Socializing with my Cat

Posted by pookey1960
Nov 19, 2008
Good morning! I'm a multi-pet family - 2 beautiful Papillon-mix pups and a 22 year old cat. Initially, before taking the puppies, I introduced them to my indoor cat - no one seemed to have much interest in the other except for a quick sniff. Because of housetraining, puppy excitement, and the fact that my cat had always had the run of the house, I kept the dogs in the kitchen/family room area, while the cat had the remainder of the house. I also didn't push putting the cat and dogs in the same room together, mainly because of the age of my cat, but now I'm thinking I didn't do the right thing for any of them....

Every time the cat decides to visit the kitchen/family room area, the dogs now go wild - chasing and nipping at the cat. I know the cat realizes that the dogs are there when he jumps over the gate, and he often comes into the room and jumps up to a counter where the dogs can't reach him, but I'm hoping that someone has some good advice on how I can socialize them better! We all love being in the living room together, but at this point, I wait until the cat has made his way back to the other end of the house before I let the dogs in with me, or I stay with them in the family room.

I'm thinking I was a bad mother by not forcing "togetherness" from the beginning - any ideas on how best to get tem all together without the running and chasing?

Thanks so much!!
Posted by MaxHollyNoah
Nov 20, 2008
Hi there,

I don't know how long you have separted the cat from the dogs but it is too bad that they developed a kind of prey drive.

Dogs demonstrate more prey drive when they are with another dog. They almost seem to enjoy the game, when I am looking at my dogs (3 border collies and 1 foster border collie) chasing our cat. The cat is so used to our dogs so he also seems to enjoy this game. However, when there is a foster dog that is not familiar with the cat, the game becomes somewhat aggressive. Then, I have to remind them to be "Gentle".

Let your Papillons meet the cat, one by one, not together. Just bring a dog to the room where the cat is and you will supervise/control your dog's behavior. If the dog can interact with your cat in the nice and gentle manner, praise the dog. You will do this many times with each of your dogs every day for short sessions. Don't bring the both dogs in until you become comfortable with each dog's reaction to the cat.

Another thing you can do is to bring your cat into the room where the dogs are while you hold the cat in your arms. Let them sniff the cat as you tell them "Gentle". You can do this short meet many times a day too.

By the way, I am so proud of your cat for living 22 yrs!! That's a long life. I bet he has been taken a very good care by you!
Posted by pookey1960
Dec 1, 2008
Thank you so much - I'll try your suggestions and let you know how I make out!
Posted by Melissa
Dec 12, 2008
Hi Pookey,
I had to do a double take because I could have written the same question. In fact I practically did in the behavior problems thread! It seems to be getting better as I continue to praise Riley for not barking at our kitty. The problem is usually when Riley enters a room where our cat is and is startled by her presence .. lots of barking! Sometimes if the cat is asleep, Riley has no problems with the cat at all. However the cat does get fed up and will hiss and swat if confronted. We also have tried to keep them sequestered in their own parts of the house to keep the peace and it was tricky. But I'm like you, I think it may have been a mistake. I am at the point now where I just want everyone to get along so I don't have to police the room when they are together.

Good luck with your situation! I have often wondered if we should get a buddy for our pup, but right now one is all I can handle!