Reactive Dogs and Cats: A Socialization Guide [Part 2]

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Welcome to Part 2 of a socialization guide that is going to teach you how to peacefully live with both cats and dogs - especially if you have reactive dogs (or ones with a high prey instinct). If you haven’t read Part 1 of this series yet, please do so! You can find it right here! That’s where I explained why it’s so important to start this process of socialization outside of the house. There are detailed step by step instructions on how to make sure your dog and cat both feel safe, how positive reinforcement is at the center of this process and how cultivating patience is perhaps the most important part of it all.

If you’ve read all of that already and have been working outside of your home to the best of your abilities to bring your pooch and kitten together, now is when we move into the more sensitive territory: the indoor living space.


Shadow was not adopted from a shelter; she just climbed onto my balcony and chose my as her human. She literally didn’t want to leave. I fed her, I took her to the vet, I took care of her and then expected her to leave and roam around. But she never did; she just stayed. In the first two months of her being with us, she was an indoor/outdoor cat. I am fully transparent when I tell you that I had no idea how to mother a cat and even less knowledge about cat behavior, stray cat problematic etc. I got a lot of bad advice in those first two months and I learned from my mistakes. One day Shadow suddenly became seriously ill and became an indoor cat practically overnight. This is a blog post that explains in detail exactly what happened, how I messed up and why I now believe all cats with owners should live as safe indoor cats. But my point here is, my dogs needed to learn how to share a living space with Shadow overnight. We did a lot of our outdoor work by then, so they definitely knew Shadow and were used to her. But sharing a living space comes with a lot of challenges, especially if you have a reactive dog. We had our ups and downs but in the long run they are worth it if I can help other people through our experiences. This blog post will hopefully help you brave the first few weeks and months of cohabiting with canines and felines! 🐱

PERSONAL SPACE

Everyone in your furry family is going to need some personal space in the first few weeks. I’m serious about this - I’ve heard of people returning their cats and dogs back to the shelter after only a few days. If you are not capable of patience that is going to have to be cultivated for weeks (or months or perhaps a lifetime, depending on your dog’s reactivity), then don’t get a cat. It’s not fair to bring an animal home and then not stick with them through thick and thin!

If you have a reactive dog, you already know they need a lot of personal space, to rest and decompress. This is something that will probably never change and the more we help them by giving them safe spaces, the more relaxed they are going to feel within your home and around new additions. Your reactive dog must always know that he has a place to retreat to. He should never feel trapped in a situation or without an option to exit it. This is very important when socializing your dog to other creatures, especially one that is of a different species. Some reactive dogs can clearly read the body language of another dog, but cats might be a bigger mystery to them. The safer they feel, the less likely they’ll be to lash out.

On the other hand, your kitten is going to need some personal space as well. This depends on their personality very much, so be mindful of that and pay attention to what your cat is asking for. My Shadow absolutely adores the dogs and she was never afraid of them, but Chilly is too much of an attention seeker even for her and it took a while for him to understand that she won’t play with him just yet (or at all). If your cat is pawing or hissing at the dogs, don’t let them “hash it out themselves.” This is just plain stupid, I’m sorry. You’ll end up with animals who don’t trust you to create safety for everyone involved and they might have serious arguments amongst each other, leading to one or more of your animals being hurt. A cat can seriously, seriously injure your dog! You should never allow your cat to harass your dog in any way, either. The videos that people post on Facebook of how afraid dogs are of cats are incredibly harmful and perpetuate the idea that cats are aggressive creatures who want to dominate dogs. The truth is that there is no cross-species domination and that happy cats are not aggressive cats! If your cat feels the need to lash out at your dog it’s because she does not feel safe - and making her feel safe is YOUR responsibility!

Here are a few ideas on how you can make sure everyone has their own personal space:

1. Crate training: both of my dogs and my cat are crate trained. I can’t stress enough how much this helped. I put all three of them each in their own crate and they could all see each other but were safely confined to their safe space. Sometimes I would let one of the dogs out and allowed them to sniff Shadow through the crate, if they wanted. I did the same with Shadow. I kept the two dogs in their crates and allowed Shadow to roam around the room. This was very helpful especially for Bailey, because she could safely observe the cat. I also paid attention to anything that triggered her. For example, she was totally fine if Shadow was walking up and down the room, but if she came too close to Bailey’s crate or if she jumped on something above the ground, Bailey would bark. This was important for me to know, so that I could immediately start desensitizing her to these triggers.  

