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New Greyhound And Cats


Guest Sarah2214
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Guest Sarah2214

Hello,

 

My husband and I just adopted a 2 1/2 year old greyhound named Piper, and she has been quite a nice addition to our home. She was tested as "cat-friendly" by the adoption agency we adopted her from, and she did well on her home visit with our two cats, Cocoa and Merlin. We've only had Piper two weeks now, and being a concerned pet parent, I have been worrying about Piper's interactions with our cats. Piper and our cats have been kept in separate areas of our home since the day she came to live with us. We always have a muzzle and leash on Piper whenever we let the cats out of their room for short interactions, which are heavily supervised. There are days when Piper shows little interest in the cats, and there are days when I'm a little nervous.

 

For instance, a week ago we put the muzzle and leash on Piper before letting her out to go potty, and she had to walk right past Cocoa (who was perched in a kitchen chair) in order to get outside. She showed little interest in her, and trotted right on outside. When she came back in, muzzle and leash were put back on immediately. She decided to sniff Cocoa for a couple seconds, looked away, and trotted into the living room. Lots of praise was given for this behavior.

 

However, just a couple days ago, Piper was laying in the living room with muzzle and leash on when we let the cats out of their room, and she stood up immediately when the cats came into the room. Her ears were also perked up. I had a firm hold on her leash for this interaction, and she laid back down once the cats got settled in, but would attempt to stand up again real quick and attempted to head towards the cats if they hopped up on furniture or hopped down. I would instantly say "NO!" when she attempted this.

 

Piper does do well when the cats walk within a couple feet of her, but will sometimes attempt to step forward with ears perked. I should add that when Piper shows interest in the cats, her attention can be broken quite easily, and if we have a small tub of peanut butter around her, it's game over - peanut butter is instantly more intriguing than the cats!

 

My overall question is this: am I worrying too much about Piper's interactions with our cats, or should I be greatly concerned with her behavior? My husband and I have been taking this process VERY slow, as my cats have never had any interactions with dogs until Piper, and want it to go as smooth as possible.

Any feedback will be greatly appreciated!

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Yes. With qualifications.

 

Any dog is going to show interest in a small fuzzy that moves. It has little to nothing to do with any prey drive which the dog may have, nor does it correlate with how good a racer they are. Piper has never seen a cat (most likely) until her cat test, and has certainly never *lived* with one. She's curious, especially because the cats are obviously "special" in her new life. You would know by now (most likely) if it was going to be a problem for her to live with cats.

 

But a lot of how you go forward depends on your comfort level in interactions between the two species. Some people prefer that the dog ignore the house cats completely. Some people are comfortable with varying degrees of contact. You need to decide what level you are comfortable with and enforce that level for both species - the dog on cat AND the cat on dog interactions. Some dogs just don't care about the cats at all - see a recent thread in Cute&Funny about George of New England with his cat Mister B giving the dog a massage! Once they learn to live together, things will be fine.

 

If your cats are not familiar with dogs being in their space at all, they are likely curious, too. Once they get over their fear of an interloper in their house, they will want to explore this new creature and see what she's about. They will have different reactions depending on their personalities.

 

Just to be safe, make sure your cats have hiding places and escape routes into and out of every room. Keep the litter and cat food out of reach of the dog. Keep the muzzle on, if you feel better about it, but you can probably lose the leash. As long as you are OK with Piper sniffing the cats. That's probably all she wants to do.

 

All bets are off if you let the cats outside. Indoor cats and outdoor cats are completely different as far as your dog is concerned.

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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Things sound good so far. When she looks interested in the cat, call her name, say good or yes when she looks at you and give her pb. Do this every time and eventually she'll look at you looking for pb when the cats interest her.

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And cats live longer lives indoors We just saw a neighbor's outdoor cat being carried off by a coyote.

 

I agree with above post that most likely if Piper was going to "go for the cat" she would have done it by now. Perked ears and sniffing is not always aggression, in your case it sounds like curiosity. I think how the cat's personality is also important. some cats are tough and others are not so tough. Our cat runs the house, even though she has 2-3 teeth left and weighs 10 lbs.

