Introducing your tort to other family pets

Odin's Gma

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Aside from our little sulcata, we also have 3 cats and a gecko. Our Odin is nearly 9 months old and we have been gradually trying to get the cats familiar with him to make certain there are no serious issues , so for about 10-15 minutes every week or two we let him roam a bit (always within arms reach) while the cats are present.
Our youngest cat, a poly-dactyl female calico, has no interest in him whatsoever. He can walk right over her paws and she just carries on with her business. The middle cat, a male long-haired black cat is a complete pain. He follows Odin around and is always trying to touch and sniff him, has even managed to flip him over a time or two! (no claws or teeth, just curiosity and maybe a little stupidity :p) But our oldest cat, a male orange tabby, is the one with whom the interactions really fascinate me. Odin just seems drawn to him, Big Jim (the cat) will just lay nearby waiting and within short order Odin heads for him and nuzzles partially underneath him and then immediately falls asleep! It happens every time and they will snuggle like that as long as we allow it (never more than a few minutes to date). Big Jim will also not let the other cats near them when they are snuggling. If they come too close he slowly raises his paw and gives them a look and they turn and walk away.

Does anyone else have other pets with whom their tort seems to have a special or unusual relationship with?
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Yellow Turtle01

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Well... I understand what you're trying to do, but I'm worried about him on the floor! :(
There are 7 cats here. Not a single one cares about mr russian, and show very little interest in the turtles. Our indoor/outdoor kitty may stare at miss sulcata if she's out, but hardly ever interacts.
And so, the cats have earned an amount of trust with them (meaning I don't hover when they decide to take a nap on the lid(which I discourage):p )
Big Jim is warm and toasty. Your tort 'may' be being drawn to the warmest spot nearby :D
 

Odin's Gma

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I am worried about him on the floor too, which is why it is only for short periods of time and only with both my son and I flanking him and hovering constantly. The cats aren't allowed in Odin's (my sons) room and our concern is that if they ever do manage to get in there they could harass or injure him, so we want them to know what he is.

That is what I think too, I'm just surprised that it is always the same warm toasty critter and that Big Jim seems to enjoy it so much.
 

Jodie

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Interesting. I have no explanation, but would caution against ever trusting the cats when you're not watching. Dog horror stories are unlimited, but there are cat horror stories too. It is purely instinct.
 

wellington

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So very cute pic. Hard to say why he likes that one the most. Maybe the color, maybe the calm the tort gets from the cat? I understand what you are trying to do, hopefully it will work should they ever get in with your tort by themselves.
 

Heather H

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I worry about the same thing 3 cats here too.and a dog. I found one cat in the enclosure 2 times , jumped right in with me there. I don't think it was the tort but the warm light and yummy plants. I didn't introduce my animals to the tort.
 

Heather H

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Is big Jim the dominant cat of the house? My female is the dominant here. She once stunned a mouse and snuggled it, did not let the other two near. I removed the mouse so I don't know what she was going to do? Play with it or eat it? Cats are fast
 

johnsonnboswell

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I have never introduced a tort to a family pet, and I never will. The introductions may go splendidly, but that's no guaranty that everything will stay safe. The cat may later decide that the tortoise is prey, and then no amount of family feeling will operate. A dog may simply pick up the tort and puncture the shell by accident, and some dogs will chew it deliberately. Introductions aren't going to prevent bad things from happening. We prevent them by setting it up so they can't.

It would be nice if it worked that way, but it usually doesn't. The risk is enormous. The best thing is to keep them apart.
 

leigti

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In my opinion your tortoise is way too small to be around the cats at all. there may not ever be a problem but at this size they could hurt him very quickly and severely. give it a few years and the tables will be reversed :) my cats will go up and sniffed my tortoise and then walk away. But my tortoise is bigger than yours. my dog is very good at "leave it" and she will not get near the tortoise however I still did not ever leave them unsupervised. A dog is a dog and the cat is a cat, they have instincts and although they may not mean to hurt your tortoise they could. I've watched a cat "keep" a live mouse for over 24 hours and it looked like they were buddies, until I found half the mouse on the back porch. The friendship was over. Secure the enclosure so your animals cannot get into it.
 

