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Introducing Two Cats To Two Greys - Help!


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Guest AndyK

Hi guys :)

 

I'm after some help! Here is the situation:

 

I have two gorgeous greys. One female, 12, one male, 5. Neither to my knowledge are what you would call 'cat friendly'.

 

Now, my fiancee is hopefully going to move into my place soon. Problem - she has two cats!

 

So, at weekend what we plan to do is introduce them - one dog at a time to one cat at a time.

 

Obviously we will be very very careful about this and will make sure the dogs are in our control at all times.

 

I'm interested in anyone's experience who's done the same (i.e. bring cats into an existing grey-household). Tips, things to avoid? I appreciate it isn't going to just magically work on the first introduction but I'm not sure after this meet how to progress things.

 

moving forward, I work from home, so if/when they all move in, I will be around to make sure they all behave!

 

Many thanks :)

Andy

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Guest Scarter55

We introduced Lady to our cats as a puppy and they still out weighed her, so slightly different. However, when we got our second cat a few years back, we had to introduce him to our existing cat, who wasn't the nicest. I would recommend you take which ever animal you expect to be the least problem (i.e., take the the new change the easist) and confine them so the animal that you think will be more of a problem can get used to them on safe terms. So if you are afraid of the dogs chasing or being aggressive with the cats, pop the cat into a carrier and just leave it in the room with the dog (one at a time) for 30 min or so, so they can get used to each other. Don't let the cat out until both animals seem fine with it, it might take a few sessions. Vice versa if you think either of the dogs will do better than the cats; just keep them in a crate, or confined, and let the cat explore them to see that they aren't a big deal.

 

Also, from what I've read, you want to make a big deal about how the cats are yours. You don't want to make your greys jealous of course, but you want them to understand that the cats are yours (or your fiance's) and not to be trifled with.

 

Our cats still aren't totally ok with Lady, who tries to play with them every once in a while. One thing that really helps is that we have a barrier up at the bottom of the stairs. So upstairs is the territory of the cats, where they can retreat if they get scared or just don't want to deal with a crazy dog.

 

Also, congrats on the fiance moving in!

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Success depends on how "cat friendly" your dogs really are. Were your dogs cat tested before you got them? What did the group say? Some greys are just fine with cats from the get go - never bother them, never pay attention to them. Some *can* be fine with cats with consistent training and exposure. Some will never be able to live with cats. Ever.

 

You will know which you have very soon. Indoor cats that are part of a greyhounds pack (with a cat friendly grey) are not the same thing as an outdoor cat or squirrel. So you can't take the reaction of your dogs to those animals as how they will react to indoor cats in their home.

 

Cat testing goes like this: Make sure the dogs are muzzled. Keep them on leash. Set the cat on the floor, don't hold the cat, don't have the cat in a carrier. And WHATEVER you do, do NOT hold the cat out to the dog like serving an appetizer! If you see them staring at the cat, try and distract them. If you *can* distract them completely with an obedience cue or with treats, you will likely be able to make it work. If you *cannot* distract them, and they stare, stalk, drool, whine, chatter their teeth, bark, jump on the cat, or exhibit other overly excited behaviors they will likely not be able to live together for the safety of everyone involved.

 

Provided your dogs are at least "cat workable" you will need to provide the cats with a safe place in their new home - a room all their own that the dogs can't get to. I would recommend not worrying about letting the cats loose in the house for at least several weeks after your fiancee moves in. Let everyone get settled into the new routines and smells and environment first. Then, you can put a baby gate in front of the door instead of having it closed. Then gradually introduce them to the rest of the house.

 

You and your fiancee should probably have a conversation now about what you will do if your dogs are cat zappers.

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

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greysmom is right on the money! I would also introduce the meanest most evil cat first ;) So in case things are a little interesting for the pup a good attitude check from an extremely pissed off kitty might be helpful

------

 

Jessica

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Before traumatizing the non-dog-adjusted cats, can you contact other grey owners in the area and see if they have dog-associated cats that you can introduce your dogs to? See if you can bring your dogs to their house (when their dog is elsewhere or locked in a room, so they aren't distracted by meet-and-greets) and you can do the above mentioned introduction with a dog-knowledgeable cat? If you bring your fiance's cats in they're going to be scared and skittish in general, most likely, and the first time they see a giant predator (which your greys may look like), they're going to act like skittish prey and potentially excite your dogs. That could really really put any happy family integration so far off in the future that you're going to have to live in a two-environment (the cat side and the dog side) house for months.

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You have 2 issues: introducing the cats to your home and introducing them to your dogs.

