our 3 cats were not integrating with katiyja at all...after 6 weeks and us doing everything we could to make a smooth transition. we took her outside and played with her 5-6 times a day and made sure one of us was playing with her while the other person ran into the house to do normal things like put away the dishes, quickly make food, sweep or other normal chores. then we'd swap off and the other one would run in the house until she tired herself out playing (about 2 hours) and then she would come in to the blocked off living room, lay on her pillow and chew her cow foot or lick her peanut butter toy. one of us would stay with her in the living room while the other would go and continue doing daily chores and then we'd swap off again. at night she slept in the blocked off bathroom and for the last few weeks was actually sleeping for 5-6 hours at a time.
hopwever, this little man didn't come into the house for the entire 6 weeks.
he stayed outside all day and night and with the colder weather coming, we started to get worried. we were feeding him outside and giving him treats outside but he is an indoor cat who normally sleeps in bed with us and watches a movie with us every evening. it wasn't good.
this little man would come into the kitchen in the morning and evening to be fed...but after 2 weeks he stopped coming in the house, too.
he loves being outdoors during the day but normally would come into the house several times a day for "kitchen dances" (i pick him up, sing silly made up songs and dance him all around the kitchen), for "taxi" (i pick him up and carry him around the house and show him different things) and for his regular afternoon nap. but, as i said, he stopped coming in the house.
my littlest guy noodie-nu - he made a few attempts to try and meet katiyja but she lunged at him and jumped at him and scared him. she didn't do it in a mean way - she was just so excited to try and meet the cats. but it simply just wasn't working. the 3 cats normally watch a movie with us at night - all 3 of them on the couch or spread out in the living room but that stopped the day we katiyja. we felt terrible and just kept hoping that "maybe tomorrow".....but tomorrow never came.
at this point we felt horrible for the cats, horrible for katiyja and we weren't sure what to do. she was very good staying at jamie's heel when he took her for walks around the house on her leash. and we hated having to tether her all of the time so we thought maybe we could try taking her off the tether and giving her more area and freedom to run around. we tried that 4 or 5 times and each time she went straight after a cat. it was awful. and then 2 times she went after our little noodie-nu - the first time she almost got him in her mouth, the second time she actually bit his back leg. she didn't break skin but he did walk a little funny for a day. he was fine the second day.
however, we felt that by bringing her into our household we had totally messed up the cat's routine. we did not want to keep her on a tether for 8-10 hours a day as she grew older and then lock her in the bathroom every night. our big cat mobey-moe could not be sleeping outside as we are getting colder and colder nights and winter is coming. something had to give.
we agonized for days, we spoke to the people at the animal hospital, the shelter, the cats' vet and a really helpful lady from the pet store. they all gave us the same advice - that the cat's were not going to integrate, katiyja needed a "pack" as she is a pack dog, and that we needed to find a new home for her. again we agonized - we had tried our best and are not good with failure.
we contacted our neighbour's kids who have the mother and father and told them of the situation. they were very understanding and agreed to take her back, as well as contact the owner of katiyja's 2 brothers and see if he would want katiyja. and he said that he did! OMG - i had already been crying for days thinking about having to send her away - but now i was crying with joy - katiyja would be with her brothers!!!
we gathered up and washed all of her toys, gathered up all of her dog food and took her next door in her little carrier. j took her into the house and we stayed outside with h as their 3 dogs were running around the yard. then j opened the door and let katiyja out into the yard. OMG - i am crying as i type this. when i saw the look of joy on katiyja's face as she went running to her father and jumped at him and nipped at him and he did the same back to her - OMG - i burst out bawling right in front of everyone. i couldn't believe how happy she looked. the other dogs came over and they all played with her. i cried all night because she really is a pack dog - she needed a pack and we did not provide her with that. we felt terrible for that but we are both soooooo relieved that she will be with other dogs from now on.
as j was babysitting katiyja and her 2 brothers over the weekend, katiyja was able to bond with them and soon they will all 3 be going to their owner's house. she will be able to learn and grow with her 2 brothers - i don't think the story could have a better ending!
we had our VFD meeting that evening and when we returned, we were just worn out but in a good way. so we cleaned up the bathroom and were able to use the bathroom at night for the first time in 6 weeks - bahahahahah! the next day jamie took down the contraption in the living room and then we went and got all 3 cats and brought them through the house so that they could see that things had gone back to normal. 2 of them stayed outside for another 2 days and nights and then finally started coming into the house again - thank goodness! as of saturday night, after we came home from our friend's birthday dance - all 3 of them were on the couch sleeping together when we came in the door!
yesterday they came in and out of the house in normal fashion, moby-moe is sleeping with us at night, Frankie Blue-Eyes is back to sleeping on his little mat in front of the stove and noodie-nu has made himself a new bed in our bedroom closet. they all came and watched a movie with us last evening and things seem to be back to normal - big sigh of relief!!!
i have been emailing j and she has said that katiyja is doing well and will be going with her brothers to their owner's house in a day or two. we will of course be keeping in touch with regular emails and picture updates.
it still hurts because she was the most affectionate dog i have ever met and we really and truly loved her. but in trying to do the best thing for our cats, we ended up doing the best thing for our cats AND katiyja. and that is the best ending to this kind of story - ever!