Raising a Puppy & Kitten Together
While raising a puppy and kitten together will mean you get a lot of love (and some adorable photo opportunities!), it's a big responsibility to take on. Our vets in Mandeville have a few strategies to share that will make introducing them and teaching them to co-exist easier.
Introduce Them Slowly
When and how you introduce your puppy and kitten can factor into how well they'll get along. Giving them a chance to meet early on might help them get used to each other.
When you first introduce your puppy and kitten, make sure they can see each other but that they also have their own separate spaces to retreat to. You might start by placing them in side-by-side rooms, with a baby gate in between.
Expect some excitement when you introduce your pets this way. Your kitten may hiss and spit at your dog as they establish boundaries with their new companion. Not to worry; this is normal.
With these first introductions, your goal should be to observe positive reactions; even indifference. If your puppy and kitten are happy to do their own thing in each other's presence, this is a positive sign that they'll be able to live together safely and comfortably.
Training Your Puppy
While it's always important to work on your puppy's obedience skills, this will be even more imperative when they are being raised with a kitten.
Your dog will need to learn basic commands such as "no", "sit", and "leave it" relatively quickly to prevent them from behaving roughly towards the kitten. If your puppy becomes overly excited and starts to stalk or chase the kitten, you can use these commands to redirect your puppy's attention and teach them appropriate boundaries.
Best Dog Breeds to Raise with a Cat
To ensure a successful relationship between your puppy and kitten, it's crucial to consider the breed of dog you choose before bringing home your adorable puppy.
The breed and temperament of your puppy, rather than your kitten, will play a significant role in how well they can coexist. Dogs naturally have a hunting instinct, which is evident in their play behavior, such as chasing balls or tugging on ropes, mimicking hunting actions.
Certain dog breeds have a stronger hunting instinct, also known as "prey drive." This instinct can potentially cause issues with your dog's behavior. Even if your puppy initially gets along with your cat, as your dog grows larger, if they belong to a breed with a highly developed hunting instinct, they may perceive your cat as prey.
Terriers, Beagles, Shiba Inus, Huskies, Dobermans, Malamutes, and Cattle Dogs are breeds known for their high prey drives. If your puppy belongs to any of these breeds or is a mix, it's essential to be extremely cautious regarding their prey drive when raising them alongside your kitten.
Managing Your Pet's Time Together
To ensure a healthy interaction between your kitten and puppies, overseeing and tracking their time spent together is important. By observing how their bond evolves, you can determine the best approach. Consider these options based on your puppy and kitten's unique personalities:
- Avoid having your dog and cat in the house alone together. Separate them in different rooms or crate/cage them.
- Avoid having your puppy and kitten eat at the same time or in the same place. Dogs can be protective of their food and may get confrontational with your kitten, even if the kitten was only sniffing the interesting food their sibling is eating.
- Set up safe areas of your home for each pet to be alone if they would like. This can include teaching each of your pets to stay out of the other's space, getting your puppy a crate, or setting aside the upstairs or basement for one pet or the other.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.