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Rescue dog & resident cats - share your experiences

Discussion in 'Dog Chat' started by lenanowa, Feb 22, 2021.


  1. lenanowa

    lenanowa PetForums Member

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    Hi dog people! I normally hang out on cat forums, but hoping you can help me on this one.

    I'll preface this post by saying that this isn't an "oh I'm bored in lockdown, let's get a dog" sort of situation - I've been thinking about it for a while, and as we recently moved to a house with a garden, with a park 2min away, it's finally a feasible option.

    I'm not in any major rush, it's a big responsibility to take, but here's the internal battle I'm going through. My two cats are pedigree, so I thought it'd be good to rescue this time. I mentioned this to a few friends who, well, managed to freak me out by sharing some... horror stories for a lack of better word, including something about a lady who rescued a puppy so young she had to bottle-feed him, everything was great for months and then for some reason once he got older and hormones kicked in, he attacked the resident cat that was there from the start - apparently the cat barely made it.

    My cats are confident and I'm sure would be fine with a dog following slow and careful introductions. They're indoor only and not "street smart" at all, so as existing family members, their wellbeing is a priority.

    I'll add that the last time I had a dog was over 10 years ago. He was a pedigree cocker spaniel from a great breeder, and the biggest issues we ever had was pulling on the lead, and that he would conveniently loose his hearing whenever there was a body of water nearby (including some very, very smelly ponds). This means I'm not an experienced dog parent by any means. While I'm currently doing a lot of research on force-free training etc, if I'm perfectly honest with myself, I don't think I'd be able to deal with any major guarding problems, separation anxiety etc.

    My logical side says that getting a nice puppy from a good breeder, of a breed that's known to get along with cats, would be so much easier - and it would be - but I'd LOVE to be able to give an unwanted dog a second chance. On the other hand, I feel like my "requirements" mean that dogs that fit the bill are very few and far between, at least from what I've seen after following a number of rescues in the UK and abroad, for the last few months, and that also feels quite daunting :(

    With this in mind, I'm hoping that people here can share some experiences and (ideally) success stories, to give me a boost of confidence!
     
  2. O2.0

    O2.0 PetForums VIP

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    I think you could have success with a good rescue who does thorough temperament testing, cat testing and has even better fostered the dog in a home with cats.
    Puppies are not the blank slate we sometimes think they are. They come "pre-programmed" in a lot of ways and just because a pup has been raised with cats doesn't mean that pup won't hit mental and social maturity and the full expression of the genes kick in and instinct takes over.
    An adult dog is a known quantity. If they're good with cats they will likely stay good with cats. Not good with cats isn't likely to change either.

    None of mine are good with cats but I am extremely careful and the cats are resilient and the dogs don't stress them out as they came here as kittens in to a home with not so friendly dogs. So they know to be cautious, but they also know that if there are humans about they can push their luck - which they happily do :D
     
  3. lenanowa

    lenanowa PetForums Member

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    Thanks :) thing is, I don’t want my cats to have to be cautious in their own home. They don’t free-roam (and are not going to), they have shelves and other places / a lot of vertical territory to get away, but equally I don’t want them to have to spend half the time hiding on top of the fridge. Now I feel like maybe I’m asking for too much :Nailbiting definitely need to research more, but thanks for listening to my brain dump, lol
     
  4. Arny

    Arny PetForums VIP

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    I adopted my first dog as a 1 year old, he was picked up by rescue as a stray.
    Unfortunately as we had no idea what we were doing in terms of introducing him to the cats he didn't fully integrate with my then cats. I really believe he would have had we known what to do.
    He did later live very well with two we bought as kittens.

    After he passed away and due to failing before I decided I would only look at dogs who had previously lived with cats.
    Yes your options are significantly more limited but dogstrust in particular have a filter to show those that could live with cats (unfortunately due to travel and not being able to meet at the rescue they're currently only rehoming locally but usually I think most are happy for dogs to go further afield if you're happy to travel to meet). I found my current dog (from rspca) advertised on dogsblog as suitable to live with cats. As soon as I brought her home she didn't bat an eye at the cats and one of my cats was sat near straightaway, my other cat is more fearful and it took her a little longer but within a couple of weeks they were all rubbing along nicely.

