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Introducing Kittens To Greyhounds


Guest Shermanator
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Guest Shermanator

Wow.

My MIL just got 2 kittens. Sweet little 8 week old kittens. Anyway, MIL lives about 2 blocks from us, and is our dog sitter (she takes the dogs when we go away,) so we had to introduce the dogs to the kittens.

Sherman and Patton are both cat safe. We have 2 cats, who they co-exist with beautifully. The cats were there first, and we got the dogs when the cats were 8. 6 years later, and one cat will hiss and swipe at Patton, and back him away from his food bowl. :blink: Outside cats are a problem, we have a 6 - 7 foot concrete privacy fence around our backyard, the few cats who have jumped into our yard, have been chased off, never caught, by a snarling Patton.

We were a little nervous about Patton with the new kittens. Sherman's so even tempered, we knew he would not be bothered. Nothing fazes that dog. To introduce for the first time, we decided to muzzle the dogs, and keep their leads on while we watched the dog's behavior- looking for any signs of aggression. Dogs would not be left alone with the kittens, etc, etc. We were super prepared to keep the kittens safe.

 

Whoa. Were we wrong. It wasn't the dogs who were the problem, it was the kittens! We were holding the kittens, and upon seeing the dogs for the first time, they were berserk, growling like bit pulls, howling, hissing and spitting. We quickly took the muzzles off the dogs, since they hate them, and tend to bounce around the house, looking for ways to get them off. By taking the muzzles off, the dogs immediately settled down, looked at the kittens with curiosity, and proceeded to go to their beds and lay down to watch the kittens from afar.

 

The kittens were nuts and went completely berserk! The dogs stayed over for about an hour. The kittens wouldn't stop with the growling, howling, and hissing. Even with the dogs in the far corner, laying down, with us sitting with the kittens. At first we were holding and sitting with the kittens to keep them safe from the dogs. Within 15 minutes, we were more concerned with keeping the dogs safe from the kittens. We were afraid the kittens would launch themselves at the dogs to attack, and we didn't want the dogs injured, or the kittens injured if the dogs reacted.

 

By the end of the hour, the kittens settled a little. They curled of on the sofa, stalking the dogs, with the occasional growl and hiss. They were still poised to pounce on the dogs if they came too close. Both dogs were having none of it, and gave the kittens a very wide berth. :)

 

We are planning on continuing to socialize the kittens with the dogs. We have to, since my MIL is our sitter. :) Does anyone have any other suggestions? We are doing this in short doses, hoping to desensitize the kittens, so everyone can coexist in peace. :)

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Much like desensitizing a dog, you might want to give really yummy treats to the kittens ONLY when the dogs are around. That could help move things along. Otherwise, I think mostly it will just take time for the kittens to realize the really big furry animals aren't going to hurt them.

 

Remember, your greyhounds may be 10+ times the size of the kittens --- that's gotta be a little scary to a kitten who hasn't experienced much yet.

 

 

Jennifer, Mike and the menagerie ---

Molly (Blue Sky Dreamin), Tinker (BT My Lil Girl) and their feline brothers Miles and Lewis

Visit Molly's Photo Album

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Guest krystolla

Kittens usually have two speeds -- havoc and asleep. Might be a good idea to do a crazy play session with the kittens to take the edge off the havoc before bringing the greyhounds in. Something with teaser chasing or laser pointers.

 

Scent article swapping is also good with cats. Rub a towel all over the greys, then rub it all over the kittens, then rub it all over the greys again. With cats, smelling like each other is a sign of belonging together. You can also leave doggy scented stuff near where the kittens eat or sleep to help them get used to the idea.

 

If it was any other breed of dog I'd say use the feather teaser to distract the kittens from the dog, but I think asking a greyhound to ignore a fast moving toy is too much. :)

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Guest lasharp1209

They shouldn't take long to get used to the dogs. We foster kitten litters and they always go absolutely crazy when they first meet our cats (or dog) but they get used to them very quickly - much more quickly than an adult cat would. Kittens adapt to anything. I wouldn't worry too much about it, just watch the dogs for signs of discomfort, snapping, etc. I am much more cautious with kittens than I am with cats - I think they look rather more like hamsters than cats, and even with "cat-safe" dogs I never ever ever leave them unsupervised. Just be very careful - but the kittens should calm down with a little time. They're easily distracted by other things :)

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