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Adoption Regret

Knoxxx

TCS Member
Thread starter
Kitten
Jan 5, 2019
6
11
I have read several posts relating to this topic. A few of them related to me, but I wanted to post to see what you all thought.

I have always wanted my own pet, but never found the right time to get one. When I started dating my boyfriend I got my chance. He owned a Husky. I adore that dog. Now our husky is very independent, much like a cat. He doesn't want to be in the same room with us a majority of the time and only wants a certain amount of pets then walks away. HIs personality is very cat-like. I used to have a cat when I was younger and I adored him. I am not one for puppies, I don't like the biting stage, and they have a lot of energy plus I would have to put in a lot of time training and I didn't want to dump it off on my boyfriend as I have a full time job and he is still in school.

Enter Knox. I begged my boyfriend for a cat for a while, and we looked online on pet finder, but once I found the one I liked I waited too long(due to anxiety) and she was adopted. So I decided I would go to another humane society and look at the kitties they had. I found a sweet black male cat and he has bonded with us so well! He adores my boyfriend, he head butts and grooms us both. I took him to the vet today and everyone there LOVED him and told me they've never seen a cat at their office that was as affectionate as he is. This is something I really love about him.

I got him on 1/2 (about 3 whole days ago). Introducing him to our dog was incredibly difficult. Which I knew would not be an easy process. We put Knox in his own room so he could get used to our dog's smells and vice versa. We also have a gate up so they are able to look at each other and Knox has somewhere to go when he doesn't want the dog to bother him. When we brought him home we let our dog see what was in the room (otherwise he would have gone nuts) and the entire first night our husky sat at the door and whined. This morning we allowed them to be in our bedroom at the same time. Our dog has been doing well with just laying down while Knox is in the room, but our dog constantly has his eyes on Knox. Now sometimes when our dog gets in his face Knox doesn't do anything, while other times he will arch his back and hiss.

I believe that our dog just wants to play with Knox, although he isn't gentle when he plays so we have been telling him "leave it". We are also discouraging him chasing Knox around the house. So with all this being said, I am so anxious that we are going to have to return Knox because sometimes it seems like our dog loses his manners around Knox. He gets in his personal space, and I am always anxious when they are around each other. We have discussed what needs to happen IF our dog is not able to get along with or ignore the cat. But, I absolutely don't want to have to take him back to the shelter. He is a black cat, and people where I live are incredibly superstitious and no matter how sweet of a cat he is, I would constantly check pet finder to see if he was adopted.

Does anyone have experience introducing a new cat to a husky? or if you could give me any advice or encouragement that would be fantastic. I have driven myself up a wall worrying about this because I feel bad for all parties: My dog, Knox, and my boyfriend.
 

FeebysOwner

TCS Member
Top Cat
Jun 13, 2018
6,996
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Central FL (Born in OH)
Hi. No experience at all... But, I found a couple of articles that you might want to read to see if there is anything in them that you might find helpful.

Introducing Your New Cat to Your Dog » PAWS
6 Steps to Introduce a New Cat To Your Dog - Adopt-a-Pet.com Blog

I don't know how old your kitty is but if he is still a kitten I would be especially cautious around such a large dog. And, once they are together more, you can consider a cat tree to give your new guy somewhere to climb to - away from your doggie!
 
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Knoxxx

TCS Member
Thread starter
Kitten
Jan 5, 2019
6
11
Hi. No experience at all... But, I found a couple of articles that you might want to read to see if there is anything in them that you might find helpful.

Introducing Your New Cat to Your Dog » PAWS
6 Steps to Introduce a New Cat To Your Dog - Adopt-a-Pet.com Blog

I don't know how old your kitty is but if he is still a kitten I would be especially cautious around such a large dog. And, once they are together more, you can consider a cat tree to give your new guy somewhere to climb to - away from your doggie!
He is 5 months old, I got him a cat tree that has a hammock that we can sit on a table so he has a high place. We figured a kitten would be best so it didn't have any bad habits to break. Also thank you for the articles!!
 

