If you think one puppy or kitten is cute, then two must be twice as cute, right? While puppies and kittens look adorable in photos together and can keep each other company, there are some things every pet owner should keep in mind when raising a puppy and kitten in the same home. Our Rock Springs vets explain what they are in this section.
If a puppy or kitten is adorable, then the two of them must be equally adorable, right? While this is often the case, raising a puppy and a kitten in the same house isn't always so simple.
Even though when raised together, these animals can frequently become fast friends and keep each other company, there may still be some growing pains. Moreover, there is a grave chance that an adult dog will mistake a cat for food. In order to prevent this and ensure that your puppy and kitten have a successful, long, and happy life together, our Mountainaire Animal Clinic team offers advice.
What are the best dog breeds to raise with a cat?
While there are several practices you can use to introduce your two young pets to one another, one of the most surefire ways of ensuring your puppy and kitten's success comes before your adorable puppy even arrives in your life.
Long-term success in raising your kitten and puppy together will depend more on your puppy's breed and temperament than on the temperament of your kitten. Since all dogs have an innate desire to hunt, a lot of their play involves mimicking various aspects of hunting, such as chasing after small animals or tugging on a rope to share a catch. Some toys, with squeakers inside, will also appeal to your puppy because they make sounds that resemble dying prey (ouch!).
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 to be larger than your cat.
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 one of these breeds, you will need to be extremely cautious of their prey drive when raising them with your kitten.
How do I raise a puppy and kitten together?
Aside from being cautious about the breed of dog you choose 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 and 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 space. Setting them up in adjacent rooms with a baby gate between them can be a great place to start.
This is how you introduce your two pets, so be prepared for some excitement. Your kitten is just expressing their boundaries to a new, potentially frightening creature, so don't be shocked or alarmed if it hisses and spits at your dog. These first introductions are meant to provoke favorable responses, or even indifference. It's a good indication that your puppy and kitten can live together safely and comfortably if they are happy to be apart and do their own thing when they see each other.
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's crucial to make sure your dog knows how to obey commands like sit, stay, stop, and leave it. But these commands can be very helpful in calming your puppy down and teaching them the proper behavior around your cat, especially if they start getting too physical with them, acting overly excited around them, or starting to stalk or chase them.
Managing Your Pet's Time Together
How closely you manage and watch their time together is the last thing to think about when raising a puppy and kitten together. As their bond grows, you'll be able to tell, but based on your puppy and kitten's personalities, you may want to try 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, 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 very 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 aside safe areas in your home for each pet to spend time alone if they so desire. This can include teaching each of your pets to respect each other's space, getting a crate for your puppy, or reserving 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.