Let the cats have a private room so everyone can get a whiff of each other from afar but not feel challenged. No need for them to meet face to face right away. You could do the introduction over several weeks/weekends. That would at least also give the cats a chance to feel relaxed in your home.

 

Hada the podenco maneta, Georgie Girl (UMR Cordella), Lulu the podenco andaluz, Rita the podenco maneta
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Guest BlueCrab

You have 2 issues: introducing the cats to your home and introducing them to your dogs.

Let the cats have a private room so everyone can get a whiff of each other from afar but not feel challenged. No need for them to meet face to face right away. You could do the introduction over several weeks/weekends. That would at least also give the cats a chance to feel relaxed in your home.

I agree with this as well as Chris's advice above! The cats, IMHO, will be as big a deal as the dogs.

 

Don't hold the cats and don't crate the cats for the introduction. You can end up badly injured from a crazed cat. Just ask my husband who put his hand into the middle of a fight between our old cat and my mom's cat after the two had lived with a door separating them for two months. We thought it was enough time and opened the door with a screen in between. Cats went nuts, DH tried to intervene and ended up in the hospital.

 

Give the cats their own room, similar to how you would introduce a new cat to your home if you didn't have a dog. Leave the door shut and let everyone sniff under the door for a couple weeks before you ever even let them see each other. But the point about testing your dogs in advance with a dog-saavy cat is a very good one. Trying to introduce the strange cats whose dog-friendliness is unknown won't work as well. If the dogs show too many signs of being not-cat-safe with that test cat, then you're in for a whole different conversation.

 

Good luck. It can be done - we brought two strange dogs into our non-dog house many years ago, including a large german shepherd who was not cat-tested (but did turn out to be fine, thank goodness). The humane society woman said "oh, if he wants to kill the cat, he'll just do it. That's how you'll know if he's cat-safe or not." Thanks. Very helpful. <_<

Edited by BlueCrab
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I totally agree with the recommendations not to start with face-to-face introductions. Can you take your dogs over to your fiancee's place to see how they react to the sight and smell of cats in their familiar environment? Have the cats been around dogs before? How the cats act will have a huge impact on how a greyhound responds to them. Even if your dogs tested cat safe or trainable, they will be more likely to be triggered to chase a cat that is running.

 

Going over to your fiancee's place with your dogs will give you an idea of how the cats are going to react to seeing a dog. Some confident cats are unfazed and will walk right up to a dog. At the other extreme are ones who will be terrified and try to climb the walls. Seeing how the cats act in a familiar environment will give you a better idea of how tough the integration will be.

 

Once the time comes for the move, as macoduck mentioned, the cats first need to be introduced to your home. Even a cat who is confident in a familiar environment may act scared and skittish in a new place. Set up a dog-free room for the cats, and take it very slowly. Let the cats get more comfortable and relaxed in their new home before attempting to allow any interaction with your hounds. How much work you'll have to put into it depends on both the cats' and the dogs' response to each other. Best of luck, and keep us posted on how things are going.

Jennifer &

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I have a dog and I have had multiple cats for years now--

 

My #1 recommendation is this: don't even THINK about just turning cats loose in a new place. Find a room you can use just for them for at least a week. Outfit it with ALL of their familiar stuff (litter box, cat tree, toys, whatever they have now). Leave them in there all the time for AT LEAST a week. Otherwise they might just hide and you won't see hide nor hair of them!

 

They'll be able to smell the dogs, and vice versa.

 

After a week, I'd set up a baby gate. That way the cats can get out if they want, but the dogs can't get in. If the cats aren't jumpers, set the gate up from the floor about 6 inches so they can go under it. This creates a safe escape room.

 

If the dogs show a LOT of interest, you may have a problem. If they don't, I would just let the cats discover the dogs and explore on their own time.


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It can be a short or long process, depending on the animals. We adopted two kittens about 3 months after adopting our second grey, Declan (and 2 months after the death of Emily the 5-lb spawn of Beelzebub :) ). Charlotte had been thoroughly trained (cowed) by Emily, but Declan was a bouncy 2-year old. We introduced them in stages. First we kept the kittens in the basement (with their litter and food). Then we extended their area into our back room, with the dogs on brief supervised visits (leashed and muzzled). Then we removed the muzzles, then the leashes. The next step we let the kittens have the run of the house while we were home, but shut them in the back when we were out/at work. Finally, we let them all run together. We definitely erred on the side of caution, and both dogs had been tested as cat-safe before adopting. We also had the advantage of a house setup that allowed all the stages.

