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Old 02-09-2011, 07:43 AM
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Default Cat advice?

Let me preface this by saying: I do not know if we will keep this kitty. If kitty can't adjust to the dogs or the dogs can't adjust to the kitty we will probably take him back because I need harmony in my house. At this point, it's looking good which is why I made this post.

Soooooo....we went to the Humane Society a couple days ago to LOOK at the cats. We were only going to look, see what kind of personality we liked and then come back in a couple weeks. (I know you're all snickering at me, it's ok lol.) Anyway, Matt fell in love with one which never happens because I'm always the driving force behind new additions. So, we brought home a kitty. His name is Sabertooth. Isn't he cute?

Sorry for the crappy pic, it's off Matt's cell phone.

IMG00150-20110209-0518 by taqroy, on Flickr

I need some advice though. He's been at our house for two days and we've been keeping him separated in the downstairs bathroom so that he can adjust to being out of the shelter. Plus I didn't want to push him into the middle of three dogs. Yesterday we did introductions in the computer room with each dog (separately of course) and they all did pretty well. Saber attacked Murphy's tail, tried to attack Tipper's face and flat out ignored Mu. Murphy ignored Saber except for sniffing his butt, Mu sniffed from a distance but Tipper got right in his face. Not so much of a problem (her foster mom said that she was good w/her kitty so I wasn't too worried) the problem is that when Saber batted at her a couple times she started air snapping. I *think* she's only playing because she does that to the other dogs to get them to play with her but it worries me because Saber is so much smaller. I started clicking and treating her for looking at him and she calmed down but I'm not around all the time to supervise. And I want Saber to have free roam of the house. Should I be worried about this or should I assume it will work out? I've never done cat to dog intros before. Today when I get home we're going to do intros again and see how it goes.

If you made it through that you get a cookie and a plea for food recommendations. He's on Science Diet (it's what the shelter feeds) and I know hardly anything about cat food. I'm leaning towards Taste of the Wild since it's what we feed the dogs but I'd love some advice.

TIA
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Old 02-09-2011, 08:18 AM
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First the cat needs a safe room to go to away from the dogs. When the cat feels comfortable in your home (could be a week or so), it will start to explore and try to get to know everyone. Introducing the cat to the dogs should be when the cat wants to come out and see the dogs, not bringing each dog into the room to meet the cat. The cat is new to the environment and needs time & patience.

We have our cat's food and litter box in another room so the dogs can't get to it. The room has a gate across that has a small door opening at the bottom so the cat can walk in & out of the room when it wants to. You can get these at a pet store.

I used to feed California Natural and now feed Halo since my cat has a sensitive stomach. I know many people who like TOTW.

We've had 3 cats at one time and had patience with each one. In time, they got comfortable in their new home and enjoyed life with the dogs; they even slept with them.
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Old 02-09-2011, 08:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Barb04 View Post
First the cat needs a safe room to go to away from the dogs. When the cat feels comfortable in your home (could be a week or so), it will start to explore and try to get to know everyone. Introducing the cat to the dogs should be when the cat wants to come out and see the dogs, not bringing each dog into the room to meet the cat. The cat is new to the environment and needs time & patience.

We have our cat's food and litter box in another room so the dogs can't get to it. The room has a gate across that has a small door opening at the bottom so the cat can walk in & out of the room when it wants to. You can get these at a pet store.

I used to feed California Natural and now feed Halo since my cat has a sensitive stomach. I know many people who like TOTW.

We've had 3 cats at one time and had patience with each one. In time, they got comfortable in their new home and enjoyed life with the dogs; they even slept with them.
Thank you for the advice! He seemed pretty confident yesterday. He doesn't want to stay in his safe room, he wants to go wander around. Even when we did the introductions he was really calm and confident. I did keep the intros pretty short and then we separated everyone and let him chill out with us for awhile. We plan to leave the lower bathroom as his safe room. At a minimum we're putting his food in there so the dogs can't get to it, but we may have to move the litter box.

Do you think we should just put a gate up to the safe room and then if he wants to come out he can but the dogs can't get in there? Is that a better way of doing this?

I guess my biggest concern is that we only have two weeks to see if this is going to work. That's the time limit to return him to the shelter and I don't want to keep him at our house if he's going to be miserable, or if he's going to make one of the dogs miserable. I'm probably worrying too much. Lol.
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Old 02-09-2011, 09:58 AM
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I agree a safe room is a must at first, at some point though I would put the dogs away and let the cat out to explore the house by himself. Cats are usually just as spooked by new places as they are by new housemates. So if you just let him out with all the dogs the stress may be too much and he'll either take it out on the dogs or will freak out and hide the whole time. Though you say he's confident so it might not be a big problem. Once he's comfortable with the house I'd bring one dog out on leash and sit with the dog, let the cat come say hi on his terms and let the dog watch him run around. If the dog and cat both do well let the dog off his leash. Let them interact for a while and then put the dog away. Then do this with the other dogs. You'll have to base your next move on how they all do, the last thing you want to do is let all three dogs out and have one take off after the cat, thus triggering the others to chase too. You'll have a hard time stopping three dogs. But if they all seemed absolutely fine with him and he fine with them, you can try letting them all out. This should all be supervised. Put kitty away at night and when you leave. Again, you'll know if it's safe to leave them together unsupervised after seeing them together for a while. See what they do if the cat tries to crawl into bed with them, see how they react if they are having zoomies/ playing and they see the cat or the cat is having zoomies and they seem him running around frantically. Make sure there is no guarding or water, toys, etc. I would always feed the dogs with supervision so you can stop the cat from going near them, until the cat figures that out.


