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  1. Introducing Pit Bull to Cats

    I just adopted a pit bull from an animal shelter. I bring her home tomorrow and I'm really excited!! She's 3 years old and they are not sure about her history. I have 2 cats that are about a year and a half. Any suggestions on the best way to introduce her to the cats?


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  2. #2
    First, make sure to get a crate for this new dog. When you bring her home, have the cats in a safe place, like your bedroom or office with the door closed. The cats should only be loose in the house while the dog is crated. Do not take chances, make sure there is no way the dog can get ahold of the cats.

    If the dog shows interest in the cats, redirect or give her a correction. You can give a stern "no" and give her something to distract her attention or even use a squirt bottle. Only after the dog sees the cat as just another everyday object in the house would I bring her out on leash. Again, if she shows too much interest (and to me that can just be eye contact with perked ears) I will give a correction.

    For the first few weeks you have her, she should not be loose in your house until she has learned where she is allowed to be, what is off limits, and settled into whatever routine you create for her.

    I dont let dogs and cats interact in my household. Too much risk. When the dogs are out, they are not allowed to get anywhere near the cats. Theres a healthy respect between them, though the cats sometimes over step boundaries haha.

  3. #3
    CrazyK9 has great advice! I agree.

    I've had my cat for 10 years, she is very particular about what dogs she allows to live with her and the 2 successful ones have been adopted pit bulls. Using a crate allowed my cat to set the rules, as that is her personalty, and she needs the dogs to know that.

    She has several safe places the dog has zero access to including the use of a cat hole door into the basement. Boundaries are everything and they must be set right away.

    Sometimes, as with our situation, they can become BFFs. But peaceful sharing of the house is all you need. Don't ever force it, they speak in opposite ways and damages are hard to undo.

    Remember to to spend as much time with the kitties as you did before! Good luck!

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by heatherm056 View Post
    I just adopted a pit bull from an animal shelter. I bring her home tomorrow and I'm really excited!! She's 3 years old and they are not sure about her history. I have 2 cats that are about a year and a half. Any suggestions on the best way to introduce her to the cats?



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    Very carefully. Although I am very curious what prompts a person with 2 cats to go out and adopt a 3 year old pit bull that nobody knows if it has any history of getting along with other animals. My guess is you do not have an easy task. At three years old the dog may get along with some other animals or it may be down right aggressive with anything that has fur. I hope for your cat's sake the dog is the exception to the rule.
    Last edited by Atheist; 12-09-2013 at 10:09 AM.

  5. #5
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    I adopted a year-old bull breed dog, Krieger, from a shelter about a year and a half ago, and so far have had almost no issues between them. The dog is NEVER unsupervised with the cats, he's always crated when we're not home and at night. When we brought him home, we did the Two Week Shutdown (Google it, you should be doing this now), during which the cats were only allowed to roam the house when the dog was in his crate; when he was leashed to my side they were shut in the other half of the house. My cats had never lived with a dog for more than a few days, so there was a lot of hissing and growling to start with, and one cat was quick with the claws so Krieger learned about keeping his distance. I always made him lie down and be calm before interacting with the cats, immediately removed him from the cats via a closed door or crate if he got too excited, and if he tried to approach one without my approval I called him to me and redirected him with a toy or something. I have always used NILIF with Krieger and treated the cats as a "resource," i.e. they belong to me and he is only allowed to access them (mostly sniff them because they don't like him much) when I allow him, usually after "asking." If the cats are running around or playing, I keep a very close eye on the dog, to this day, and sometimes leash him. He won't get up (from his bed, the couch, etc.) to bother them, but twice when he was walking around and one of the cats darted past him, he has gone into chase mode, and those two occasions were the only times he's had "come to Jesus moments;" I do NOT tolerate cat-chasing, but nor do I set him up to fail. There are clear rules around the cats and he knows them.


    On the other hand, I have a foster dog who has a much higher prey drive than Krieger and will "hard stare" at any small animals including cats, rodents, and reptiles. When she came to my home, she couldn't be allowed to see or hear cats in another room through or under the door because she would freeze and stare, to the point of shaking with anticipation if you didn't redirect her. Once, she bolted across the length of the house to lunge into a room containing the cats because she saw a cat walk past the door when I was going in (I didn't have two barriers between them)...I slammed the door on her neck and she was still trying to get in to get the cats. I would never try to introduce a dog like her to cats, because she "turns on" in a split second, and I have seen her shake toys, I know how quickly she could seriously injure a cat.


    You need to be prepared for the event that your dog cannot tolerate the cats or vice versa--if they don't get along, they NEED to be kept separate by two barriers at all times. The reason people on this board will warn you so hard against keeping a pit bull with cats is that things can go very badly for the cat very quickly. These dogs are bull-and-terriers: powerful like a bulldog and determined like a terrier. Another dog may chase a cat until it turns around and swats them, but most bully breeds will chase a cat until they can kill it.

