The Original Fur Babies and Saffi

 The cats, a.k.a. Zulu, Bluebell and Elmo, have never really been exposed to, let alone lived with a puppy so I’m was incredibly apprehensive as to how they’d take the new addition to the family. However, we’ve now had Saffi for just over seven weeks and I’m delighted to report that relations with the original fur-babies are improving day-by-day.

‘Please drop something…’

 We have a few ground rules:

–       Cats allowed upstairs, Saffi not;

–       Cats fed before Saffi;

–       Saffi categorically not allowed to chase or bark at the cats.

 Elmo and Zulu have touched noses with Saffi and accepted licks and kisses but we still have some work to do with Bluebell – whilst she’ll accept Saffi sitting next to her on our knee she is apprehensive when they’re both on the floor.

Bluebell reluctantly accepting a cuddle next to Saffi

When Bluebell yowls to warn Saffi to keep her distance it seems to make Saffi want to play even more… and poor Bluebell is an old lady at 13 and has no interest in playing. When Saffi is at her sleepiest we sometimes ‘show’ her to Bluebell so that Bluebell will learn that Saffi isn’t really a threat. But then the next day Saffi will bark at Bluebell, be told off by one of us, and we’ll be back to square one!

Any tips welcome!



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4 responses to “The Original Fur Babies and Saffi

  1. Caroline Hanson-Lowe

    Nice to hear that I’m not alone trying to ‘manage’ pet relationships. I think you’ve done really well if you’ve got Zulu and Elmo touching noses with Saffi and Bluebell actually cuddling up right next to her! The only pet in my house that has been ‘civil’ to Biba was my 20 year old cat Digby who was too senile to perceive Biba as a threat and was consequently happy to accept puppy kisses and ear washes as Biba climbed into his basket. Sadly their friendship was very short lived and Digby, who has been ill for a long time, rapidly went downhill at the beginning of this week so we had to have him put down on Thursday. All very sad…Digby was our first ‘child’ and my two daughters have known him all their lives….

    Meanwhile, my 9 year old cat Marzipan will tolerate Biba at a distance but still hisses when Biba comes too close. She’s more than happy however to climb into Biba’s crate and snuggle up next to Biba’s toys – cheeky monkey!
    Sasha my poodle is making progress of sorts. The two dogs were actually playing today, though the play was mostly one sided with Sasha growling or yapping at Biba, chasing her round the garden and then pinning her down. My dog trainer says this is all normal as Sasha has to assert herself as Top Dog and teach the puppy some manners. I’m a little worried though that there’s a teensy bit of the bully in Sasha’s nature so have to keep an eye on the two dogs when they are together.

    Look forward to further posts in the life of little Saffi, who is presumably growing bigger each day. Biba is twice the size in just under two weeks!!

    Caro x

    • Hi Caroline,

      Lovely to hear from you.

      I’m so sorry to hear about Digby… it is so sad when you have to make that final decision. But 20 years?! What an innings…

      Saffi sometimes spends time with our friends’ Boxer who also asserts herself as top dog and warns Saffi off. I think as long as it doesn’t become aggressive then it is normal and to be expected.

      I’m so envious of you having two dogs – and two chocolates… I’m not allowed to even talk about getting a second!

      Turi x

      • Caroline Hanson-Lowe

        Hi Turi

        Well another week has passed and we are making progress! Sasha is now playing with Biba when she is in the mood (Sasha that is – Biba is always in the mood!). Their play is still pretty rough with plenty of growling, and the odd snarl when Sasha really wants to put Biba in her place. Biba, thankfully, is a very confident little puppy who keeps coming back for more. She seems to know when to back down and does like to launch her ‘attacks’ (defensive, not agressive), from the security of her basket or between my legs. It’s incredibly sweet to watch! Sasha seems to have a new lease of life (though is still overall not best pleased that this little upstart has entered her life)! Marzipan, meanwhile, remains decidedly unimpressed. There was one little moment yesterday when Biba had positioned herself between my legs and the arm of the sofa, whilst Marzipan was on the floor. A minute’s stare off followed and then, Marzipan suddenly batted Biba with her paw in rapid succession, rather like a petulant child would stamp its feet. Marzi tried it again a minute later but the claws came out that time so I intervened.

        Training however is still coming along at a snail’s pace. There is no doubt about it, Sasha was much quicker off the mark and got things very quickly. I did have a little success earlier today with ‘Off’ which is becoming a priority as Biba has a real penchant for shoes and clothes – several of my jumpers now have tiny holes. However, Sit is a bit hit and miss and Down is decidely dodgy! I haven’t even started with ‘Stay’. The classes I go to sound as though they might be more slow moving than your’s but it’s early days – there have only been 2.

        Saffi looks so adorable and I hope that one day we might get our dogs to meet, given my geographical promixity to you.

        Caro x

        PS. Having two chocolate dogs is rather wonderful but it has taken me 9 years to get family approval to get a second! Biba looks like Sasha’s Mini Me but the darkness of her fur makes her both difficult to photograph and also shows up just how grey Sasha now is. Chocolates do tend to go grey prematurely. A friend of mine has a sibling of Sasha’s from another litter 2 years after I got Sasha. Her dog went grey even more quickly than Sash.

  2. Hi Caro,

    I’m delighted to hear that relations between Biba and Sasha are going so well! Saffi is a very confident puppy as well and when she meets other dogs she often jumps in their face in an attempt to get them to play. I worry that one day she’ll get a real telling off from a bad-tempered dog so in a way Sasha is teaching Biba to greet and play more calmly.

    Regarding colour… as we walked Saffi this weekend we were envious of the owners’ of pale dogs. Saffi looked like she’d been dipped in black paint! And I do have a soft spot for the chocolates… next time ; ).

    We too have witnessed several ‘bobs’ from the cats… we trimmed the cats’ claws before Saffi arrived and actually let them get on with it. In the early days Saffi would squeal with fear but now she just lowers her head and looks at me as if to say, ‘are they finished yet?’!

    Keep persevering with the training… I’m sure it will come with time. We found ‘down’ difficult too until we were told to draw the treat down between her front paws. That worked a treat!

    I’d really like to meet – I will send you a personal message.

    Turi x

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