I have a new family member...but he isn't canine >.

This is a place to gain some understanding of dog behavior and to assist people in training their dogs and dealing with common behavior problems, regardless of the method(s) used. This can cover the spectrum from non-aversive to traditional methods of dog training. There are many ways to train a dog. Please avoid aggressive responses, and counter ideas and opinions with which you don't agree with friendly and helpful advice. Please refrain from submitting posts that promote off-topic discussions. Keep in mind that you may be receiving advice from other dog owners and lovers... not professionals. If you have a major problem, always seek the advice of a trainer or behaviorist!

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Work? What's- that?
Barked: Fri Jul 20, '12 1:39pm PST 

Meet Ringo. Yes, I know, awful food, but it's the best I could do on short notice and I wanted to get food into his belly, he's quite thin.

Let Samson out off the front porch to pee this morning and I heard yowling from the bushes to my left. I looked over and up popped this little guy.

He's skinny and malnourished, has a slight bit of a prolapse from diarrhea (probably from the poor diet he's been on since being on his own for however long), and has been in a fight with something (right side of his face is a little torn up, and the very end of his tail is bent).

I got him to the vet and they dewormed him and gave him something for the diarrhea, also an antibiotic for an upper respiratory infection.

Don't let that rap sheet fool you though, he is quite active and very affectionate, acting very healthy.

Right now him and Samson seem to be doing okay. Samson is past the rough nose-shoves stage that he does to anything new (because new = bad no matter what, *eyeroll*).

I'm wondering two things:

A) How in the heck do you litter train a cat? Do they just automatically know where to go (that sounds like a stupid thing to expect, but I honestly know absolutely nothing about cats).

and B) How do you socialize a dog to a cat? Is it just something that improves with time? Samson is still a slight bit upset that his routine has been thrown out of whack, but at least he isn't trying to hurt Ringo or anything.

Should I crate Samson at night (he is going to be an indoor kitty)? For you guys that have cats/dogs, when did you consider it "safe" to leave them unsupervised?


I'm not sure how old he is. My best guess is about 3 months. Once he's gotten to a healthy weight I'll get him his basic vaccinations and I'll probably have him neutered 3-4 months from now. Intact dogs are one thing but I know straight up that I am really not up to the challenge of owning an intact indoor male tomcat.

Edited by author Fri Jul 20, '12 1:42pm PST

Bruno CGC

Honorary Kelpie
Barked: Fri Jul 20, '12 2:19pm PST 
Re: litter training. Yep, they usually just know, if they were raised by their own mother and not bottle-fed (and even bottle-fed kitties learn pretty fast.) It's a natural instinct for cats to bury their feces, so they will naturally search out dig-able ground for that. Show him the litter box, make sure it's sited in a good place (a balance of privacy and easy access, away from noisy and busy areas but not a long hike if he suddenly has to go.) Some cats like hooded boxes, other hate them. I would try uncovered first. Usually when cats "forget" to use their litter box, it's because something about the box is scary or gross to them- too long unscooped, in a scary part of the house, or another cat is intimidating them from using it (in multi-cat households.)

Re: dog socialization. I think if Samson is not acting predatory at all, you have a good chance of successful cohabitation. He will get over the weirdness of a cat in his house eventually. Reward him for good behavior and ignoring the cat, such as lying down quietly when you're petting the cat. Make sure that his obedience is up to snuff, so you can quickly call him out of a dangerous situation. I don't know if he's food-possessive at all, but cats are HORRIBLE at respecting dogs' food boundaries sometimes, they'll waltz in like "oh, this looks nice" and it could be a bad situation. I'd make sure that they are entirely separate at meal times, at least for now.

Re: crating at night. If it's easy to do, I'd do it. Better safe than sorry. Make sure kitty has plenty of escape routes and high perches to get away from Samson if necessary. Cat trees are awesome. You'll need a scratching post anyway (for his health and to save your furniture), might as well make it a big one. When you feel safe leaving them alone together is entirely subjective. Some people would say NEVER! with any dog, no matter how gentle, others go by their gut feeling and just make sure kitty has enough private space and escape routes.

Good luck! I love cats but Bruno definitely doesn't (unless you count them as snacks or entertainment).
Addy, CGC

Let's go for a- walk!
Barked: Fri Jul 20, '12 3:29pm PST 
My sister has all her cats crate trained, and you've got a kitten there, so if crating Samsin at night isn't practical, you could do that.

The correct number of litter boxes is the numberof cats, plus one. You need two, ideally not right next to each other. And, yes, a balance of privacy and easy access is important.