2. Leashes: Chilly is a typical bubbly border collie and he didn’t understand that Shadow just won’t play with him. He would try to hoax her into playing by barking at her from close proximity (that was his herding instinct kicking in), trying to get her to run away so he could chase. Sometimes he would even try to paw at her but Shadow obviously wasn’t into any of that, so I made sure Chilly was on a leash if Shadow was freely roaming around. If he started getting jumpy, I just told him to settle on the ground next to me. (In order for this to work, your dog will need to know some basic obedience and impulse control. If he doesn’t yet, revert back to Part 1 where I explain working from a distance).  

3. Separate rooms: I spend a lot of time with my animals and, consequently, they spend a lot of time with each other as well. In the first few weeks of Shadow living indoors full-time, I often put her in a different room than the dogs, so that they could all take a break from each other. This is especially helpful if you live in a smaller space! Putting Shadow in a different room gave all of them some freedom and relaxation, because it’s genuinely hard being around someone new 24/7. Also, Shadow needed to express some of her cat instincts and those were impossible around Bailey at first. I created a routine - whenever it was Shadow’s playtime or walkies time or training time, we were separated from the dogs. This was a very great technique and slowly but surely I didn’t need to separate them as much, because they grew so very comfortable around each other!

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WHAT ABOUT CHASING?

When I told you that I was writing this series, some of you have asked me how to deal when your dog chases your cat. Dogs differ in temperament and instinct; those who have a very strong prey (or herding) instinct are more likely to chase your cat. Cats are generally super peaceful but they do have their “zoomies attacks” and it’s obviously tempting for the dogs to join in! The most important part here is prevention. You want to make sure that your dogs and cats associate each other with peace, not play. If you see some predatory behaviors arise, address them straight away! I already described above that I had Chilly on a leash and “settle”, if he was feeling too jumpy. I also carried Shadow around in my arms a lot, so that the dogs got used to her being around but knew they don’t get to play with her. And I added extra play sessions to our daily routine, to make sure that we are consistently expressing their strong instincts. With Bailey, I also used food as a positive association. I gave her a kong toy in her crate while Shadow was roaming around the room or simply told her to go lie down in her crate if she started to show signs of arousal.


Here’s the thing about Bailey: she can handle Shadow running around now (I’m so proud!!!!), but she still hates it if Shadow is climbing up the shelves, walls, cupboards etc. There is something about having a cat above her head that just rubs little B the wrong way. She had only actually chased Shadow once, but it was enough for me to get scared and employ some extra boundaries. (It happened in the middle of the night, Shadow was apparently bored and went jumping around the room, then the chasing woke me up). Those boundaries are:

  • If Shadow is climbing somewhere, I make sure Bailey is never right underneath her. I just move her to a space where she feels safer. I made sure none of the puppy beds are under any of the climbing surfaces and Shadow also can’t climb above the bed or Bailey’s crate anymore.

  • Strict bedtime routine for the kitten. I am religious about this! I never want to be woken up by a chaos like that again. Those of you who have cats probably know that they are a challenge in the bedroom, but I promise you I’ve cracked the kitty code and now my cat sleeps through the night, every night. In fact, me and my dogs are usually awake before her! I’ll be writing a blog post on this soon, I promise!

  • If Shadow is feeling extra extra excited and finds a little string on the floor or something of interest and then chases it like a maniac, I’ll keep an extra eye on Bailey. Sometimes she sleeps through it and doesn’t care. Sometimes she gets whiny and that’s when I put her where she feels safe (either in another room or in her crate). Bailey has to know that I always have her back and if the kitty gets a bit too much for her, I’ll make sure she doesn’t fall over the threshold.


These are just our boundaries and yours might look completely different. The important thing is that you implement your boundaries and then say consistent with them. Cutting down on boundaries because “there hasn’t been a problem in a week” is a terrible idea. Please know that the more the chasing happens, the more it reinforces itself. It can obviously happen to anyone, but when it happens to you, you need to immediately reevaluate your boundaries. These things tend to escalate quickly and again, you wouldn’t want anyone getting hurt in this scenario, would you? Jot down what triggered your dog and make sure it doesn’t happen again.

I wrote above that making sure your cat feels safe is your responsibility - making sure your dog feels safe and relaxed is your responsibility too.

THE GOAL OF LIVING TOGETHER

The internet is full of videos and pictures of kittens and puppies being besties. Hell, even some of the pictures in this very blog post carry that same vibe. While I admit that it’s an incredibly enriching experience, having animals that love each other, that is not the end game and that is not the goal.

