Crating sounds like an okay idea, but won't that make the cats feel cornered? If I understand correctly, the best approach to introducing new animals to each other, even if they're the same species, is to allow them an escape route so they don't feel forced into unwanted interaction. Or am I misunderstanding?
Thanks everyone for the great advice!
Both kitties are shelter rescues. One cat, Finnegan, is curious, bold, and laid-back, and I doubt a dog would bother him after he got used to it. The other, Callaghan, is more timid and takes longer to get used to new surroundings, but his previous owner claimed that he lived with and got along with dogs. Callaghan is a four-paw declaw, while Finnegan has all of his claws. I'm somewhat worried about Callaghan not being able to defend himself, since a warning scratch can go a long way.
As for the hounds, I'm more inclined to use positive reinforcement with them. Positive reinforcement works waaaaaay better with the male dog, who is a master counter-surfer. No amount of sprays from the water bottle have ever been able to keep him off of that tempting counter. He responds better to encouraging commands. So, I'm thinking the first few times we introduce them to the cats, we keep the hounds leashed and give them treats while the cats explore, rewarding them with food if they behave well around the cats. I expect some chasing, but I can live with it as long as the basenjis aren't aggressive.
My boy basenji has the same problem when he's leashed and sees another dog on his daily walk. He appears to become overexcited and just start biting frantically at the leash, tugging madly, and running and hopping around. He's delivered a nip or two in the heat of the moment and needs lots of pats to calm him down. The thing is, I don't think he wants to be aggressive toward the other dog so much as he wants to meet the other dog. It's really a trial some days, though, unfortunately.
Before my boyfriend had back surgery and had to stop running, and before basenji #2 came into the house, he and his basenji girl jogged all the time. They jogged for miles and miles, and she adored it. I'm not sure if basenji temperament has anything to do with "jogging suitability." She's obedient, easy-going, and calm (hard for some of you to believe, I know!), and jogging was right up her alley. Basenji #2 is a fence-jumping, counter-surfing wild man who flips out with excitement if he so much as sees another dog on his walk, so jogging with him would probably be a no-go.
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.
Addendum: The male basenji was crate-trained once upon a time but has had the run of the house for most of the three years he has lived there. The female basenji is not crate-trained. Both dogs are fairly food aggressive, and the male HATES to be moved out of position if he's on the couch or in bed. If any of this info makes any difference . . .
This thread seems pretty relevant to a problem that's been worrying me lately. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
To make a long story short, I'm graduating from school in two months and will most likely be moving in with my boyfriend for what will probably be a very long time since we plan to be married someday. He owns two basenjis, an 11-year-old female and a 4-year-old male. (I won't name names since they're not mine.) I have two adult cats. Neither of us know what to do about the cats when I move in. Ideally, I would like to slowly introduce the dogs and the cats to each other, but my boyfriend is very skeptical about the basenjis' response.
The 'senjis have lived in this house for four or five years, so it is definitely their territory. The female basenji is the better behaved of the two. This might be hard for some of you to believe, but she's sweet and calm and fairly obedient. The male is all basenji. He's a counter-surfer, a fence-jumper, a food-stealer–you name it. My boyfriend seems to think that both dogs have a strong prey drive. They'll dart after anything that moves. The female has killed several squirrels and rabbits in her lifetime. The male is very interested in other animals, but (at least according to the boyfriend) probably wouldn't know what to do if he caught one. The female came from a breeder and was probably not exposed to cats, and the male is a rescue and may or may not have been exposed to them.
As for my cats, Finnegan is outgoing, affectionate, and playful. Callaghan is shy and timid. Both are shelter cats. Finnegan has all of his claws, but poor Callaghan is a four-paw declaw. I'm willing to take the time to introduce the four slowly, but would be devastated if anything happened to my cats. I'd have a hard time forgiving the basenjis if either of the cats were killed. My boyfriend feels the same way. He's afraid that no matter how "cool" the basenjis seem with the cats when we're around, the situation could change for the worse if we left the cats and hounds alone. The male basenji can probably get over baby gates since he's climbed over the three-foot high fence in the backyard countless times, so I'm no sure how many escape routes there would be for the cats, especially since my boyfriend closes the bedroom door during the day and doesn't really use the basement for anything other than laundry.
The worst case scenario is that I relinquish the cats to my mom, who loves when I bring them over, but I've lived with cats for most of my life and would be very sad (and possibly resentful toward the 'senjis) if I had to give them away. I made a commitment to these cats when I adopted them from the shelter and I don't believe in giving away pets just because it's inconvenient. You could say that I'm more of a cat person than a dog person, in short.
For those of you who were able to successfully introduce basenjis to cats and vice versa, how were you sure that the cats wouldn't be hurt when you left the animals all alone together? What are some tips and tricks for getting the basenjis and cats used to each other? Does a cat's temperament make a difference in how basenjis get along with it? Will the basenjis' regard for me make a difference in how they treat my cats? (When I first met the male basenji, I was warned that he wasn't very keen on women, but he is obsessed with me! He's a tail-wagging, yodeling fool when I walk in the door, and respects my discipline as much as he respects my boyfriend's discipline. The female likes me, too, but she's generally a lover with everyone.) Have any of you been in a similar situation?