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Old 01-25-2014, 08:34 AM
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Default Cat Conundrum

SO and I have been in the process of adding a cat to our household for a few months now. After many e-mails with the foster person, we went to visit her cats. We already knew which one we wanted. After spending a few minutes with all the cats and the lady unable to get "Sweetheart" from her hiding place, we decided perhaps she wasn't the best fit. Another cat, "Dori" came up to both of us and meowed and climbed and played and was just all around adorable. So we decided to take Dori home for a test week.

Long story short, Dori hated Gwen. Gwen was terrified. We muddled up introductions but it was pretty much doomed no matter what we tried. Dori would stalk Gwen, attack her when she got the chance. (We put her in a crate, another room, on a leash.) Dori was a doll with SO and I but we can't handle the 'crate and rotate' lifestyle.

The foster lady was very understanding and appreciated our experience. She said she would test any cats we were interested in with a dog to see their reaction.

We were interested in a couple of cats. She used her son's terrier to test the cats and these were the results she got:


"Cassie (Manx) hissed and growled and puffed up a bit. Spit once? She went up on the shelf and kept her eyes on the dog.....low growl while watching.

Baxter the declaw stopped, looked studied for a moment and decided food was more important.

Willow the small grey and white looked at Bocci and walked up like she knew her, sniffed noses....as if to say...hello and welcome. No negative reaction ......must have been around a dog before."


Cassie is my absolute favorite. I really, really want this cat. She's playful, beautiful, unique and sweet. But, I worry about her response to the dog.

Baxter is a nice cat. He's very easy going. SO really liked him. But he was just another nice tomcat to me. His reaction to the dog is nice, although not ideal.

Willow was very playful but I'm not sure SO or I had a connection to her. Her reaction was very surprising.

(I thought there was a 'fight or flight' condition and cats normally chose the flight. Dori never chose flight. Is that a load of BS or does it have some merit?)

My real question is: If a cat's reaction to a dog is negative (puffing up, hissing) is the relationship doomed from the start?

I realize that a random meeting with a dog is not the best indication of how that cat will do with Gwen, but it's better than nothing. (Right?)

I don't want to subject Gwen to torture but this will also by my cat. I don't really want to settle on a cat. (Kind of like the "Dog for my dog" thread. I want a little of both.)

Input/advice would be much appreciated
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Old 01-25-2014, 09:12 AM
crazedACD crazedACD is offline
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If she doesn't have what you want, and you don't want to settle for a cat you aren't in love with, perhaps it would be best to look elsewhere? I'll say when I brought Lucy the cat home, I was concerned for the first few weeks because yeah, she would attack the dogs and Skye would get her riled up and at first it was just all bad. They did come around to each other and are fine now, but Lucy will forever be apprehensive of the dogs. One of the other cats, Morgan, she was totally friendly with them from the get-go and is now frequently in the middle of the chaos, sleeps with the dogs, etc. She's kind of a bitchy cat but she loves her doggies (hates other cats though).
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Old 01-25-2014, 09:29 AM
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My real question is: If a cat's reaction to a dog is negative (puffing up, hissing) is the relationship doomed from the start?
Absolutely not. I would expect most cats to react negatively to a strange dog unless they've lived with lots.
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Old 01-25-2014, 10:17 AM
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In general, cats adapt to change very slowly and state their opinions on the matter very clearly. It's an uncommon cat IME who WOULDN'T react to seeing a new dog for the very first time a bit negatively. Sometimes more than a bit.
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Old 01-25-2014, 10:24 AM
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Whiskey wasn't too keen on Joey when he first met Joey. He would hiss, spit and swat at him. They still have their moments where Whisk gets annoyed, but Joey is a bouncy nutter butter so I don't blame Whisk. Most of the time they get along now and even play. He is fine with Cricket and Bamm, but he also knew them when he was a tiny little kitten.