The goal is to have animals that are at peace with each other. That aren’t striving to play with each other all day long and that aren’t over-arousing each other. Too many people make this mistake in multi-dog households. They get another dog so that their first dog will have a playmate … and then all hell breaks loose, because the dogs have no idea how to be calm together.

What you want isn’t a household where your animals chase each other all day long. What you want is a household where your animals are in harmony with one another. This means they know how to rest together, they know how to sleep together, to safely share space. It means that for the most part, they leave each other alone. They don’t constantly try to gain each other’s attention. They are respectful of each other’s personal space and they associate each other with peace.

My Shadow loves to snuggle with the dogs but Chilly is usually more up for it than Bailey. She loves to snuggle Chilly more than Shadow at this point, but will happily share a bed with the kitten so long as Shadow doesn’t nuzzle her too much. Chilly doesn’t want to sleep next to anyone at night, he prefers the peace of his crate. Bailey always sleeps right next to me and Shadow loves the bed as well. During the day, I can leave the three of them alone in my bedroom and trust that all they are going to do is rest. I strongly emphasize resting together. The last thing I want is animals that rile each other up and drive each other crazy.

Always have this goal in mind: I want my animals to associate each other with peace, not chaos!

I hope this guide was helpful and that you were able to get some good information out of it. If you have any more questions left you can always reach out to me and I’ll be happy to hear you out and offer advice for your specific situation! I want to thank you for opening your heart and home to multiple animal species. I know this can be hard, but I also know it can be oh-so-very worth it.❤️

kitten paws + puppy snouts

kitten paws + puppy snouts

Reactive Dogs and Cats: A Socialization Guide [Part 1]

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If someone had told me a few years ago that Bailey will one day be able to peacefully coexist with a cat, I would think it crazy. Cats have always been yet another one of her triggers, but with them it didn’t come from a place of fear, as much as it came from a place of instinct. She has always had an outstanding prey instinct - she’d happily chase squirrels, birds and cats over the edge of a cliff. This is why she’s always been obsessed with chasing the ball and why keeping her prey instinct under control has also proved to help with her reactivity rehabilitation as well.


Even though she and I have already overcame many triggers in our years together, I never dared imagine cats would be one of them. Whenever she saw the stray cat that I am feeding, she’d fly into a hysterical frenzy. She saw her as an intruder on the window and showed her no mercy. So needless to say, when Shadow decided to move in, I was more than just a little worried.

 

START OUTSIDE OF THE HOME      

I took it super slow. The first day of socialization we were outside in our terrace; I put Shadow in Chilly’s giant crate and leashed both dogs on the other side of the terrace. They could see each other but there was no way to reach each other. Bailey did well until Shadow started climbing all over the crate - that was a trigger for her. Rather than trying to “calm her down” I simply took the leash and took Bailey back inside, while Chilly stayed with the cat. The next time, I was prepared and made sure to give Bailey big big big reinforcement every time she looked at me, even if the cat wasn’t doing anything in particular. I was rewarding check-ins. I wasn’t saying any cues to her at all, because I wanted her to observe Shadow in her own rhythm and check-in with me whenever she feels like it.

 

Side note: these check-ins are a life-saver for reactive dogs! If the reactivity to a certain trigger is so bad that your dog always flips out, teaching him to look at you whenever they sense fear is a super helpful way of managing a situation. Eventually you’ll be able to get closer to the trigger or your dog won’t feel as much fear around it anymore and will be able to look at it without these check-ins altogether!


Bailey did really well with this. Soon after that, I got Shadow her own carrier and we started to uplevel our training. I will admit that we rushed this part a little bit, because Shadow started to come inside the house at that point, so I had to make this top priority. Basically, I put Shadow in a carrier and then I just walked past it with each dog. I reinforced calmness. Chilly, my non-reactive bug, did super well and after a few training sessions didn’t mind the cat at all. Bailey not so much. She was VERY aware of Shadow and we kept our distance at the beginning, then gradually started coming closer until we were able to walk around the carrier completely without Bailey obsessing over the cat. Once we were close enough, both of the dogs sniffed the cat but Bailey much more hesitantly.

 

I used food as a reinforcer through this entire process and I stand by that 100%. I’ve noticed some trainers speak very ill of using food as a reinforcer, even within the positive reinforcement community. I would like to address here that every dog is different and each case of reactivity is unique. I cannot imagine doing this with Bailey without food. Praise is not enough for her to reinforce a calm behavior and toys get her too hyped. The first time we were able to stand right next to the carrier, she started becoming too hyped about food as well (because the presence of the trigger made her nervous), so we took a step back and started again. At one point I started to use food selectively (meaning I didn’t need to reinforce every single time anymore) and before long, we were able to happily march around the carrier without any food needed at all.

