Ask An Expert: Brad, Can Our Cats And New Puppy Live In Harmony?
Q: Hi Brad: We have recently acquired a lovely male ( 5 months old-not neutered yet, but soon!) Australian Shepherd. We are currently in obedience training with him at the Beginner level. We previously owned a Cane Corso who at 10 years of age developed osteosarcoma. We amputated her right front leg last April and had her pain free for another 6 months before it spread to her lungs. We lost Lira in September. We had 3 cats at the time , all 8 years of age, Because Lira never lived inside and seemed very leary of the cats there was never a problem.
In her later years and after her illness she lived quietly in the house but avoided the cats like the plague. She wouldn't look them in the eye! "Tonic" is a member of the household and the cats are not impressed. I am torn, because, as a veterinary technologist, I have witnessed the euthanasia of cats who start to " mess the house", etc in response to the stress of a new dog.
We have been so slow and cautious in our introduction of Tonic to the cats to avoid that very problem. He has free reign of the kitchen and laundry room, and we take him down into the family room with a leash attached in case he goes after the cats. We have had him for 10 weeks now.
The cats are behaving - no problems in the house with them, but I am reluctant and unsure of the next step in the introduction process. Would having him on umbilical throughout the day and around the kitties help in the process or is there some other way to progress in our slow, but steady blending of the canine and felines in our home? He mte a neighbor cat on the street and was very loving towards the cat, even licking it. To make matters more interesting we are moving into a new home on May 1st and it won't be quite as easy to seperate the cat / dog areas.
We love the cats and want to spare them any undue stress and fright - and would love it if Tonic could have a bit more freedom in the house.
Any help would be greatly appreciated!
Carmen and Kim Brown.
( And Tonic, Bella, Ruby, and Lily !!!!!)
A: Dear kitty cats and puppy owners: I am intrigued by this email. It is cleary stated you have concerns that are manifested by the outcome: other people's attitudes towards pets.
Does that mean you shall not experience life yourself and test the waters to see how the cats and puppy may co-exist together happily? I see that you want to have wonderful relationship between puppy and cats but you will never get there if you don't truly try.
You are experiencing beauty between your puppy and another cat but you have yet to open the door to see if your puppy will be accepted by your own cats. Lets turn this around with out so much caution and fear.
Take a step forward not to the side. Introduce them while the puppy is still young and not a full grown dog. I would make sure the introductions are monitored but let the animals decide the structure of the friendship.
My fear with you moving to a new home and if the cats soil else where and act out of sorts will you be blaming the puppy and not pinning the issue on the new environment.
Dogs and Cats are ANIMALS. First, they have different communication and they are two separate species. Appreciate this and create an equal environment, keeping your puppy confined is not helping teach your puppy the do's and don'ts to respect the cats and this make life stressful.
There are no guarantees here except that if you don't try then you will never know.
I am doing a Cross-Canada Tour in May. Check out http://www.bradpattison.com/ for details!
Written By Brad Pattison, host of At The End Of My Leash.
Want to pose a question to our other Slice experts? Visit our Ask an Expert page or email your question to email@example.com .
Slice is now on Twitter. Follow us to find out the latest on your favourite shows!
Become a fan of slice.ca on Facebook!