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Discussion Starter #1
I've looked in this forum and haven't been able to find any discussions about first introductions of poodle puppies to cats already living in the household. My household is just me and my 14 year old cat. I'll be bringing in a puppy soon. I've read and watched a ton of initial interaction info on the internet but there is so much differing advice, it's been hard to plan it out. Any tips or advice on that first moment that they meet?
 

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My dog was introduced to our rabbit and my two sisters' cats. Neither of the cats are as old as yours but I imagine it's similar. The puppy will want to play with the cat. The cat will not like this. I like to introduce when the puppy is very young. I would keep the puppy on a leash at first so he cannot hurt the cat and you can gauge his reaction. And let the cat set the pace. Make sure the cat has lots of spaces where it can escape the puppy and have peace. It will take the puppy a while to stop trying to play with the cat. My dog only left the cats alone after he got swatted and hissed at a couple times. Then he was alright. With the rabbit it has been harder as the rabbit is very tolerant of him and rarely gives a harsh correction. For him it has been a slow process of telling him off for bothering the rabbit and him slowly getting bored with it anyway. He is 1.5 years now and still occasionally bothers the rabbit but rarely causes an issue. They seem to have a weird affection for each other.
 

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He is 1.5 years now and still occasionally bothers the rabbit but rarely causes an issue. They seem to have a weird affection for each other.
My cat is the definition of flight, never fight so I am thinking it will take a lot for him to actually correct the puppy (he will be 10 weeks when I pick him up). I'm thinking of moving myself to sleep in my office with the puppy (since I'm working from home right now so I spend my days in here) and giving the cat my bedroom for now as a safe space. On the first day I was thinking of introducing the puppy first to my backyard while I leave the porch door open to my screened in porch and let the cat decide whether he wants to see what it's all about, especially since he is used to hanging out on my porch while the neighbor's dogs run around their own backyard next door. Or maybe I'm just overthinking and stressing over everything too much and I'll feel better once the pup is here and the initial intro is over. I guess my biggest fear is what a friend who has both cats and dogs told me when he found out I'm getting a puppy... he said my cat is too old and the stress will kill him and it will be my fault he dies. And it's been my greatest fear since.
 

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Having a safe puppy free space is a great idea.

We've had cats and dogs over the years and the reception varies by the personality of both. It's my guess that the puppy will say 'let's play' and the cat will leap somewhere high and reply 'in your dreams!'

Just make sure that the cat has an exit strategy.

btw, your friend is a pessimist. This is an easy time to be pessimistic; perhaps he can't help it. He may mean well but he's not helping...
 

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I don't think it will be too stressful for the cat as long as he doesn't have to interact with the puppy that much. Puppies are generally confined or tethered anyway, so this shouldn't be a major issue. As a responsible owner I'm sure you won't allow the puppy to constantly bother the cat. What you want to avoid is the puppy being able to chase the cat or corner the cat where the cat can't escape. It's best to introduce young puppies because the kill part of their prey drive isn't really in effect yet so while they want to chase and play, they don't have much desire to harm. My dog would never dream of hurting his rabbit brother. Though he very much wishes they could "play" together.
 

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As a responsible owner I'm sure you won't allow the puppy to constantly bother the cat. What you want to avoid is the puppy being able to chase the cat or corner the cat where the cat can't escape. It's best to introduce young puppies because the kill part of their prey drive isn't really in effect yet so while they want to chase and play, they don't have much desire to harm.
I'm planning to be with or around the puppy the entire time I am home and crate when I am not. So I'll be able to monitor any cat interactions as they happen and intervene as necessary. I read somewhere where it's good at least the at first, if a cat gets close, to keep the puppy distracted with myself, so the cat can just be there and teach the puppy that there are more interesting things around than the cat. I am currently working from home so the times I'll have to leave during the day will be short periods of time (and crate the puppy when I do). Thanks for all your advice!
 

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btw, your friend is a pessimist. This is an easy time to be pessimistic; perhaps he can't help it. He may mean well but he's not helping...
Thanks for your advice! And thanks for that. Everyone else says that cats are resilient and that he'll learn to live with the dog as long as I teach the puppy to leave the cat alone. But I hate the thought that I could be the cause of hurt to any of my animals, so him saying that hit me hard.
 

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I'm planning to be with or around the puppy the entire time I am home and crate when I am not. So I'll be able to monitor any cat interactions as they happen and intervene as necessary. I read somewhere where it's good at least the at first, if a cat gets close, to keep the puppy distracted with myself, so the cat can just be there and teach the puppy that there are more interesting things around than the cat. I am currently working from home so the times I'll have to leave during the day will be short periods of time (and crate the puppy when I do). Thanks for all your advice!
I think that's fine. Remember you can always tether if the puppy gets too bothersome for the cat. Most cats can learn to get along with dogs. My friends' cats mostly just stay up and out of reach when my dog visits. They appreciate being able to glare at him from above. But recently one of them came up to Misha while he was on leash and got quite close. It took a long time though! Don't expect immediate harmony. Think of improvement over months.
 

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I've looked in this forum and haven't been able to find any discussions about first introductions of poodle puppies to cats already living in the household. My household is just me and my 14 year old cat. I'll be bringing in a puppy soon. I've read and watched a ton of initial interaction info on the internet but there is so much differing advice, it's been hard to plan it out. Any tips or advice on that first moment that they meet?
I’m also getting a puppy soon (5 weeks). I have a 8 yr old cat. I started thinking of things that will need to change for the cat and implementping them now - made the litter box unaccessable by puppy, stopped feeding her in a treat ball etc. Cat has a 7’ tall cat tree and my office has a dutch door, so I’ll keep the bottom closed to give her that room.
 

