Meet Leo the Cat - Dog Evaluator Extraordinaire

The perfect dog for you is on the Fetching Tails Foundation website, but you already have a cat (or two) at home. How do you know if they’ll get along and not tussle like, well, cats and dogs? Enter Leo, FTF’s famous feline dog evaluator!

Meet Leo the Cat - Dog Evaluator Extraordinaire

Leo is a rescue kitty adopted by volunteers Sarah and Brandon in 2018. He joined a home with two dogs — Churchill, a 12-year-old, 130-pound shepherd/malamute mix, and Rory, a 3-year-old pittie/husky mix. To make the doggie-kitty introductions as stress-free as possible, Sarah put in a cat door, allowing Leo to choose when to visit with Churchill and Rory. After about three weeks, Leo decided he was ready to hang out with the boys full-time. When Sarah and Brandon adopted FTF alumnus Chester in 2019, Leo made Chester feel right at home, just as he’s done with the 17 other dogs Sarah and Brandon have fostered.

Leo’s love for dogs (his favorite activity is wrestling with them) gave Sarah an idea: why not let Leo test FTF dogs for their cat-friendliness before being adopted into homes with a feline in residence? The plan was immediately put into action and has been a great success.

So, what does it take to win Leo’s seal of approval? The testing process starts with Sarah holding Leo and letting a leashed FTF dog sniff him. If the dog doesn’t react negatively by barking or lunging, Sarah puts Leo on the ground and lets him walk near the dog. If the dog passes this second test, the two are allowed to meet face-to-face. A dog is considered “Leo approved” when it can greet Leo, break focus, and walk away. Sarah closely watches a dog’s body language: if it seems to relax and not be overly concerned with Leo — interest is okay, obsession is not — the dog is deemed cat-friendly.

Leo is a great ambassador for FTF and living proof that cats and dogs can peacefully coexist! We always recommend asking “What would Leo do,” and introduce new pet siblings slowly, no matter whether they are canines or felines. Thank you, Leo, for your service to FTF!

Written by: Michele G

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