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thinking about getting a mixed cairn... but we have a cat


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hi everyone! i'm brand new and my family and i are thinking about adopting a cairn terrier mix. His name is Karl and is absolutely amazing! The only problem is that we have a 12 year old cat who has had the run of the house for most of her life. Will the one year old pup be ok? Will our cat be ok?

also... I heard cairns are supposed to be fed specialty food... not just the normal kibble. True? What do they eat?

i hope someone can help!


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Hi and welcome.

I have two cairns, Roxy I got as a puppy and Susie I adopted at 6mths. We taught Roxy from the beginning not to chase Minnie (my cat), and as we used baby gates to restrict where Roxy was allowed Minnie could always escape if she did get chased.

When Susie came to live with us a year ago she had no experience of living with a cat and it was a challege to teach her not to chase Minnie. We kept the baby gates up and always supervised Susie when the cat came into the room and although it took a fair bit of work and a few swipes from the cat we taught her that Minnie (who is now a grand old lady of 17) is the boss. Occaisionally the dogs will "try it on" with her but mostly they all live in harmony. That said I always keep the cat well away from the dogs when they are eating their dinner.

As far as food goes I'm not aware of them needing anything special as long as it is a good quality food. I raw feed mine (which I know is frowned on by lots of people) but my two are doing really well on this diet.

If you do adopt Karl remember we all love to see pics. :P

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Karl sounds great. My cairn Redmon has lived with a collection of cats ever since he was a puppy. Nevertheless, my oldest cat, who is kind of a momma's boy, cannot stand the cairn. He spends most of his time trying to avoid him, and will stand up for himself only when it comes to sleeping next to my pillow and discouraging any cairn contact overnight. My other cat loves the dog, they are best buddies, and spend a lot of time chasing and sometimes wrestling.

I think the idea of providing your cat with a sanctuary of her own, with baby gates, is great. I got a couple of baby gates that are very pretty and open easily for me to walk through and make the house look more interesting, if anything. The cats can go through them but the dog can't, which means the cats can control when they want dog-free time. The only catch is to make sure that you are in the cat-free zone often enough that the cat does not have to feel that freedom from the dog necessarily means exile from you.

And --I've never heard that cairns need special foods. Like all scottish terriers they are sensitive to allergies that will cause them to be itchy and want to tear their hair out (they can only reach their hindquarters, so they tear the hair off there). Home-made raw food is good if you have the knowledge and time to do it right (which is not easy). Otherwise pick a high-quality dry food either with its own significant oil content or else add a little bit of corn oil from time to time to make sure. A premium dry food will significantly lessen your chances of the dog reacting to food allergies that cause it to itch. Avoid grains (except rice) and gluten as much as possible.

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i had the best luck of all with lifespan petguard (lamb). it is the highest quality dry food i have ever had, IF it is fresh. if not so fresh, it is probably not clearly better other good dry foods. i also liked the fact that it was never touched by the melamine recall and so far as i know has never tested positive for euthanasia drugs. it is a bit hard to find (check the website to see if there is a distributor near you). when i can't get it, i settle for newman's own (chicken), which also never appeared on the recall lists. my dogs liked royal canin, a lot, but it was on the recall lists for dry food and it has also tested positive for euthanasia drugs.

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My 2 Cairns arrived when my 17 lb Maine-coon was 12 y/o. It was touch and go at first. The cat had grown up with my dog that passed last year. AS my cat was still grieving and maybe not ready for 2 puppies, it took careful monitoring. I never leave them alone together and am very careful never to have the younger pup too close. They have all learned to live and love and head butt and clean each other. Even still, my cat has claws (as I hope your does) and I do not trust 100%.

As far as feeding, I do not trust any commercial retail food anymore. I have home-fed them both since they were very young. I have researched my home-feeding diet and supplements as needed. I buy Innova (a specialty organic blend of dry food). The only reason I give a few kibbles each day is because I live in Orlando and live in fear of a hurricane and losing power. It I lose my power, I need to feed dry with no digestive issues.

Good Luck

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