Monday, August 27, 2012

Tanner's Kitten

Tanner is a big, affable, gentle hound; most of the time. What you may not know is that he inherited a very strong prey drive.  Our back yard is varmint free thanks in large part to Tanner (he has Shine to help find and flush).  

Fortunately, he grew up with a cat.  He has learned to play gently with Ember and to respect her teeth and claws.  I like to think that he has learned to appreciate the warmth she provides when she snuggles with him.

However, not all cats are treated with the same regard.  Our neighborhood is home to several feral or "free range" cats. For the most part, they have learned to stay out of the yard or the pay the price.  It's not something I like, but it is something that I have had to accept about living with and loving greyhounds.
It is under these dire conditions the dogs discovered Newt who was abandoned, wet, and scared.  She was bawling and spitting and pinned down by Shine and Tanner between a gate and part of the retaining wall on the side of the house. This pathetic cub was little more then prey to these two fearless hunters and they were eager to dispatch the intruder.  Fortunately for her, a wisp of chain-link was between her and Tanner's teeth. 

I heard the commotion from this assault and had to act quickly. The dogs were put back in the house under protest.  I grabbed the empty carrier I keep on hand for just such emergencies and guided the terrified kitten into it.  Once rescued, this little sweetie spit hate, contempt and suspicion at me for at least 24 hours.  It was a Friday night and we were going to be gone for the most of the next day.  I wouldn't be able to take her to the pound for a prolonged period of time so I fixed her up in a wire dog crate surrounded by an x-pen in the laundry room.  

However, once she got over her initial fright and warmed up to me, we discovered that she has a terrific little temperament. The trip to the pound was postponed.

We wondered, could Tanner learn to accept her without trying to eat her?  

Newt spent a lot of time behind her buffer.  Tanner was rewarded for acting calmly in her vicinity.  Anytime he started to get spooled up or his eyes started to dilate, he was removed (but nicely).  Eventually, he started ignoring her and fixated on why I wasn't spending time with him.

Once cleared of disease and illness by our vet, Newt moved into the house.  Her interactions with Tanner were hyper-controlled.  She is fearless.  She does not act like prey.  Once Tanner learned to be gentle with her, he became one of her favorite playmates.

We have rules. They are never left out together. Tanner cannot stand up and play with Newt.  If he does, they get separated.    If she is running rampant around the floor, kicking up his prey drive, they get separated.  She has learned to keep her claws in check (for the most part). If he gets overwhelmed or is tired of getting picked on, he stands up and walks away.  I keep her from going after him (she loves his tail). 

If he is laying on the couch, she will run over and cuddle up with him. When he lays on the floor, she likes to lay between his front legs.  They have figured out a way to play together.  It's pretty cute. This video is a little dark but you can see how they play.

I am very happy that they can coexist in the house.  However, I will not let my guard down.  I will not leave them unchaperoned.  I micromanage them constantly.  Fortunately, Tanner's temperament is easygoing enough that it works as long as his prey drive is not turned on. 

Newt's trip to the pound is officially canceled !


Hiking Hounds said...

They are so cute playing together. Tanner is such a good boy! It sounds like Newt has a great personality. Glad it worked out.

Never Say Never Greyhounds said...

OMG! That is so cute! :-) So glad it worked out for everyone. Good rules to live by too!

Anonymous said...

What a happy ending to the story and cute video!!! :)


houndstooth said...

Awwwwwww! They are so sweet together! I'm melting a bit, I'm afraid. What a happy story!

James said...

Hi – Will you please post a link to your Blog at The Greyhounds Community? Our members will love it.
Members include: Greyhound Owners, Breeders, Clubs, Rescues and Lovers
It's easy to do, just cut and paste the link and it automatically links back to your website…. You can also add Photos, Videos and Pup Classifieds if you like. It’s free and easy.
Email me if you need any help or would like me to do it for you.
The Greyhound Community:
James Kaufman, Editor

Greyhounds CAN Sit said...

Newt is some special kitten! He certainly seems to have Tanner wrapped around his paws. Glad it's all going to plan, even better than hoped maybe:)

Those Brindle Kids said...

Truly and Maggie came to us "cat tolerant" and they spend most of their time ignoring Paulie the cat. Glad everything worked and Newt is now an official member of your family!