Moving into my girlfriends apartment w/ my 10 year old cat adjusting to 2 small dogs

Brado

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Hello everyone, I live alone in an apartment with my cat for about 10 years. She’s my baby. She had a cat companion for a few year but he passed away 5 years ago. My cat is pretty shy and skittish. If people came over shed run and hide. She’s a bit braver now but still reacts to every noise. It’s always been just me and her. She’s met a few dogs before but didn’t like them. I started seeing a girl about half a year ago now who has 2 dogs. One is a 12 year old chihuahua and the other is a 7 month chihuahua-pug. My cat and her dogs have met a few times, maybe no more then a half hour. She’s relatively chill around them until they get too close and start sniffing her. suddenly she goes into attack mode. She seems to be pretty comfortable in our apartment but it’s looking like I will be moving into my girlfriend place. My place doesn’t allow dogs to live in the complex.


So I’ll be ripping my cat out of her domain and into my girlfriends place. I’m unsure how my cat will react. When I first moved into my current apartment 2 years ago she practically hid in the bedroom and never came out for 2 weeks. And now she’s going to be in a place with all new stuff, new smells and 2 hyper dogs. I want her to have her best life but I’m concerned how she’s going to react to this. It’s always been her and her 1 human. Now it’s 2 humans and 2 dogs. We are setting up my bed and cat post, and litter in the spare bedroom to hopefully give her some comfort. In the long run I’d love for all 3 pets to exists and all be cuddled up on the couch together. But I’ve been having doubts over there last few interactions of her swiping and hissing at the dogs for getting to close. This also makes my girlfriend uneasy as her young pup got his eye scratched by a cat on her 2nd day of owning him, in witch he recovered fine.


Has anyone gone through this with a senior cat? I feel it would be a little different if we were moving into my place where she’s already comfortable but unfortunately we can’t. Any tip/tricks? I love this cat more then anything. We’ve been through a lot. But I’m 35 and can’t put my life on hold until she bites the dust so I can have a relationship.
 

rubysmama

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Mamanyt1953

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One thing that you can do, if you have time before the move, is to take an old sheet and put it somewhere that she loves to lounge. Let her shed ALL OVER IT. Then take the sheet, cut it into squares, about 12-18" on a side, fold them HAIR SIDE IN, and tuck them in a plastic bag. Take them to the new apartment, and put a few in each room. That way, when she gets there, her scent is already everywhere she goes. Her "territory" is pre-marked for her, and won't seem so alien to her.
 
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Brado

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Would it be beneficial or a bad idea to maybe bring her over to the gf apartment for a weekend even though none of her familiar things would be there other then litter box, food? The move wouldn’t be until December so I have a little time.
 

rubysmama

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Most cats aren't fond of change, so I'm not sure if that would be beneficial or not. Especially if the dogs were there.

Maybe, however, if the dogs weren't around, and it was just a short visit, not an overnight trip, letting her leave her scent around might be helpful.

How far away is your GF's place? How does your cat react to car drives. If she's easily stressed, waiting might be best. But honestly, I'm not sure. Hopefully Mamanyt1953 Mamanyt1953 will have some more helpful thoughts.
 

danteshuman

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Ummmmm I think it would be better to bring the dogs to meet your kitty. Cats get security from owning their territory. I would check out the mini series ‘Cat vs Dog’ on animal planet.

That said be sure to scoop her litter then take her ‘clean’ litter & her litter boxes with her and to set that up with her scratching posts etc in her room. Also catify now so she can get up high easily if she wants. So far the best indicator of cat/dog mixed households is training the dogs. So start training the dogs now to not go in the room where here litter boxes will be, stay & bed/place. So when kitty does enter the home the dogs will know to observe her from their doggy beds in the living room.
:goodluck:
 

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A baby gate would be helpful the dogs are to small to jump it , so if you want to get past the closed door stage but protect the cats space you can put it up in the door way and the cat could come out if she wants. I guess this would be a few weeks in.
I actually logged in today for the first time in awhile because my youngest child is about to turn 10 and really wants a dog, my husband would like one but I am on the fence. We have 5 cats that go outside and we don’t want any to bolt. So we are thinking puppy, none of the spca dogs ever seem to be posted with ok for young kids and cats.
Good luck with the move I would bring the doggies to your house and reverse the blanket trick to but taking the cat to visit seems to stressful.
I did once move ( first move ever as I was leaving home) 10& 11 years old cats( plus a 2 year old) to a new house with roommates and two other cats after 3 days in the bedroom they were fine.
But I did have a young cat runaway when we got a second small dog.
( was about 9 so I don’t remember all the dits).
 
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Brado

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Thanks for the help so far peeps. She has met the dogs quite a few times, 5 half hour visits or so. when they have met it was because i stayed at the girlfriends that night and wasn't home, and would show up with the dogs to give her breakfast. I kept her food on the table and she comfortably ate it while the dogs bombed around my apartment. it was only there last visit my cat got defensive.

I think my biggest concern is its always felt like my cat has bad anxiety. Ive never seen a cat react to sound like this one does. We could be laying on the bed having a cuddle sesh, her purring away, and if i rub my foot on the bed sheet and make a sound she nearly jumps out of her skin. So im worried those days of my sitting on the couch with her cuddled in my arms will come to an end when fast springy dogs will just suddenly appear sending her in a panic.

Ive bought a baby gate and currently installed in my door for about a half hour the other night and she had no interest in jumping over it. i had to set up a chair on one side and cox her with a treat. I hope it will come naturally to her to jump over it and that she doesnt hurt herself in the process. about a year ago my cat jumped in a box and clipped her hip and for several months after walked with a little limp.

