Foster homes and cat problems

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Re: Foster homes and cat problems

Postby dot » Fri Sep 10, 2010 11:22 am

I have a foster boy (American Bulldog/APBT) who doesn't appear to show aggression around my cats, but is definitely interested. He got a little too close to my "King of the House" cat, who decided to give Benny a nice swat across the nose.

We're currently at the end of the first week of the 2 week lockdown, and I've been letting the cats run around and go by his crate. He just stares at them, but there is no barking, growling or raised hackles and if I call his name he'll look at me, but keep an eye on the cats. When he's out of the crate his first instinct is to find the cats, but we don't let him near them. He just sits and watches them and occasionally charges the screen door if we're outside.

I would like to know what others think of his attitude. I get the feeling that it's something we can work on, but any advice/ideas are welcome.

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Re: Foster homes and cat problems

Postby gixxerific » Fri Nov 12, 2010 9:32 pm

Great article Red I don't have cats but my neighbor has 5 that run loose at times. They know I will have a dog someday soon and understand they may not want to be in my yard. But I will try to get them to be friends like Maya was with them. I hope everything works out. This was helpful to me we can all use some help at times.

Thanks for taking time to share your experience.


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Re: Foster homes and cat problems

Postby Luna_Redmoon » Sun Feb 06, 2011 2:08 pm

We have Bailey who has never been around cats before.
And when we brought her home we had 2 outside cats. She would only chase one, Onyx. But left Izzy alone. They are both female and black.

She got loose one day and went after Onyx. Ran right past Izzy, and chased Onyx up a tree.
So now we have moved in with some friends of mine and total there is 7 dogs, a cat, and a savvanah monitor.
The only dog with an issue is Bailey.

Lately I been putting a muzzle on her when she is in the den with us and the cat.
she inches up to him, and when she gets too excited to too close i lightly tap her nose, tell her leave it, and lay down. she does fine with that. she ignores toys and treats.

now she can be in the same room as Bones the cat, and ignore him completely unless he gets up right beside her and startles her. She still wears a muzzle just incase of accidents. But most part she does great.
Its only been 2 weeks since she has met bones.

the is the fastest progress I have ever seen when it comes to cats. it took my oldest dog lou lou almost a year.

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Re: Foster homes and cat problems

Postby randomroads » Tue Mar 15, 2011 12:21 pm

My foster dog shows some signs of wanting to go after my cat, but she's still on a 2 week shut down and I'm not interested in introducing them yet. She's only seen the cat when she's coming and going from the house for potty breaks. I feel that I can dedicate the time required to attempt to socialize her with my cat, and possibly even get her settled around the cat. My question is does her being safe around MY cat mean she'll be safe around her new family's cat? Are there things I can do to insure that she'll be safe around other INDOOR cats? There are lots of places around me that have cats in kennels for adoption, so it might be possible to desensitize her to other cats beyond just mine.

Obviously this makes me nervous, because I want her to be adopted to a good home, and not cause any issues, but there's only so much I can do about it after she gets adopted. I can give info, advice, and offer to help integrate her into the new home, but that doesn't mean people will take me up on it.

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Re: Foster homes and cat problems

Postby crlovel » Tue Nov 06, 2012 8:12 am

We started with Joker (pitbull/sharpei mix), who would show interest in the cats, and chase them when they ran, but would show no aggression - just a strong desire to play. Our one male cat (we have three indoor cats, two male, one female) would actually get mad and worked up enough to chase the dog, NOT playing, which the Joker LOVED, even as he ran for his life from the spitting and growling cat. Joker also loves the neighbor's dogs, and, for that matter, every dog he's met, as well as other cats, such as the one at the vet's office.

And then we got Daphne. Daphne is a two year old female demon trapped in a small 50 pound pitbull body. She is a loving and devoted dog, very good with people and kids, even if she's only happy when she's trying to climb into your lap to lick and chew on your chin. She does not for an instant accept a "no, get down" - she KNOWS you really want her on your lap, licking your face, and nibbling. She spent the first two years of her life being ignored and starved, locked away in a crate with not much interaction. After she was used as evidence to prosecute her former owners, she was sent to a kill shelter, where we found and rescued her. She is ok with the neighbor's male shihtzu, but is VERY aggravated by their massive female German Shepherd puppy (80 pounds at 8 months, beautiful dog, has a head that looks like a horse). When she goes out into our yard, she patrols the fence, looking for the neighbor's dogs. Fortunately, we always both look for each others' dogs before we let them out in the yard, so interactions are few and far between. When they happen, it's all very loud barking and carrying-on, but no trying to attack through the fence. I'm convinced that a few good walks with the neighbor's dog would settle the issue and they'd be friends (Joker loves the dogs), but the neighbor is in her 80's and doesn't seem inclined.