Odin's Gma

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The intention is to never leave the tort with the cats unattended and as it is now they have very minimal interaction, but cats are tricky and torts do what they want. On the very slim (nearly nonexistent) chance they ever were to cross paths in the house without the humans around, I want the cats to know that he is not an interloper or prey. And yes, Big Jim is the dominant pet in the household, with him being at ease with the tort the others have started to follow suit. Even the pesky black is starting to lose interest. Fortunately it won't be too long before the cats will be outmatched by Odin's size and I will worry a little bit less.
And to put minds at ease, the floor thing is exceedingly rare, most of their introductory visits have been held while Odin has been in his gardens with them looking on or with one of us holding him. This was more of a photo op than a regular occurrence.
 

TarHeelNC

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My guys have done great. I have two dogs and cats and three Redfooots. I keep them inside in a very large plastic tub enclosure and they aren't bothered at all. I let them sniff the torts and watch them when they eat and they have been extremely respectful. Cooper my Boston loves to watch them move around. He even licked them sweetly the first time they meet and not in a I want to eat you way lol. ImageUploadedByTortoise Forum1422975955.939370.jpgImageUploadedByTortoise Forum1422976021.170885.jpgImageUploadedByTortoise Forum1422976107.554276.jpg
 
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Odin's Gma

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My son and Odin were hanging out on the couch while I was pulling out one of the new garden trays today and as soon as my son set him down he went right for Big Jim and Jim was only too happy to give him a snuggle.
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Yvonne G

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Yeah...I don't introduce mine either. When I first got Misty and she was in a tortoise pen with me, I scolded her quite roughly every time she went near a tortoise. I didn't even want her near enough to sniff. She's never outside unless I'm outside too, but so far she shows no interest at all. And I have many outside cats. They have never shown an interest in the tortoises.
 

Cowboy_Ken

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With all the outdoor tortoise I have, logic would dictate Ava, (dog) showing some interest in them. Not even while they are breeding does she show interest. Yet when that native painted turtle was walking through the place, holy crowe I had to put her inside because she wanted to have some negative bonding time with it.
 

Mavrik

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I do not trust my dogs with my shellings, simply because they have no concept of personal space. Anytime I have put a tortoise on the floor or something when I am cleaning, even if just for a second, all 3 dogs are over in the face of the tortoises and will not leave them alone -- not in an "I'm going to eat you", way but a "What's-this-ohmygod-it's-moving!" way. They will not back off for any reason, they just keep following the tortoise around like rats with the Pied Piper. The dogs do not attack, but it stresses the tortoises out enough that I just give them a break and keep the dogs out of the kitchen when I'm working in there.

My one kitten though, she likes to go sit in the tortoise tables (most likely due to the warmth). She does not bother the tortoises -- they will actually come to her and snuggle with her, probably because she is a large warm thing in their warm enclosure. Her special friend is Thor the Sulcata, but she has also been witnessed snuggling with Gorbachev and Oatmeal the Russians, as well as Chava the Redfoot in a different enclosure. I check on everyone often to make sure there is no funny business going on, and I figure as long as everything is still copacetic then there's nothing to worry about.
 

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bouaboua

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My other pet are Love birds and parakeets.

No introduction needed. They never interfering with each other. I'm very safe in this department.
 

Odin's Gma

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With all the outdoor tortoise I have, logic would dictate Ava, (dog) showing some interest in them. Not even while they are breeding does she show interest. Yet when that native painted turtle was walking through the place, holy crowe I had to put her inside because she wanted to have some negative bonding time with it.
We don't currently have any dogs, and if we did I wouldn't be so quick to make introductions and I would certainly never turn my back on them.
I am still just amazed that Big Jim and Odin seem to gravitate towards each other whenever the chance arises. Odin has no interest in the other cats and they don't have much in him. It's just odd.
 
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