The usual approach is to confine either the cats or the puppy...giving either one or the other an escape route. It's easier to confine the puppy and you'll want to do that anyway for the potty training. That lets them check each other out from a distance for a couple days and they can get used to each other.
Cats are notorious for taunting/ambushing....all part of their play/socialness so, don't be too concerned but, don't allow full blown chasing throughout the house.
Typically, they are quite wary of each other for a few days so, they'll probably keep their distance. It might take awhile for them to warm up to each other and get close.....probably even longer to actually touch noses.
I was in the same situation as you were a month ago...two cats and a new pup.
it took a little while of confining either one (usually the pup due to potty training), before they would "tolerate" each other.
Always make sure your cats have something high to jump on and relax where the dog cannot get to them. My cats are couch loungers, so when Stardust is awake and in a hyperactive mode, she likes to bark and have a little "chicken" game going on. My cats just jump high on bar stools, chopping blocks, cat scratching post, and even on top of the fridge. My dog learned to leave them alone when she knows she cannot reach them.
Make sure you give your cats a lot of isolated attention without the dog. I'm guilty of ignoring my cats for a couple days. So, what I did was I bought them new toys, I also slept with them without Stardust (cats are not allowed in the master bedroom due to fiance's allergies), etc. They're older cats so they're used to being independent.
When I find that Stardust is really chasing them, I just ignore them, but try to pick up my cats and move them to a different place. I've read somewhere that if you try to seperate them or yell NO NO, or whatever, the dog learns that it's play time or gets even more excited.
Sometimes you'll be surprised how well your cats adapted. One of my cats is just okay, the other doesn't even want to be near Stardust. They both hiss and swat, but it's their way to tell Stardust, "Leave me alone!".
Thanks for the advice! Yeah I'm a bit concerned of how the introductions will go but we'll just have to see. We have plenty of places the cats can get up off the floor and other than the kitchen counters they are free to be anywhere else. We don't let our cats in our bedroom either, but plan on keeping the puppy with us so I'm hoping that won't cause any issues.
Are their any issues with being in contact with cats as far as shots go?
Congratulations Coffeedog on your new pup! I have two cats and a new pup too. The introduction to the pup was easier than introducing a cat to another cat. The cats kind of "knew" not to be threatened and watched from a distance. Keeping the pup in a crate schedule and/or ex-pen helps a lot to give the pup his own space and the cats theirs. I have an ex-pen with a crate in the corner that is 36" tall. the cats have surprisingly not jumped in there so I feel safe leaving the dog there when I am gone. The cats mostly keep their own distance from the dog. One of my cat seems to like the pup and the other, not so much. In the beginning, the not interested cat swated at him a few times. I read somewhere that unless it's life threatening, you let the cat and pup work it out on their own like this... It must have worked since whenever this cat comes near the dog, he moves out of her way! Also, I read that having older cats with a puppy works better than the reverse...
One hard part about the cats with a new pup is that the pup always wants to be near you which seem to take the cats time away from me. So, I try hard to make sure they feel loved too. I read somewhere to always feed the cats while the dog is near, give them treats and such so that the cats feel that whenever the dogs around, good things happen instead of the reverse. Have pup on leash to prevent chasing and teach pup how to act around cats.
It's been quite easy to transition the pup to our house. The hardest part of all this is that my indoor cats see my pup in the yard (8-10 potty trips outside a day!) and they want out too!!! Keeping them in has become a huge challenge for us!!! So if your cats are indoor cats, you might want to think about how to adress this issue. We are still trying to figure this one out.
We have 2 cats and got a puppy a couple of months ago. It has gone really well. Our cats were about 1.5 years old, younger cats would probably adjust faster but you never know. I think the cats could tell that she was a baby and so were a bit patient with her. They didn't like it when she had accidents in the house though! One kept trying to bury it in the carpet. And the other cat is kind of infatuated with her.
We also have high places for the cats and in the room where the litter boxes are we put a cat door in the door so she can't get in. The cats really like that too - another place they can go to get away from her.
Oh yeah...you may want to start cleaning the litter boxes more frequent. Today was the last straw. Stardust has visited the litter boxes and deposited her gifts in another room...however...today she decided that it was delicious. So...
As for the poster above -
both of my cats are strictly indoors, with supervision in the backyard. They don't really have the "urge" to go outside. My cats are 5 and 10, so they're older, and rather just hang out.
