Puppies and kittens may look cute in photographs together, but you'll want to make sure they get along at home. Today, our San Gabriel vets share some tips on how to ensure that your puppy and kitten behave well together.
Raising a Puppy & Kitten Together
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 to get them to coexist.
Introduce Them Slowly
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.
During your kitten and puppy's first introduction to one another, you should make sure they can see one another, but each has their own 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. It is okay if your kitten hisses and spits at your dog, they are just asserting their boundaries with a new creature.
Positive reactions, or even apathy, are desired from these initial introductions. If your puppy and kitten are content to do their own thing in each other's presence, it's a good sign that they will be able to coexist safely and peacefully.
Training Your Puppy
Working on your puppy's obedience is always important, but it is even more important when they are being raised with a kitten!
If your puppy is being too rough with your kitten, you should make sure that your dog understands commands like "sit," "stay," "no," and "leave it." These commands can be very helpful in getting your puppy to calm down if they are becoming overly excited around your cat or if they start to stalk or chase them. They can also help them learn what is and isn't appropriate behavior around your cat.
Best Dog Breeds to Raise with a Cat
The most surefire way of setting your puppy and kitten up for success comes before your adorable puppy even comes into your life by selecting the breed of dog.
The breed and temperament of your puppy, more than your kitten, will be what determines how successful raising the two together will be. Dogs are hunters a lot of their play involves simulating some aspect of hunting, from chasing down a ball (small animals) to tugging on a rope (fighting their catch).
Some dog breeds have much greater levels of this "prey drive," or instinct for hunting. Your dog's behavior may become problematic if their prey drive is strong. If your puppy is of a breed with a highly-tuned hunting instinct, those instincts take over and they will view your cat as prey as they get older and bigger than your cat, even if they initially seem to get along.
Dogs like Terriers, Beagles, Shiba Inus, Huskies, Dobermans, Malamutes, and Cattle Dogs all have notoriously high prey drives and, if your puppy is one of or mixed with these breeds, you will likely have to be very careful of their prey drive when rising them with your kitten.
Managing Your Pet's Time Together
You must control and keep an eye on when your kitten and puppies are together. As their relationship progresses, you'll be able to judge this, but based on the temperaments of your puppy and kitten specifically, you might want to do any of the following:
- 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.