Kittens and puppies are both adorable animal companions, however, if you would like to raise both of them together, you have to take some factors into consideration. Our Mankato vets share them with you here.
Puppies and kittens are both adorable pets, so it's understandable why you may think it could be cute to raise one of each together in the same home. However, while there is a chance that this can be true, raising a puppy and kitten together isn't always that easy.
While puppies and kittens can sometimes form a fast friendship and keep each other company, there can be some growing pains. However tragic, there is still the possibility that a grown dog can mistake your cat for its prey.
Below we have shared some ways you can help your puppy and kitten live a wonderful and happy life together.
The Best Type of Dogs 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 best things you can do to set your puppy and kitten up for success takes place before you adopt your puppy.
The breed and temperament of your puppy, more than your kitten's, will be what determines how successful you are at raising both of them together in the long term. All dogs have an instinctual drive to hunt, as a matter of fact, a lot of their play involves simulating some aspect of hunting, like 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 a lot stronger in some dog breeds than others. And the prey drive is where you might encounter problems with your dog's behavior from the very beginning. As your dog grows to become larger than your cat, even if they have been getting along well, if your puppy's breed has a highly-tuned hunting instinct, these instincts may take over and make your dog seriously chase your cat as their prey.
Dogs like Beagles, Huskies, Cattle Dogs, Dobermans, Shiba Inus, and Malamutes all have very high prey drives and, if your puppy is one or a combination of these breeds, you will probably have to be very watchful of their prey drive when rising them with a kitten.
Raising a Puppy & Kitten Together
Looking past the breed of dog you adopt, if you plan on raising a kitten and a puppy together there are various strategies you can implement when introducing the two pets, to make sure you are preparing them for a successful, lifelong relationship.
Introduce Them Slowly
Introducing a kitten and a puppy in the early stages of their lives could be a great way to get them accustomed to one another, but the way you introduce them is very important.
The first time you introduce your kitten and puppy to each other, make sure each of them can see the other, but provide them with their own individual space. We recommend doing this by setting them up in connected rooms but having a baby gate separate them.
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.
Designate Time To Training Your Puppy
It's always important to implement obedience when you are raising a puppy, especially if you will also be raising them with a kitten.
Be sure to teach your dog commands such as Leave It, Stay, Stop, and Sit. If your pup is becoming too physical with your kitten, getting too excited near them, or is starting to chase or stock them, these commands could be imperative for teaching your puppy what they can and can't do when it comes to your kitty.
How to Manage the Time Your Pets Spend Together
Lastly, when raising a puppy and kitten together as part of the same household, you need to closely monitor and manage the time they spend in each other's company. Evaluate the situation as you watch the development of your dog and cat's relationship, depending on each of their temperaments you may want to try implementing one or a combination of these measures:
- Set up safe areas of your home where each pet can go if they want to be alone. This may include teaching both of them 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.
- Don't leave your dog and cat in the house alone together. To prevent confrontations when you aren't home, put your puppy in their crate or keep them in a part of your home that's kept separate from the kitten.
- Avoid having your puppy and kitten eat in the same place or at the same time. Dogs can be extremely protective of their food and could get confrontational with your kitten, even if your kitty was just sniffing the interesting food their sibling is eating.