We have finally achieved peaceful coexistence in our house. When we first brought our new cat (Billee) home, our three dogs could not leave her alone. They loved her so much. They would hover over her and cry and bark at her and try to get her to play. She maintained her calm. When the dogs were too close to her, she would raise her paw in warning. If they did not back off, she would SLAP one of them. Oh, how they would cry. It didn’t matter which dog was slapped, they would all cry and carry on as if there had been a terrible accident, as if one of them was in extreme agony. Billee has no claws, so we know it didn’t really hurt them to be slapped, but they sure did carry on as if it did. We were happy to see that Billee could hold her own with the dogs.
At first, we had to keep Billee in a “safe room” (the laundry room) so that she would have some peace from the dogs. They would stand outside the door and whine, knowing that their new friend was inside. We would let her out when we were around to supervise, but we were not sure what the dogs would do if they were left alone with her. Would they bark at her the entire time they were alone with her? Would they chase her? Would they corner her and terrorize her? We did not want to take a chance, so Billee spent a good amount of time confined to her room.
We discovered that Billee is a very calm cat. She is not afraid of these dogs at all. When the dogs follow right behind her, she just keeps walking at her own pace. She will not run away, which is what they really want. If she would run, they could chase her. That would be a dream come true for the dogs. But Billee won’t play the game. She just saunters around, ignoring their barking and crying, until she gets where she wants to go. Then, she curls up and goes to sleep.
Finally, now, the dogs are bored. They greet her first thing in the morning and they sometimes follow her around and they usually watch her when she is on the move, but they rarely bark at her any more. They no longer hover over her. She is free to go wherever she wants and do whatever she wants, with no interference from the dogs. Sometimes, when they are really excited, they try to engage her, but she is really not interested in them at all. She is very friendly with the people in our family, but not very friendly with the dogs.
Now that the dogs are calm around Billee, life is good. John and I can sit in the living room with the dogs and cat sprawled all around us on the couch. Or, we all pile on the bed. Billee purrs. We all cuddle up together, although the dogs are careful not to encroach too closely on Billee’s space. It is nice to have everyone getting along. It’s really nice to have a cat in the house again.