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Bringing Home a Puppy Into Cat House Part 1: Adoption Story

You all have been asking, so here is how we went about bringing home our our puppy into a cat house, starting with our adoption story. Next week I’ll go over how we did it, and I’ll also give you an update with how it is going!

Introducing a Puppy into a Cat House: Our Adoption Story

How do you go about bringing home puppy to adult cat house? Sharing our adoption story and how we integrated our dog and cat successfully.


Adopting a Cat

Three years ago, we adopted a five-year old cat Zoe from the Anti-Cruelty Society. At the time, I was working full time (mostly nights) at a modern Mexican hotspot in downtown Chicago (aka late nights and long days) as well as marathon training (aka early mornings). Alex, meanwhile, was a few weeks into his intern year as a resident at Northwestern Memorial Hospital (aka 80+ hr weeks on average). We knew that we wanted a pet, but we also knew that we weren’t ready for a dog due to our schedules (and the fact that we couldn’t because of our apartment rules, lol. #details).

Zoe the cat loves her life!

Zoe, our fantastical cat, has been a light in our lives. I will never forget that first week we had her home, and Alex’s complete helplessness with her yowling at night and her standoffishness, and then as she slowly warmed to us and became our true furbaby. She has continued to be particular but has grown increasingly resilient with each year to th point that we can have friends visit and not cause her to go on hunger strike and result in an emergency vet visit (which happened 3 weeks after we got her). 

Adopting a Dog

When we decided to move for Alex’s Chief Resident year, we seized upon the opportunity to choose a pet-friendly apartment, with plans to opt for a small adult dog, preferably a Corgi (as I discussed ad nauseum). At the time, I was working full time, and my work hours were not puppy friendly. This summer, however, I dropped back to part time, and in the midst of everything (anxiety attacks, trying to get pregnant, Alex’s interview schedule), we decided to push forward and adopt a dog. 

We still planned on an adult dog, trying to rescue an adult Corgi, a search that came up dry. I randomly found a Corgi puppy at a shelter, only to have the dog be adopted by the foster family 2 days before we were going to pick up the dog. I was devastated, but we nevertheless decided to go and look at dogs. This time, we opened ourselves up to puppies, but still with the plan to get an adult dog.

Hi, I'm Ridley! I am Susie and Alex's new fur baby daughter, and I was rescued from PAWS Chicago! @suzlyfe

Three weeks ago, we brought home our (literal) bouncing bundle of joy, Ridley, a (then) 14 week-old mixed breed puppy that is likely part Blue Heeler, Lab, and likely terrier (I’m thinking Jack Russell) from PAWS Chicago. She is the opposite of Zoe, with the exception that both are very sweet and non-aggressive. Otherwise, Ridley is a vivacious, vibrant personality that demands attention and cuddles and just wants to flop over and have her belly rubbed and be touched.

Bringing Home a Puppy into A Cat House

When we were at PAWS, we fell in love with Ridley immediately, but we had major trepidation about how Zoe would handle the puppy. We knew that we and the puppy were a match, but would Zoe be okay? 

Concerns with Bring Home a Puppy to a Cat House:

  • Zoe is a loner and rather particular about being engaged–she wants attention when she wants it, she wants you to leave her alone otherwise (cough like her mother)
  • Zoe is an adult cat, making her even more of an old maid
  • Ridley is high energy, very engaging, and a PUPPY
  • Ridley was believed to be mostly Blue Heeler–a herding breed–and we worried she would try to herd the cat. When I realized that she was mostly terrier, the worry became would she torment the cat and try to route her out.

Favorable Aspects of Bringing Home a Puppy to an Adult Cat:

  • Zoe, as the adult and the previous resident of the house, would be able to demarcate her territory and establish a sense of pecking order
  • Ridley is a puppy, and thus shape-able: we would be able to mold her behavior and train her to respect the cat, or maybe just leave her alone.
  • Ridley demonstrated that she was very smart and trainable, which also worked in her favor.
  • Ridley did not show much major reaction during the “cat test,” where you bring the dog to view a cat through a window
  • Ridley, as a puppy, was much smaller than an adult dog, and thus would be less intimidating for Zoe.

Other Considerations for Bringing a Puppy Home to a Cat:

  • We live in a city apartment that is about 800 sq ft
  • AKA close quarters for the dog and cat.
  • We can close the cat up in our bedroom, but that might be difficult for the cat

Considerations of Choosing a Dog over A Puppy when Bringing Home to a Cat:

  • Adult dogs are a known quantity: you know if the dog is going to be high energy and overly engaging, if the dog is going to go after cats, and how trained the dog is
  • Adult dogs are less likely to be able to retrain. Not that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, as it were, but it is easier to train a dog to leave cats alone from an earlier age.

So that sets the stage for bringing Ridley the puppy home to Zoe the cat! Next week, I’ll cover how we brought them together!

Share your pet adoption story + learn the story of Zoe the cat + Ridley the pup! #pets #adoptdontshop Click To Tweet
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