Sunday, April 27, 2008

-- day 2: dog meets cat, and the dog's first panic attack

Acclimating the dog to the cat is going better than I expected but is still an enormous chore. The dog walks around whimpering with the physical pain of not being able to kill and eat the small, squirrel-gray helpless creature in our laps and cannot be calmed. However, we CAN get him to lie down while the cat's exploring, a huge improvement over yesterday. And the kitten, so far, is not afraid of the dog.

The trick has been baby food. Our trainer suggested a while ago that whenever he's in his most spaz-like state, rare and exotic food should rain from the sky. So it is. In the form of gloppy turkey & sweet potato. The only problem is that we need gallons to pour down his throat and he can't have that much or I'm afraid there might be a midnight orange explosion from some orifice.

Earlier, a very terrible idea surfaced.

"I know!" I said. "We can put a muzzle on the dog and then that will help with their interaction a little; we can let him sniff her without worrying he might bite."

We came home with a muzzle, put it on the dog and proceeded to witness his first panic attack. Within seconds he was clawing at his face and it was clear that he would remove the skin from his skull rather than endure the indignity of this unwanted facial intrusion. We took it off immediately. Even giving him treats through the opening wasn't good enough.

Here is a picture of the dog looking so so sad (and quite Hannibal-Lechter like) seconds before we took the muzzle off. (Taken with crappy cell phone, time was of the essence and I didn't have a chance to grab the better camera.)So far the routine has been to let her out to explore and get used to the environment while working with the dog, and then back in her little carrier to sleep. She still has not learned to use the litter box yet, so that's a bit of a concern but friends familiar with kittens say this just usually takes a few days.

Tomorrow I'll make a vet appointment.


Anonymous said...

One of the trick I did to get the kitten to warm up to the litter box was to cover the surface with shredded paper. It worked like a charm!

Niffer said...

So cute! I love kittens!

Potty training kittens to use the cat box is super-easy. You just have to place them in the box multiple times a day and keep the box next to their food and water. You said you put the kitten in a carrier at night? I don't know how that might affect her learning to use the box because our cats usually use the box at night. Try putting the box in an unused bathroom or closet and then closing the door at night so that the kitten is free to roam that room. Then that will be his "safety zone" and he'll return there for the necessities... food, water, poop, pee.

camilynn said...


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