A Kiss for Luck and We’re on Our Way

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A baby gate is in place in a doorway. Behind it are an apricot standard poodle standing above a black and tan shaggy dog. They are looking through the gate, mesmerized.
First day getting to watch the new cat.

Gracie joined our home pack in August, and it was clear that she wasn’t accustomed to dogs. We knew that she was shy and sensitive when we got her, so we’ve been patient, knowing she needed time. We gave Gracie my husband’s home office as a safe room.

A small gray kitten hisses at the large standard poodle looming over her.
“You’re so big and I’m so small! Don’t eat me!”

We kept the door shut for a few days as she adjusted to him and me and the sounds and smells of our home. She would freak out a bit if the dogs barked at someone at the door or if when parrots squawked at sunset. Eventually, we left Gracie’s door open with a baby gate keeping the dogs out. Gracie could see them through the gate but feel safe.

A gray cat with green eyes looks out from where she lays on a blue and maroon blanket. She looks mature, here, although still a kitten.
Gracie getting used to her safe room.

I worked in the room occasionally and let the dogs join us during their afternoon naptime. That way, they would be near Gracie at their most non-threatening time. River was so excited to meet Gracie! She wanted nothing more than to be Gracie’s best friend, but Gracie was terrified. She is a small kitten and River is a tall standard poodle; her size was intimidating.

An apricot standard poodle lays on the floor. At her back, a small gray cat sits beside her, very comfortable.
When they sleep together, you know they’re friends.

River knew just what to do, though, and she spent hours laying outside Gracie’s room trying to look small. She’d watch Gracie through the dog gate, and when Gracie watched her back, they were eye-to-eye. If I let her in, she’d walk into the room and then immediately lay down on her stomach, so she was more approachable.

The standard poodle's nose approaches the small gray cat's nose. They're about to nose-kiss!
River goes in for the nose-kiss!

Little by little, River and Gracie became good friends. Now when they see each other, they pause for a little nose-kiss!

A small gray cat suns herself on a shelf between two windows. She's basking with the sun on her tummy.
Gracie has left the safe room and is enjoying the rest of the house.


  1. Awww thank you for sharing this sweet story! River is to be commended for being so patient and sensitive. I am sure that helped Gracie enormously! Sooo happy they are the best of friends! That is “meow-velous!”

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    1. We were very proud of River, who caught on pretty quickly that she had to appear smaller, and would lay on her belly. She has really missed Jazz and Mystic in the months since they were gone. She’s ecstatic to have a new friend!


    1. Me, too! She was so shy at the shelter that we almost didn’t see her hiding behind some toys in the corner. So it really warms my heart to see her gaining confidence and feeling so secure. If there is ever any trouble with our older cat, River races to the rescue and shuts that down fast.


    1. It feels like Christmas! The first time Gracie approached me in my bedroom, having left her safe room and roamed the house, I teared up. I was so pleased that she felt safe enough to leave her room, and that she sought me out. She is finally getting over her timidness and being brave. We are so proud of her!

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  2. Gracie is gorgeous! I have two grays myself and find them to be very friendly. Much more so than my tortie! You have done it right! I have never had any issues accepting new cats into our crew except for one cantankerous old black cat in the 90s. She didn’t like anyone and I have scars to prove it! She lived to be a ripe 18 but as she aged I kept her segregated from the pack. You made my day! Love happy endings!

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      1. Sometimes that’s all it is. A truce. I got Morgan when Jake was around 16. He was diabetic and old but he let her know (with a few head womps) that he didn’t intend to play with her. She respected that and kept her distance. I never had any trouble. She preferred sleeping with Hazel anyway.

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        1. Nami is 14 and has been concerned that she would lose her favored sleeping place and favorite mor in cuddle time. As she sees those continue, Nami has been less aggressive. Progress has been slow, but we see them hanging out peacefully in the same room more often now.

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          1. Mollie, our current senior is not fond of Sasha, our current youngster but over the months she has mellowed. Sometimes she yells at her if she encroaches on her space. Other times she cleans her face. All good.

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