When Sean and I first started discussing if we should let Hayden have a cat or not, our first biggest concern (of course) was our dogs. We have 4 very large dogs that are all older (7 and 6) and haven’t spent a whole lot of time around cats. Being that they are Pitbulls and a Dutch shepherd, we had concerns, not because we thought they would intentionally hurt the cat but one wrong move and all could be very bad! We had originally wanted to adopt an older cat. But after much thought we decided a kitten would be best for our family/situation.
- A kitten would be less afraid of the dogs. Where as a rescued cat may have had a bad experience with a dog.
- A kitten would be more likely to play with Hayden.
- The dogs were more likely to adjust to a baby rather than a full grown cat.
- And ultimately, it was all about finding “the right” cat. And we did, and she happens to be a baby!
When we first brought Keke home we wanted her to be able to check the place out.
So first we 1)Separated The Dogs. We put them outside for a bit to let Keke walk around and check out her new house. (Because we live in Arizona and its 110 outside, this was short – maybe 20-30minutes)
Next, we needed to 2)Create A Safe Place. We chose to use a kitty casita (shown in the photo). Luckily for us I work for a pet resort, so we were able to borrow a nice big 3 story cage that she could stay in and be safe. Keke loves this thing! It’s $150 on PetEdge and we will probably end up buying one of our own. We have it in Hayden’s room and leave the doors to the cage open but close Hayden’s door while we are out of the house. Our dogs stay in crates while we are away also. So it’s just extra protection. Doggies are safe in their crates. Kitty is safe in Hayden’s room. Honestly, I don’t see this ever changing. I’m a firm believer in crate training (and supervised playtime) Some think crate training is “cruel”. I find it necessary. But I’ll save that for another post. (Also, please note in the photo, yes, that is a diaper box. Hayden said she needed a “house” so we cut a hole in the side and she actually loves it!)
The next day we 3)Introduced The Dogs To Kekes Smell. I used the blanket she had been sleeping on. I brought it out to the dogs and let them all sniff it like crazy! I also let the dogs come in to Hayden’s room (without Keke in there) and let them smell her cage and all its things (toys, litter box, bed etc.)
After that, we 4)Let Them See Each Other. Keke actually did amazing with this. She was not phased by the dogs at all. Which helped ALOT! I would say, if your kitty is freaking out, you’re moving too fast!!!! For our situation it was more about the dogs getting use to the cat. So we held Keke and had our dogs (ONE AT A TIME) sit next to us and let them sniff. If they were too excited or pushy (which did happen) I put them in a down-stay until they collected themselves.
This is where we are at in our process so far and we’ve had Keke for almost a week. Some might think we are taking too long… But I don’t want Keke to have a bad experience with the dogs or vice versa, because that will take SO much longer to correct, so we are really just taking our time with it. Also in there, Keke was spayed, so we took a couple days off of introductions.
I’ll post our next steps soon!