I adopted an 8 week old standard poodle, Bowie, 7 weeks ago - he's now 15 weeks - and my 2 cats are driving him nuts! They're both 5 years old, a female named Toph and a male named Glitch, and have lived alone with me and my mum since they were 10 weeks old so I was obviously expecting them to be very unhappy for a while, but it's getting a bit ridiculous. They ignored Bowie and stayed in my bedroom for the first 2 weeks or so, that was fantastic, then they started coming out to inspect the pup and see who this new alien invading their space and stealing all their precious cuddle time was. They stuck to the high ground and behind the baby gates first (my house has scratching posts scattered everywhere and lots of furniture - they don't need to touch the ground at all in the living room where Bowie resides if they don't want to) and just watched, but now Glitch has actually started chasing the puppy and attacking him. Looks like Toph might be getting braver as well. Of course Bowie thinks this is all a great game of chase but the cats think it's war! The poor pup isn't getting any sleep because he gets so excited every time he sees them so he's out of control and biting etc. due to being overtired all the time. I hoped they would sort this out by themselves but it's been about 4 weeks of the same behaviour and I don't see it changing without intervention, or maybe we'll just have to wait 2 years until Bowie is an adult and can keep himself calm around them.
Cats are getting plenty of attention IMO, just not as much as they're used to. They used to sit on my lap just about all day and now it's for maybe an hour or two tops, so I'm sure jealousy is part of it. They're getting extra attention from mum and they even sleep with her but I don't know that makes up for it.
We have an open plan so I can't just close the door to the room Bowie is in unfortunately so I've been locking the cats in mums room for an hour at a time but that's just a temporary solution. Toph doesn't care, she just sleeps the whole time, but Glitch is not very impressed and sits by the door pawing at it and meowing. He doesn't sound distressed at all, just unhappy. And it's usually for the hour before meals so he always meows then anyway! We're crate training Bowie but he absolutely hates it and can't settle himself in there yet, otherwise that would be the perfect solution for naps, but he gets really frantic once he finishes his Kong or whatever is in there to keep him occupied. We'll keep working on it.
Has anyone been through a similar experience? Any suggestions as to what I can do to get the cats to leave him alone? It's worst during the hour before meals as Glitch is crazy when it comes to food and literally meows for 1-1.5 hours straight before I feed him and he likes to pace around while he does this, but it's pretty bad all afternoon. Bowie should be getting 16-20 hours sleep every day at this age but he's only getting 12-14 because the cats get him so excited that he's skipping most of his afternoon naps. We're working on a "settle" command but he's just a puppy and it's gonna take a while, particularly when there are distractions around. Right now he only does it when he's exhausted and there is nothing around to catch his interest. I don't expect he will be able to do it reliably until he's an adult.
I did post in the poodle forum asking about this but their suggestions were either too mean and could end up backfiring (Spray the cats with water) or just didn't work (Positive reinforcement - train and feed everyone together. They're all fine until the treats or dinner is gone then the game/war is back on!).