Our Maremma Sheepdog and Her Pet Cat
Meet the newest addition to the farm, our little cat, Sheldon. He sleeps in a birdcage on the back porch. He’s a rescue.
Yep, I rescued him from the jaws of death. Literally.
How’s that? Well, our Maremma sheepdog caught him in our pasture, had him pinned down and having a barking fit. I went to see what was going on, and scooped this cat up and got bit for my pains. (Or maybe the pain was because I got bit, ha!)
I guess Tasha figured he was some strange variant of fox or opossum, or maybe it was just the age-old bad cat-dog relationship thing kicking in. For whatever reason, she felt he didn’t belong on the farm and was trying to get rid of him.
For his part, he was just a little feral kitten trying to find some food!
That was the start of our cat-dog friendship project. The Cave Geek and I took a big cage that The Farmer and I previously used to slide in the back of the pickup truck and haul sheep or goats.
We covered it with chicken wire, and did everything we could to make it escape-proof. We wanted something the cat couldn’t get out of…. and the dog couldn’t get into! But we needed them to be able to see each other and interact.
It took us a couple of days to get the chicken wire all over the cage, and put a tarp over the cage, and otherwise get it ready for the occupancy of a cat.
It gave the little guy a fair amount of room, and had a cat carrier in back he could go into when he felt too threatened.
For weeks I took the cat out every morning and put him in the cage, allowing the cat and dog to be able to check each other out through the wire. At night I put him back in a big dog carrier on the back porch.
I would hold the cat and let Tasha sniff him. She finally seemed to accept him, and often rested by his cage.
After I felt it was pretty safe, I let the cat loose on the back porch. It’s screened in, and at first I kept the panel over the dog door so he couldn’t get out, and the dogs couldn’t get in unless I was there to supervise.
The next step was taking the panel of the dog door, so the dogs could come in and out freely, and the cat could even go out if he wanted to.
The end results? Well, I’m not sure if the dog has a pet cat, or the cat has a pet dog. You can watch the video and judge for yourself.
(If you hear a little rumble or think that’s static… it’s actually the cat purring LOUDLY the entire time he is playing with the dog.)
This cat will sit on the porch and meow until the dog comes to visit and play for a while.
Sometimes the cat acts ferocious. . .
Okay, so he pesters that dog a LOT and acts like he’s a big tough tiger, rolling around and pummeling the dog.
But after a while they finally get tired of playing… or perhaps I should say Sheldon the cat decides he’s had enough and just rests beside his buddy, Tasha.
As you can see, there’s quite a size difference! When Sheldon gets too rough for Tasha’s liking, she just lays her head over on him and puts a stop to it! 🙂
But she visits him at least a couple times a day, and puts up with him climbing all over her. They obviously have a good time!
I think it’s fair to say our cat-dog friendship project was a success!