Raising a puppy and kitten together? It can be done successfully and your two pets could end up best friends for life. However, there are some considerations any pet owner should keep in mind when raising a puppy and kitten in the same home. Today, our Simi Valley vets explain.
If a puppy or kitten is adorable, then when you take the two of them together it must be double the cuteness, right? While this certainly can be the case, raising a puppy and kitten in the same home as one another isn't always so simple.
While these creatures often become friends for life when raised together, that doesn't mean there won't be some growing pains. There is also the possibility, however tragic, that a grown dog may mistake a cat for prey. Here, our Park Animal Hospital team explains how to avoid this by setting your puppy and kitten up for a long and happy life together.
What are the best dog breeds to raise with a cat?
Before considering raising a puppy and kitten together you should do some research about the kind of dog you're getting. Some dog breeds have the right temperament for co-existing with kittens while others would do better as the sole pet in the house or with another dog.
Dogs that are prey-driven, such as huskies, terriers, beagles, Dobermans, malamutes, and cattle dogs may not be the best match for a kitten. This is because their natural instinct to hunt often takes over and it could put your cat in danger of becoming the target, even if they're raised together from a young age.
Dogs that do tend to be good with cats include breeds such as spaniels, retrievers, and bulldogs.
It is important to remember that temperament will vary based on the individual dog but you have a better chance of success if you select a dog breed that typically is low-key and not overly prey-driven.
How do I raise a puppy and 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
How you introduce your puppy and kitten is just as important as when you introduce them. Begin slowly by giving them one of each other's toys (while they are in separate rooms or locations). This will get them used to the other's smell.
When it comes time for the actual introduction, make sure they can see one another, but each has their own personal space too. Setting them up in connected rooms with a baby gate between them can be an excellent 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.
Keep the initial meetings short and remove the pets from the situation if you notice any stress or agitation.
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!
By making sure your dog knows and responds to basic commands like sit, stay, stop, and leave it, you have a better chance of controlling a situation in which your puppy might get too excited or rough with your kitten.
Teach your dog what is and isn't allowed when it comes to interacting with the cat while they are young and you're more likely to end up with a pair of lifelong friends.
Managing Your Pet's 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 having your dog and cat in the house alone together. You can crate your dog when you need to leave the house for long or close off part of your home with one of them in it to avoid confrontations.
- Avoid having your puppy and kitten eat at the same times or in the same place. Some dogs are very protective of their food and may get confrontational with your kitten if they get to close or try to eat the dog's food.
- Set up safe areas of your home for each pet to be alone if they would like. While this is more likely to apply to your cat, your dog may also want some alone time. Make sure there is a room, floor, or even crate where your pets can go when they want a quiet nap.