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Thread: Introducing a kitten to Hooch?

  1. #1

    Question Introducing a kitten to Hooch?

    Hi everyone,
    We decided to *try* and foster a kitty.
    We got a little kitten from a rescue but Hooch wants to chase it all the time.
    I got them to sit together and Hooch tolerates it, but as soon as the kitten moves, walks or god forbid runs - Hooch is after it and we have to stop him before he gets to the cat.
    It looks like Hooch has this predatory instinct.
    We don't know how to stop this behaviour, I don't see any way that Hooch will sit or lie down while cat is on the move.
    It worried me that we will have to return the little kitten as we really want to help save it and we can't have another dog.

    Any advice will be appreciated, the rescue is now shut. Husband is going to stay home tomorrow with the animals!

  2. #2
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    Well done on fostering BG, especially after everything you've been/are going through!! How is Hooch by the way?

    My dogs are usually terrified of any new foster cats we get so I haven't had much of a problem, Molly chased one once and the kitten turned around and gave her a big scratch on her nose and all was fine after that

    I would probably sit down with Hooch on a leash and reward him for looking away/ignoring the kitten while it's in the room and then when he has mastered that, get someone to make it run and play etc while he ignores it.

    I'm sure other people will offer many more suggestions but please don't give up just yet - fostering is so rewarding!! Photos of the kitten and Hooch too please!!

    Edit: make sure there are lots of high areas for the kitten to hide from Hooch.. Couch backs, bookcases, a cat tree (really cheap on Online Shopping | Deals Direct Australia's #1 Online Shopping Store) etc.

  3. #3

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    Hi Kristy Maree!!
    Hooch is ok, he is back on the original meds as his liver was back to normal. His lump started growing again so I am sure it will take a couple of weeks at the very least before we see any change. It doesn't hurt him which is the best bit.

    Thanks for the suggestion! Hopefully tomorrow will be better, I think Hooch has deep predatory instincts that I havent really noticed before
    Attached Images Attached Images

  4. #4

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    Just put kitty in the laundry with a warm bed, food, water and toys. I left the light on for him and he is SCREAMING asking to be let out which is getting Hooch crazy.
    I think this might have been a bad idea....

  5. #5
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    It is tempting when you get a foster to just throw all the pets together with the dream that they will just mingle and be happy and give you the warm fuzzies. I speak from experience. My dog is kind of ok with it, but I have caused my own cat great stress by doing that. Fortunately you don't have to worry too much about the effect on the kitten because they seem to simply forget any bad experience after about 5 seconds at that age.

    Anywho, at an absolute minimum you need to have a baby gate so the kitten has a safe place to be where the dog can't follow. If the kitten is small enough to get through the gate, that can work, but ideally you should prevent them from going near the dog when you're not there to supervise. I'm going to fit some shade cloth to our baby gate when we get our next kittens. And I will keep them in my daughter's bedroom next time. Away from the dogs and my cat. It is actually much easier if you have 2 kittens. They are usually quite happy to just hang out with each other so it makes it ok to lock them in a room by themselves for a while. Or even all day when you're out or at night.

    So my advice is make some changes to your set up, consider getting a second kitten to keep the first one company (2 are really not more work than one - kittens are almost as easy to care for as goldfish!) and treat it as a great training opportunity for Hooch. Chasing cats is every dog's favorite sport. But with patience they can get better at controlling the urge. Lots of LAT training, make sure he has a lead attached when you do let them into the same room and try to avoid self reinforcement.

    I once taught a JRT cross that I was minding for a fortnight to stop chasing and harassing our foster kittens. That dog was your classic tenacious terrier. But by consistently using time out for inappropriate behaviour and rewarding for good manners of course, I at least got him to the stage where he would be pretty good around them when he had the lead on (without me holding it) and much better without the lead too. It can be done but it can be one step forward, two steps back at first and it's not a particularly pleasant training experience for the human. But still rewarding when you start getting results.

    Good luck! And remember that you don't have to be this kitten's dream home either. They are really very robust little things and however you choose to care for him, he is much, much better off than he would have otherwise been.

  6. #6

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    Thank you Beloz! It is 3:40am, no one in this household is having any sleep.. kitty not happy in the laundry, crying all night.
    Hubby is staying at home in the morning, hopefully he will be able to sort Hooch the pooch out!

  7. #7
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    Does he want to bite it/step on it/hurt it or does he just want to follow and sniff it? Usually it's ok if they just want to follow and sniff them, the kitten will tell him off when it gets too much. It will be ok - the novelty of his new 'toy' will wear off.. Have you tried just leaving Hooch to sniff under the laundry door until he gets used to the kitten smells and noises? A baby gate is a good idea too, even just leaving kitty in his carrier/cage/crate so Hooch can get used to him but not harm him.

    Very cute photo by the way.. Ginger kitties are the best!

  8. #8

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    Yeah.. I am not sure. Hooch is so unpredictable, I think his predatory instinct might be too strong and I am not sure what his history is but it seems he would not have had any good contact with cats. Maybe if we did it when he is older, slower and less crazy!
    If Hooch sees him out of reach, or even smells/hears him - like in the laundry he goes nuts. I mean uncontrollable.
    See how today goes, we will try the suggestions above.

  9. #9
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    All dogs have that instinct, but some are better at keeping below threshold than others, I suppose. The key will be to keep him below threshold. If necessary, put the kitten in a carrier at the other end of the house and slowly make your approach. It might be a very slow process and it may just take too long to be of much benefit with this kitten. It sounds unlikely that you'll get far enough to get them to relax together in the same room. But if you do want to continue to foster and can put the kittens in a separate room for now, you will eventually see progress. That terrier was a right terror too and I didn't think I would make much of a difference because we only had him for 2 weeks, but it didn't take that long before you could see his threshold limit change. From no focus whatsoever when he knew the cats were around somewhere, to only no focus if the cat was doing something interesting fairly closeby.

    I know it must be frustrating to have to deal with this when you are trying to help this kitten. But there is a long term benefit in there for Hooch and you and I would recommend not giving up on him and kittens as yet.

  10. #10
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    How is it all going?

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