Have fun! smile

Toto, CD, RN, CGC

We don't do- doodles!!!
Barked: Fri Jul 20, '12 6:18pm PST 
We use a baby gate, slight off the floor so the kitten can get under it. Litter box, cat food and cat bed are in that room. That way, the cat can escape the dog if necessary, the litter box is safe from snacking and so is the cat food.
He looks like he might also have earmites to me. A dose of revolution will help that as well as roundworms, etc.
Kali earned- her wings- 10/21/14

She's game for- anything that's- fun.
Barked: Fri Jul 20, '12 6:22pm PST 
He is very cute. Good for you for taking him in. I agree that if Samson hasn't tried to eat him yet, then the chances are good they will be friends. Good luck with both of them. applause
Sarah, CWSR,- CWG1, CGC

Million Dollar- Mutt
Barked: Fri Jul 20, '12 9:43pm PST 
So cute! He looks like my cat, Charlie! I think you've gotten a lot of great info from everyone already. Like Toto, I also have a room that is gated off from the dogs. "Kitty Crunchies" from the litterbox are a delicacy for my dogs, so putting up the gate really helps keep everyone healthy. My dogs also crave cat food so the cats are fed behind the gate or up on my dresser. Thanks for taking in the little guy!kitty
LuLu "Lupin"- Padfoot

Barked: Fri Jul 20, '12 10:09pm PST 
kitten that young i would not allow free roam of the house, lock him in one room or make a play area he can't escape.

i say this because generally people will put the litterboxes in out of the way spots, and babies that young have a hard time getting to them in time and will pick out a different closer spot. plus you can baby proof the area easier. he will chew up claw up anything he can get to. so if you pick the bathroom as his safe spot, hide the tp!

generally they already know how to use a litterbox, it's very instinctive. if not, get a dog crate and chuck him in there. make it small enough that he must use the box.

you can train cats with treats and clickers and wands. it's pretty fun.happy dance

Work? What's- that?
Barked: Sat Jul 21, '12 6:05am PST 
Okay, quick update, the little guy's appetite is RAVENOUS. I can't believe how much he has eaten. I went out today and bought what (I hope) is a week's supply of wet food. I don't want to give him too much dry with his digestive system being all out of sorts.

The prolapse is *slowly* getting better. If he wasn't so skinny I'd fast him for a day or so to give his digestive tract time to rest, but I'm worried that might do him more harm than good. He eats so much then he has to poop all the time so it's kind of back-and-forth bouncing for that to heal up. But it is looking better today.

I'm your new- best friend! Pet- me!
Barked: Sat Jul 21, '12 6:15am PST 
Wow, had almost the same experience yesterday! Let Mya outside, look out the window and she has an 8-10 week old kitten in her mouth. She's a really pretty dilute calico and so friendly and sweet. She's also starving and pretty much just skin and bones.
We're trying to find ours a new home (I've fostered and adopted about 50 cats so I know some people to get the word spread) since we already have two cats that don't like eachother as it is. laugh out loud

With our fully grown cats, we basically just would start with the cat and dog seperated by a baby gate and with the cat at the top of the stairs just so the dog could see. Then we rewarded calm behavior. We kept moving closer and since we clicker train, the "look at that!" game helped a lot. eventually the cat made it down onto the office desk and there were a few hours of barking and pacing, but now the cat that comes downstairs and the dog can get along pretty well.
We keep our cat food and water on the bathroom counter upstairs, and the litter box around the corner. We have a covered litter box, and Mya hasn't tried to get into it too much so far.

Which way did- they go?
Barked: Sat Jul 21, '12 10:47am PST 
we recently got a one eyed black kitten who was found in a bad neighborhood in Chicago. Some kids were using him to pee on confused 1.3 lbs extremely malnourished. He eats like my Beagle! Small amounts numerous times during the day. At first he was using the bathtub as a litter box so I put a little box in the tub. He would pee in the box but pooped in the tub. (Better than a rug and easier to clean!) I got some of the Dr Elsey's Kitten Attract litter and used it in all litter boxes in the house (we have 3 adult cats also) It worked!! And I love the litter!! Have now switched to the Cat Attract for everyone.

My dogs have been with cats and this little guy is fearless, but I kept him in the bathroom for the first few weeks when not supervised with the dogs.

The vet started his shots 3 weeks after we got him, he was up to 2.13 lbs in 3 weeks! Went in for another set last week, he is now 3.9 lbs! But he has his adult teeth all ready so our vet feels he is now more like 4 or 5 mos. He was very undernourished so that could be why he is so small.

Sammy, the kitten, had a bad URI but we didn't do antibiotics. They really don't do anything for a virus and he got over it in a week or so.

All the cats eat ZiwiPeak (all life stages food) so nothing different for him.

Good luck! And thank you for rescuing the little guy! He is adorable!!
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