Introducing new dog to fearful cat

lauramps98

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Hi! I'm Lau! I believe I asked for help here once a while ago about my kitten Pirilampo (Firefly) who was new to my home and needed some help adjusting. After the help I received here, she adjusted wonderfully and she and my senior dog got along amazingly.
Recently, we lost our dog to cancer and old age, and after a bit, decided to try adopting a new puppy. Ben is a 7 month old rescue, very docile, but curious and playful, which scares Firefly a lot - she is very shy and any big movement or noise scares her. After Ben got home, she immediately hid inside our closet and has been avoiding coming out since unless we're (puppy included) sleeping, meaning she'll only go out to eat and use her litterbox late at night - I'm scared she'll not adjust to the puppy and will end up sick.

I've read about introductions, as we had done for our older dog, and we're starting from zero now - we're feeding her and giving her water on the closet and giving her the chance to go out on her own terms late at night when it's quieter.
The puppy is not aggressive or has a prey drive - he's just curious and noisy, but I'm having a hard time refocusing him when he looks at her. He whines, wants to go up and smell her, cries when we crate him. She'll not be in the same room as him at all, and freezes/trembles until we take her back to the closet. There are many hide-able and tall places for her to climb on and hide on common living places (we have cat towers and shelves for cats), but she won't budge at all and we don't want to physically move her as to not scare her more.

I don't expect them to be best friends, as I'm sure they have very different personalities - but I really want them to be able to get along and live together ): She had a hard time with we recent moving states and with our older dog dying, so I'm sure it's very stressful for her. Any advice will be greatly appreciated.
 

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We just got a new puppy as well. Our two cats are a little less frightened, but we keep her in a pen in one half of a room most of the time so they can have distance if they want to observe.

We are working with a trainer, and her advice was to throw some kibble or a toy when the puppy is excited about the cats (a chase this not the cats moment). So far it’s been working well, but we are letting the cats decide when to come and see what’s going on. Good luck!
 
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lauramps98

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We just got a new puppy as well. Our two cats are a little less frightened, but we keep her in a pen in one half of a room most of the time so they can have distance if they want to observe.

We are working with a trainer, and her advice was to throw some kibble or a toy when the puppy is excited about the cats (a chase this not the cats moment). So far it’s been working well, but we are letting the cats decide when to come and see what’s going on. Good luck!
Hi! Thank you so much for the input! Ben is quite food motivated and focused when he wants to, so I hope to be able to distract him soon enough - the cat, however, isn't food motivated at all and won't ever come out of the closet to explore it Ben is so much as near the room ☹ so she definitely needs to be desensitized to him as well. I'm just not sure where to go from here - she'll only eat on the closet, and if he's not in sight, so I can't even get to start introducing them.

Thank you so much ❤
Here's a TCS article: How To Safely Introduce A Cat And A Dog – TheCatSite Articles

I've never had a dog so can't offer any advice on how to make the introduction easy for your cat. TCS members who do have dogs and cats wll be along with their tips.
Thank you for the input!! I've actually read this article already, and it worked wonders to help her with our older dog - but now she is way more stressed and scared of him, so I'm not managing even the first phase of letting them see each other though a fence/pen: she won't come out of the closet at all if he's around. :(
 

neely

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Does Firefly have the entire room or just the closet? The reason I asked is because it would be best for her to have the entire room to herself as a "safe" room. When we introduced our last dog to our cat I kept the leash on him at all times so that I could correct him and make sure he did not run after the cat. I also used a crate but since you mentioned Ben whines in the crate it might be a good idea to start with leaving him in there for a short time, e.g. 10 minutes along with a kong filled with peanut butter or a few toys.

Ben sounds like a wonderful puppy and just playful or, as you described, curious. I always recommend tiring a dog or puppy out whether by mental or physical exercise or both. That way he will be calmer around Firefly. Whether you take him out in the yard to play or on a walk, you can let Firefly come out to investigate while he's not in the house. Treats work well for training if a pup is food motivated or else try his favorite toy(s). I would also suggest signing Ben up for a Puppy Skills class followed by Basic Obedience. It will take time so please be patient especially since Firefly recently lost her best friend to cancer. Best of luck and please keep us posted on your progress. :goodluck:
 
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lauramps98

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Does Firefly have the entire room or just the closet? The reason I asked is because it would be best for her to have the entire room to herself as a "safe" room. When we introduced our last dog to our cat I kept the leash on him at all times so that I could correct him and make sure he did not run after the cat. I also used a crate but since you mentioned Ben whines in the crate it might be a good idea to start with leaving him in there for a short time, e.g. 10 minutes along with a kong filled with peanut butter or a few toys.

Ben sounds like a wonderful puppy and just playful or, as you described, curious. I always recommend tiring a dog or puppy out whether by mental or physical exercise or both. That way he will be calmer around Firefly. Whether you take him out in the yard to play or on a walk, you can let Firefly come out to investigate while he's not in the house. Treats work well for training if a pup is food motivated or else try his favorite toy(s). I would also suggest signing Ben up for a Puppy Skills class followed by Basic Obedience. It will take time so please be patient especially since Firefly recently lost her best friend to cancer. Best of luck and please keep us posted on your progress. :goodluck:
Firefly has the whole room for the whole day! During the night when we go to sleep, Ben sleeps near the bed with us, but, by then, she is more alert and will leave the room to go eat and use the bathroom on the living room/porch. Ben walks every afternoon, but usually when we come back isn't the time Firefly is "up to" meets and greets, so she won't leave the closet and then it's actually not really possible to "introduce" then ): She walks around the living room where he spends most of the time when we're sleeping, around his crate and around his bed on our room during the day when we block his access. Ben is starting puppy school this weekend, so we hope he's able to be calmer!
 

neely

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Ben walks every afternoon, but usually when we come back isn't the time Firefly is "up to" meets and greets, so she won't leave the closet and then it's actually not really possible to "introduce" then ):
If I understood your post correctly, does Ben only get one walk per day in the afternoon? IMHO, a puppy really needs more walks even if they're only short and intermittent. When we adopted our pup we walked him a minimum of five times a day. More frequent walks for Ben might also help Firefly too. As I'm sure you know puppies are full of energy and walking or playing help tire them out. Once again, best of luck to both of you. ☺
 
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lauramps98

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If I understood your post correctly, does Ben only get one walk per day in the afternoon? IMHO, a puppy really needs more walks even if they're only short and intermittent. When we adopted our pup we walked him a minimum of five times a day. More frequent walks for Ben might also help Firefly too. As I'm sure you know puppies are full of energy and walking or playing help tire them out. Once again, best of luck to both of you. ☺
Hi! Thank you so much for the input! Unfortunately where I live it's been quite cold/rainy and the afternoons are the only time we're able to walk at the moment, also due to covid restrictions :( we've been exercising him as much as possible inside the house and hope to be able to take him more often as soon as restrictions are a bit looser - weekends are better though! He's able to get longer walks too.
Firefly has been walking more on the bedroom and eating/drinking in there. Today, she left the room during the day to use the bathroom - but immediately fled once she saw Ben :( I think the biggest problem is the opposite personalities - she doesn't hold her ground at all and the fact that she flees only makes Ben more excited. So we're working hard on desensitizing him at the moment.
 
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