!!! PLEASE REMEMBER !!!

  • Make sure your reinforcer is not making your already reactive (and therefore nervous) dog even more hyped up.

  • Don’t be afraid to take a few steps back if you see your dog is getting overwhelmed

  • My training sessions lasted MINUTES. None of them were longer than 10. I would also advise not to expose your dog to a trigger every single day but in my case, I basically had no choice so I was even more adamant to keep these sessions as short as possible.

  • You reactive dog will need to decompress afterwards, so make sure they get A LOT of rest.

  • You are not using food as a bribe or a distraction!!! You are using food as a reinforcer and a way to change your dog’s emotional blueprint.

Example: every time your dog looks at the cat and remains calm, he is immediately reinforced. As you were able to read, in the beginning stages I only reinforced Bailey for check-ins with me, when we still had a big distance between us and the cat. Many would argue why not immediately start by reinforcing her when she looks at the cat. YOU CAN! This is why I said every dog is so unique. My Bailey’s reactivity was so incredibly severe when I got her that she would have a complete meltdown if she so much as sensed, sniffed or heard a trigger. Seeing it would result in an outburst that she could barely snap out of. There are days when I wonder how we ever survived those months and years. As a result of that, she and I have built this check-in system that allows her to first get comfortable around a trigger (without having to look at it) and THEN we move on to getting closer and reinforcing her when she either looks at it or simply remains calm around it. Some people seem to think that if a dog is looking at you he is not paying attention to the trigger - trust me, your dog can still sense the trigger. They’re not stupid.😉

 

Pay attention to your dog, I don’t care what is written on the internet, even on my blog. Cultivate critical thinking! If some trainer has never worked and lived with your level of reactivity, they can’t know.

 

An unpopular opinion, I know. But it’s the truth. Watch your dog’s body language at all times and see how he responds to what you are doing together. If you see that he is calming down, you are on a good path. If you see that he is starting to display signs of discomfort (raised hackles, licking lips, lifted paw, whining etc.), get a bigger distance between you and the cat or stop the training session altogether. Maybe your dog has had enough for one day and needs some rest - that is okay!

 

The last stage of this training was to have Shadow in the carrier placed on a table and the dogs were unleashed around it, together. This step went without any complications at all, perhaps because they weren’t separate in this stage. They went to the table, sniffed the carrier from underneath and then started playing with each other or simply calmed down, stretched on the floor and that was it. Eventually I was able to move the carrier back to the ground, right next to them and all was well. Sometimes they came to briefly sniff Shadow but never both at once and mainly they just left her alone.

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TWO IMPORTANT THINGS TO NOTE:

FIRST: my cat Shadow was NEVER afraid of dogs. She has been comfortable around them since she has adopted us, which has made this process outstandingly simpler. In the beginning stages of the socialization I always gave her a big meal in the carrier and she was facing away from the door while I worked with the dogs. She never had a problem with resting in the carrier either - again, this has made my job a lot easier. If this is not the case with your kitten, I would advise the following: first, make sure she is crate trained! Reinforce the living jesus out of a carrier or a crate so that your cat can willingly go inside of it and stay there comfortably. Patience is your best friend here! This training will also come in handy whenever it’s time to take a vet trip, so you’ll be thankful you did it! Second, get a helper. If your cat is not fully comfortable with the dogs then please don’t do this alone. Get someone to help you with the cat as you’re tending to the dogs. They can sit next to the carrier and monitor the cat’s behaviors and emotions, as well as reinforce her with food in the same way you are doing with the dogs. This is how she’ll learn that being around dogs is a short activity that brings her food - and we all know how much kittens love food!

 

SECOND: this whole outdoor process happened within a two month period. Some steps we breezed over, some steps took longer but just so you know, there is NO TIME-FRAME on how fast this will happen for you. I didn’t have any timeframe set for myself here and it gave me a lot of freedom. Don’t rush this, take it slow if you can. Some situations are unpredictable, as you’ll learn in the Part 2 of this guide; I had to move Shadow into the house full-time overnight. When those situations happen, we push through, we maybe have one or two extra training sessions that we could otherwise leave out but even so, WE NEVER EVER EVER RUSH ANIMALS INTO SOMETHING THAT CAUSES THEM DISCOMFORT or could result in them not trusting us. Our job is to keep them safe!