As far as food goes... I dislike all dry food for cats, if you have to feed some dry then fine, but please try to include at least SOME wet food in their diet, it is so much healthier for them. Most brands that are good for dogs are good for cats, though cats are even more negatively affected by carbs (grains, potato, etc. hence why dry food is icky). I currently rotate through many brands of wet food (felidae, welleness, Go grain free, holistic select, before grain, innova, evo, california natural, etc.). Also try to avoid primarily feeding a fish based food, fish is believed to be bad for cats in large amounts. So as one kind of food in a rotation it would be fine, but if say you are feeding mainly kibble, you should look for a fish free kibble or one with fish far down the list.
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Old 02-09-2011, 10:28 AM
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I just wanted to say Sabretooth is a gorgeous cat and I hope it works out.
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Old 02-09-2011, 11:23 AM
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Originally Posted by Maxy24 View Post
I agree a safe room is a must at first, at some point though I would put the dogs away and let the cat out to explore the house by himself. Cats are usually just as spooked by new places as they are by new housemates. So if you just let him out with all the dogs the stress may be too much and he'll either take it out on the dogs or will freak out and hide the whole time. Though you say he's confident so it might not be a big problem. Once he's comfortable with the house I'd bring one dog out on leash and sit with the dog, let the cat come say hi on his terms and let the dog watch him run around. If the dog and cat both do well let the dog off his leash. Let them interact for a while and then put the dog away. Then do this with the other dogs. You'll have to base your next move on how they all do, the last thing you want to do is let all three dogs out and have one take off after the cat, thus triggering the others to chase too. You'll have a hard time stopping three dogs. But if they all seemed absolutely fine with him and he fine with them, you can try letting them all out. This should all be supervised. Put kitty away at night and when you leave. Again, you'll know if it's safe to leave them together unsupervised after seeing them together for a while. See what they do if the cat tries to crawl into bed with them, see how they react if they are having zoomies/ playing and they see the cat or the cat is having zoomies and they seem him running around frantically. Make sure there is no guarding or water, toys, etc. I would always feed the dogs with supervision so you can stop the cat from going near them, until the cat figures that out.


As far as food goes... I dislike all dry food for cats, if you have to feed some dry then fine, but please try to include at least SOME wet food in their diet, it is so much healthier for them. Most brands that are good for dogs are good for cats, though cats are even more negatively affected by carbs (grains, potato, etc. hence why dry food is icky). I currently rotate through many brands of wet food (felidae, welleness, Go grain free, holistic select, before grain, innova, evo, california natural, etc.). Also try to avoid primarily feeding a fish based food, fish is believed to be bad for cats in large amounts. So as one kind of food in a rotation it would be fine, but if say you are feeding mainly kibble, you should look for a fish free kibble or one with fish far down the list.
Thanks Maxy! I did exactly what you described with the intros last night. I had the dog next to me and Matt would let Saber go from across the room and I'd treat for looking at him or smelling him or doing anything that was not bad. I think I will wait until Friday (it's supposed to warm up some) so we can put the dogs out back and then let Saber out....that way he can explore without dealing with the dogs. I will definitely keep a close eye on them until I'm sure they all get along, I know how fast things can go wrong. And for feeding the dogs I'll probably put him somewhere safe. We have crates all over the house so it'd be easy to just let him hang out in one til they're done.

I'll look into the different foods you mentioned. I think we will probably do a mix of dry and wet food. Thanks for the recommendations!

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Originally Posted by SarahHound View Post
I just wanted to say Sabretooth is a gorgeous cat and I hope it works out.
Thanks. I really hope it does too. Matt seriously loves this cat and I've never seen him get so excited before. I really like Saber's personality too, we mostly picked him because he rubbed on us for a little bit then turned around and attacked my hand. LOL.
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Old 02-09-2011, 02:09 PM
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This is the gate I have in my house where the cat food & litter box is kept. It's on the petsmart website:

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Old 02-09-2011, 02:18 PM
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I think you have received awesome advice so far.

I do feed TOTW to my cats, and they do very well on it. I know it isn't "ideal" (neither is feeding kibble to dogs...), but I can't feed raw and I can't feed moist, so kibble it is. My mom's cat has slimmed down and doesn't have bladder problems anymore, and Apollo has stayed lean and trim and his coat is great.

The fact that he is already wanting to wander around is great. In my experience, a miserable, scared cat does not want to explore. It took our foster Medea almost a month to stop running and hiding every time we entered her room. She wasn't mean, just very, very insecure.
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