If you think that one puppy or kitten is adorable, then two must be twice as adorable, right!? While puppies and kittens may look sweet in photographs together and can keep each other company, there are some considerations any pet owner should keep in mind when raising a puppy and kitten in the same home. Here, our Springfield vets explain what they are.
If a puppy or kitten is adorable, then the two of them must be equally adorable and sweet, right? While this is often the case, raising a puppy and a kitten in the same house isn't always so simple.
While these creatures can often become fast friends and keep each other company when raised together, that doesn't mean there won't be some growing pains. There is also the tragic possibility that an adult dog will mistake a cat for prey. Our [SEO COMPANYNAME] team explains how to avoid this by preparing your puppy and kitten for success and a long and happy life together.
What are the best dog breeds to raise with a cat?
While there are a number of practices you can implement when introducing your two young pets to one another, one of the most surefire ways of setting your puppy and kitten up for success actually comes before your adorable puppy even comes into your life.
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 instinctual desire to hunt; in fact, much of their play involves simulating some aspect of hunting, from chasing down a ball (small animals) to tugging on a rope (dividing up a catch). Squeakers in some toys are also appealing to your puppy because they mimic the sounds of dying prey (yikes!).
However, some dog breeds have a much stronger hunting instinct, or "prey drive," than others. And the prey drive is where you may encounter problems with your dog's behavior right away. Even if your dog and cat get along fine, if your pup is of 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.
Dogs with notoriously high prey drives include Shiba Inus, Huskies, Terriers, Beagles, Dobermans, Malamutes, and Cattle Dogs, and if your puppy is one of or mixed with one of these breeds, you will need to be very mindful of their prey drive when raising them with your kitten.
How do I raise a puppy and a kitten together?
Beyond being careful about the breed of dog that you get if you intend to raise a puppy and kitten together, there are a number of strategies you can use to introduce your two pets to one another in order to 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 personal space. Setting them up in adjacent rooms with a baby gate between them can be a great place to start.
When introducing your two pets this way, you should expect some excitement. Don't be surprised or worried if your kitten hisses and spits at your dog, they are just asserting their boundaries to a new, and maybe scary, creature. The goal from these first few introductions is positive reactions, or even just apathy. If your puppy and kitten are happy to do their own thing while in eyesight of one another, that's a great sign that they will be able to safely and comfortably live together.
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 always important to ensure that your dog understands commands such as Sit, Stay, Stop, and Leave It. However, if your puppy becomes too physical with your kitten, becomes overly excited in their presence, or begins to stalk or chase 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 Pets' Time Together
The last thing to keep in mind when raising a puppy and kitten together is how closely you need to manage and monitor their time together. You will be able to assess this as you watch their relationship develop, but depending on your puppy and kitten's individual temperaments, you may want to do 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 of time, 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 extremely 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 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.