I will never forget the look that Jude, my boy cat, gave me when I brought home Josie, my 55-pound mixed-breed dog two years ago.
It was a combination of betrayal and shock as if to say, “How could you DO this to me?”
My guilt subsided somewhat when we realized Josie (named for Josie and the Pussycats, natch) was afraid of everything that moved or made a sound. Soon enough Jude and Iris, my girl cat, felt safe enough to slink around the house again.
The cats and Josie led largely separate lives, Josie spending most of her time under the bed and the cats on top of it.
That all changed in January when Cesar joined the gang. He’s 45 pounds of muscle yet barely reaches my knees. And that dog fears nothing except the vacuum cleaner.
His introduction to Iris and Jude involved a short leash and soothing words for the cats. Soon I was installing shelves for the cats to escape to and cooking up other ways to reassure them that they would not get eaten by the new guy.
It’s been almost nine months, and Cesar has learned his manners. He and Jude are buddies, and sometimes Cesar “plays” by pulling Jude out from under chairs by the scruff of his neck or putting Jude’s entire head in his mouth.
Jude tolerates it, for the most part, occasionally batting Cesar on the nose.
Iris is not so tolerant. She has gotten brave enough to walk slowly — oh so slowly — past Cesar, eyeing him the entire time. She also has popped Cesar on the nose but lets out an impressive growl to prove that she’s not kidding, she wants this dog out of her face NOW. I think it’s only a matter of time before she introduces him to her claws.
Anybody else has a blended household? Let’s hear your success stories, horror stories, and tips. We need all the help we can get.
(Photo shows Cesar and Jude napping on the couch.)