So this spring I decided we would get some kittens. They had to be kittens because they needed to be raised with the dogs. I was afraid adult cats would have already formed opinions about the dogs and that would probably not end well.
I wasn't totally sure kittens would end well either. Phoenix has the highest prey drive of any dog I've ever shared my life with. If it runs, scurries, squeaks, hops, flaps or darts, he's after it. There are days I wonder if he's part terrier. He hunts. He catches.
We only had a few farm cats around when Phoenix came to live with me. He was a little too interested in them for his own good. He chased but never caught. As their numbers dwindled through natural attrition, it became a non-issue.
I knew going into this that we (Phoenix and I) would have to do some major cat desensitization.
These pics are taken earlier this afternoon. The kittens have been here 48 hours, hanging out in a big crate and x-pen in our hoop building. Things are going well. There have been some . . . um . . . teachable moments. Phoenix is becoming convinced kittens hold the magic key to vast quantities of chicken, Carnivore Cookies and whatever leftover meat is available in the fridge. Look at the kittens, eat the food. Sniff the kittens politely, eat the food. It's all good.
This was today's initial encounter. A little more tension on his part than I would like. Posture is stiff, ears stiff, mouth tight, eyes hard. The kittens are oblivious, which is actually a good thing, because they're not freaking out.
This was a few minutes later. Better. Body posture a little more relaxed, mouth is softer and you can't see it but his tail was wagging. This was followed by a brief episode of herding cats around the x-pen which was apparently enjoyed by all parties involved.
Score! A play bow! Did I mention these kittens are not afraid of dogs? They were raised with a neurotic toy fox terrier and a big, sweet lab. Their confidence around the dogs is helpful. They're not exhibiting fearful kitten behaviors, like hissing, spitting and running, which would seriously push Phoenix's buttons.
Jamie is fine with kittens. He thinks they're kind of boring.
A kitten and a malinois walk into a loading chute . . .
There are 3 kittens total: Siren, Gryphon and Weasel. Weasel did not take part in today's photo shoot. He looks like his bro and sis but has red points instead of gray.