 

Good luck! Hopefully, you'll eventually have blackmail pictures of dogs and cats sleeping together to share!

 

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Guest Greyt_dog_lover

Ok, I cut-and-pasted from a previous thread. I have been a cat tester for multiple groups as well as I foster greyhounds with my cats. Here is my method for the first few months I have new hounds in my house:

 

First week:

1) Muzzle does not come off the hound unless the cats are behind closed door, or hound is in crate, PERIOD.

2) Cats will be put behind closed doors for more than half of the day the hound is awake and I am home.

3) When the cats are around, the hound will have a leash attached (as well as muzzle, see above).

4) to work on desensitization, get some good small bites of food, such as cheese. Have significant other/friend help with the next few steps

5) One person has hound with muzzle and leash on one side of room, second person gets cat and walks into room holding cat. Person with cat sits on floor on opposite side of room and allows the hound to see the cat. Person holding hound calls his/her name, once the hound looks, give treat. REPEAT for 5-10 minutes. DO NOT allow cat to move or otherwise stir and make noise. If the cat gets upset, remove the cat, do not allow the cat to run or make noise as this may excite the hound.

6) do this multiple times during the day. After each session, the cat should be placed in a room, do not allow interaction.

 

Second week:

1) Muzzle does not come off the hound unless the cats are behind closed door, or hound is in crate, PERIOD.

2) Again, two people. One brings cat into room, one holds the hound with muzzle and leash. Person with cat should sit much closer to hound. The hound can be allowed to approach the cat and sniff. All the while the person holding the hound should call his/her name and treat when the hound looks away from the cat. If the hound does not look away from the cat, the person holding the hound on the leash should move away from the cat and get the hounds attention, if needed show the treat to the hound to break the hounds' attention.

3) REPEAT for 5-10 minutes multiple times during the day.

4) After each session the cat should be placed in a room, do not allow interaction.

 

Third week:

1) Muzzle does not come off the hound unless the cats are behind closed door, or hound is in crate, PERIOD (see the trend?).

2) Again, two people. The hound still has muzzle and leash. By this time the hound should be nearly 100% reliable in looking away from the cat for a treat. If not, repeat second week until you have 100% reliability.

3) Second person brings cat into room, sets the cat down and allows the cat to move around the room. The person with the hound should be ready for the hound to try to move, do NOT allow the hound to follow or approach the cat when it is moving around. Instead call the hounds name and treat. If during this week the cat takes off or the hound starts to get anxious (barking, panting, drooling, excessive pulling) you need to go back a week.

4) If you can now distract the hound while the cat is moving around the room, good. Keep this training up for a week.

 

Fourth week:

1) Muzzle does not come off the hound unless the cats are behind closed door, or hound is in crate, PERIOD.

2) Two people, same drill (muzzle and leash).

3) Now you want to get the cat riled up when you have the cat and hound in the room together. If the cat is calm, then push the cat to run out of the room or otherwise get the kitty to make noise. Hold the leash and repeat treating when the hound looks at you. If you cannot get the hounds attention, go back a few weeks in the training.

4) Repeat daily.

 

Once you can have the cat in the room running around and making noise and be able to get the hound to look at you for treats, THEN you can allow the cat to have free run of the house. At this time, put up the baby gates at strategic places around the home (such as hallways and maybe doorways) about 6" above the ground. This will allow for the cats to move freely, but the hound cannot follow. Also as others have said, pull away the furniture from the walls to allow the cats to slide behind. At this time I may allow the cats and dogs to be able to move around at night, but have to see both how calm the cats are around the hound and vise versa. Before this I do not allow the cats and dogs to be able to be in the same room at night when I sleep, period.

 

This method of desensitization is much more effective at getting hounds and cats to live together as it reinforces the behavior you want, as opposed to correcting the behavior you don't want. For correction to work, you have to be present.

 

Do not allow your cats and dogs to co-mingle while you are gone for at least the first 3-6 months, you never know what can happen when you are gone. The muzzle does not guarantee that your cat will not be harmed. A greyhound can still kill small animals with a muzzle on.

 

**NOTE**

If at ANY time one of your hounds exhibits the following behavior: puffing of cheeks, drooling, stiff stare, unable to break eye contact of hound and cat, barking, whining, or other outrageous behavior, REMOVE THE CATS. If your hound exhibit some or all of these behaviors it is NOT safe, nor will it ever be safe to have them in the same house, sorry to say, but that would be irresponsible to keep an unsafe greyhound and cat in the same house.

