I found this nice question waiting for me yesterday.
Would you please kindly ask your foster lady some questions for me. I've just started to foster a stray pit bull. How did your foster lady introduce your cat friends to you from the beginning? Also, I have two cats and two bull dogs, too, and foster one. How can I keep my house as clean and pretty as your foster lady's? Thank you so much for your help. From a freshmen foster parent.
I thought I would sit down and talk to the foster lady to see what advice she had.
Winnie: So, foster lady, can you explain from a human perspective how you introduced me to the Cats.
Foster Lady: First, we should let your readers know about the great information about fostering available from BAD RAP. Now, do you remember your first day you came home with me, Winnie? If you remember, I walked you in on your leash and you went right into your crate.
W: I remember that, it wasn’t very fun. There were nice blankets and chew toys in there, though.
FL: Maybe it wasn’t fun, but that was the point. You needed to get comfortable and calm in the house, especially since you hadn’t really spent time in a house before. Once you were in your crate, the cats came over to check you out. Remember?
W: Yes, they were so different from dogs, but you sat right by me, and told me I was good when I just looked at them calmly and sniffed them gently. I started to whine a little and you were very serious when you told me that wasn’t OK. I think you even showed me the terrible awful spray bottle!
FL: Exactly, I needed to let you know what was OK and what wasn’t OK right from the start. I stayed close by so I could make sure you didn’t use your hard eyes, your crazy ears or your super excited sniffy nose.
W: Then you let Uba and Lulu come and say hi. That was nice because I had met them already at the rescue barn and so I knew they were my friends. They also helped me understand that cats are generally to be ignored, and always to be respected.
FL: You stayed in your crate at first so that you could get used to the house and all the things in it. When you came out you were always on leash and right by my side. That way, when you finally got to meet the cats outside the crate I was there to make sure they weren’t mean to you and that you didn’t get too excited. As an aside, I should mention that the cats always have a dog free zone available, like a room that is baby gated off from the rest of the house, so they can get out of the way of zoomies and other dog antics.
W: So once I got some more freedom and got to come out of the crate, I was still on tie downs, and I couldn’t just run all over the house. That’s when I really met the cats. I got to sniff them and lick them and they took naps in the room where Uba and I played and chewed on chew toys.
FL: The tie down let me keep an eye on you to make sure you sniffed them politely and that they didn’t get annoyed and bite you or scratch you. As you let me know you could be polite to them, and they let me know that they were comfortable with you, I let you have more and more freedom.
W: That was really nice. I had never seen anything like a cat before I met these guys, so I really didn’t know what to expect. I felt safe because you were always there in case they were mean, and I also liked that I knew exactly what you wanted from me.
FL: You were very nice about the cats, Winnie. You are a very special and extra sweet and good girl, so you were easy to introduce. Another foster dog I had before you, who was a blue girl and was Very Naughty, was more difficult. She stayed on her tie down for months and months trying to learn to be polite. Even when she eventually got to come off her tie down, she would go right back on if she was rude or too excited. In my house I expect everyone to be polite to everyone else. Every bit of freedom for a foster dog is a privilege. If a foster dog can’t be polite and obey the rules of the house, they have to stay crated or on tie down.
W: Wow, I’m glad I’m a good girl! I haven’t been on my tie down in forever, and I only go in my crate when you’re not home.
W: So what about keeping the house clean and pretty? It definitely is much cleaner than my old dirt patch in the woods in Florida, and it much prettier the very awful and scary place I went after that.
FL: I don’t know that its really all that clean, and its more practical than pretty, other than the nice details that the Victorian builders left for us to enjoy. I guess I choose furniture and stuff that’s dog friendly and I try to put things away when they’re not being used. Having hardwood floors helps a lot because they can be wiped clean, especially when certain dogs make art on them, and everyone gets their feet wiped at the back door.Really, though I think its just that I take lots of pictures and I pick the ones that look nicest.
W: You do take a LOT of pictures.
FL: How can I resist taking lots of pictures when you are all so very cute, especially you, Win.
W: Oh thanks! Can I kiss and kiss and kiss you and wiggle now?
FL: Maybe you should send those kisses and wags to the freshman foster parent.
W: That’s right! Thank you FFP for giving another dog a chance at a real life! Kisses upon kisses to you!
Edited to Add:
Winnie: I hear you spoke to some friends who have cats and foster dogs and you wanted to add a few more things to our interview.
Foster Lady: Yes, I did Winnie. Thank you for asking.
First I wanted to point out that our cats are very confident and dog social cats so its much easier for them to get comfortable with new dogs than it is for shyer cats. There is some great advice here about introducing dogs to more normal cats.
Secondly I wanted to make sure your readers can easily find the links I posted above about fostering, so here they are:
Dog-Cat Advice from Diamonds in the Ruff.
Also, your readers can follow BAD RAP on facebook - they might even get to see you on there sometimes.
W: Thank you foster lady for all that information. Can we please go for our walk now?
FL: Let's get your leash on and go!