Isn't it true that if one puppy or kitten is adorable, two must be even more so? While puppies and kittens look adorable together in photos and can keep each other company, there are some things that any pet owner should keep in mind when raising a puppy and kitten in the same house. Our Harrisburg vets explain what they are in this post.
If a puppy or kitten is adorable, surely the two of them must be equally adorable when they're together? While this is often the case, raising a puppy and kitten in the same house isn't always so straightforward.
While these creatures can often become fast friends and keep each other company when raised together, there will be some growing pains. It's also possible, albeit unlikely, that an adult dog will mistake a cat for prey. Our Colonial Park Animal Clinic team explains how to avoid this by preparing your puppy and kitten for a successful and long-lasting relationship.
What are the best dog breeds to raise with a cat?
While there are a variety of techniques you can use to introduce your two young pets to one another, one of the most effective ways to set your puppy and kitten up for success occurs before your adorable puppy even arrives.
More than your kitten's temperament, the breed, and temperament of your puppy will determine how successful raising the two together will be in the long run. All dogs have an instinctive desire to hunt; in fact, much of their play involves simulating some aspect of hunting, such as chasing down a ball (small animals) or tugging on a rope (dividing up a catch). Even squeakers in some toys pique your puppy's interest because they imitate the sounds of dying prey (yikes!).
However, some dog breeds have a much stronger hunting instinct, or "prey drive," than others. And it's here, in the prey drive, that you might run into problems with your dog's behavior right away. Even if they get along fine, if your dog is of a breed with a highly-tuned hunting instinct, those instincts may take over and treat your cat like prey as your dog grows larger than your cat.
Shibas, Huskies, Terriers, Beagles, Dobermans, Malamutes, and Cattle Dogs all have notoriously high prey drives, so if your puppy is one of or mixed with one of these breeds, you'll need to be very aware of it when raising your kitten.
How do I raise a puppy and kitten together?
If you want to raise a puppy and kitten together, you should be careful about the breed of dog you get. There are a few strategies you can use to introduce your two pets to one another and set them up for success and a lifetime of friendship!
Introduce Them Slowly
While introducing your puppy and kitten early in their lives is a great start to helping them get used to one another, the way you introduce them is important too!
When introducing your kitten and puppy, make sure they can both see each other while maintaining their own space. Setting them up in adjoining rooms with a baby gate between them is a good place to start.
Expect some excitement when introducing your two pets in this manner. If your kitten hisses and spits at your dog, don't be alarmed; they're simply asserting their boundaries with a new, and possibly scary, creature. Positive reactions, or even apathy, are the goal of these first few introductions. If your puppy and kitten are content to do their own thing while in sight of each other, it's a good sign that they'll be able to live together safely and comfortably.
Dedicate Time To Training Your Pup
Working on your puppy's obedience is always important, but it is even more important than usual when they are being raised with a kitten!
It is critical to ensure that your dog understands commands such as Sit, Stay, Stop, and Leave It. However, if your puppy is becoming too physical with your kitten, becoming overly excited around them, or stalking or chasing them, these commands can help snap your puppy out of it and teach them what is and isn't acceptable when it comes to your cat.
Managing Your Pet's Time Together
Last but not least, when raising a puppy and kitten together, you must carefully manage and monitor their time together. You'll be able to tell as their relationship progresses, but depending on your puppy and kitten's personalities, you might want to try any of the following:
- Avoid leaving your dog and cat alone in the house. To avoid confrontations, crate your dog when you need to leave the house for an extended period or close off a section of your home with one of them in it.
- It's best not to feed your puppy and kitten at the same time or in the same place. Even if your kitten was only sniffing the interesting food their sibling was eating, some dogs are very protective of their food and may become confrontational with your kitten.
- Set aside safe areas in your home for each pet to spend time alone if they so desire. This could include teaching each of your pets to respect each other's space, getting a crate for your puppy, or reserving the upstairs or basement for one of your pets.