If you think one puppy or kitten is cute, then two must be twice as cute, right? While puppies and kittens look adorable in photos together and can keep each other company, there are some things every pet owner should keep in mind when raising a puppy and kitten in the same home. Our Norristown vets explain what they are in this section.
If a puppy or kitten is adorable, then the two of them must be equally adorable, right? While this is often the case, raising a puppy and a kitten in the same house isn't always so simple.
When raised together, these creatures can frequently become fast friends and companions, but that doesn't mean there won't be any growing pains. The tragic possibility that an adult dog will mistake a cat for prey is also a possibility. In order to prevent this, our Trooper Veterinary Hospital team explains how to set up your puppy and kitten for success and a successful, long, and happy life together.
What are the best dog breeds to raise with a cat?
While there are several practices you can use to introduce your two young pets to one another, one of the most surefire ways of ensuring your puppy and kitten's success comes before your adorable puppy even arrives in your life.
The breed and temperament of your puppy will have a greater impact on the long-term success of raising the two together than the temperament of your kitten. All dogs have an innate desire to hunt; in fact, a lot of their play involves imitating various hunting activities, from chasing after balls to dividing up catches to pulling on ropes. Because they resemble the sounds of dying prey (eww! ), squeakers in some toys are also appealing to puppies.
The "prey drive," or instinct to hunt, is much stronger in some dog breeds than in others. Where you might immediately run into issues with your dog's behavior is with the prey drive. Even if your dog and cat get along just fine, if your pup belongs to a breed with a highly-tuned hunting instinct, those instincts may take over and seriously risk your cat-like prey as your dog grows larger than your cat.
Shiba Inus, Huskies, Terriers, Beagles, Dobermans, Malamutes, and Cattle Dogs all have notoriously high prey drives, and if your puppy is one of or mixed with one of these breeds, you will need to be extremely cautious of their prey drive when raising them with your kitten.
How do I raise a puppy and kitten together?
Aside from being cautious about the breed of dog you choose if you intend to raise a puppy and kitten together, there are several strategies you can use to introduce your two pets to one another and set them up for success and a life 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 first introducing your kitten and puppy, make sure they can see each other but also have their own space. Setting them up in adjacent rooms with a baby gate between them can be a great place to start.
When you introduce your two pets in this way, you should be prepared for some excitement. Your kitten may hiss and spit at your dog, but don't be surprised or alarmed; they are merely establishing their boundaries with a strange, possibly frightening, animal. The intention behind these initial introductions is to elicit favorable responses, or even apathy. It's a positive indication that your puppy and kitten will get along well together if they are both content to do their own thing while keeping an eye on one another.
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's always a good idea to make sure your dog understands commands like Sit, Stay, Stop, and Leave It. However, if your puppy becomes overly physical with your kitten, becomes overly excited around them, or starts stalking or chasing them, these commands can be critical in snapping your puppy out of it and teaching them what is and isn't acceptable when it comes to your cat.
Managing Your Pet's Time Together
The final consideration when raising a puppy and kitten together is how closely you must manage and monitor their time together. You'll be able to tell as you watch their relationship develop, 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. You can crate your dog if you need to leave the house for an extended period, or you can close off a section of your home with one of them in it to avoid confrontations.
- Avoid feeding your puppy and kitten at the same time or in the same location. Some dogs are very protective of their food and may become aggressive with your kitten, even if the kitty was only sniffing the interesting food their sibling is eating.
- Set aside safe areas in your home for each pet to spend time alone if they so desire. This can 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 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.