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another one -- F4 8 mo.o. male territorial with a new uppy :( HELP!

Discussion in 'Savannah Cat Behavior' started by MF-boy, Aug 18, 2012.

  1. MF-boy

    MF-boy Savannah Child

    Messages:
    11
    Hi, I am new to the forum, found it desperately searching for solutions :)

    This is a similar question to another thread about a Savannah being territorial with a puppy boxer, and I read that one throughout. The difference -- our cat, a 9-month old F4 male, is already a dog-cat,he is VERY bonded with our 8-y.o. Giant Schnauzer (from the first day we had him at home at 11 weeks of age) does not accept a new puppy (12 weeks old boy). He has been VERY sweet and gentle, with his people and do, visitors, vet's office staff, another dog-visitor... At first, things looked, actually, better: a little of hissing, a lot of interest -- tapping on his head, sniffing, inviting to play. Several times they played chasing each other, but then we saw that the cat is setting the puppy up: once he gets close, whether while playing or just walking by, he hisses, growls, taps with his paw -- first, softly, then the nails come out... sometimes it looks like he is curious and meaning well, but then without any actions from the puppy, he almost attacks -- hisses into his face, shows claws, growls and makes sounds we never heard. Some of the sounds, actually, are the same as when he hunts flies and watches birds -- I wonder if he is about to hunt the dog, lol!

    And another serious issue -- the cat seems very unhappy. I spent the first night in a different room with the puppy, and he did not come -- so, he missed his morning ritual or purring, rubbing cheeks, licking... The second night, I put the puppy into the crate (although we never crated our dogs, he seems to be crate-trained and likes it there) in the bedroom -- and the cat never showed up in the morning, but immediately after the puppy was behind the bars, he came close, hissed, put his paw through the gate... third night the puppy was in a different bedroom (luckily he sleeps tight for 8 straight hours and does not mind being there) with my husband, and the cat did come in the morning with our morning ritual and looked happier.

    Several times he would not let the puppy enter the house or room, stops him and hisses/growls, although today he seems a little more receptive but still hissing/showing claws when the puppy gets too close. The only truce time is at feeding, as everyone is hand-fed (we feed raw, and the cat always wanted to eat like a real dog --he thinks he is a dog, BTW), so they site peacefully next to each other.

    We are watching them all the time, not leaving unsupervised, and when the cat does his territorial things, we tell him "NO!" (he knows what it means), carry him away -- give him a lot of petting, hugging, kissing, as with the puppy's arrival, he immediately became more willing to be touched. Feeding the cat form the same bowl as the puppy, giving the puppy the lowest rank as far the order of getting food, rotate the animals, so only two can be inside or outside together,

    He did not mark anything, I am using Feliway spray in every room, maybe should put some on the puppy or on his collar? Was neutered just a week before the puppy's arrival.

    Any advice, please -- how to help him to accept the puppy and not feel threatened or get stressed. thanks!
     
  2. Patti

    Patti Admin Staff Member

    Messages:
    10,141
    You didn't really give a time frame over which this has been happening except for the first three days but it sounds like perhaps you introduced them too soon. I think you need to continue to supervise their time together. You should also continue to give your F4 plenty of one on one time so that he doesn't feel as though he has been usurped by the new puppy. Also try playing with them side by side without trying to get them to interact with each other. A puppy can be pretty boisterous and overwhelming so it will probably take time for them to learn respect for each other.
     
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  3. Brigitte Cowell

    Brigitte Cowell Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    5,447
    I was wondering about the time frame also... maybe you just need to be more patient and keep encouraging them to have positive interactions for a bit longer?
     
  4. Wyldthingz

    Wyldthingz Savannah Super Cat

    Messages:
    742
    It sounds like you are doing the right things. Every animal has their own time frame. Some adjust better than others. Puppies are like babies, they take a lot of going in and out and are very space oriented- ie wants to be near you constantly. He won't be that way forever. Such a presence is very evasive to a cat! Don't forget that sometimes you need to put the pup away in a crate give your cat some play time. Affection is great but Savannahs need play time with you- it is a good stress reliever.
     
  5. MF-boy

    MF-boy Savannah Child

    Messages:
    11
    Thank you all for the suggestions! We will try playing with them side by side. Yes, the puppy does go into the crate for the night and daytime nap, and the kitty says -- "That's right! You people need to know -- a good puppy is a crated puppy!" :)

    Answering your questions about the time frame -- that's right, today is the fourth day. About introducing them too quickly -- the plan was to separate them, but after the dog went outside to meet him, the cat was very agitated and wanted to follow, so the introductions happened outside, with plenty of space for everyone (the cat has a collar and is in training for the radio fence). In fact, the cat was simply watching form the deck how the dog and the puppy were interacting, and when we let them sniff each other, everything looked fine at first, and because we saw the same cat fully accepting a visitor dog and he did not seem more than cautiously curious on day one, we let the puppy be with everyone.

    things are much better today, after the older dog and the puppy went for a long walk and the cat can have his morning ritual with me in the bed, he doesn't' react when the puppy walks by and invites him to play occasionally -- tapping on the head and the running away at full seed. comes to sniff/touch noses with him in the morning and after the puppy returns form a walk. The puppy now wears a collar at home, so we can hold him better, if he gets too close, and overall it looks like a truce, but I am being very cautious, so the puppy's clumsiness is not going to provoke another burst.

