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Discussion Starter #1
Many of you know my kids have been hinting around for a furry mammal other than a dog. My first thought was a guinea pig because their care is basic, they are caged, small but not too small, docile, affordable, and oh so cute. My kids and I have been looking around now for the past week and went to go visit a breeder friend of mine for dinner. The intent was to get an idea of what kind of piggy the kids would be interested in color wise so that around Christmas I could surprise them.

My friend also has a dog and 2 cats my kids love to play with. My daughter had the joy of spending the first few years of her life with my orange tabby jo jo who passed when I was pregnant with my son. Around that time we got our lab, and of course got Zoe in January of last year so neither dog has had much cat exposure. My kids know I am looking at guinea pigs though I haven't given the yes yet, but while there they asked why we couldn't have a cat. My answer was what if the dogs injured the cat, or just plain weren't good with one- it happens which is why I've been looking at caged mammals vs. the non caged variety.

I know when dogs and cats are raised together from a young age things usually go well, but Henry is 8 and Zoe 1. I'm not opposed to owning a cat, but I don't want to spend hundreds on a Ragdoll, Maine Coon, Persian, or Himalayan (which are my fav breeds) only to have the situation not work out.

I work from 9-2 Mon.-Fri and Zoe is crated for this time with the 8 year old lose though he can be gated if need be. I don't really worry about the lab he has no interest in catching small animals as it is and does fine with my sister's cat when we take him to visit. Zoe on the other hand has never been in close quarters with a cat. She sees them on walks and ignores them, but off leash I don't know how she would react. Is there a way for me to test her cat sensitivity before bringing one home? I of course would never leave them unattended and have the time and patience to work with her, but I want to know what to expect ahead of time.

Any suggestion, opinions, and stories welcome!:)
 

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Go through a rescue, or look on petfinder. Lots of Himalayan's in shelter's.

How does your dog act around cats? does she have a high prey drive? Jax has a pretty high prey drive. Any cat other than Cracker is game if they run but she's fine with Cracker.

When I test a dog, any that go into the 'death' stare automatically fail the cat test. Curious dogs don't bother me as long as they don't automatically go into prey mode. The fact that Zoe ignores them is good. Really, the only way to test her is to put her in close quarters with one. Keep a leash on her and introduce her to a cat.

When you look for a cat, look for one that has been introduced to dogs, or lived with them. Look on Craigslist...lots on there too.l
 

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Lots and lots of Himmie's in Rockville area. :)
 

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nothing comes to mind as to cat testing her except to see if she can visit with you to your friends house and see how she does. I think the fact she ignores them on walks is a good sign. my dogs generally always came into the family when we already had cats. Shelby was 11 months old when i brought her home. She'd NEVER seen a cat before. She was good with small dogs which often times can translate easily to being good with cats depending on circumstances. I worked with her heavily on 'leave it' before she was allowed too close to one of the cats. Our cats also know not to run from the dogs without a darn good reason. Riley has a chase drive. He doesnt actually want to hurt the cats he just wants to herd and chase them. He looks like he's in pain when the cats pay attention to him. lol. But Shelby was the most difficult. She now just gives the cats a hello sniff and the occassional obnoxious nosing to move them out of a spot on the couch she wants to lay. Basically just enforce the leave it, dont allow the dogs to be intent on the cat(s), leash both dogs to provide leash corrections. Make it VERY clear the cat is a part of the family and the dogs are to be respectful of the cat at all times and you shouldnt have a big issue.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I have perused CL and our local shelter but no long haired fluff balls to be found yet,lol Zoe definitely has prey drive and loves to kill buggy invaders in our house. When she gets the oh whats that look on walks and begins to crouch and slink in their direction I can give the leave it command and she obeys- but she is leashed and knows she doesn't have the option. I don't know anyone willing to use their cat as a decoy either though she is my constant companion when caring for all my jumpy geckos and snakes and doesn't show too much interest. She did as a pup but knows they are mine and off limits,lol

A cat however, is a different story because it is not going to be in my arms or living in a cage. She met a friend of our's guinea pig and sniffed and licked her- again I was holding her, but she was fine with her. She was actually more mad I was holding the piggy and wanted me all to herself. I know my kids would PREFER a kitty they've been asking for years, but I would be devastated if Zoe hurt him, couldn't adjust, or wanted to eat him. I see this is going to take some careful thought on my end.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Lots and lots of Himmie's in Rockville area. :)
Where where? I looked at the Rockville Animal Shelter and was unable to find a long haired under the age of 5. I don't mind adopting an older cat at all because it will be less playful and likely to illicit a prey response from Zoe, but I still want many good and healthy years.
 

