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Puppies and cats

Discussion in 'Pit Bull Puppy Discussions' started by keagan, Feb 26, 2013.

  1. keagan

    keagan Little Dog

    From my browsing here it seems there are quite a few members here that have cats along with their dogs, so I’m hoping some of you might have some experience to share.

    I have two cats, a 2 year old boxer, and now a boxer-pit bull mix puppy. I’m really looking for some feedback on puppies and cats, and what I should and should not allow as far as interactions.

    I got my boxer as a rescue when he was about a year old (estimate) so I didn’t really have the puppy phase with him. He’s great with my cats, so I have no real concerns there. He doesn’t want to play or interact too much with the cats – mostly the dog and the cats do their own thing. The cats occasionally weave around his legs and rub against them when he is standing (usually watching the humans do something with minimal movement on his part), but otherwise, when he is up and about they tend to ignore each other. The cats also like to lay with him when he is chilling or napping, but again, when he’s playful or hyper or moving around, the cats are off doing their own thing. He ignores them when the cats are playing with each other too. No chasing or harassing or other signs of aggression. I will mention that my boxer’s a velcro dog and rarely leaves our side (and never willing spends time in a different room), so he is never left unsupervised with the cats. The cats have their own room but I give them free reign as long as a human is home. They also have lots of places to climb and plenty of above ground spots to retreat to. This isn’t an issue since he doesn’t chase, but they have a retreat if they want to get away.

    The puppy is different. We’re now at the phase where I am no longer locking the cats away in a separate room and they’re back to having free roaming rights to the house. The puppy is more interested in “playing” with the cats than my dog, and, because the cats are used to dogs, they don’t really go out of their way to avoid him. My biggest concerns are that I don’t want the puppy learning that chasing cats is a good game, and I don’t want the cats to feel threatened and possibly injure the puppy. I’ve heard horror stories of puppies losing eyes to a simple cat scratch. Of course, a puppy also has sharp teeth, so there’s a little concern that he may actually bite them and hurt them. At 9 weeks, he pretty much bites everything he wants to explore. That all being said, I have allowed calm sniffing since I do want them to eventually live together peacefully. My older cat pretty much ignores the pup and does her own thing, but my younger cat is very interested. He follows the puppy and the puppy follows him. Sometimes, when face to face, they both will rear up on their hind legs and wave and bat their front paws at each other. So far, this has been strictly show with neither the puppy nor cat actually making physical contact with their paws (and with the cat keeping his claws retracted in any case). Sometimes the puppy barks a little at the cat, but there’s no lunging or chasing or biting or hitting involved. No hissing or distress on the part of the cat. Right now I am picking the puppy up and moving him away and redirecting him. I worry that it will escalate, or that it won’t be appropriate as the puppy grows - they’re about the same size right now, but the puppy will eventually be much larger and more able to inflict serious damage. Is this the right thing to do? Or should I allow them to “play” as long as I monitor closely and sit right beside the puppy so I can pick him up if need be? I don’t want him to feel he’s being punished, or grow to resent the cats, but I also don’t want to set up possible dangerous behavior for the future.

    What have you personally done with introducing your puppies to your cats, and what kinds of interactions would you allow and not allow?

    Sorry for the wall of text, but I wanted to provide as many specific and as much background on the animal’s experiences as possible.
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 26, 2013
  2. Tiffseagles

    Tiffseagles GRCH Dog Premium Member

    I would discourage the staring, barking, chasing etc. For behaviors that I don't want, I would redirect the puppy to something else and ask for commands that you had been working on (if he knows any) or just play a game. Basically engage him in another way.

    If the younger cat is inviting play with the puppy and you want to allow it, I would make sure it is closely monitored. Nothing rough. However if the puppy tends to get too rough in other areas, you may want to discourage this all together.
  3. K9 Love

    K9 Love Good Dog

    I agree 100% with Tiff.

    The other thing I would be doing even at this young age, is during training time working on calm cues while in the presence of the cats (if you can do something to keep your cats in the general vicinity, like during their feeding time for example), and work on getting your puppy to focus on you, acknowledging the cats presence but back to focusing on you, becoming indifferent to some of the cats more exciting behaviours, maybe like eating treats, or when they run around etc.

    I would avoid rough play on the puppies side. I allowed Hades to "play" with our cats when they were younger and more interested, but his version of "playing" was pretty much getting hugged and lightly bitten by the cats and just moving his head around on the bed.

    So yes, I would start working on a calm/quiet cue, probably that involves him lying down during training, reinforce it as much as possible (IMO works best with small pieces of high value food) and then you can use that cue when the play gets to be too much. Then you don't have to physically put your hands on the puppy (picking him up), you can just cue him to calm down and be quiet for a bit. :)
  4. marriss770

    marriss770 Good Dog

    Great advice. Only one of our dogs bothers with the cats...and he likes to nibble on Charlie our black cat. Charlie enjoys it...I think it's like grooming to him?
    "leave it" and redirecting has always worked with us. I've never had a dog here that couldn't coexist peacefully with out 4 cats
  5. xchairity_casex

    xchairity_casex Good Dog

    What i did with my dogs and my 3 elderly cats-i kept a lead on them to drag round the house, everytime they tried to chase kitties or stand over them or even sniff there rear ends, i gave a quick pop to the lead and praise when they would ignore the cats.

    I also taught my dogs to have complete respect of my cats around food, i dilberatly feed the cats food in front of the dogs, NO dog is allowed to take the kitties food-if they dogs sit and wait patiently, once the cats are done eating whatever treat i gave them, i would reward them with a treat for waiting and not trying to steal the cats treats.
  6. momtosadie

    momtosadie Big Dog

    We've always had cats and dogs together without any problems. I never let the dogs get too rambunctious, no chasing, no pawing at them, never any barking or snapping or growling. If the dogs got too wound up, then it was either a time out in the crate or lay down in their bed to chill out for a minute. I always tried to direct their attention to their toys, rather than think of the cat as a fuzzy toy. I've never had much trouble with them especially if the dog was a puppy, like any other training, if you are consistent, they learn what they can do with the cat and what they can't.

    That said, it isn't always perfect. Probably the one thing that Sadie gets yelled at the most for is harassing Mr. Kitty. She likes to stick her face in his and paw at him (which is one of the no no's). He is so tolerant he won't whack her. She is never aggressive with him or mean, she just wants to play and she's so much bigger than him that I worry about her hurting him by accident. So even at 2 years old, she has to be reminded that Mr. Kitty is not a toy and mama will whack Sadie if she doesn't listen. But they stay together unsupervised in the house and do fine. And there are lots of places he can get in to get away from her if he wants to.
  7. Lyoness

    Lyoness Puppy

    Toys. Easiest thing to redirect with. My girl wants to play with the cat even after having her for 2 and a half months. She doesn't paw at the cat or anything like that. But she likes to follow him and 'play dance' around him. She's never touched him except for one when he just kind of layed down and staired at her. She liked him from butt to face. Which needless to say freaked him out and he ran like hell.

    The dog is now very easy to redirect and will ignore the cat, when I tell her to BUT she looks at him as 'new people' and they must be loved on so they will pet her. >.< yeah the cat pets her with his claws, which she throughly ignores.

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