We have two cats, Sunny and Slater. They are both 14 years old (not litter mates). They have never been around any dogs and are indoor cats. We have a 5-year-old son and have decided to get him a dog. I am worried how the cats might react to this.I'd like to save a dog from a shelter, and we were thinking of something like a Boston terrier or any midsized dog with somewhat short hair.Should we get a puppy? Would the cats acclimate to a puppy better, or does it not matter? Can you give some advice on how to introduce the dog to a couple of 14-year-old cats? I don't want our beloved cats to be upset, but we also feel our son needs a dog.Any advice will be greatly appreciated.
K.P., Bloomington, MN May 13, 2007
Some cats are less spooky and more adaptable to changes in their environment than others, such as the arrival of a human baby or the introduction of a new pet into the home.If they were not unduly upset by the entry of your son into their lives and did not run off and hide, become unhousebroken or fight each other, chances are they will accept a small pup.Adopt one around 6 to 8 weeks of age, and first introduce the pup in a cage or crate so the cats can see each other and become habituated. Do not let the pup free in the same room with the cats, and keep the door closed so the cats can't run off and hide if they spook. Expose the cats to the caged pup for about half an hour, then take the pup into another room to run around and be petted. Repeat exposure four to five times over a 24-hour period, then let the pup out with the cats. Alternatively, adopt an easygoing older dog who is cool around cats and kids -- the shelter can tell you -- and you won't have the chore of housebreaking.
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