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Introducing cats and dogs...help!

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My MIL found a kitten a few weeks ago, obviously abandoned. She brought it in her home and has taken care of it while she's been looking for a new home for it. She's about 3 months old now (was probably 6-8 weeks is our best guess when she was found). DD fell in love with her (as have DS and I) and we brought her home last night.


Here's the problem: MIL has a Chihuahua and, despite the best efforts to keep them apart, her dog has chased Gracie, the kitten, quite a few times....usually the result of someone having the cat out and someone else accidentally letting the dog out of the bedroom. Gracie has never been hurt by the dog, but she's terrified of dogs.


So, we have a dog too...a huge, lovable black Lab named Emma who loves cats almost as much as she loves people. She grew up with a cat, but that cat has since passed on. How do I convince Gracie that Emma isn't going to hurt her? Every time she sees Emma, she starts shivering, growling, and hissing.


I'm really not expecting them to become friends overnight and that it's going to take days or a couple of weeks for Gracie to realize not all dogs want to kill her. But I've never had a cat who was afraid of dogs and love any tips you all might have as to what I can do to help her out.

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It will come with time, as you already said, but I would suggest, if you can, wait till sometime when your dog is dead-to-the-world asleep and then see if you can entice the kitty a little bit closer... using treats if necessary. If your dog is well-trained, you can have it sit next to you and see if you can get your cat to come closer for a treat from your hand. Cats *ARE* curious, and if the dog simply ignores her, she'll work out that the "big bad wolf" is completely harmless. Best of luck. We've had several that have had to learn this lesson, and it usually takes several nights of an itty-bitty kitty prowling the headboard of our bed, complete with pufftail and growls, before the lesson is learned. :)

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The kitty will probably get over her fear in time. You can hurry the process a bit by positively reinforcing the kitty when she is around the dog. Give her treats (canned food, etc.) in the presence of the dog, etc. Don't push physical contact right away. . . go slow. . . start with just trying to make her feel comfy in the same ROOM. (You could feed her on an elevated surface in the same room as the dog is hanging out in.)


Also, cats are comforted by height. If she feels safe, she's more likely to relax and get comfy. Get her a high cat tree & put it in a place where the dog hangs out a lot.

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