  6. #6
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    My son wants a cat but I won't allow it. Having to constantly supervise 3 dogs is hard enough. Don't want the extra work/risk with a cat. You've been given good advice to make it work.

  7. #7
    I had a cat that got along with an older dog before when he was younger. Now the cat is a couple years older but has a puppy to deal with. Its a boy cat and a girl dog, dunno if that makes a difference but he teaches her what is ok and what isnt. Claws have never come out but pats on the head are frequent when she sniffs or licks a little too much. Always supervise, and make sure the cats are just as comfortable as they were before, otherwise its not fair to them

  8. #8
    A cat once put his claws on my dog. It died a couple of seconds later. This notion that a cat can deter a bulldog with a show of force is ridiculous.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Atheist View Post
    A cat once put his claws on my dog. It died a couple of seconds later. This notion that a cat can deter a bulldog with a show of force is ridiculous.
    I dont think anyone is saying that, what the claws mean is the cat is very uncomfortable and the confrontation needs to be put to an end immediately.

  10. Quote Originally Posted by RoxiePup View Post
    I dont think anyone is saying that, what the claws mean is the cat is very uncomfortable and the confrontation needs to be put to an end immediately.

    I think the point that Atheist is making is that there may not be time for the owner to stop the confrontation, the dog may decide to do just that!!

  11. #11
    It really shouldnt get to that point anyway, I was just stating no one was saying a cat can deter a dog with their claws.

  12. Quote Originally Posted by RoxiePup View Post
    I dont think anyone is saying that, what the claws mean is the cat is very uncomfortable and the confrontation needs to be put to an end immediately.
    Actually someone said this
    "My cats had never lived with a dog for more than a few days, so there was a lot of hissing and growling to start with, and one cat was quick with the claws so Krieger learned about keeping his distance."





    I can't speak for other peoples dogs but I have had lots of pit bull experience and this notion of supervision or the cats giving a warning to the dog or letting it be known he is uncomfortable is pretty stupid. Cats have had only two choices with my dogs, either escape or die. Supervision is useless with a cat and a bulldog if the bulldog wants to kill the cat. If a cat can live with a pit bull it is only because the pit bull allows it, and for only as long as the pit bull allows it. The owners have little choice other than to accept the gamble and play the odds or to contain and separate. Trust me on this every cat is uncomfortable around a bulldog whether you believe it or not. The natural instinct is what drives them and they are natural enemies.

    The cat was quick with his claws with my dog so my dog crushed it with one bite. He learned cats can be fun.
    Last edited by Atheist; 12-11-2013 at 05:57 PM.

  13. #13
    I agree with you Atheist. Its never a good idea to let the cat teach the dog the boundaries. They should never be close enough for that to happen. If you are going to take the gamble of having cats and dogs in the same house, without strict crate and rotate, it takes a certain type of dog and lots of strict intervention.

    Some dogs are never safe to have around cats.

    Its important for me to say that the dogs in this house are not pit bull type dogs.
    I have had one with my old cat and applied the same rules I do now but she was still young. If I had kept her and she ended up growing into a prey driven dog I could have ended up with a dead cat in the blink of an eye. Almost did, due to a stupid mistake on my part... gave her a bone and didn't crate her. Cat passed by, a good 6 feet away, and she lashed out. Luckily for him, it was just a warning and he didn't have a mark on him but he was scared $#@!less. But just a warning with another dog could have killed him easily.

  14. #14
    Touche, I did not even see that comment... I dont think a cat can bully a dog by being physical but it definately can let the dog know when =enough is enough and that is the point when the owner needs to step in.

    Good advice has been said on this topic no matter what, hope all works out will for the OP

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Atheist View Post
    I can't speak for other peoples dogs but I have had lots of pit bull experience and this notion of supervision or the cats giving a warning to the dog or letting it be known he is uncomfortable is pretty stupid. ..... Trust me on this every cat is uncomfortable around a bulldog whether you believe it or not.
    Every cat is different. Every dog is different. Not all dogs are as hot as yours and not all cats are inherently afraid of dogs (and those cats are stupid). I stand by my opinion that the most important thing is knowing how to read their signals and not setting them up to fail.



    Quote Originally Posted by CrazyK9 View Post
    If you are going to take the gamble of having cats and dogs in the same house, without strict crate and rotate, it takes a certain type of dog and lots of strict intervention.
    Agreed. Hope I got that across in my first reply to the OP.
    Last edited by innoko; 12-12-2013 at 10:21 AM.

