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Behaviors

#1
Hello All,
so I've posted before about advice for my 1.5 year old f5 savannah male (his name is Thorfinn). Just a brief recap: I got him when he was 6 mos and have had him for a bit more than a year so far, he was under socialized as a kitten so for as long as I've had him he won't let me touch him, but he's made progress in that sometimes he'll approach me and sniff me and will take chicken from my hand. SO basically he's a very shy, and very unconfident cat. Recently I made the decision to add a dog to my home. I have been given the opportunity to adopt a 3 year old toy poodle so he's a bit smaller than Thorfinn but my condition was that if he was a cat terrorist and caused problems with my cat I wouldn't take him. So I've brought him home for visits and introductions twice so far. The first time went as expected, Thorfinn hid under a bed and stared the dog down while growling every so often. The dog didn't react at all. Then the second visit I decided to use a more indirect approach: I kept the dog outside on a porch with a big screen door and just hung out with him outside for a while. Thorfinn came down after a few minutes and sat by the screen. The dog was really interested in approaching Thorfinn so I let him and surprisingly they just sniffed each other for a very long time and there were no negative reactions. After this I took the dog out and was gone with him for a few hours. When I came home alone, I was pleasantly surprised at what I came home to. My cat wanted to play and be around me! And I obviously reeked of the dog too, I mean I could still smell him on me so I knew Thorfinn could. He played with me for hours and I was even able to stroke his back a few times while he was distracted with the toy and he didn't even flinch! Then when he was through playing he jumped up on the bed with me and sat upright, so close, so close it seemed awkward. Then he put one of his front paws on my leg as he sat, then he LAYED on my legs! This is the most unheard of behavior that I've seen from this cat. My sister who is currently keeping the dog for me until I know for sure that this will be a safe match and is a dog trainer said that she knows with dogs that they can help each other with behaviors so maybe it works with other animals too. Has anyone experienced this? I mean, this is a cat who hates new people he holds massive grudges about many things and so I would expect that he would be angry with me smelling like a dog or even bringing the dog around. But he seems to be the exact opposite. Perhaps this is all he needed or at least seeing me give physical touch to another creature and seeing enjoyment. I have no idea. Any thoughts?
 

Carykd7kau

Reincarnated cat Moderator
#2
I'm no cat behaviorist, but MAYBE he feels his ground is not too steady and feels he may be slated for an oust. OR. He sees that the pup is getting nice treatment from you so maybe he should try you out. OR. Maybe it was just the right time for him to try to be closer. Work with him. There is a door opening to your relationship with Thorfinn... go in the door. :)
 

WitchyWoman

Admin
Staff member
#3
This is the exact same thing that happened with my 2nd F2. After I kept his in quarantine for a month and tried everything I could to get him to trust me, it wasn't until I relented and let him meet the other cats that he began to establish a real relationship with me. I don't think we'll ever know the real reason why this works with some animals, but I'm grateful it worked in my case. And I'm happy that it seems to be working in yours. Good luck and keep us updated on how it goes with the dog.
 

Brigitte Cowell

Moderator
Staff member
#4
I agree...it might be that the cat is insecure and somehow having the other pet around reassures him... so maybe the dog will be the beginning of a new phase in your relationship with the cat!
 

Patti

Admin
Staff member
#5
It's hard to know exactly why Thorfinn reacted the way he did - as Cary mentioned, seeing you respond to the dog may have made him jealous, or may have realized that receiving attention and affection from you is not a bad thing.

One thing I would caution you about however, I suspect Thorfinn does not consider the porch part of his territory, so until you see the same benevolent behavior between the two of them inside the house, I wouldn't assume all is good between them. Having said that, getting a playmate for Thorfinn might be the best medicine in the world for him...