 
All socialization truly is, at its core, is making sure our dogs (and cats) feel SAFE in a variety of situations.

Whether you already live with a cat and a reactive dog, or you’re merely thinking about adopting one, please start this process outside of the home on a neutral territory. I know this is a bit of a challenge with a reactive dog, because unless you have a backyard or a terrace, you might not be able to do this. Apartment hallways are terribly stressful for reactive dogs, not to mention parks. If you have the option to drive to a big field or a meadow and have someone with you that could help you, you can still do these sessions outside of the home where you have the ability to keep your dog at any distance that you wish. Again, I urge you to do this even if you already live with a cat and a reactive dog and it’s not working out! We don’t speak this enough but part of what triggers reactive dogs is the notion that they don’t have anywhere to retreat. This is why outside work is so important, because you can build up the distance.

 

Hopefully this post was able to be of service - this is just Part 1 and it speaks about the work outside of the home. Part 2 will address home manners, cohabiting within a small space, managing your dog’s chase instinct and more! But first, I want you to digest this post and get to work.

 

Please don’t rush this process and give your animals as much time as they need.

 

I promise you, it’s all worth it in the end! 🐕❤️🐱

 

From Dog Mom to Cat Mom

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When I was picking the name for my platform two years ago I desperately wished for Mother of Dogs, but it had already been taken. I settled for the Mother of Rescues instead, but I always kind of felt the need to specifically explain that I only have dogs. In fact, I never even considered having cats because I am such a dog person. I figured that cats are far too independent for me, so I would worry about them roaming around too much. Besides, everyone told me they have a very snarky personality and aren’t as affectionate as dogs. I really believed that to be true, so I never considered having cats at all.


A little over a month ago, right on the day of the Scorpio Full Moon, I was sitting on my balcony when a stray cat climbed up on it. She looked to be in a really bad shape. Because I was already feeding another stray cat at the time, I luckily had cat food in the pantry so I went and got it. The cat trusted me immediately and as she came closer to eat I could see that she was really roughed up. She had a bunch of hair missing, a tiny wound on her neck, a stitch hanging out of her belly and the top of her left ear cut off - both of which was an indication that she had been spayed not long ago. She was very hungry. It seemed like she can’t get enough of food. After she’s been fed, I tried to slowly touch her, fully thinking that this feral cat is not going to let me do it. Well, she did! Not only that, she immediately lied on her back and exposed her belly to me, asking for cuddles. The bond was there instantly - just like that.

 

When I look into the eyes of an animal, I do not see an animal. I see a living being. I see a friend. I feel a soul.
— Anthony Douglas Williams

 

After that, she never left. She was always either on our balcony or our roof. She tried to get into the house multiple times through the open windows and one time even got stuck on a half-open window. The dogs barked at her if they saw her, but she really didn’t seem to mind - or run away. I took her to the vet a few days in, because her stitch didn’t look good. They took the stitch out, gave her an antibiotic for an infection she had and informed me that she had overcome microsporia before I found her. That’s why her hair was missing and why she was used to humans and the house - she must have been recovering for a while before they spayed and returned her to the streets. Her behavior at the vet stunned me. She was absolutely calm and not panicky at all. I expected to come away from the examination completely scratched - I wore long sleeves on purpose. But little cat did absolutely nothing, she just patiently underwent the examination - because she had been through all of this before, of course. After we got a clear bill of health and the vet logged her into the system, we headed home.

 

It was clear to me, at that time already, that this little soul belongs with us.
Shadow at the vet 

Shadow at the vet 

I named her Shadow, which may seem an odd choice for a name but it really fits her. First, it was the whole Scorpio Moon thing. I’m really big on astrology and Scorpio is a sign that rules the shadows. It’s a sign that is inviting us into the unknown. Her arrival pushed me into complete unknown and made me face a lot of my misconceptions and prejudices. The second reason is that I couldn't go anywhere without this cat following me like a true shadow. We have windows all around the home (we live in a big attic apartment), which means she can comfortably see into the house from the roof. If I was in the kitchen, she was at the kitchen window. When I went into the bedroom, she went to the bedroom window. So little shadow earned her name; Shadow.🖤

 

I realized really quickly that Shadow doesn’t want to be an outside cat. She loves being outside and has all the freedom in the world, sure, but she prefers spending most of her time inside with us. Once that became clear (basically on day three), I knew I had to socialize the dogs to this cat. We have two Irish Setters who genuinely don’t care about cats, so they weren’t too much of a challenge. I’m still a little panicky if Ruby is in the same space as her and off the leash, simply because she is such a giant dog and Shadow is so small, but there truly haven’t been any incidents, so we’re doing great!