    I personally wouldn't advise looking at dogs from abroad unless they've been in foster here for a good while even though you do get greater choice there as it seems more are good with cats.
    Many of them come with issues, generations of street dog are not the same as our average stray. Just my opinion.
    Generally either way I'd prefer to adopt a dog that had been in foster even though I've not managed it yet. My current dog was handed into rescue by her owners and I think they may have glossed over a couple of things.

    Always keep in mind that even if the dog doesn't have major problems they may develop. My first dog repeatedly had others go for him so he became fear reactive and it took a long time to get him back on tract. Sometimes older dogs can develop separation anxiety if they go senile or because their eyesight and hearing is failing.
     
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  5. lenanowa

    lenanowa PetForums Member

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    Thanks for sharing @Arny!

    Yes, I think I’d definitely need a dog that was in foster beforehand.

    Foreign rescues do look like they have more choice, but from what I saw they rarely foster (or at least the ones I found didn’t do that a lot), and that just feels too risky for my particular circumstances.

    I’ll just have to prepare for a long wait and keep refreshing Battersea/ Dogs Trust/ RSPCA websites, and hopefully the right pup will come along :)
     
  6. BlueJay

    BlueJay Pack of Losers

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    No experience with dogs and cats, but if you have a breed (or few breeds!) in mind, you could also try contacting breeders and breed clubs.
    They can sometimes have adult dogs looking for new homes and may have already lived with cats.
    Just another avenue to explore! :)
     
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  7. lenanowa

    lenanowa PetForums Member

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    Oh I like that! For some reason I thought it was more of a thing with cats, to rehome them when they’re retired - thanks for the idea!
     
  8. LotsaDots

    LotsaDots PetForums Senior

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    I have 2 terriers and a cat. I don't allow any chasing or annoying the cat at all from the beginning but I dont separate them entirely either. My 7 month old pup will now curl up on the bed next to my cat, my older dog loves him and greets him when he comes in from outside.
    I think as long as introductions are sensible and the cats have their space to retreat to (high shelves and baby gates are great) then most dogs and cats learn to rub along together just fine. Obviously there are certain breeds more likely to want to chase but if you can get an older rescue that you know has been tested that's great.
     
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  9. tabulahrasa

    tabulahrasa PetForums VIP

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    As a different kind of warning...

    my cat has always lived with dogs since we got her as a kitten when the last one died we started fostering - and every time a new dog comes she moves upstairs for weeks afterwards.

    I wouldn’t assume your cats will happily live with a dog tbh.

    I dread to think what my cat would be like if she hadn’t lived with a dog until she was an adult.
     
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  10. lenanowa

    lenanowa PetForums Member

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    I get where you’re coming from, and that’s why introductions would be very, very slow - and that’s also why I can’t rush with this, but take the time and find a dog that will, hopefully, fit well with us :)
     
  11. SusieRainbow

    SusieRainbow Moderator
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    My first dog was a rescue Dachshund, 9 years old. I knew nothing of her history with cats, my cat was about 12 when we got Tango (dog) . Fortunately Tango took to her, she seemed to know how to behave round cats and before long they wete playing hide-and-seek very happily round the furniture. They were happy to share the sofa and hearth rug too and to greet each other touching noses.
    My second dog, another dachshund , was fascinated by the cat and wanted desperately to be her friend. She tried to chase her a couple of times but I made it clear that was not acceptable and puss just stood her ground so Reena soon knew the boundaries.
    When puss died at 19years old we let the dogs see her and watch us bury her in the garden. They both sniffed her and tred to get her to play!
    The only problems had were keeping the dogs away from her food and poo, both highly rated treats !
    The food was easiest as I could feed Puss on a raised surface that the dogs couldn't reach but the poo was tricky! She was an indoor/outdoor cat who went outside to toilet and both the dogs enjoyed the daily treasure hunt to find the poo, it made me feel sick to see them chomping away on it !:Vomit
    We were really lucky it all worked out so well, if I ever get another cat I will be a lot more careful with introductions.
     
