At this exact moment, all four of my fur-balls are asleep, mere inches away from each other.
And, late Sunday morning, we found this:
Yep. That’s Newt snuggled behind a dozing Lucas. Pretty amazing since six months ago, all he wanted to do was eat her.
Of course, it’s taken that entire six months to get here. But, we’re here!
I last updated at the five-month mark. At that point, Lucas was off leash around Newt in the neutral room under controlled circumstances. We kept Coop and Newt from wrestling, and we hadn’t yet moved the whole shebang downstairs, to “dog” territory. So, our next step was to repeat the same process – leash, careful introductions, lots of cheese – in the kitchen, then move one room at a time.
The first time we attempted this, Lucas freaked out. He didn’t lunge and snap, which was a big improvement, but he turned into Lukey McCryBabyFace and whined and whined. We repeated that a handful of times, then again without the leash. It only took a few days, and he was much calmer.
Our plan was to repeat this process room by room.
Newt had other ideas.
One day, I was going from upstairs (“cat” world) to downstairs. Normally Newt peered through the gate at the boys down below, but this time, she took a running leap and vaulted over the gate. Lucas, who was splayed out on a rug, didn’t flip out! In fact, he didn’t do anything! He just stayed right where he was!
We figured… she knows the risks, and she’s clearly ready, so… let’s just see.
The foundation we put in place of five months of intense, daily, positive training (on both their parts!) made that moment possible.
We quickly realized that the bedroom is a “hot” zone because she would get under the bed, the three dogs would crowd around out of curiosity, she’d swipe, Lukey would react. So, we left that door shut for about a week and only allowed them in for controlled sessions.
Now, however, all doors are open. Gates are up. Everyone has the freedom to go wherever they want… with two exceptions:
- Newt has her own room. It has a gate with a cat door. It’s where her food and water dishes live, and her litterbox is in a closet. The boys are not allowed in there.
- Also, when we leave the house, we still put her upstairs and the boys downstairs. There have been a couple tense episodes – which I chalk up to communication errors that will hopefully resolve over time – and if we’re not here to step in, I’m still not confident about how they’d resolve their issues.
So, there you have it! We are integrated!
As a former marketer, I’m feeling compelled to write the whole thing up as a case study or white paper if anyone would be interested…
All I can say at this point is THANK YOU for sharing all your helpful tips, tricks, and advice. Plus, I was grateful for the commiseration!
Now, I can’t help but wonder: What’s next? 🙂
Hope you’re having a great week so far!
Do I see a pet bunny on the horizon? LOL.
HAAA!!! HAHAHAHAAHAHAAA!!! No bunny in our future, that’s for sure. Guinea pigs, maybe… 😉
Erik N. says
Keeping them apart while you’re gone is a very smart move, something I’ve done with Hershey from the beginning. All it would take is one incident…
The cats had a separate room before I got Hershey. When she came a long I very cleverly put in a cat door. Then I very cleverly got Graham who now full grown can still slip through the cat door and eat their food. I’m looking for a more permanent solution than the box with a bag of cement a couple inches in front of the door.
That’s funny, Erik! You know… depending on your cats, we don’t even need to leave the cat door open because Newt seems to prefer leaping the gate! She seems to have fun doing these big running leaps that totally rile up the dogs!
Jan K says
Apparently Newt thought 5 months was long enough, and it was time to end that chapter and move on! 🙂 I think it’s good to still let her have her own room and space, and keep them all separate and safe when you’re not there to keep an eye on them.
So that is so wonderful, and I’d say after all your time and hard work you just need to relax and enjoy the peace!
Whew!! I’m trying! I can’t say I’m totally relaxed yet, but I’m getting there….
Thanks, Jessica! 🙂
D. Cryor says
Love the photo! Of course my cat-loving friends are telling me that truly Newt has been in charge of this plan since the beginning!
I think that’s probably true. To be honest, she’s been the real hero here. The first time she laid eyes on Lucas, he tried to eat her. Same thing with the second time. And the third time… etc. Yet, she has stayed calm and cool most of the time, even deciding when it was safe to trust him! She’s the unsung hero of this saga…. I think she deserves her own post for this! 🙂
Pamela | Something Wagging This Way Comes says
Wow, that’s great. I just caught up with Jen of the Black Dog Blog who is working to integrate 3 new cats with her 4 dogs!!!
I’m glad all your hard work is paying off.
And I bet you’d get a lot of attention for a PDF describing the integration process in exchange for a blog subscription.
Oooh, I’ll have to go check out her blog! Thanks for the tip!
And that’s a brilliant idea. You inspired me with your newsletter, so I’m thinking about dipping my toes in that water. Thanks, Pamela!