corvidae

TCS Member
Young Cat
Feb 17, 2018
35
88
Saskatchewan, Canada
My parents’ dog is a husky mix(we think)- 40 pounds of energy with a high prey drive. In her case, she was coming into a household with a cat. They didn’t see each other for the first month, and my family took it really slowly for them to be introduced. After a couple weeks they did the swapping scents thing, giving each pet food on other side of a baby gate, having the dog on a leash in the same room as the cat, etcetera. Four months in they were growing more comfortable with each other, and when I went home for Christmas (7 months in?) they were the best of friends. Personally I think it’s much too soon to say they won’t get along. Don’t be afraid of taking things really slow- in my experience it’s much better in the long run that way.
Also, when the dog fixates on watching the cat, I would suggest cueing attention (calling his name) and giving him a treat when he looks at you and away from the cat to reinforce breaking that focus as a positive thing.
 

Kflowers

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Jul 28, 2018
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Do not let the cat and the dog out in the yard at the same time. For many dogs, particularly those with high prey drive and the need to work or hunt - like huskies, the cat in the house is not the same cat in the yard. Good buddy suddenly becomes prey and it's over before you can stop it. Dogs usually kill by gripping prey by the neck and swinging it to one side then the other. Practice "Drop it!" command until your husky does it instantly so you can get him between swings if need be. It could save your cat.

Note I've had dogs and cats together for years. One was a Border Collie, but I think he left the cats alone because they were the pittie's. The cats came first then the pittiie, she adored them, then the BC who would as soon have done without them.

I would also put a cat tree in every room. Most of all go through your dog's training a couple of times every single day. Both of you. He has to obey each of you completely.
 

Kflowers

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Jul 28, 2018
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5,135
Absolutely with C corvidae on not letting the dog fixate on the cat. I caught my BC sitting with his mouth closed and his teeth bared. I pushed his lips back down and told him, "Don't cool your teeth in the house." I caught him doing it a couple more times, but the command worked.

I believe that the facial expression people and dogs have will stir up the emotion to match it. You can hold your dog's lips up and off his teeth in growl position and he will become angry. If you frown long enough you will become annoyed or angry. If you smile you'll start to relax. YMMV.
 

rubysmama

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Cat Lover50

TCS Member
Kitten
Jan 5, 2019
4
6
I brought a 1 yr-old husky-mix (65lb spayed female) into a house with several cats. She did not have a high prey drive and was a sweet-natured dog. For the first few weeks she'd chase the cats and we'd scold her to stop. She eventually stopped and the cats either ignored her or felt comfortable enough to rub up against her. Simply because of the size difference, I'd keep a 40lb dog away from a kitten, even the dog's stepping on her could cause serious injury.
 

inkysmom

Inky's legacy - Belly rubs CAN tame feral cats!
Alpha Cat
Feb 12, 2017
477
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Massachusetts
Huskies as a breed are not good to be around cats, they will chase and kill them. That being said each individual animal is different and your dog may be able to be trained to be fine with your cat.

Introduce them very slowly. Keep them completely separated at first for at least the first week or two so they never see each other . They can smell each other and that's stressful enough.
Spend the time teaching the husky an absolutely one hundred percent solid leave it and Look at me and touch commands. Your dog gas tto be able to unfixate completely from absolutely anything the minute either of you say those words and completely focus on you.
Keep the cat inside so the husky doesn't chase it outside and not recognize her and kill her thinking she's prey.
Never let the cat and dog play. The size difference is too much and the dog can accidentally kill her or seriously hurt her. Dogs play very rough . Take him to a dog park, doggy daycare or structured play group for dogs to have him play with dogs. Play with the cat when he's safely locked on another room so he doesn't get excited and try join in
Feed them separately in separate rooms behind closed doors. Both cats and dogs can get aggressive about their food and there's no way your cat can win a fight against a large dog.
Be very firm and consistent with your dog that no chasing or fixating on the cat is ever allowed at all. Always tell him leave it and have him focus on you. Be very firm and never accept him ignoring you at all. Reinforce him listening to you with lots of praise, pats and his favorite high value treats. Bacon, hot dogs, pork, steak, cheese, really good stuff he gets only when he ignores the cat to make it worth him leaving potential prey.
Always keep his leash on him when he's in a room with the cat. I'd hold him on the leash and then after he's showing he's trustworthy I'd still leave it on but let him drag it.

