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Cat Safe Vs Cat Workable.


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So I've been checking out dogs on websites for a while now, and I'm wondering about the term "workable" in regard to cats.

 

I've got 2 cats. One is very timid, hides the entire time anyone is in my house. The other has a hard time warming up to new dogs, even dogs I regularly dog sit bc she was frightened as a kitten when my brothers dog was overly enthusiastic on their first meeting. (Totally my fault, I should have handled it better but my nephew was here too, and excited to play w the cat...)

 

So with 2 cats who need a lot of time to warm up to new dogs, and who are scared when they think the dog is too enthusiastic, would a grey who is listed as "cat workable" be an option, or not?

 

I know even if they say "cat safe" there's going to be a lot of adjustments for cats and grey as they are settling in, and I've got safe places for the cats to go to get away from dogs, but I'm wondering if cat "workable" greys would be too much for my cats to have to deal with. ??

 

My cats are ok with my Havanese and chihuahua.

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IMO, there's not much difference between "safe" and "workable." Either a dog will be OK with cats or he won't, it's all a matter of degree, and what you and your cats are comfortable with. It's also quite possible for dogs to lie about their cat status. Some are just so overwhelmed that they shut down and don't react at all to cat testing. Then, by the time they get into a home, they have calmed down and show their true colors, which may or may not be a good thing. Some dogs will ignore cats completely, some will be curious, some will want to play - but if they are at least "workable" you should be able to train them to live together.

 

It all depends on how you handle the introductions. For very timid cats, I would actually isolate them in a room of their own when I bring a new dog home. Let them stay in there for a few days while the dog settles in, and smells the cats, and gets used to the house and routine. Then slowly begin to introduce them to each other. Dog on leash and muzzzled, just a few minutes at a time. Treat and praise the dog for being calm around the cats.

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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Guest DarkHorse

It really depends on the group and what they define as "workable" versus "safe" versus whatever other categories they have. The group we adopted from doesn't label dogs as "safe" - there's either workable or a cat-zapper. All of ours have been workable, and they've varied from Araley (who only cared when the cats were antagonizing her and was genuinely intimidated by Tycho) to Cole (who still thinks it's hilarious to chase the cats up their cat tree, though if he ever does catch them, he just sniffs them).

 

Amadeus is a lot more wary of new dogs than Tycho. When we brought the boys home, he basically avoided them for two weeks, then slowly approached them more and more. Because he's so cautious, he never really inspired much chase interest - if they acted at all overbearing, he disappeared before they could even think to go after him. Tycho was much more cocky and actually caused a bit more of an issue. He thought he could just come in and treat Cole and KB the way he did Araley and was quite shocked when they were willing to chase after him and sniff him thoroughly. He freaked himself out and started racing away, which just inspired more chasing. We had to do a week or so of introductions with him in our arms and/or the dogs on leash and muzzled before he calmed down a bit.

 

Now they're all fine with each other, and the cats will snuggle with the boys if they happen to be in the same space. Tycho's still a little perturbed that he doesn't have a dog he can bully anymore, but he's not setting off like his tail's on fire the instant they go near him. And Amadeus just generally wanders around them if and when he wants to, though he does go up the cat tree in a hurry if they start getting all worked up for a walk.

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Both are the same term really.

 

First few days our new grey was muzzled (we called it the cat claw nose protector) and on his leash whenever he was out of his crate.
When we saw he gave the cat space, backed up if she walked forward and kept a good distance when she wa sitting anywhere.

We DID allow him his sniff her butt when she was on our laps.
Then we allowed time, we put up (and still have up) a dog gate into the room the cat sleeps in. Has a small cat door in it so she can get in, and she can see out.

No chasing is allowed, no playing is allowed. Play bows were given a strong NO from us. Happened a few times and not since.

Our boy has gotten his nose slapped once, as he sniffed too much. No claws used either and he knows two sniffs is the limit.

3 months in, cat will sniff his nose, and sometimes give little licks on his nose. Which get tail wags from him..They greet each other thru the dog gate in the morning, nose to nose. Poor dog was used as a step stool one night, had his face sat on another time and pushed away from his water bowl as cat wanted a drink.
They are ALWAYS supervised when out, still early days for all of us. But the cat is it, dog loves cat and he uses her for guidance, she is deaf so when loud noises happen he doesnt react either..LOL He roos, loves to sing and she can feel the vibrations and sniffs him for it..LOL

So let the cats just take their time, no rush, let them have their own dog free space.

I'd look for a big laid back dog who isnt going to want anything much to do with the cats..

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Many groups have changed terminology from "cat safe" to "cat tolerant" or "cat workable". I shudder to think but believe some unfortunate incidents may have been responsible for the shift.