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Welcome to GreyTalk! Congratulations on your recent adoption of Piper! :)

 

I agree that you're both smart to take this transition process slowly. Responsible concern is important for both pet species. Great news that peanut butter is higher value to Piper than her interest in the cats. Keep rewarding Piper often for her good behavior around the cats. It's usually fine to let muzzled, cat-friendly hounds sniff cats' butts (to satisfy hounds' curiousity); thereafter, good to encourage hound to break that focus.

 

In addition to the excellent steps you're already taking with Piper muzzled and closely supervised:

If Piper has a crate, it's usually okay to allow cats to move freely inside the same room as the (locked) crated dog for periods of time on a daily basis, only while supervised. This helps resting hounds adjust to seeing cats moving around normally inside their new home. (Also prevents hounds from becoming hyperstimulated from an unexpected chase.) Over time, the hound becomes desensitized to the daily movements of the cats. Watch for Piper to gradually relax more and more around your cats.

 

 

Agree with greysmom's thoughtful post, and others.

 

Just to be safe, make sure your cats have hiding places and escape routes into and out of every room. Keep the litter and cat food out of reach of the dog.

 

Just to add a few examples:

 

- Move a few large pieces of furniture slightly away from walls -- e.g., move a long sofa just far enough away from the wall for a cat to access and turn around, but not the dog.

 

- Add a baby-gate to rooms where the dog spends most daytime hours. Install the gate about 5" above floor level as the cat's wide escape route.

 

- Create a safe, comfortable "cats only" room, if possible. Gate that room off completely from dog's use so cats have an area to feel 100% safe, relaxed, and stress free.

 

Please do not ever allow the dog to chase a cat, even if it appears playful (vs. prey behavior).

A large dog can harm a small cat even without meaning harm by pouncing on the cat with his/her legs. Dogs need to understand that cats are not play toys. Do not ever allow hound to mouth the cat, especially the cat's neck area.

 

Unless hound is safely crated, keep hound muzzled when cats are moving freely in the house and for a longer time frame than you might think is necessary. Depending on the hound, this could equate to months.

 

Keep hound and cats safely separated whenever they are not being supervised.

 

We'll look forward to reading about Piper in the future. :)

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Sounds very promising. A truly high prey dog cannot be easily distracted. They'll lunge, drool, and fixate- it's like they 'zone out.' Even when the cat is removed, they still have a hard time calming down, and they may pace and search for the cat.

 

It's good that you're being careful and keeping your guard up. I wouldn't correct the dog for looking at the cat or wanting to sniff, though. That's a natural curious response. OTOH, lunging, chasing, mouthiness, and roughness are not appropriate and do warrant correction.

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Guest lgmaddox

This is all good info for my question - I have a 13.5 yr old female, and I am looking at a living situation involving a cat. She previously tested as not cat safe. It seems most of the above guidelines would apply - use a muzzle indoors, a baby gate, etc.

 

Does anyone have any additional suggestions? Lady is obviously aging, and either has LS or arthritis. I don't see her chasing a cat indoors, frankly. Curiosity,yes - outdoors she will stop with ears perked up if she sees a cat.

 

It has been a real challenge to find a place for us both to live out her last months/years, and if this situation is good I'd like to go ahead - frankly, there's just going to have to be adjustments. Does this sound workable/not workable to you guys? Thanks.

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It really depends how cat keen she is and how hard you work at it. If she truly wants to kill the cat, it's going to be very hard and stressful. It may be a good idea to bring her over to see so e interactions before you commit to see if you can make it work.

Edited by Sambuca
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  • 4 weeks later...
Guest Sarah2214

Thanks for all your advice, everyone! Sorry I'm just now replying to this. Piper has been home almost 6 weeks now, and has been roaming around the house muzzle-free the last 2 weeks with the cats. Looking back, she was only showing general curiosity in the cats. She only wanted to sniff them. Now, she shows virtually no interest, and when she does, she gets into a play bow, wanting to play. I immediately correct her when she tries to play, and she always backs off. The cats are comfy, and so is she! :lol:

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Nice news!

 

As for the senior, our 9 year old is not cat safe and whoever I want to see the dog he was, I only have to watch him watch a cat. He forgets arthritis, corns and his age and turns into a hunter. I cannot ever see him mellowing. Some might be fine, but I wouldn't risk it myself.

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