I'm about to move into my boyfriend's house and become the proud step-mom of two basenjis, a four-year-old red male and an eleven-year-old brindle female. No worries about being step-mom; they love love love me and I love love love them.
My problem is this: I have two cats who have to move in with me. I'm a bit of a crazy cat lady and there's no way I'm giving them up without a fight. The reason I've created a new thread for this question is because most basenjis-cats posts on the forum appear to focus on introducing a new basenji(s) into a household that already has cats. My situation is the opposite. These two kitties must invade a home that is already firmly established basenji territory.
1. Neither of the two basenjis has lived with cats before (as far as we know).
2. Before the fence-jumping male was adopted, the non-fence-jumping female was let off her leash occasionally under supervision, and sometimes killed squirrels and rabbits. In other words, she seems rather prey-driven.
3. The male seems prey-driven, too. He lunges at cars, rabbits, crows, etc. However, he also lunges in the same way at dogs he sees on his daily walk, so I'm not sure if the lunging is the "I want to chase you and play with you" type or the "I want to kill you" type. It seems like it could be the former.
Both my boyfriend and I worry that one or both of the basenjis could end up killing the cats. We also worry that even if the basenjis appear to accept the cats, they could turn on the cats out of the blue and kill them.
1. What's the best way to introduce my incoming cats to these preexisting basenjis? I have no illusions about the possible difficulty of this task and expect it to be a months-long process.
2. I'm familiar with the general advice about how to introduce cats to dogs, and vice versa, but as we all know, basenjis don't usually fit the rules for typical dogs. Does anyone have any basenji-specific tips?
3. At what point do we trust the basenjis alone with the cats? Or do we?
The short-term plan is to fix up a sunny basement bedroom for the cats and let them have the run of the basement. The hounds don't need to be down there for any reason (in fact, they just got banned from it because they kept stealth-pooping down there), so my boyfriend is fine with blocking it off. We're also going to get a new door, which should hold the basenjis off. But ideally, I'd love to have a household where all of the animals got along, and the cats were able to roam free upstairs when they wanted.
Please offer me some help ASAP! Thank you in advance.