Becca was 7 months old when I got her. The only cat she had been exposed to was a barn cat. I had an adult cat who loved dogs, still does. I tried to make their introduction period as safe as possible. The bedrooms and laundry room were cat rooms with baby gates across the doors. I also established high spots in each room for the cat to escape to if she needed. The first few days, Becca was highly supervised around the cat. It was weeks before I left them home alone together. Becca was in her crate or the cat was in a bedroom.
Basically three years later, the cat loves Becca, Becca tolerates the cat. I still have my bedroom as a cat room. Becca resource guards against the cat, I'm not going to have it happen on my bed. The resource guarding is a constant process. I still have a gate across the laundry room door too. The litter box is there. Cat poop is a delicacy according to Becca.
I would set things up to have separate rooms for them at first. Then crate the dogs and let the cats out into dog space, moving to leashed dogs. Having the cats feel safe at their litter box should be a priority. Make the litter box room totally dog free. Cats tend to blame the box if they get scared while in it, then pee elsewhere.
I've introduced both adult and young dogs to my cats. The important thing is to not allow any chases. It's just too fun and self rewarding for the dog. Start with leashed dogs in the house, reward with treats when they see the cats and you are able to draw their focus to you either with the look command or by calling their name. You can progress to having them drag a leash around after seeing sucess. I agree that it's really important for the cats go have a dog free place vor their litter.
We brought home a kitten in Dec. and our corgi was 2 at the time. She had never been around cats. We started with Holly (kitten) being in a bedroom with a baby gate up so they could see each other. Foxy (corgi) was very interested but not obsessive with the kitten. Slowly Holly would come out to explore and we had to remind Foxy not to chase her which she does do sometimes but Holly is cautious and watches for Foxy and then doesn't run. They get along so much better than I could have ever hoped for. Foxy sleeps with us and at first she would chase Holly off the bed but now Holly and Foxy actually sleep with us. I have a feeling your dogs and cats will be just fine if introduced slowly. Good luck! We have continued to keep up the baby so that Foxy can't eat Holly's food or get into the litter box.
OMG this strand is really about so much more than dogs & cats!
Does your partner want to sleep with your dogs? (my husband of over twenty years does not allow the dogs upstairs, never mind onto the bed!!)
Will he ensure that the litter tray is not the canine sushi bar?
My cats were well established before the corgis arrived but the cats ran, the corgis gave chase and three years later, a very uneasy peace has been negotiated. If the cats DON'T run, the dogs don't chase but if the cats run......
The cats own the laundry room, into which the dogs are not allowed venture but the dogs own the hall through which the cats enter & leave. The cats own the front garden, through which the dogs enter & leave when entering or leaving the house to go for walks.
The back garden: they can work it out for themselves.....
I found this thread and just wanted to follow up and see how the introduction and training went. I'm going to be in a very similar situation soon and have so much anxiety since my dog and the cats are all older. (Dog=6.5 yrs, 2 Cats=10,11)
I just want to see what works, especially if anyone had any success stories with harder situations *cough, grumpy corgi*