Then there are my dogs. I’ll start with Bailey - my reactive little treasure. I truly thought she’s going to be the toughest cookie because she has an insane prey drive. At the beginning, I was right. I tried to do counter-conditioning but she was so over the threshold it was impossible. So I took a different approach - I put her on the leash and we just walked past the cat (who was safely in a transporter) from a certain distance and kept these sessions super short. I reinforced her for keeping her focus on me at first, but gradually moved to reinforcing her for looking at the cat and staying calm. Eventually we could do a circle around Shadow and then I just kept them in the same space (outside), each of them behind a boundary, so they got used to each other’s presence and practiced calmness. I’m actually surprised by how quickly it clicked in Bailey’s head that this cat is not prey but a family member. I can now have Shadow in my lap and Bailey just comes up to us, sniffs her and then leaves. She’s still a little afraid of her, because Bailey always needs a certain amount of time to start trusting a new animal, but I’m okay with that. I’m outstandingly proud!

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Chilly on the other hand was immediately okay with the cat (he has zero prey instinct) and we had a couple of beautiful counter-conditioning sessions. They were textbook perfect. But he does have a shortcoming: he is very playful and his border collie nature makes him a little too fast and often too rough when he is playing. This has never been a problem before because both of my dogs are VERY high-energy. One of the reasons I wanted a BC was because I needed someone who can keep up with Bailey - and despite Chilly being so fast and energetic, he is still not a match for her speed! ;) When they play, they are absolutely insane; but their dynamic is beautiful to watch. If Chilly gets a little too raunchy, Bailey lets him know. However, I can’t really expect him to have this dynamic with Shadow. When she is still, all is well. But when she moves, he wants to jump at her and bark at her to play, but she runs away as an instinct. We only had one incident when I didn't see her come into our yard but Chilly did. He was after her before I could even get a chance to react. He was trying to herd her - that’s his instinct. Shadow seemed to know it wasn’t life and death because she wasn’t even really running away or trying to defend herself, she just looked mildly annoyed that he was in her space. Nobody got hurt but I did have a minor heart-attack. 

 

I’ve never been one of those owners that put the responsibility of harmonious cohabitation on their animals, rather than carry it themselves. (You know the ones … “Oh you just need to let them hash it out themselves. They need to figure it out on their own.” Yeah, NOPE!)

 

I’m overseeing every single interaction very carefully. I am afraid that Chilly might unintentionally hurt her or that Shadow will snap at him and hurt him. I want both of them to feel safe and calm around each other. So as of now, they are only together when we are in the house, where they are both calm and still. Mutual time in the yard so far is off the limits. The next step in our training will be that I have Chilly on the leash in the yard with Shadow present. He is the smartest boy in the universe and I know that he will soon learn that she is simply not his playmate or herding buddy. If he knew it with chickens, he’ll know it with the cat!

 

The last furry baby that is trying to adjust to our new reality is Ringo. He has only been with us since September last year and came to us with a big and unmanaged prey drive. He’s had the toughest time adjusting to Shadow’s presence, but is making progress each and every day! My sister is very committed to his training and I am truly proud of both of them. As of now, Ringo doesn’t bark anymore when he hears her meowing at the window or when he sees her in my lap as I carry her past him. This is already a huge success!

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As you can see, we have all hands on deck socializing our five dogs to this little feline creature.

 

She is absolutely unaffected by the presence of the dogs. She doesn’t care about them whatsoever and shows no fear around them, to the point where I wonder if she even has survival instinct, haha. She is also the most gentle animal I have ever held. She loves to cuddle all day long, she falls asleep in my arms, she just wants to be near me no matter what I’m doing. Has everybody lied to me about the nature of cats? Have I been pranked by the world? She does roam around during the day, but not as much as I thought she would. She spends the majority of the day with us. Needless to say, I am absolutely smitten with her. I am completely in love. She is such a cuddle bug and just what my soul needed at this point in my life.

 

I never thought I’d ever have a cat but the universe had different plans - and I finally understand why the name Mother of Rescues was always, always meant to be.❤️

 


This is a story about Shadow and her five canine family members. What is your kitty story? Do you have dog and cat babies living together as well? Please share your experience in the comments! I would love to hear some tips and tricks on how you are balancing both! :)