 

The dog that appears fine with a greyhound savvy cat, even in a foster home, can be totally different with a non dog savvy kitten on springs. There are no guarantees in life and perhaps "cat safe" was giving some inexperienced adopters a false sense of security that the dog wouldn't have to be supervised with the cat as it was claimed to be cat safe. :dunno

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There was a really nice cat plan in the forum here from greyt_dog_lover: http://forum.greytalk.com/index.php/topic/312876-cat-training/?p=5819238

 

I have a lot more experience with cats than with dogs, but luckily our new greyhound trained up with the cat really quickly. It helped that the cat's generally confident and sociable. I think the key for us was paying attention enough to notice very early stages of the hound getting excited and nip it in the bud. Keeps things from escalating -- i.e. dog gets excited and tense, cat gets spooked and moves more quickly, dog gets more excited, etc. Also praise and reward for the hound being calm and ignoring the cat. Don't forget to praise and reward the cat, too. The cat is totally the boss now and will grant some sniffs when he feels like it. The cat's decided he gets to walk under, around, or over the dog at his leisure, but the dog is not allowed to walk too close to him without prior written permission.

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For what it's worth, one of my cats was terrorized by a dog in a temporary home at age 11. After moving in with me and my greyhound, with a little time, he learned the dog meant him no harm and now he will share a couch with the dog. My point is--cats can get over stuff. Yours too!


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Susan,  Hamish,  Mister Bigglesworth and Nikita Stanislav. Missing Ming, George, and Buck

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Rufus- pretty much what happens at my house..LOL dog is furniture, cat is ruler. Mine is a 17yo kitty too who was depressed and now is very happy with her new minion thanks!

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As others have said, it is just a matter of terminology. Each cat and each dog will react differently. When I adopted my first grey, I had five cats, which varied from confidant and friendly to spooky and timid. Fortunately my first grey was timid herself and genuinely cat safe. Over the years I have had dogs that went from supposedly cat safe, but she lied (foster, who was quickly moved to a different home and had her status changed :) ) to dogs who totally ignore the cats. Cat workable usually means (but check with the group for specifics) 'during cat test, dog showed mild to no interest in cat' rather than 'here kitty kitty I am ready for a snack'. Self confidant and outgoing cats usually adapt faster, but the fact that yours are already used to dogs, even small ones, will be a big help as well.

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Thanks everyone. You've given me hope!

 

Since I dog sit for a friend's big dog who doesn't have cats, I've got 3 baby gates w the pet door at the bottom. My cats can get to the laundry room, bed/bathroom and storage room without big dogs following them, my Havanese and Chihuahua can fit through the little pet door too which is nice bc my Hav, especially, really loves the cats, and one of them really loves her too!

 

I went ahead and got the gates so everyone has a chance to get used to that arrangement before I (hopefully) bring a grey home. Plus it's made it so much easier when keeping my friends dog.

 

Eventually I hope the grey will want to sleep in the bedroom w me and the other dogs. I like having them all close.

 

Thanks for your help. :)

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Can I just suggest that you make sure that whichever group you go with, that the dogs are assessed by a qualified and experienced behaviourist? There have been very bad examples over here where greys have been labelled as cat safe, when they clearly weren't, with very very bad endings. (The case I'm thinking about particularly had a video online of the cat test where the grey was clearly in full prey-drive, but was labelled as safe by people knowing nothing about dog behaviour. They still don't have a behaviourist who works with them and are still making poor choices).

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It all depends on the terminology that your specific group is using. After having the same two greys for 4 and 5 years, and being out of the adoption circuit for awhile, I recently adopted a new boy. I found that a lot of the groups are saying "cat trainable" and "cat workable" now instead of "cat safe." The group I ended up adopting from actually gives the dogs cat grades B, C, D, or F, depending on how they behave during the cat test. As Pam indicated, I think the point of that is that nothing is 100%. If the group tells you "this dog is cat-safe," and you take it home and it eats the cat, it could lead to a liability issue.

 

If however, your group uses both terms "cat safe" and "cat workable," to describe its available dogs, there's going to be a pretty big difference. For "cat workable," you can expect to put some time in. My first greyhound was very easy to integrate with my cats. Barely looked twice at them. I never had to use the muzzle. He was the ultimate "cat safe" greyhound. My new guy is more in the gray area of "cat workable," meaning, he can be distracted from the cats, but he needs to be redirected more often. It's going to take some weeks/months for him to learn what's appropriate behavior. A dog like this is probably better suited for a more experienced owner, because it becomes a really delicate training operation, in which another animal's safety is on the line. Plus, once certain mistakes are made with small animals, they can become hard to reverse. Something as simple as holding the cat in your arms above their sightline, or doing the initial introduction from the other side of a babygate can frustrate the dog and bring out hyper-arousal that didn't exist before. Have an open dialogue with your adoption group about these types of things, and if they're worth their salt, they'll match you with a dog that's compatible with your household and the other critters who live there. :)

Edited by a_daerr
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Can I just suggest that you make sure that whichever group you go with, that the dogs are assessed by a qualified and experienced behaviourist? There have been very bad examples over here where greys have been labelled as cat safe, when they clearly weren't, with very very bad endings. (The case I'm thinking about particularly had a video online of the cat test where the grey was clearly in full prey-drive, but was labelled as safe by people knowing nothing about dog behaviour. They still don't have a behaviourist who works with them and are still making poor choices).