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I have perused CL and our local shelter but no long haired fluff balls to be found yet,lol Zoe definitely has prey drive and loves to kill buggy invaders in our house. When she gets the oh whats that look on walks and begins to crouch and slink in their direction I can give the leave it command and she obeys- but she is leashed and knows she doesn't have the option. I don't know anyone willing to use their cat as a decoy either though she is my constant companion when caring for all my jumpy geckos and snakes and doesn't show too much interest. She did as a pup but knows they are mine and off limits,lol

A cat however, is a different story because it is not going to be in my arms or living in a cage. She met a friend of our's guinea pig and sniffed and licked her- again I was holding her, but she was fine with her. She was actually more mad I was holding the piggy and wanted me all to herself. I know my kids would PREFER a kitty they've been asking for years, but I would be devastated if Zoe hurt him, couldn't adjust, or wanted to eat him. I see this is going to take some careful thought on my end.

well one thing that will help besides finding a kid friendly cat which most are, but finding one who has been around dogs and doesnt run. Also NO declawed puddy's. Would want the cat to be able to use those claws if necessary. As long as your dogs understand leave it and respect it even off leash, i think they'll be cool. You know your dogs better than anyone though.
 

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If she was fine with the guinea pig, I would think she would be fine with a cat. My philosophy is anytime you have a large dog and a smaller animal there is always a risk. Make sure the cat has an escape route. A gated hallway perhaps?

Leave it doesn't always work. I had a foster who never made a sound or did the stare but he snatched up two cats before I could even react. My cat was locked in the bedroom for 7 months. I was so not happy with everyone involved but the owner died two weeks after I picked him up so I just dealt with it.
 

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If she was fine with the guinea pig, I would think she would be fine with a cat. My philosophy is anytime you have a large dog and a smaller animal there is always a risk. Make sure the cat has an escape route. A gated hallway perhaps?

Leave it doesn't always work. I had a foster who never made a sound or did the stare but he snatched up two cats before I could even react. My cat was locked in the bedroom for 7 months. I was so not happy with everyone involved but the owner died two weeks after I picked him up so I just dealt with it.

escape routes for sure. also block off the access from the dogs to the cat box and cat food. make sure the cat has a place they can go and sleep without having to worry about being pestered by the dogs.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I do have a double gate system that separates our kitchen from the main hall and living room. If we had a cat thats where both dogs would reside while we were gone though a cat could climb it. Zoe has never been rude when I am holding other animals but I think an animal in the arm of their owner is different from one lose in the house. I couldn't confine the poor cat to one room permanently it just wouldn't be fair which is why a guinea pig is a good option for us. I'd have nothing to worry about, but then again would I enjoy the piggy as much? I'm not so sure. I love guinea pigs and really all fuzzy caged mammals, but with their short life spans I could see it being hard to keep replacing loved animals so often.

I think I need to convince a friend to being their cat over for a meet and greet,lol
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks for the link I'll have to keep pet finder in mind. I was looking at cats currently at the shelter and not those in foster homes, doh!!!
 

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LOL Good luck with that! My Himalayan really didn't do well locked away from everyone. He's a one person cat (I hear alot of the Himalayan's are) but he does like to be by people.
 

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There are purebred cat rescues out there as well. I know that there is one less than an hour away from where I live.

I have a Ragdoll kitten (bought her from a breeder) and she is absolutely best friends with my GSD, she loves the other dogs too but there is something about Sinister that she just cant get enough of. They are adorable together.



 

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She's a cutie for sure I just saved the link so I can print out the application at work. I just like fluffy kitties,lol breed is not so much important though dog and kid exposure is a major bonus:)
 

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Life with Dutch and our two cats has been interesting to say the least. We weren't entirely sure how Dutch would react to the boys, but so far things have been okay. Not great, but okay.

