There’s A New Resident In This House
July 17, 2014 Photography
We’ve toyed with the idea of getting a cat for awhile but we’ve never had a dog that would be able to live with one…a couple years ago our Great Dane, Duchess passed away leaving us with just our Great Dane, Earl. Duchess could not handle anything small and fluffy and wanted to eat it. Earl on the other hand is ok with other animals, he just has a high PLAY drive…to where he wants to chase animals that run. We decided that we would be a ‘one-dog’ household for a VERY long time…having one dog is just so much EASIER. Especially when your dogs are over the 100 pound mark. I’ve been wanting a cat, but he would need to be a special cat….I also wanted a cat that would help ME to train the dog.
I put out feelers to the animal shelter I used to work at…telling my friends that work there we wanted an adult cat that was BIG and who had been around other dogs before. Not long after that a friend of mine said she had a cat for us. I went down to pick him up….I knew I’d love him right on the spot especially if it was one my friend recommend. I met Jack…all 20 pounds of LOVE. Jack had been returned to the shelter THREE times and one of the reasons was he didn’t like other cats. That was fine by me as we only wanted one.
I brought Jack the cat home and we set him up in the spare room. I put the baby gate up and had all his food, water, litter and toys in the spare room for him. He had the whole room and bed to himself. This allowed the dog to look at him through the baby gate but not touch him (it also would keep the dog out of the cat’s food and litter box). Let me just explain quickly here about the baby gate…our Great Dane, Earl is absolutely PETRIFIED of the baby gate. He won’t touch it…at all. So this was the perfect set up.
We’d let Jack out a little at a time so he could get the layout of the house down while the dog was put away in the bedroom. This helped Jack settle in and get comfortable in the house. I wanted Jack to have the upper hand when he met the dog for the first time.
After several days, it was time for the face to face meeting. We took the baby gate down and Earl went to investigate Jack. Jack growled, hissed, spit and generally showed the dog who was boss (all without touching the dog once). Earl saw that crazed furball’s reaction to him and refused to LOOK at the cat. Perfection.
Every once in awhile the dog will forget how scary the cat can be and he’ll see the cat zip by and go follow him, the cat will quickly get up on something high (like the kitchen table or a dresser) to let the dog know he isn’t easily messed with.
Obviously, this will all take some time. We’re lucky that Jack is so brave and friendly…I’ve heard stories of a cat being brought into a new house and hiding for months before even venturing out. Not Jack. His mission now is to find every single perfect sleeping spot in the house. He’s extremely outgoing for a cat.
I just wanted to share how we introduced these two. Maybe it will help someone else who has a dog that they know COULD get along with a cat but they don’t know how to do it. Basically, give the cat a ‘safe room’. Allow the cat to be in his safe room for a couple days before allowing him out. Try to figure out a way the cat and dog can look at each other without touching each other for awhile. Allow the cat out to check out the house without the dog for awhile till he seems comfortable and then do the meeting. Also, figure out a way the cat can get into his ‘safe room’ without the dog following so he has a place to go and be alone. Eventually they will get along and the cat won’t need his safe room any longer…but you will need to make sure he has a place to eat where the dog can’t get at his food, and a quiet place to put the litter box without the prying eyes of a dog snooping for kitty ‘tootsie rolls’.
For anyone interested…all photos were taken with the Canon 6D (full frame) and Canon 50mm 1.4 lens