Son Brian and daughter-in-law Nicole came into town this weekend. For the first time ever their dog Yves, a cute little Chihuahua/Papillon mixture, visited too.
Our cats are almost eight years old and the closest they've been to a dog is in the waiting room at the vet's (and they weren't too thrilled). However, I was hopeful that on their home territory things would work out well. The cats and Yves are about the same size, and the house is big enough that "the boys" could run and hide if they needed to.
Friday afternoon I heard Nicole's car pull into the driveway a little after 3:00. Brian was first into the house, followed a few seconds later by Nicole carrying the dog. She put Yves down on the kitchen floor, where she started sniffing around. Yves was curious about the cats, and I think she wanted to be friends. However, the cats weren't too sure. Pepper had been sitting on the desk in the kitchen, but when he heard the door open he jumped down and moved into the hallway. From there he warily eyed the new four-legged creature. Jackson was sleeping on the back of the couch in the family room; he leapt off and went into slinking mode against the wall.
Historically Pepper is the first to make himself scarce when people come into the house, and Jackson tends to be more outgoing. With Yves, though, their roles were reversed. When the dog was around Jackson couldn't be found, but Pepper would come into the room and look in to see what was going on as long as he had a good escape route. By Saturday night he even got within a couple of feet of Yves. Friday I tried to carry Jackson past the dog to his traditional eating area in the laundry room to feed him, but got a long set of scratches for my efforts. The rest of the weekend I brought Jackson's bowl to him in the master bedroom.
We tried to keep both the cats and the dog safe. Over the course of the weekend we left several times. When we weren't around to supervise the animals Yves went into her kennel in the bedroom and we closed the bedroom door so the cats couldn't bother her. I also made a couple parts of the house "cats only". Yves was not welcome in my bedroom or the basement, but pretty much made herself at home in the rest of the house. She hopped on chairs and couches to snuggle with whoever was sitting there, and followed us around hoping for some attention.
As Brian and Nicole were leaving this afternoon we agreed this trial visit had been a success and they'd have to bring Yves back again another time.