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Introducing a cat to a dog advice?

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bdbg's picture
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Joined: 16.12.2010

Hello! I've introduced animals in the past, but usually dogs to dogs or cats to cats, or one of the parties was a baby. Recently, I've brought a stray cat into my home where I already have an 13yr-old, born deaf, terrier mix. I was living somewhere else last month (without the dog :() and I found the cat and she was with me for a little while. Unfortunately, my permanent home is very small and I share it with some roommates who have two big dogs of their own.
(Just for clarity the dog's he/him and the cat's she/her from here on)

I've been home with the cat for about a week, and I've given her my bedroom as her own as much as I can. My dog usually follows at my heel when I'm home, and he doesn't take kindly to being made to sleep in the living room (actually he just sits and my door and howls until my roommates threaten me with violence), so the two need to coexist for some period of each day. I gave my dog her blanket and he was pretty unfazed, he was equally uninterested in her when she was in her carrier. In general he could care less that she's around unless she's too close to him, in which case he growls a little. I adopted him as an adult and he's pretty untrained. Since he's deaf there's no verbal commands I give him, so to command him to be quiet I need his attention, which he rarely gives me if he thinks I'm going to try and give him a command :p.

The cat avoids the dog as much as possible. She hissed at him a few times until she realized he was deaf, I suppose. She did approach him a few times, but all she does is sniff him, wait about 30 seconds for him to react- which he never does- and then smacks him in the face, which does garner a reaction from him, usually a bit of snarl/growl and he then hides behind me. However, since approaching him the first time, the cat's become afraid of him. In the beginning, she would sleep on the bed with us (just very far away from the dog), but now when he's in the room she hides under the bed. My dog has never been crated before, and I have started crating him for about 30 minutes a day so she can feel comfortable in his presence, but this makes him miserable and anxious. He associates the leash with walks, and won't sit still when he's leashed.

Basically I was hoping someone might have some advice for me. I am looking for a more suitable home for the cat, but she may be here for a little while, and I want her to be as comfortable as possible. It saddens me that she hides under the bed all night, when I know my dog could care less. The rest of the house is off-limits because A. the other two dogs would scare her as well and B. she hasn't had her shots, so I wouldn't want to expose my roomies' dogs to her. I realize it's might be partly a matter of time, but does anyone have some ideas?