  16. CrazyK9 - Thank for mentioning the VERY important point that your dogs are not pit bulls. Frankly my comments are directed toward responsible pit bull ownership and while I believe many points hold true for dogs in general, I am a firm believer that pit bulls are not the same as other dogs and require a different style of management and training in most cases.

    To RoxiePup - you are missing my point I believe. In the case of every pit bull dog I have owned and those owned by my friends, there is no enough is enough from the cats standpoint. Whether the cat is comfortable or uncomfortable, it is not the cat that you should be waiting for a signal from. When the dog decides enough is enough the cat must escape or die. Most of the time it isn't about enough is enough, the truth is that nothing is enough. A pit bull dog does not need an incident or motivation, or something to escalate to fight with another animal. It is genetically predisposed to be naturally driven and aggressive. Clearly comments like this come from a total lack of experience with a pit bull dog that decides one day another dog or cat must die. With my dogs if you wait for the signal that you need to step in, you will be stepping in to remove the cats corpse from his mouth. Even if you are standing three feet away. Seriously have you ever seen a pit bull kill a cat? Do you really believe there is anything you can do fast enough to help the cat? The cat either manages to escape because after all the cat is faster than you are, and frankly the dog is faster than the cat. The only things that save a cat is their ability to fit into an escape route the dog cannot, their ability to climb up a tree or fence if they can make it to one, or the fact the dog isn't trying to kill them. In open space the cat and witnesses are helpless.
    Last edited by Atheist; 12-12-2013 at 10:38 AM.

  17. I would like to say that this is a pit bull forum and while I believe there are universal training techniques and knowledgeable people with good advice that translates to all dogs of any breed, pit bulls are different. Anybody that denies that probably has zero or very limited experience with APBTs and might be confusing dogs of unknown origin with them. Some on this forum like Boogieman, Lee D, Seven Sins to name a few, who I believe to actually have American Pit Bull Terriers, are free to chime in and would love to hear their opinions, but based on everything I have learned from experience, I can't imagine a mature bulldog being trusted not to kill a cat. I am not saying they will kill every time but if you trust them not to, or you trust you can intervene in time, I believe you are mistaken.

  18. #18
    Atheist, there is a big difference between a well bred APBT and a shelter mutt that's looks like a generic pit bull. The majority of people on this board do not have well bred APBTs. Of course you should always expect that side to come out in any dog that looks like a pit bull and be prepared.

    The OP has a shelter mutt. I think its worth evaluating the dog before saying keep them seperated at all costs. I really need to start putting disclaimers at the end, with what should be obvious but I forget that its not lol... Never trust a pit bull with other animals and never leave them unsupervised EVER. Cats and dogs together in the same house is a gamble. Pit bulls and cats is a greatly bigger gamble. Know your dog, know your cats.

    The safest bet will always be to crate and rotate. I think it's up to the owner whether or not they want to gamble.

  19. #19
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    OP... Do you know if your cats are at all dog-savvy? That can make a pretty big difference.

    When my dog was a young puppy, I brought him over to my parents' house. They have 2 cats. The big one took one look at him, charged him, and left 2 intact claws embedded in his nose and scratched his muzzle raggedy in about 3 seconds.

    At 2.5 now, Garp is... less than cat friendly. I have no idea if that's just his nature or if it has anything to do with his early experience. It's a weird kind of attitude towards cats (that we see in passing or out on walks)... It strikes me as a little bit of fear, a bit of aggression, and a bit of confusion and wanted to engage. I've often wondered if his first experience had been better and with a cat who wasn't so aggressive, if it would be different now.

    So, yeah...Do you know how your cats are with dogs? It can go both ways...

  20. #20
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    You really should have gone with a dog who has lived with cats before and has a known history of being tolerant. You're taking a big gamble here - one second of screwing up and you can have very maimed or dead animals.

    How yours cats act can play a big role - my old lady cat is not phased by dogs, even if they're barking and being stupid, my neighbor's lab welcomes her into his house even when I go take care of him, whereas he whines and tries to go after cats who take off scared of him, and would probably attack. However, she will smack a dog getting out of line - that can be enough to send a dog over the edge of being rude, to full blown attacking. My old bulldog harassed cats incessantly - unless they warned her, then she'd leave them totally alone. She would have killed a cat that ran from her, or attacked her. It took me about four months of conditioning to get my dog and my cat to be able to be in the same room together without restraints. And I don't trust him a bit, I don't walk outside and leave them alone together, the younger cats are locked in their room at night, the dog savvy one roams, and my dog is in my room at night for everyone's safety.

    It comes down to really knowing your dog, and your cats, and how both will react to different situations. For all you know, this dog has a terribly past with cats. I see you haven't updated, so I hope all went well.

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