A kitten or puppy on their own is adorable, so both together must be twice as cute, right? While puppies and kittens may look sweet in photographs together and can become best friends, there are some considerations any pet owner should keep in mind when raising a puppy and kitten in the same home. Here, our Corpus Christi vets explain more.
If a puppy or kitten is adorable, then when you raise the two of them together they must be just as cute and sweet, right? While this certainly can be the case, raising a puppy and kitten in the same home as isn't always so simple.
While these creatures, when raised together, can often become fast friends and keep one another company, that doesn't mean there won't be some growing pains. Today, our team explains how to avoid this by setting your puppy and kitten up for a long happy life together.
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 cute canine companion even comes into your life.
More than your kitten, your potential puppy's breed and temperament will be what determines how successful raising the two together will be in the long term. The instinctual drive to hunt is present in all dogs – in fact, a lot 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). Even squeakers in certain toys are exciting to your puppy because they simulate the sounds of dying prey (yikes!).
This hunting instinct, or "prey drive," is much stronger in some breeds of dog than others, though. And the prey drive is where you may run into issues with your dog's behavior right off the bat. As your dog likely grows to be larger than your cat (depending on breed), even if they get along well, your dog with a high prey drive may seriously hurt your cat during play.
Dogs like 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 these breeds, you will likely have to be very mindful of their prey drive and behavior when rising them with your kitten. Consistency and training are key!
Raising A Puppy & Kitten Together
Aside from researching the breed and/or temperament of the puppy that you intend to raise alongside your kitten, 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 The Pets Slowly
While introducing your puppy and kitten early in their lives is a great start to helping them get used to one another, the method by which you introduce them is important too!
When first introducing your kitten and puppy to one another, make sure they can see one another, but that 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.
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!
Making sure that your dog knows commands like Sit, Stay, Stop and Leave It are always important. This is especially critical if your puppy is getting too physical with your kitten, getting too excited around them, or beginning 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 allowed when it comes to your cat.
Managing Your Pets' Time Together
Another thing to keep in mind when raising a puppy and kitten together is how closely managing and monitoring 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 unsupervised together. You can crate your dog when you need to leave the house 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 animals (dogs and cats) are very protective of their food and may get confrontational, even if the other 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.