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  12. lenanowa

    lenanowa PetForums Member

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    Aww they do grieve for each other don’t they - I can’t even think about it without getting teary, I still sometimes do when I think about Inigo (the cocker spaniel I mentioned) and he passed over 10 years ago.

    We inherited a cat flap in the bathroom door from the previous owner of the house - so hopefully that would be enough to keep the litter trays safe, otherwise I’ll need to figure out something different! ;)
     
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  13. Nicola234

    Nicola234 PetForums Senior

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    Hi I have a foreign rescue, he was 2 when we got our kitten, it took a few weeks of careful introductions, more so to get the dog used to the kitten as the kitten had no fear of him what so ever and would just walk right up to him to play lol. There were a few times I thought it was never going to work and we’d need to keep them separated forever but a few weeks later it all fell into place and they are great friends now, I feed the kitten on his cat tree so no issues with that and the dog has never once went near his litter tray. Good luck in your search. :)
     
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  14. lenanowa

    lenanowa PetForums Member

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    Thanks - I guess it’s easier when either party is young! Kittens tend to be more brave (or stupid, depending how you look at it), than older cats ;)

    Just applied for a puppy with a local rescue, they’ll probably have hundreds of applications so I’m not getting my hopes up, but got to start somewhere. It feels almost like applying for a job, lol
     
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  15. Nicola234

    Nicola234 PetForums Senior

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    yeah definitely easier because he was young and I looked for a breeder who had dogs aswell. Lol yeah it definitely feels like that, good luck :)
     
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  16. Teddy-dog

    Teddy-dog PetForums VIP

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    There’s a great sticky in dog chat about introducing dogs and cats if you wanted to have a read!

    We adopted our (foreign) rescue when we had a cat. He lived in a pension in Spain with cats as well as dogs. I would make sure you ask the rescue how they cat test their dogs as some are useless and some are very good! Getting one from foster is a good way to go if you can find one! Some foreign rescues do foster over here now so don’t completely rule them out but you’re right to be cautious.

    our dog and cat aren’t friends, id say, but they rub along nicely. I’d be prepared for the cats to be a bit stressed at first at least. Our cat is quite timid so she did take a while to adjust but she’s fine now. We set up the upstairs for her with food, litter, toys etc so she didn’t feel the need to be with the dog if she needed to and we had a gate with a cat flap in it on the living room door so she could come and go as she pleased but the dog couldn’t. We could close the cat flap if needed and we had to teach her how to use it haha! We set everything up a few weeks before the dog came so it wasn’t new to her and she got used to the new routine. We made sure the dog was not allowed to chase at all from the off. Teddy does have a big chase drive but he knows chasing the cat is a big no! He was on a lead at first and we’d sit with him and reward them both for being calm. If he got too excited we’d take him out the room. Our cat doesn’t go outside either. They now have free roam and go about as they please. The dog still spends most time downstairs and Eevee upstairs. That’s just how they like it! We do sometimes find them on the bed together having a snooze when the suns shining in.

    one of the hardest things we found was to stop the dog eating cat poop :Hilarious Id always be super cautious as a rule but it can work!

    0216683F-C88B-432A-85C4-572F6224807D.jpeg 04DFAC83-5006-4E5E-8058-F97BB253CF18.jpeg A7FA13CB-D873-4F0A-A565-4B1BE152C530.jpeg
     
    #16 Teddy-dog, Feb 24, 2021
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2021
    Sairy, LittleMow, lenanowa and 3 others like this.
  17. lenanowa

    lenanowa PetForums Member

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