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Savannah introductions to new puppy


Savannah Teenager
I have my F5 Savannah Nylah and she tends to be on the timid side. She generally only allows me to handle and hold her. She does accept others by being in the room watching the activities even in large holiday gatherings.

When she first came home I separated her in my room and bath. We already had our ragdoll cat of 14 years. Nylah made a scene with the other cat on first introductions, but after a few hours they were in the same room and now great companions.

My folks picked up a small puppy from a shelter this weekend. Nylah's reaction has been to be on full guard and hiss and snarl with hair and tail in full show. She retreats up to our room. She hides under the bed. She does come out when I am in at the computer. She talks with me and comes over and rubs against my leg.

I wanted to know if it is best to allow her to retreat to the room and hope she will come out to rest of house again. The cats have always had a potty box and water with dry food upstairs. They always come down for their wet food in the morning and evening. Would it be best to keep the can food downstairs even during this intro time. I don't want to feed her can upstairs in fear it will enforce her retreat attitude, but I want to make sure she is fed.

The puppy does not bark or attack. The puppy is actually very scared of the ragdoll after she was swatted by the cat she gives the ragdoll wide zone.

I am hoping they will all get along! Advise or encouragement that this too will pass.


Staff member
I would definitely allow Nylah to retreat if she feels the need. Perhaps you could crate the pup for a few hours in the middle of the living (or whichever) room so that Nylah can check her out in a safe environment. I would actually do this for several days in a row if possible, hopefully she will start to show more curiosity than fear, and eventually become best buddies with the pup as well.

Brigitte Cowell

Staff member
Good advice!

I think that Nylah needs a little time to decide what threat level the puppy is on her own... making sure that Nylah can retreat easily will help. I like the idea of crating the puppy to see if that gives Nylah more confidence to go check it out...


Savannah Super Cat
And also make sure the pup doesn't have access to their food or litterbox.


Savannah Teenager
Thanks. Update - She has been upstairs for 2 full days now. She is coming out still while in the room with her. When the door closes on the bedroom she is her own self and playing. She still hides under the bed when the puppy comes around. The good news is the growling is gone. The puppy noticed her hiding place and has tried to make introductions. I know they will be great playmates once we are past the newness of each other. He has sniffed under the bed and no hissing or growling so I have hope they will make it.


Staff member
Sounds like progress is being made - fingers and paws crossed that it continues!


Savannah Super Cat
This is where the high perches and cat trees out the puppy's reach is good. Cats like to feel empowered by elevation. It is what they do naturally to protect themselves- climb a tree, right? It sounds like they will be fine however. Discourage any chasing behaviors on the puppy's behalf as his nature is to be the predator and dominate. I have some cats that love my dogs and some that just don't. They read it right away and know who they can chase and who they can't. You would be surprised who that is. My 18 lb F1 is the most chasible while the F7 girl is no nonsense. Okay, so chasible isn't a word!


We have a Savannah Spencer and two other DSH and got an APBT puppy in October. We have used baby gates to only allow the dog certain places and it gives the cat retreat if the pup chases them. It's good to have safe zones the cat can have and be confident the dog can't enter.

Generally, the cats run the show with the dog but sometimes the dog will chase the cats from time to time in play fashion. There is progress for sure, it just takes some time. Spencer has even just started what we think is playing with the dog. Which consists of him running by the dog and then swiping at her and then chasing her. Then the dog gets engaged and plays back. We just make sure to monitor them closely because as much as the dog is friendly and wants to play, it's very much stronger than the cats and could accidentally hurt them.

I do find that it's much longer adjustment period for dog and cat than it was for cat and cat.


Savannah Teenager
Well glad to report a little more progress. She stayed on her cat tree last night when the puppy cam in the room. Later she came downstairs while I called her name. The puppy was being held on my dad's lap. She sniffed around the room and spotted the puppy on the coach. She did not run and went around smelling. I was so excited. She then went back upstairs.

Getting there! yeah