I think with a lot of cats it takes time. I don't know too many cats that are excited about meeting new dogs or even other cats.
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Old 01-25-2014, 10:27 AM
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Originally Posted by sassafras View Post
In general, cats adapt to change very slowly and state their opinions on the matter very clearly.
This, definitely. Cats are.. cats. Case in point: When Wilson went to live with my parents a year ago, Toby, their cat, was PISSED. Toby has lived with dogs his entire life (and actually was in the house when I got Wilson as a pup; I was there til Wilson was 6 months old), but just.. hated Wilson. Hissed, growled, tried to attack, the works.

It's taken a full year for Toby to acclimate to Wilson being in the house (Wilson pretty much ignores him, btw). He still has moments where he'll get all angry, but they're much less.

So, it takes time. Lots of time.

Too bad you don't live closer, you could have my cat Sneak LOL.

I'm not serious.. well.. maybe a little.
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Old 01-25-2014, 12:04 PM
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Originally Posted by crazedACD View Post
If she doesn't have what you want, and you don't want to settle for a cat you aren't in love with, perhaps it would be best to look elsewhere? I'll say when I brought Lucy the cat home, I was concerned for the first few weeks because yeah, she would attack the dogs and Skye would get her riled up and at first it was just all bad. They did come around to each other and are fine now, but Lucy will forever be apprehensive of the dogs. One of the other cats, Morgan, she was totally friendly with them from the get-go and is now frequently in the middle of the chaos, sleeps with the dogs, etc. She's kind of a bitchy cat but she loves her doggies (hates other cats though).
Well actually I really like Cassie. I'm just apprehensive about Gwens reaction to her. I would like to do a trial week with Cassie but I wanted some advice before I decided to do that.

If you (general you) feel that her response was not unusual or a deal breaker, I'd love to give it a go. Its okay if it takes some time. I CAN 'crate and rotate' i just don't want to long term. And I don't want the cat to stalk and attack Gwen. Telling her off is one thing. What Dori did was not, in my experience, normal behavior.

Thanks for the advice. I feel more comfortable now!
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Old 01-25-2014, 12:16 PM
JessLough JessLough is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Airn View Post
Well actually I really like Cassie. I'm just apprehensive about Gwens reaction to her. I would like to do a trial week with Cassie but I wanted some advice before I decided to do that.

If you (general you) feel that her response was not unusual or a deal breaker, I'd love to give it a go. Its okay if it takes some time. I CAN 'crate and rotate' i just don't want to long term. And I don't want the cat to stalk and attack Gwen. Telling her off is one thing. What Dori did was not, in my experience, normal behavior.

Thanks for the advice. I feel more comfortable now!
Honestly? Cassie's reaction was probably pretty on par with what I'd expect. Just be sure she has room to stay away/up high/watch from where Gwen can't get to her, and I think it'd be fine.
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Old 01-25-2014, 01:55 PM
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Rhio's cat stalked and tormented the hell out of Zander at first. At least a good month before they just ignored each other. Zander would always initiate play, but cat thought differently. Eventually they both got over it and just ignored each other unless they were testing waters. It was getting to the point of small zoomie play sessions by July or so.

Cats just change slowly. And they are stubborn. And generally seem to make things annoying and complicated by nature. It's probably going to take more than a week if you are serious about getting a cat.
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Old 01-25-2014, 04:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Lyzelle View Post
Rhio's cat stalked and tormented the hell out of Zander at first. At least a good month before they just ignored each other. Zander would always initiate play, but cat thought differently. Eventually they both got over it and just ignored each other unless they were testing waters. It was getting to the point of small zoomie play sessions by July or so.

Cats just change slowly. And they are stubborn. And generally seem to make things annoying and complicated by nature. It's probably going to take more than a week if you are serious about getting a cat.
I'm willing to wait more than a week. I just don't want that week to be filled with my dog shivering under the bed and the cat crouched just outside the door. That's just not acceptable.

Thankfully this woman is super helpful and would take the cat back under any circumstance.

As long as the first week sees improvements, I'm willing to work it out.

(Gwen has lived peacefully with a cat before. He just wasn't totally evil.)
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