This process will take weeks or months and you can never leave the cat and dog in any area alone together for even a second. It's life-threatening for the cat. It's a lot of time, energy and work and a huge commitment. But it's keeping your new animal family members who you love safe, healthy and happy.
I've had multiple cats with three large dogs and all has been fine. But I'm very cautious. I never leave them all alone together I always separate the dog or at least make sure the cats have access to areas the dog can't get to just in case. I've also been dogsitting a lot the past couple of months and have had at least seven strange dogs in my apartment plus my own large 90 pound dog with my two cats in the past month or two. No problems from following the guidelines posted above.
I've taught completely new dogs leave it in a day with treats. I always keep them leashed at all times the first day or two even if they live with cats.
I also take them to the local dog park with my dog for at least an hour daily and a few walks to exercise them and get them tired ao they'll gave less energy to bother the cats.
They sleep in the bathroom at night or stay in there or go with me if I'm not going to be home. Unless someone can watch them.
The very well behaved dogs sleep on a dog bed on the floor in my room while I and my dog sleep on my bed with my older cat. They'd have to go through me and my dog to get to him, not happening. My younger cat will attack if provoked and both cats can get under the bed or into the kitchen over the baby gate. Dogs can't fit under the bed and most can't jump the baby gate. Any I have concerns about stay in the bathroom or a crate.
It took six months for my current dog to become froefri with my cats, and for me to trust them all together. Two of them attacked him for about six months. Then one died of cancer and the other gradually got more friendly as I kept rewarding good behavior. They all gradually bonded. He tried to lunge and chase the one that attacked him his first night while leashed. Got a scratched cornea. Scared the cat which was why he got six months of war declared on him.
This dog fixates on any new animal he sees and will chase rabbits and anything that runs, including joggers and bicyclists. Took me a while to realize he likes to chase but he doesn't care about catching or killing, just chasing.
Other dogs have a much stronger prey drive and chase to kill. That's why you train them to ignore the cat and don't let the cat outside as the dog won't realize it's the same cat.
 
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Knoxxx

TCS Member
Thread starter
Kitten
Jan 5, 2019
6
11
Thank you everyone for your comments! Things seem to be going a little better. Although he does fixate on Knox a lot, but I think it is more because he really wants to play. Knox is even comfortable enough to arch his back and jump around (the kind to initiate play, not out of fear). Our pup is very very curious, Knox has even willingly let him sniff around him and at any moment that he feels uncomfortable he will hide under the bed or run to his room (with a baby gate). I think I am so anxious because of our dog, and the fact I've never owned a cat or even an animal of my own before. This is all new to everyone in my house. I will keep you all updated on what ends up happening!
 

Willowy

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Mar 1, 2009
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South Dakota
From the sounds of it I think the dog will eventually cool down a bit and be able to live with the cat. With a few caveats: don't let the cat outside, and don't let them stay in the same space when you're not home. Either have the dog crated or in a separate room. Huskies are very close to their roots and instincts so you have to be careful. But usually they can learn to respect the cat in the house.
 
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Knoxxx

TCS Member
Thread starter
Kitten
Jan 5, 2019
6
11
I just wanted to update everyone! It has now been a week since we got Knox and he is thriving. He started coming out of his room on the 3rd day, but I was still really nervous about him being around Glaed(our dog). Knox now roams the house and Glaedr (usually) leaves him alone. There is still times when he wants to play so he will go nuzzle Knox to try to get him to play. Knox usually knows where his limits are so if Glaedr is hurting him he bats him and meows and Glaedr stops what he is doing. He will run to his room(which has a gate) under the bed or under the couch when Glaed is bugging him to play when he doesn't want to.

I feel so so so much better about this situation than I did on Saturday, especially with the help of you all so thank you!
 

inkysmom

Inky's legacy - Belly rubs CAN tame feral cats!
Alpha Cat
Feb 12, 2017
477
830
Massachusetts
Sounds good! I still won't let a large dog play with a cat since they can accidentally break their necks and kill them in a split second without meaning too .
There's lots of options for your pup to play with other dogs and it's vital for his socialization that he get time with other dogs too. Well worth the effort. And much safer for your kitten
 
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