I just wish she was a bit more passive. shes a beautiful cuddly loving creature who i fear will never be comfortable around the high energy after living in my quiet little world
 

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Man, if I was a cat, I wouldn't like a chihuahua and a chihuahua-pug either! ha ha all jokes aside, I think this is do-able. Love all the suggestions to bring the dogs to the cat's turf for a brief visit, rub her scent all over your girlfriend's place, and train the dogs they are not allowed in a certain room at your girlfriend's place. Then when you move in, your dear cat will stay in one room for the first while. This will reduce her stress. You can go in there as much as you want to give affection. The room of course will have litter box, food, toys and scratch post. After a few days, you could allow the dogs to see her through a baby gate for short periods. They can see each other, even touch each other's paws. Once you're ready to let kitty into the whole place, she will want to get up on high places. There needs to be areas she can go where she's safe from the dogs. Some folks set up a high place with a fluffy cat bed on top right by windows. My feral cat liked top of my fridge for the first two weeks.

As far as her swiping and hissing, that's perfectly natural for animals to tune one another in. Hopefully chihuahuas have the brains to pick up on her cues and leave her alone, or she will give them a more pronounced swipe that will sting. Your girlfriend will have to train them and teach them to leave cat alone. She can give them treats every time they walk away from cat. God chihuahuas ... really? I love dogs and cats but chihuahua to me is barely a dog. I'm afraid I don't know anything about that breed. I think your cat will have the advantage. The challenge is to reduce her stress as much as possible by giving her a room and a couple perches in the main living area. Then. Time is your friend.
 
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Brado

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Man, if I was a cat, I wouldn't like a chihuahua and a chihuahua-pug either! ha ha all jokes aside, I think this is do-able. Love all the suggestions to bring the dogs to the cat's turf for a brief visit, rub her scent all over your girlfriend's place, and train the dogs they are not allowed in a certain room at your girlfriend's place. Then when you move in, your dear cat will stay in one room for the first while. This will reduce her stress. You can go in there as much as you want to give affection. The room of course will have litter box, food, toys and scratch post. After a few days, you could allow the dogs to see her through a baby gate for short periods. They can see each other, even touch each other's paws. Once you're ready to let kitty into the whole place, she will want to get up on high places. There needs to be areas she can go where she's safe from the dogs. Some folks set up a high place with a fluffy cat bed on top right by windows. My feral cat liked top of my fridge for the first two weeks.

As far as her swiping and hissing, that's perfectly natural for animals to tune one another in. Hopefully chihuahuas have the brains to pick up on her cues and leave her alone, or she will give them a more pronounced swipe that will sting. Your girlfriend will have to train them and teach them to leave cat alone. She can give them treats every time they walk away from cat. God chihuahuas ... really? I love dogs and cats but chihuahua to me is barely a dog. I'm afraid I don't know anything about that breed. I think your cat will have the advantage. The challenge is to reduce her stress as much as possible by giving her a room and a couple perches in the main living area. Then. Time is your friend.
thanks for the suggestion. Thankfully they're not your typical small shaky chihuahua, but they are a little nutty
 

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LannyLC

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Awww, they are kind of cute. Nice picture. Hope you'll keep us posted on how the introduction goes ...
 

howmany

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So if she is a bit geriatric , all the high place advice maybe for not but the gate even if she doesn’t go over will let sights and sound get thur but protect her space.
I had cats go under if you leave 4 inches.
But they have meds for anxiety at the vet , might be worth a visit. I adopted a 5 year old cat when I had 2 others. She had always lived alone.
Her other owner bought a bottle of a product called feel away , it is a pheromone based spray that clams cats. thst might help too.
 

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I've had cats and dogs over my lifetime, as far as smaller dogs they were a hyper spaniel and a pug. It worked out, with time.
The cat safe room at your girlfriend's place with a baby gate sounds like a great thing, with all the suggestions above about scent and height. Some cats are "low cats," I have one who will not go up high, so lower places for her to be comfy are needed too.
Your cat will for sure teach the dogs her limits with hissing, growling, and swatting. Can you trim her front claws? I would suggest that to try to lessen the chance of eye injury when she swats the dogs, since GF has a pug mix with maybe more buggy eyes. The dogs most likely will learn to avoid her once they can be together.
I did have a boxer/weimeraner mix who never learned, she loved to try to play with the cat and the cat needed to go to places the big dog couldn't get as in under an end table, a coffee table- and way up high.
That cat also LOVED my other dog, a labrador, and she LOVED the cat- they would snuggle and sleep together.
Your cat will need time and space to adjust. Would love to hear how it goes!
 

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Most cats aren't fond of change, so I'm not sure if that would be beneficial or not. Especially if the dogs were there.

Maybe, however, if the dogs weren't around, and it was just a short visit, not an overnight trip, letting her leave her scent around might be helpful.

How far away is your GF's place? How does your cat react to car drives. If she's easily stressed, waiting might be best. But honestly, I'm not sure. Hopefully Mamanyt1953 Mamanyt1953 will have some more helpful thoughts.
..My boy dont LIKE change EITHER NOT AT ALL...
 

danteshuman

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Since you said your cat is high anxiety and a move + a new person + dogs = high stress for a regular cat. I would ask your vet about starting your nervous kitty on Prozac (or Prozac cream) or something to make her less anxious. Prozac takes a few weeks to work but she can be weaned off it in 3-9 months after she has adjusted.
 
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