We have two male cats, one is a flamepoint Siamese mix, and the other is a tuxedo. Both of the boys belong to my Fiancee, they're around five years old I think. They react to Dutch in different ways. Charlie, the tuxedo, wants nothing to do with him. From the beginning he has gone out of his way to avoid Dutch and take the longest route possible to accomplish this goal. He hisses at him when he gets too close, and will occasionally swat at Dutch. I think Chuck is slowly starting to get used to the puppy though.

Simon is the flamepoint and he's just a big fluff ball. He almost never hisses, and he doesn't do a very good job of defending himself. Dutch tries to get Simon to play with him, but he doesn't understand that Simon isn't a puppy and sometimes we have to separate them because Dutch gets too rough.

Depending on Dutch's energy levels, he will either ignore the cats, or try to chase them. Mostly he just wants to play. A couple times we've caught him biting Simon, but I think he's just trying to play like he would with a puppy. I don't think he's biting very hard because Simon doesn't hiss or scream. At that point we correct him and separate.

The biggest problem with the big fluff ball cats, like the rag dolls or the mane coons, is that they don't defend themselves particularly well. Simon just takes a lot of the punishment that Dutch doles out. He'll knock him over, put his head on him to show dominance, and push him into a corner. Recently he's started swatting Dutch, but it doesn't seem to have much of an effect.

It's just a long and tedious job that requires patience, I've found.
 

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We have three cats...two of whom were added just this year from the same hoarding situation. Our original cat is dog savvy. He has very little interest in the dogs. He likes to snooze just out of their reach. He Almost never sets foot on the floor when the Beast is about. Beast will chase if they run and calling him off can be *hard*. He stalks, sneaks, stares whenever he can- which means I have to be aware of him at ALL times in order to make him stop if he tires any of that.
The cats have their own room. There is a cat sized hole in the door. The dogs will stick their noses in and sniff the kitties. The kitties in return will walk over and rub on them, kiss them, etc. One kitty will wait for Beast to pass by and reach out and grab at him. They "play" that way. When we are not home the dogs are all crated and the cats are free.
Our middle cat (one from the hoarder) was dog friendly at the hoarding house. When she came here she rubbed and loved up our two ladies...and then encountered Beast. His intense energy freaked her out...she ran, he chased. When he gets to the kitty he slobbers all over them, snuffles their belly, and tries to push them to run again. She was just so off put that she stays away from the Beast at all times now.
The Beast's kitten is another story. She was teeny tiny and sick when she arrived. She is frisky...and almost like the Beast in cat form. He won't chase her even when she runs...though he will roll her with his nose and lick her. She will purr and climb him or frisk about his legs.
My point is, they each are different. I would have predicted the middle cat to be very dog friendly, yet she is the least...and I would have thought the kitten would have had a hard time of it since she was so tiny yet she is a Beast herself.
I knew that our old Ladies would be fine (they are annoying occasionally, but they are cat indifferent for the most part). I worry about the Beast every day. We take every precaution for safety (training the Beast daily, providing safe cat areas, separating when necessary, always being aware of the animals, etc). It is just a way of life when you live with a Beast....


(BTW there are two long haired kittens born at the hoarding house to one of the last cats still on site...if you are interested I can deliver :) )
 

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escape routes for sure. also block off the access from the dogs to the cat box and cat food. make sure the cat has a place they can go and sleep without having to worry about being pestered by the dogs.
This is pretty much how I've been going about it.
My cat Bebo is about five years old and SHE IS NOT A CITY CAT..
She brings back ten death things to show off daily in the back yard, ha.
Even things as large as rabbits and once even a raccoon..
So I was more so worried with her hurting Barik (4 month pup).
After being overly cautious and timmid I said "screw it".
and just let them go head to head, but make sure neither of them get cornered.. Her bed and food is blocked off by my desk/bed so it's perfect.
I was scared that Bebo might scratch his eyes are something but all's been well.. She mostly only "pretend" swipes at him and hisses if he's being a spas around her. TWICE now I have caught them giving each other Eskimo kisses.. HAHAHA.. Before Barik gets overly excited and Bebo freaks out again..
I figure it's only a matter of time before I walk in to find them snuggled up..
Apparently it really helps to pet them both while they are tired and calm.
Patience..

Just my experience with it so far!
Good luck.
 
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