I haven't realized how difficult it is to give everyone an equal attention! How do people with 4 or 5 dogs or more do it?
Both of our cats were 5 years old when we got Toby. He was 8 months and already 40+ pounds when we got him. What we did was put a baby gate at the top of the stairs. The dog got the downstairs living area and the cats got the upstairs, although they could come downstairs if they wanted. We had litter boxes in both parts of the house.
It took a couple of weeks for the female cat to decide that Toby wasn't a threat. It took the male cat a month before we could safely remove the baby gate.
It went much easier when we got Cameron. He was only 5 months old and about half the size Toby was. Both cats settled down much more quickly.
To this day, over 4 years later, Houston - the male cat, still screeches and runs from the dogs. He's quite the neurotic puss on a good day, so I'm not surprised. But I think if we'd gotten a small puppy instead of an almost grown dog things would have been much quicker and easier.
I agree with the others. Keep them separate until they get used to each other and give the cats special time. (There's nothing worse than a cat that feels neglected.)
I posted this on another thread. You may find it helpful and it includes advice on dog stealing act food (which will happen, unless you prevent it... and dogs will go for Cat "Tootsie Rolls" in the cat box too):
Dogs are scavengers which mean they eat as opportunity arrises. Your dog, (no dog) should ever be trusted NOT to eat things left around (including human food on a table or counter). The minute a dog eats something not allowed, the dog has been rewarded for doing so.
Feed the cat 2X a day and do not put cat food where the dog can get at it. I have 5 cats with Atka and cat food is not left out free choice (bad for the cats.. lets them get fat). I have owned more cats than dogs and I have shown them.
As to the dog harassing the cat. The cat needs places in the house the dog cannot physically go. This is very important. NEVER allow the dog and cat to occupy the same area UNSUPERVISED. EVER. Right now your dog is playing. At some point this can escalate to prey drive and the cat will lose. Prevention is 9/10ths of the cure.
Actually, in my house, there are areas where the dog has been trained she cannot go: No dogs in Bedrooms, Kitchen or Bathrooms or Down the Hall to any of those places. This means cat food is placed in a no dog area as are litter boxes. However, I also supervise and if I cannot the dog is physically separated from the cats (I crate her or she has an area I put her in).
When the dog harasses the cat, get between her and the cat and lean over the dog and cha cha into her space in a threatening manner. I would tell her "no cats" or something else appropriate that you can repeat exactly every or any time she approaches the cat. This is doing two things. It lets her know YOU OWN THE CAT. It is YOURS. It also lets her know your displeasure at her touching things that are YOURS.
I would also never allow her to freely approach the cat. The cat does ALL the approaching. This realtionship needs to be in the cat's control, NOT the dog's, which means you get to leash, crate, hold or isolate the dog into another room if she gets playful with the cat.
In my house, after two years, Atka will walk up to any of the cats. If they hiss (and they do sometimes), I tell her leave it (BTW you need to teach your dog "Leave It"). She looks disappointed but she does leave it. Meanwhile, she will also walk up to some of the cats and they will rub on her and wind around her legs while she distrubutes dog kisses. I have 2 cats who are 14, two cats who are almost 13 and 1 cat who is 2. Oliver, the 2 year old cat, will initiate play with Atka and I allow it but ONLY WHEN I AM PRESENT. Supervision, for the safety of the cat, is extremely important. Cant supervise, physically separate.
Curly (one of the hissers) will lay on Atka's bed so she cannot lie down there (Atka comes to me and asks me to remove the cat). Fireball (a dog loving cat) will do the same and, if Atka were a little less wiggly would probably sleep on the bed with her.
The older cats ran my last dog's life. She was an East German bred German Shepherd who also herded cattle for me when I had the dairy farm.
Thanks everyone for all the advice. We got home very late saturday after picking up our puppy. He has been amazing so far, my wife and I are really stunned at just how well he behaves. He did not bark or whine the whole way home. Regardless, we decided it was too late for introductions to the cats so we kept him in our bedroom until the next day. We had him in a pen when we did introduce them and it went very well. They hissed at him, and he puppy growled at them and then they just went about as normal. He will be in the pen whenever we are around to watch, and in our room at night (cats are not allowed in) so we will take it slow and definately not leave them alone togeather. The cats are easily twice his size so at the moment he's the one more at risk but from his attitude he doesn't think so