As nice of an idea as this is, it's not really realistic given the resources most groups have. There are some good questions the OP can ask though to reduce the likelihood of getting a dog who was mislabeled. First, choosing a group who fosters is a great idea. Further limiting your selection to dogs that have actually been fostered in a home with cats is even better, but if not, ask if the group has tested the dog with a live cat in a home environment. You can ask specifics about the test - what was the cat doing, how did the dog react, etc. But ultimately you have to keep in mind that every cat and every dog is different and the true test is how that specific dog does with your specific cats and it's best to proceed with the utmost caution until you are quite certain they are safe together. What I always say is that you never leave them alone unattended until your cats have done all of the cat-like things they do in the presence of the dog, including running at top speeds and puking. ;)

 

To your original question, I prefer the term cat-trainable because it implies the dog actually needs to be trained to live safely with a cat, which 9 times out of 10 is true. If a single group is using more than one term to differentiate between dogs though, I would ask for their definitions and how they determine how to label each dog.

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Jen, CPDT-KA with Zuri, lab in a greyhound suit, Violet, formerly known as Faith, Skye, the permanent puppy, Cisco, resident cat, and my baby girl Neyla, forever in my heart

"The great thing about science is that you're free to disagree with it, but you'll be wrong."

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Ok, just went back to see exactly what they say.

 

Beside a picture of the dog it Says:

NAME:

DOB:

GENDER:

COLOR:

WEIGHT:

CAT SAFE:

SMALL DOG SAFE:

SMALL CHILD SAFE:

 

Next to cat safe it either says YES, NO, WORKABLE or TBD

Next to small dog safe it either says YES, NO, TBD

 

I need cat safe and small dog safe, so obviously any dogs with a NO next to either of those categories would be out.

 

And it sounds like from what some of y'all are saying, since they use YES and WORKABLE, that workable probably means a lot of work would need to be done to make sure the dogs and cats can all live in harmony. :)

 

The groups I'm looking at have the dogs in foster homes, and it sounds like they get to know them really well. After going over an application, it says they choose at least 2 dogs, 3-4 if possible, to bring to a home visit and if all goes well, one of the dogs becomes a member of the family.

 

I know the dogs disposition can change after having time to settle in. So I'm aware there's no guarantee that there won't be problems, but I'd like to make it as stress free as possible for all the dogs and cats.

I know I'll have to put a lot of trust in the rescue group to know which dog might work in my situation, I'm just trying to learn all I can to hopefully make everyone feel safe. I don't want to go into it thinking "workable" means yes when it really means extremely doubtful.

 

Thanks again to everyone for taking the time to answer my questions.

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...that workable probably means a lot of work would need to be done to make sure the dogs and cats can all live in harmony.

 

Exactly. IMHO, considering this is your first grey, and because you have two small dogs, I'd stick to the greys that they're calling "cat safe."

Edited by a_daerr
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Exactly. IMHO, considering this is your first grey, and because you have two small dogs, I'd stick to the greys that they're calling "cat safe."

I think you're right about that.

I've raised a Basenji/Beagle cross, 3 Australian Cattle Dogs, a Shetland Shedpdog, a small poodle mix and a smallish Maltese/Pekingese/Poodle mix, and 2 rescue Chihuahuas, and as a little girl, I had an English Springer Spaniel. I currently have the Havanese and one of the rescue chihuahuas. Plus the 2 cats.

 

So I am not someone who doesn't know dogs, but since this would be my first Greyhound, I want to approach it as if I don't know anything. I don't want to assume a Greyhound will react or behave like any of the other dogs I've had although I expect there to be some similarities to my Basenji/Beagle cross since he was a hound also. A very smart, very hard-headed hound. I loved him dearly though.

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Exactly. IMHO, considering this is your first grey, and because you have two small dogs, I'd stick to the greys that they're calling "cat safe."

Agree. Just go with dogs that say yes to both cat and small dog safe. Timid cats (more flighty) are more likely to instigate predatory behavior than a bold cat that will stick up for itself so given your description I think it's best to err on the side of caution. There are greyhounds that walk in the door and never look twice at the cat beyond an initial cursory sniff. They aren't as common as dogs who need at least some work, but if you are really concerned, and don't have many other "wants" on your list (especially more superfluous things like sex or color) then ask if they have any dogs that have zero interest.

gallery_12662_3351_862.jpg

Jen, CPDT-KA with Zuri, lab in a greyhound suit, Violet, formerly known as Faith, Skye, the permanent puppy, Cisco, resident cat, and my baby girl Neyla, forever in my heart

"The great thing about science is that you're free to disagree with it, but you'll be wrong."

