definitely makes sense. thanks!

Erin

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