Our Chi and cat fight...I'm so worried
It's been almost a month since I got my Chi, a shorthair that I named Ren. On the same day, my husband got a cat, Sophie, who is a mix of Russian Blue and British Shorthair. They are both about 4 months old now.
I bought a playpen for Ren, where he stays when we are at work, and at bed time, and a few times during the day when he needs a nap (he does not sleep when we are around unless I put him in there). When taking Ren out of the pen, we tried to introduce him and Sophie carefully, while we were both watching, and just letting them see each other in small doses.
At first, Ren would get all jumpy and start waving his front paws around to play. Sophie would stand perfectly still, waiting for him to leave her alone, and then she would take a swat at him. But he doesn't get the hint, and just keeps coming back to her. As soon as he sees her moving, he chases after her, and sometimes even backs her into a corner. One time she swatted him hard enough to make him yelp. And now she seems to have decided that "A best defense is a good offense" and she is even pouncing on him sometimes when he's minding his own business. So again, we are just trying to have them interact in small doses, under supervision.
So I keep Ren's pen in the kitchen, and keep a gate over the kitchen door so Sophie can't enter the room when he's in his pen. But today, Sophie figured out how to climb the gate (we knew that was only a matter of time). Now I am a nervous wreck. When they are together, it's like Tom and Jerry - each chasing the other, growling, hissing, etc. The only way we were able to take a few minutes to eat dinner tonight is because I gave Ren a bully stick, and he got so engrossed that he ignored Sophie almost completely. But I can't just have him chew a bully stick all day, as he can chew off an inch pretty quickly. Our vet, as well as a trainer at PetSmart, both said to let the animals work it out, and they will eventually tolerate each other. But I am scared that Ren is going to get hurt. My husband is going to put something over the kitchen gate to stop Sophie from climbing over it, but I think that's just delaying the inevitable.
So, I'm still a nervous wreck. Any advice? I talked to my brother-in-law, because he and my sister used to have a Chi and a cat, although both animals were older at the time. He said it sounds like they are just playing and I shouldn't be worried if nobody is drawing blood. But I'm so afraid of Ren getting hurt, and that we will never have any peace in the house.