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You need to make sure the group will HELP you at any time of the day/night. if something happens you have someone with experience with greys to call on.
Even cat safe will need work and can change from cat to cat. Make sure they are willing to take back the dog IF the fit isnt right.

 

I lucked out, totallllly lucked out with my dog. Worms, a sore toe and scared of small dogs are our issues. No peeing, pooping inside. Yes he chewed my ugg boots but that was HUSBANDS fault not the dogs.

But we still work on training, watch him around the cat as he's a big boy 86lbs and my cat is 12lbs. Tails, LOL our one issues with dog/cat is. Dog cannot see thru his own body so when cat walks or stands under him he doesnt know she is there. Now she touches him with her tail. She did get slapped in the face by a waggy grey tail..LOL we for sure thought claws and fur would fly. But no, she learned quick that little kitties shouldnt stand behind large dogs with long tails.

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Agree. Just go with dogs that say yes to both cat and small dog safe. Timid cats (more flighty) are more likely to instigate predatory behavior than a bold cat that will stick up for itself so given your description I think it's best to err on the side of caution. There are greyhounds that walk in the door and never look twice at the cat beyond an initial cursory sniff. They aren't as common as dogs who need at least some work, but if you are really concerned, and don't have many other "wants" on your list (especially more superfluous things like sex or color) then ask if they have any dogs that have zero interest.

I'm not set on any color, or whether it's male or female, unless the fact that my current dogs are both female would make a difference. And the 2 larger dogs I dog sit are both males.

My only sticking points are small dogs/cats.

 

Xengab, glad yours has worked out so well! Hope I'm as lucky.

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I'd just not go on looks. We went with a group that chooses for you. We got told on the day which one was ours. You'll met no matter what they look like.

We did get told boys and big in size are more mellow.

So I'd contact them, see if they'll let you chat with the foster parents and work out which ones suit your family best.

 

I'd gladly have an ugly (to others) pet that behaves, is loving and fits my family, then a cute dog with lots of issues.

 

Greys are unlike any other breed ive come into contact with..LOL I luv me a good roooing :)

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  • 2 weeks later...
Guest MinigoldstarJ

I adopted 2 "cat safe" dogs that were completely not cat safe. Our house was divided by gates and sections. I had one who was cat safe but she would join in the chase if the other 2 toon it up first. My 2 not cat safe dogs were deemed cat safe at the track. My one true cat safe dog was fostered in a home with cats. those 3 have all since passed on and I now have a young male grey who is truly cat safe. He was fostered with cats. I always tell people if you want a cat safe grey to make sure it was fostered with cats.

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I adopted 2 "cat safe" dogs that were completely not cat safe. Our house was divided by gates and sections. I had one who was cat safe but she would join in the chase if the other 2 toon it up first. My 2 not cat safe dogs were deemed cat safe at the track. My one true cat safe dog was fostered in a home with cats. those 3 have all since passed on and I now have a young male grey who is truly cat safe. He was fostered with cats. I always tell people if you want a cat safe grey to make sure it was fostered with cats.

When I dog sit, I've got gates with the little pet doors so my cats can get away, but obviously, it would be preferable to have a grey that was good w the cats.

I think you might be right about them being fostered w cats. A couple of groups I've looked at have listed some dogs as "cat safe, tested at the track" with no mention of them being w cats in foster homes.

 

Thanks for the input! I can do permanent gates and stuff if necessary, but I don't want my cats to always live in fear.

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We always are safe when bringing in a new dog. We keep it muzzled and introduce it to the cat repeatedly. Many dogs will show very quickly how they will get along. Then the risk is a cat that runs. A dog that will be calm with an indoor cat, but will chase an outdoor cat that runs. (We have an inside cat, but also have a feral cat that lives outside.)We have set up the gates with the small gates in the bottom for the cat. Our two now will be right next to each other on the floor, and will be nose to nose when the cat is in our laps. We have fostered dogs that are supposed to be "safe" but have tried to go after the cats. The tests at our home show right away if they are safe, and They go right back to the group to be reclassified as not cat safe

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  • 2 weeks later...
Guest kygreymom

You can also use a regular baby gate and just raise it off the floor 12 or so inches that allows the cat to enter the room, but not the dog. That's what we do. Otherwise, the dog would inhale the cat food! Also, if a dog doesn't chase a cat indoors, it doesn't mean it won't chase the same cat outdoors. We have told our dog very firmly NO when he tried to chase the cat outside.

Edited by kygreymom
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