I've never had a cat and so don't really understand what makes them tick. But I'm an animal lover -- and my daughter is a HUGE animal lover with that intuitive animal vibe some people have -- so I'm willing to be persuaded on the whole cat issue.
We have a chance to adopt a young (not kitten, but 3ish-yr-old) Russian Blue girl. She currently lives in a house with a dog and a parrot, but her owner is very ill and Kitty needs a new home.
The problem is that our 6-yr-old French bulldog is very anti-cat. Can that be trained out of a dog? Are there ways to introduce a cat into a dog home that eases the transition for both of them?
When I say our dog is anti-cat, I mean that she has always chased cats out of the yard. That's the only exposure she has had to cats. Maybe she's not anti-cat so much as protective of her yard? We also have backyard chickens, and the dog charged their pen for the first year, and she has ignored them since then. When I have the chickens out to free range and they come up on the back porch, the dog goes CRAZY at the sliding glass door.
I know many families have dogs and cats who peacefully co-habitate. Is it possible for us with older animals? If so, what do I need to do/know/think about to make that happen?
a french bulldog is probably seeing cats as prey so its perfectly normal to chase them. However you can definately train her to tolerate the cat if nothing else and to leave her alone, she may even come to accept the cat as part of the pack. My dogs see our cat as part of the family, but strange cats are fair prey in their eyes.
I would keep them seperated at first, and never leave them together unsupervised (my sister did this with her dog and kitten because they started getting along and her kitten ended up with 2 broken legs). Let your frenchie sniff under the door, and lead up to sniffing the kitty in your arms. Make sure to watch the dogs body language. After she has sniffed the cat for a while in your arms, start rewarding her for calm behaviour when you are holding the kitten. Once she is calm or showing no interest in the cat all of the time, then I would probably put the kitten on the floor and have the dog on leash and allow them to interact. It may be a slow process, or it could be fast, there is no way to tell. Does your dog know leave it? I found that invaluble for teaching my newest dog to leave the cat. Use positive reinforcement only! You want all meetings with kitty to be a happy and good experience.