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I’m also getting a puppy soon (5 weeks). I have a 8 yr old cat. I started thinking of things that will need to change for the cat and implementping them now - made the litter box unaccessable by puppy, stopped feeding her in a treat ball etc. Cat has a 7’ tall cat tree and my office has a dutch door, so I’ll keep the bottom closed to give her that room.
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When you do, let me know how the cat does. I still have 7 weeks until my puppy comes home. We can share stories and experiences.
 

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I didn’t know you had this post and I answered part of this question here. New Poodle Mom-to-be

i like your plan of giving your cat the bedroom. Mine had the lower level. They could hear the dog, and they would creep up to the gate and safely check her out. We visited them without the dog multiple times a day and let them slowly decide when they were ready.

As everyone says, give the cat lots of escape routes. Your puppy will be small enough to creep under furniture or go through a small pet door in a pet gate, so plan for you cat to be able to jump up and away. I bought cheap ikea bar chairs that we placed on either side of the gate so my cats could jump up on a chair, cross over the top of the gate to the other chair and jump down to safety.

I think your neighbor is too negative in their thinking.
 
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I think it very much depends on how dog savvy your cat is, and whether the puppy has been raised around cats. My cats had got to know dogs who were very gentle with them, and my own dogs were so tiny as pups that my biggest fear was that the cats would see them as prey. I made sure the cats' routine was maintained as closely as possible and that they still got plenty of attention, as well as ensuring safe accessible places out of puppy reach and escape routes where necessary. Until the puppies could manage stairs the cats could always find peace upstairs, but they quickly established that play was by their rules - one quick hard smack without claws was usually enough.

If your cat is less accustomed to close contact with dogs I would take things very slowly. A safe space is a good idea, but take care he doesn't become too isolated. I would introduce them with the puppy crated, and let the cat set the pace. It may take several weeks, or even longer, for him to adjust, and any chasing or pouncing will make it much more difficult - the more you can control things in the first few days the more likely you are to eventually succeed. A Felliway diffuser can help with some cats, but the most important thing is to keep the cat's life as unchanged and stress free as possible. Start making any necessary changes now, as Gwendalion suggests, so that your cat has time to get used to them while things are still peaceful.
 

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When I brought Galen home I let the cat choose to introduce himself. Since Galen was very young I was mostly keeping him confined to a crate, x-pen, or puppy proof room. I let the cat stroll up to the enclosures to check out the new family member. After a week or two I started playing with Galen in the livingroom. Galen was too young to climb stairs, so the car would come hang out on the fifth step and watch. (It was a sad day for the cat when Galen learned to climb steps.)

The thing that was troublesome was that the cat kept running from Galen the first few months. Then Galen would chase. I did not want either of them rehearsing this behavior. As much as possible I kept the two separated or kept Galen leashed to prevent him from chasing. The cat eventually figured out how to run under the bed and out the other side, leaving Galen stuck under the bed. With that trick established he started feeling confident enough to stop running and hang out near Galen.

With my previous spoo pair I used baby gates with cat doors to keep the dogs out of the cat's safe zone. Galen, however, hasn't grown as large as his predecessors. He can still wiggle through the cat door. I'm a little concerned he will grow just large enough to get stuck trying one of these days.
 

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With my previous spoo pair I used baby gates with cat doors to keep the dogs out of the cat's safe zone. Galen, however, hasn't grown as large as his predecessors. He can still wiggle through the cat door. I'm a little concerned he will grow just large enough to get stuck trying one of these days.
That’s why I bought cheap ikea chairs, one one either side of the gate. Ragdolls are large and the opening they needed was the same size my minipoo could escape through. The gate was to awkward for the cats to jump over to get downstairs to their safe hideout. The chairs made it easy for them to get up and over the gate.
 
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Discussion Starter #16
Thanks! You all are making me feel better that it is possible to have a successful integration. I love getting all these tips and hopefully my cat will eventually adjust. I have a better, more refined plan now that is specifically workable for my space.
 

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Something that might also help is if you can get the puppy into puppy socialization classes. Puppies want and need to play. With no better choices available, your puppy will try to play with the cat. You can take some pressure off the cat by arranging opportunities for the puppy to meet up with appropriate playmates
 

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One thing to consider is dogs raiding kitty poop in litter boxes. You want to avoid it. Not all dogs are interested but many are because it’s nice and stinky.

If you have an average sized cat then this specific litter box will help keep your cats “poop” away from the dog. It’s expensive but I loved it because it also kept kitty litter inside the box. Similar igloo shaped litter boxes aren’t the same. This clever design has a grid area the cat walks on the exit which causes litter sticking to feet to drop into the box.

Or consider litter ones that automatically scoop the litter when the cat leaves the box So there’s no dog treat.

 
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Something that might also help is if you can get the puppy into puppy socialization classes. Puppies want and need to play. With no better choices available, your puppy will try to play with the cat. You can take some pressure off the cat by arranging opportunities for the puppy to meet up with appropriate playmates
I knew there were training classes (will sign us up) but had no idea there were socialization ones. I will have to look for these in my area. Hopefully it won't be too hard with COVID. Thanks for the idea!
 

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One thing to consider is dogs raiding kitty poop in litter boxes. You want to avoid it. Not all dogs are interested but many are because it’s nice and stinky.
Worn't be an issue at first because the litter box will be in my bedroom in a no puppy zone (as I sleep on my office couch with my puppy). I'll have to look into the automatic ones, funny enough, my cat refuses to to use a litter box with any overhead area, and I've tried a few of various sizes. He is one of those cats that, even with giant litter boxes, sticks his butt in but keeps his front paws outside too.
 
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