    When the puppy got a little rough, we scruffed him and reprimanded -- the cat watched closely and seemed very pleased, lol!

    Yes, we are giving the cat a lot of attention, but as far as giving him "time" it doens't work this way because he is not very much into it. His morning quality time when I am waking up (he waits to the alarm to go off before coming with his greeting) -- licking, gently biting, rubbing, purring -- could be 10-20 min, until I wake up. He doesn't usually come to us for more than a few seconds during the day -- touch noses, rub, allows to be held and carried but not for long, and doesn't have much interest in playing. He is always around us watching, and he goes into his outdoor enclosure through the window door, watching what is going on outside, and he hunts flying bugs -- I guess, he gets a lot of mental stimulation from these activities. I am offering him to play frequently, but he is not very much into it as he was when he was younger.

    I wonder how long did it take for others who was introducing new animals to the household before they would accept each other. The puppy will be staying in a separate room when we are not at home; it has a French door, so they will all see each other, and I wonder if putting a baby gate instead is a good idea: the puppy would feel less separated, but if the cat gets over it, he can try to harass him, and the puppy is 2-3 times bigger and clumsy...

    does anyone know if Savannah's can climb/jump over a 5' exercise pen wall?
     
  6. Patti

    Patti Admin Staff Member

    Messages:
    10,141
    The introductions are still in the very beginning stages and it sounds as though you are taking the right steps. I would definitely separate them when you are not there, it might be better to crate the pup - that way they can get nose to nose without being able to get aggressive. Most dogs will tolerate crating for several hours, this mostly depends on how old the pup is and how long he can go between pottying. Savannahs can easily get over a five foot x-pen wall.
     
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  7. Brigitte Cowell

    Brigitte Cowell Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    5,447
    Absolutely, a 5' pen is a small hurdle for them to hop over! LOL!

    When you say that your cat isn't so interested in play... have you tried a number of toys and ways of playing? Even something that worked when they are babies may not work when they are older...mine go through phases of toys they prefer, and change at different ages. Some cats prefer a mousie dragged over the ground slowly (Go Cat makes a great mousie wand toy), some want it moving fast, some want it flying through the air to be interested or dangled up high. Some prefer a feather on a string (for example Go Cat flyer) and again might prefer the different ways to move it. It can take some figuring out, but it is a rare cat that won't want to play with any toy...even my lazy British Shorthair wants to play :)

    I think your baby gate idea is a good one, this allows the puppy to see the household but your cat will be able to easily go in and out. I often suggest putting a baby gate to a "safe room" if a kitten is introduced to a house with dogs for that reason, it means the kitten/cat always has somewhere they can go to that is dog-free. Also make sure your house has levels the cat can retreat to if it wants to... shelves, cat trees etc.

    Four days is rather soon to be worrying over it taking too long...and in the grand scheme of things is a mere blip. In a few months' time you'll wonder why you were worried at all :)
     
  8. Laura W

    Laura W Savannah Super Cat

    Messages:
    296
    We used a baby gate in front of Echos room so he could get away if he felt the need. Worked great! Now he is pretty much out with the dogs, us and our Bengal all the time. My only concern would be with the dog being larger, could it corner and hurt the cat? There would be heck to pay if it tried, SV are very quick, but not sure if it's a chance I'd take without you being there to supervise. Other concern has to be is the dog able to knock the baby gate down if it gets excited? I know Echo would sometimes knock his down when he was scared and going over it back into his room. I also agree you need high places so the SV can make sure it can get high enough up to be safe if the dog gets rambunctious.
     
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  9. Patti

    Patti Admin Staff Member

    Messages:
    10,141
    Great points Laura!
     
  10. MF-boy

    MF-boy Savannah Child

    Messages:
    11
    Thanks again for the suggestions. At this time, it is the cat who may hurt the puppy if he jumps over the baby gate -- although I need to say, he has been careful even with the claws, so the puppy never yelped. So, we are keeping them either supervised, or the cat is outside, or the puppy is outside/crated/in a separate room. The real truce is at feeding time, everyone is sitting next to each other and accepting his portion form the hand.

    the cat is asking for attention more than before (and is getting it), and yes, we found an old toy which he enjoyed (a piece of paper tied to a thread), so we had some good playing time. Overall,
    hings are more settled now.

    We have been dog people with multiple dog household, so dog training and behavior are common things for us as well as body language, and potential problem areas, but this is our first cat, and we are trying to prevent problems where we can, but we are still on the learning curve about what the cat needs and tells us, so advice is always appreciated. :)
     
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