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Blending Families - Cats With Two Greys?


Guest ktgrey
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Guest ktgrey

My boyfriend and I are moving in together. He has two rescued greyhounds and I have two cats. Luckily, my cats are great with dogs as they've lived with them before. The greyhounds however have only been with him since last year and have not been around any other pets before. The female was listed as cat friendly, the male was listed as not cat friendly when he adopted them. Obviously, if we had known we were going to fall in love and move in together he would have chosen differently. However, we love the greys and the cats and are wondering if there is any way on God's green earth we can blend our families without trauma and pain? I would hate to rehome the cats, but I also don't want a bad situation. Any feedback, suggestions, or advice are welcome!

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It is good that your cats are confident and used to being around dogs. A lot will depend on the dogs, especially the "not cat friendly" one. Most greys can at least learn to co-exist with 'their' cats inside. If the male is very high prey, he may never be safe around any cats. And, of course, outside cats are a whole different story. Even if the dogs live peacefully with the cats indoors, outside most dogs don't react the same, even with cats they know.

 

Are you moving into his place, or into yours, or a new place? New place might be easiest. Introduce the cats and dogs with the dogs muzzled and on leash. Don't hold the cats, let them move around. Watch the reaction of the dogs. The main thing you want to look out for is, if the dog(s) show interest in the cats, can they be distracted? How intense is the reaction? That will tell you a lot about how cat-workable the dogs are. Even if everything goes well, have a safe space where the cats can get away from the dogs. You'll need that anyway to keep the dogs out of the cats' food and litter box. Good luck!

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I don't have cats, so others can provide better information. However, my understanding is that the "cat friendly" or "not cat friendly" listings are approximate. They usually bring a cat in and gauge the dog's response. However, that response can depend on a lot of factors, such as where the test is performed (at a kennel? at a foster home where the dog just arrived?). So I think you need to not assume that the "cat friendly" dog will be, or that the other will not. Muzzle both, at least initially, as per the earlier posts.

Rob
Logan - LoganMaxicon15K.jpg - Max (Aug. 4, 2004 - Jan. 11, 2018)

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You'll want to be very careful introducing the cats to the dogs. If you search through the forum here you will find many, many threads with further info. Also, contact his adoption group, if possible, and ask how they do their cat testing. If there's one thing I've learned about dog and their cat reactions it's this: Dogs lie. All the time. So even of he was not "cat safe" before, it's worth another try at it. And the opposite is also true - don't accept that "cat safe/tolerant" means there won't be any issues. A lt depends on how the cats react or don't react, too.

 

To cat test, have one dog in the room, on a sturdy leash, and relatively calm, and muzzled. Feed a couple nice, tasty treats in a low key way. Have another person bring in the cat and set it on the floor - don't ever hold a cat during testing. Observe how the dog reacts closely. If he remains calm, simply watching the cat, praise and give a treat. Let the cat walk around for a few minutes, remearding the dog for calm behavior.

 

Warning signs are if the dog reacts by whining, jaw quivering, trembling, barking, an aggressive body stance (high head and tail alert), pulling at the leash, straining to get to the cat - these are all signs of too much interest. If you can distract him with a great treat, make him look at you, lead him away from the area the cat is in - you *may* be able to work on a suitable living arrangment.

 

If the dog is *not* distractable, that dog will probably not be able to live with cats. At that point you and your BF will have some decisions to make.

 

To get them off on the right paw living together you need to make sure the cats have hiding places the dogs can't get into in every room, and escape routes into and out of every room - pull heavy chairs away from the wall, set up baby gates across doorways several inches above the floor, clear space up higher on bookcases or shelves. Set the cats up in a room that is only for them, where they can be safe for a few weeks - litter, food, toys, beds - that you can isolate from the dogs. Let the cats loose in that space after you move in and don't let them out - go and visit them frequently and give them your time. Plus this will allow the dogs to smell them on you. Let the two species smell each other through the door for several days. Then, set up some baby gates over the cat room door (stacking if necessary) so you can open the dor a few inches and let them see each other. Open the door for a few minutes throughout the day, increasing time until the door is open all the time without any issues.

 

If you do need to let the cats roam freely, then make sure the dogs are in a separate room or crated. Always use muzzles for the dogs until and unless you are absolutely sure the cats will be safe.

 

A lot also depends on your and your cats' comfort level with dog-cat interactions. If you have confident cats who won't run away, then you'll have an easier time than if your cats are timid. The best cure for a dog that's too interested is a swat on the nose, IMO. Some people prefer their dogs show no interest at all in the cats. I personally don't think that's reasonable. My cats were raised from kittehs around big dogs and have no fear of them. I think they think they are just little extra furry dogs! I'm comfortable with quite a bit of contact including some good natured play chasing. BUT if anything ever turns serious, all games are stopped and everyone separated. My cats walk around the house, sleep on the dog beds, share the water bowl, and generally interact with the dogs.

 

However, if we leave the house, the cats are locked up on the back porch, away from the dogs. All of my greyhounds tested "cat workable," but two of them were very much NOT when they first arrived. It took several years and constant supervision and a lot of work for them to be able to live with free-roaming cats. And I don't trust them if I can't see them. Still.

 

We've had as many as five greyhounds and four cats living in close quarters together, and we've never had any problems, so it is possible for mixed homes to work! Good luck and keep us posted.

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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Someone videoed how we cat test at PRH. If I can find it, I'll post it for you! It's different than a lot of the suggestions because the cat is being held initially, but the person is sitting so the cat is eye-level and the dog can just sniff without jumping up. But this is a very experienced cat - he knows the drill! I hope I can find it for you...

Mom of bridge babies Regis and Dusty.

Wrote a book about shelter dogs!

I sell things on Etsy!

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My Loca was supposed to be cat safe, but instead she tried to kill my cat. Whenever I wasn't home, I kept her muzzled and separated from the cat. Whenever j was home, she was attached to my waste with her leash, and I monitored her every action. I praised when she ignored the cat, and corrected when she didn't. It took about 1.5 months of constant, consistent work, she eventually she and Linus (who was already used to dogs) became great friends.

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Xavi the galgo and Peter the cat. Missing Iker the galgo ?-Feb.9/19, Treasure (USS Treasure) April 12/01-May 6/13, Phoenix (Hallo Top Son) Dec.14/99-June 4/11 and Loca (Reko Swahili) Oct.9/95 - June 1/09, Allen the boss cat, died late November, 2021, age 19.

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I'm really tired, so forgive me if this has been suggested, but is there any way you could bring the dogs, one at a time, into your house and keep them on short leash and see what the individual dog's reastion is? Bring in the one tested as less reactive first - which doesn't really signify anything in some cases! - and after seeing how that dog does on its own bring the second one on its own and see how that one reacts. Keep the dog close on leash, I suggest that the bf holds the leash, and you keep an eye on the cat/cats to prevent them stepping too close. You may want to do this a couple of times, so the reactions change from 'new place I've never been before' to maybe reacting to cats after the new place isn't so new.

 

And I checked your location (shucks, too far from us!) because we are beginning a search for two cats to bring into our house with our cat-trained dogs.

 

Good luck with your introductions and further cat-testing of the bf's dogs!

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