 

 

Chad

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Guest Crazy4Grey

I've read that it's best to let the cats make the first move? And definitely make sure they have a place to run off and hide during the whole introductory/getting familiar with one another process! I feel like I also read somewhere once that spraying the cats and dogs with a similar (pet-friendly!) scent helps? Either way, best of luck!

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A lot of good advice posted (Greysmom, Macoduck, etc.). (We've had multiple Greyhounds + fosters with multiple cats. Also cat tester for group's new fosters.) I'll just highlight a few things.

 

Probably most helpful to contact your GH adoption group to schedule a "cat test" with their experienced cat testers in another cat's home (a dog savvy cat). (Even an emotionally bad first experience for your fiancée's cats could affect her cats for many months (or longer), whether in your home or your fiancée's home.)

 

I highly recommend beginning an animal bedding scent exchange now. Take your dogs' bed cover to your fiancée's house to leave for her cats to familiarize themselves with your dogs' scent over several weeks. Also, ask your fiancée to bring her cats' bed cover over for your dogs to do same. Replace each cover with stronger cat or dog scented cover (or towel) every few days. (Do not let the dogs treat the cats' bedding like play toys. If they try it, consider placing the cats' bedding on the sofa or other important place to be respected.)

 

Finally, at the appropriate meeting time (noted in previous posts), initially I like to have my cat/s safely harnessed and leashed so the cat is under control and doesn't run away. (Running cat can trigger muzzled and leashed Greyhound to chase.)

BTW, muzzled hound sniffs cat's butt end first (not cat's head since they often capture prey on neck/head).

 

Skipping forward, many weeks thereafter, anytime your Greyhounds are free in the house (vs. securely locked in a crate), keep Greyhounds muzzled MUCH longer than you think is necessary. Remember, even if cats are behind a closed door, the first thing they often do is slip out between a human's legs immediately when a door is opened, or vice versa with dogs. (Even a muzzled hound can harm a cat just by pouncing on it with his/her strong legs.)

 

I definitely recommend an extra tall baby-gate (or two) securely installed 5"- 6" above floor as a cat escape route to cats' safe place. (Be careful to ensure your hounds are not jumpers of a tall baby-gate.) Above all, remember Greyhounds are faster than cats. Great if the cats live "indoors only". If not, avoid allowing hounds outside when cats are outside in yard. Even if all goes well, don't ever allow hounds chase a cat, even in play. They can seem fine for a long time, then snag one as if it were a toy.

 

If your hounds are cat workable, best of luck for a smooth transition for you all. :)

Edited by 3greytjoys
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  • 1 year later...

Hi guys

 

Firstly a big apology for never having replied - I'm not normally that rude!

 

Now I've finally sorted out my password, thought I'd post what happened, hopefully may help anyone in similar situation.

 

Last summer my other half moved in and her two cats. Before we did this we made sure there was a stairgate fitted - the cat's food/beds/etc were upstairs. I think is is vital as it means the cats can 'escape' quickly and easily if needed.

 

For the initial introduction we took in a cat to a room where the two dogs were (on short lead). Needless to say the cats were like "WHAT ARE THEY!" and the dogs initial instinct was to lunge. This happened a few times and we got clawed quite badly!

 

We took our time with further attempts - I think the key is really to be patient - you can't force it to happen. What was interesting was when the greys and cats came close up, the dogs were really scared of them - my 6 year old Billy (who's a wimp anyway) literally wouldn't look at the cat!

 

The cats realised they had a safe haven upstairs - over the next couple of weeks the braver one would venture down but then get chased by the greys. To be honest we were getting worried it would never work. However over a period of perhaps two months, things gradually settled down, albeit with some hissing, some paw swiping etc.

 

I should say now that I think another key factor here was that I work from home - thus could make sure no cat-dog fights were going on.

 

Fast forward to this March and we moved area into a bigger house - instantly the whole cat/dog dynamic changed as they were moving into a 'neutral' house, which then became everyone's territory. Even the timid cat started happily walking around the house.

 

The dogs/cats basically co-exist now - what I mean by that is they're not friends nor enemies - there's no fighting, no chases, but also no love between them! Especially as our older hound Misty has become obsessed with cat food and stealing it where possible.

 

And now we have a lovely household with happy cats, happy dogs and happy humans :)

 

So the key things in our case were I think

 

  • Both greys were adults and established in the home (think one straight out of racing would be very different)
  • I work from home
  • Having the stairgate/safe haven for the cats
  • Patience!
  • Trying different things
  • Moving into a house which was new for both the cats and dogs
  • Not trying to force things

So cats/greys can be in the same home - not in all cases I think and it's reasonably hard work at first - but can be done!

 

Andy

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