Daphne has quite a prey drive. She's already caught and killed one rabbit in our backyard. I fully expect additional rabbits and squirrels to follow. She's a quick beast. Joker, on the other hand, likely wouldn't know what to do with a rabbit if he saw one. When we go to the pet store, Daphne shows great interest in the caged rabbits and cats, and loves to watch them, but she doesn't try to get to them. Domestic critters are pretty safe, wild critters are food.

After we got Daphne, Joker now shows zero interest in the cats. He's all about his new sister, even though she firmly puts him in his place when she needs to. She is definitely the alpha dog between them, which we expected - Joker is a very submissive dog. He just wants to play and be chased and have fun, which he gets plenty of with Daphne.

Daphne, on the other hand, is VERY fascinated by the cats. Often when she approaches one of our cats, the cat won't even know she's there. She is quiet, head down, very focused, and walks slowly and calmly up to the cat. It is unnerving to see her like this - she reminds me of a predatory cat herself when approaching in this manner. Often, the first time the cat even knows she's there is when he feels Daphne's breath on the back of his/her neck. At that point, things go one of two ways - the cat bolts and runs upstairs, with Daphne in hot pursuit (always the female cat), or the cat looks at her and holds his ground, either ignoring her (in which case Daphne just stands there, VERY close, watching with great interest), or the cat hisses and smacks her (Daphne always backs off), or, as has happened numerous times, the cat will begin to purr and rub against Daphne's face or body. When this happens, Daphne always wags her tail and gives a doggy smile, and usually walks away.

Daphne's approach is hugely dependent on her energy level. If she just came in from outside and is wound up, or if she and Joker were throwing each other around the living room, forget the quiet and predatory approach if a cats shows up - she hauls ass and goes after the cat, in which case the cat will ALWAYS run like hell upstairs - thus encouraging the chase. Again, usually a sharp word will bring her back down, but not always - if she corners the cat, nothing comes of it - she just stands there over the pissed-off cat. Usually the cat will just go under a bed, where Daphne won't fit. If the cat is up ON the bed, Daphne will hop up and stand over the cat, just staring. Intently. Very intently. Again, "Daphne, leave it!" or "Daphne, NO!" will bring her back with a goofy "I'm sorry" expression on her face. Sometimes a light tap on her butt is enough to take her attention from the cat; a treat always works, too. That sweet and innocent "I'm sorry" expression is ALWAYS on her face, especially when she's doing her damnedest to climb into your lap to lick your face.

Now, we don't just sit there and watch, obviously - we like our cats alive and kicking. Usually a sharp word and Daphne backs down and comes away from the cat. Also, when we're sleeping, or when we're away, both dogs have their crates - no dog is EVER alone with the cats.

While we trust Joker, he is what he is, and because of his instinct to chase (even if in play), we know that Daphne is a very real threat, and she could set him off if she decided to actually do some damage. So far, so good, and the treat-training/vigilance/crate use continue.

Joker on the left, Daphne on the right:


Daphne, "I'm sorry!":


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Re: Foster homes and cat problems

Postby Megan » Tue Nov 06, 2012 10:05 am

I am so glad to see this thread. My foster dog is not cat safe, and very determined.

She's been here six months now and we have only made small improvements. She can walk past a cat outdoors and "leave it" while on lead at a close distance. I haven't had any luck with our indoor cats to date, but this gives me more options to try with her and another method. Although, she can easily clear a 4' fence--so I don't think a baby gate will hold her. I'll have to try another route with that.

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Re: Foster homes and cat problems

Postby JSturmgewehr » Sun Oct 19, 2014 12:13 pm

My pit (Ricky) had been fostered from the local Humane Society and killed a cat in his foster home. He tested non-cat aggressive at the shelter but killed that cat in the foster home anyway. With that in his history he was deemed un-adoptable and for all practical purposes put on death row. Since I'm a volunteer dog handler for the Humane Society and have put in a lot of time with dogs, including problem dogs, they let me have Ricky. I do not have cat but the ones he's been exposed to he has shown no indication of aggression. I wouldn't push my luck (especially the cat's luck) by bringing a cat into the house, though.

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