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Acclimating dogs to the kitty???


Aniyah's mommy
So let me bring you all up to date as to acclimating Aniyah (F2 kitty) first...She is TOTALLY out of her shell now. She's 15 1/2 weeks old, been home with us now for 3 weeks. She runs to us when we enter "her room", which is really MY room;) She sleeps with us all night under the covers, follows anyone who comes into the room for petting and holding. Total Love Bug describes her to the "T".

For the past week, she has been really interested in "what's on the other side of the bedroom door?". Problem is, I've got me two pretty territorial Miniature Schnauzers and I can't really let her roam around unless they are outside in the backyard. Every day at lunch this week, I have put them outside and allowed Aniyah to explore beyond the bedroom. She progresses every day as to how far she goes. She's running through the living room, jumping on couches, playing and starting to make her way into the dining and kitchen as of yesterday.

So, I know the time is literally just around the corner for her to be roaming the entire house and I really would like her to be able to explore without me worrying the dogs are going to corner her every second. I DO understand the supervision thing and don't plan on letting her be out with them all day while we are gone but at least at night when the whole family is home I'd like her to gradually become and integral part of the family! She's just still smaller than they are and they are most definitely curious of her and it's making me a Nervous Nelly.

Both dogs have been raised from 6 weeks of age with a cat in the house. They are now 4 and 9 years old so it's not likely they forgot I don't think??? They know what cats are and have always seemed to do well with ours. Well the one cat we did have passed away about 2 months before we got Aniyah and now they act like they've never seen such a creature:confused:

I've started to reverse the acclimating procedure a bit in an attempt to get them used to seeing her and being around her without just all out going nuts and trying to get to her. My approach has been this: Each night, we have been bringing one dog into our room at a time, fully restrained either by myself or my husband and literally make them just sit there and observe the kitty. Aniyah is extremely confident because she literally REFUSES to hide from them. She carries on about her business unless they approach her (still restrained by us of course). Anyway, they seem to be making progress one minute but then if she moves too quickly it sparks something in them and they try to rush her. She will hiss, give a little growl and then carry on with what she was doing. It's seriously like she KNOWS we are there to protect her and therefor she really doesn't pay much attention to them. But are THEY going to eventually get the hint not to attack her?!

Last night I got the idea of having her play as hard and fast as she could, while making each dog sit still and just watch. I figured if they get comfortable with her running to and fro that maybe once they are not restrained, they'll be kindof used to her???

Also, I'm entertaining the idea of getting a baby gate and putting it at the bedroom door rather than keeping the door closed all the time. Good idea or bad?

I just feel bad for her because obviously she's ready to take the next step but I have two stubborn ding dong dogs that are kindof bossy:eek:

Brigitte Cowell

Staff member
Definitely a baby gate to the bedroom door is a good idea at the time you decide to let Aniyah have the house... it gives her a place to retreat to if the dogs are too much. Also look at your house from her perspective and make sure that there are plenty of places she could choose to jump up to out of the dogs' way if she needs to. If anything seems to high, think about placing a chair next to it to help her scale it. If she can perch up high she can observe them from there, and they will quickly learn she can evade them. I've also seen kitties learn they can lean over and bop the doggy on the head to teach him manners too!

Putting the dogs on leashes while you play with Aniyah is not a bad idea... as long as it doesn't develop into a fiasco with them getting overexcited and barking up a storm. I do think putting them on leashes initially may be good if they are exuberant dogs...

And watch the interaction. Even with the baby gate, if Aniyah seems unwilling to go far into the house because of fear of the dogs then you might want to look into putting up baby gates in more parts of the house for a little the kitchen if it opens into the living room for example. So that she can "safely" come into the living area but be able to escape easily if she needs to. Not sure if your bedroom is down a long hallway or up stairs from the main living area...


Aniyah's mommy

Chairs are a wonderful idea! On one entire wall of our living room we have our fireplace (floor to celing, and with a mantle) that is flanked on both sides by bookshelves. I imagine if I put a chair in front of each side of the fireplace, she could very easily jump from the chair to the shelf to the mantle! We have a magnificent cat tree in our room for her but really don't have room for it in the living area. I bought her that with the thought of it being a great way to escape the barking beasts;)

And she has bopped them both so far, no claws out but bopped none the less!

I'm going to stop on the way home to get the gate. I'm tellin ya....I'm a mother of three and this whole kitty cat experience is bringing back some memories! Certainly wouldn't trade it for the world either.

As for getting multiple gates, my house is semi-open concept and has super wide entries from the living into the kitchen - into the dining - and into the entry hallway. Like I'm talking several feet so I think what I may do is give the animals turns on either side of the gate to our room? As in the dogs in our room so she can roam around a little and then switch them to the other side and let her have the bedroom? I'll probably be sitting by the gate indian style for a while just to be the hall monitor:roflmao: Our room has what I call a "nook" between it and the living room. You can see directly into our room from the couch. So I think it's open enough to feel inclusive to the rest of the home but still safe enough for her to retreat. I just think maybe with the baby gate being see-thru, they can all look at each other and get used to the new norm in the house!

Thank you so much for your response and great advice!


Staff member
It sounds like you are doing all the right things, just continue to be patient with all of them. It might be that Aniyah will just have to smack the boys around a bit for them to learn true respect of her... :roflmao:


Aniyah's mommy
Baby gate update here....So I installed a baby gate (the kind that actually screws into the door frame and has a swinging door and handle) on Saturday. Aniyah was already pretty accustomed to playing in the living room due to the fact that she's been allowed in there at lunch for the last week. So, I do believe that she was ecstatic to see that she had been granted full access to the house. And oddly enough, the dogs did surprisingly well too! They did alot of sniffing and kindof got a little over excited if she moved too fast or jumped. However, they were literally laying next to one another on the back of the couch asleep.....until she jumped down. That's when the scramble began and I was right there with them hanging on to leashes but allowing everyone to get used to the new norm in the house. I'm willing to bet that as each day passes, the new kitty will cease to amaze the dogs as much and life will carry on.

As for the chair in front of the book shelves,'s a blurry pic from my phone but you will certainly get the point:roflmao: photo.JPG .

Sophie (my daughter) thought the bench was for her to pose for pictures. Harley (the 9 year old schnauzer) thought the bench was for him to explore the bookshelves. Aniyah (on the second shelf to the right) just looked at them both as if they were both crazy. So, I moved the bench further away from the shelves so that it's a cat's jump away, not a dogs;)

Needless to say, we ARE making headway!!!


Aniyah's mommy
Alright it's been three weeks since we installed the baby gate on our bedroom door to allow the dogs and Aniyah to interact.

Highlights are:
1) Aniyah has taught BOTH canines and my human toddler to run through the living room, into the dining room, over the top of the dining room table and back through the whole course all over again.

2) I had to remove the huge flower arrangement from the center of the dining room table because Aniyah was hiding in the middle of it (as if she were hiding in a jungle) and stalking the dogs as they ran by....keep in mind this is all happening on TOP of the dining table!:roflmao:

3) Aniyah intentionally runs through the living room to see who will "take the bait" and run after her. If no one chases her, she'll do it again and this time with a swat or two to get the doggies moving.

4) Last but not least, she came out of the bedroom yesterday purring and rubbing up against our alpha dog and giving him all kinds of love:in love::in love::in love: ....found them later sleeping together on my daughters bed, Aniyah was on her back with her tummy up and arms stretched out toward Harley (the dog). Still 12 inches apart but it was seriously the sweetest thing I've seen in the last few weeks!