Puppies and kittens may look cute in photographs together, but you'll want to make sure they get along at home. Today, our Madison 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 way to help them get used to each other, but how you introduce them is also important.
When introducing your kitten and puppy for the first time, you need to make sure they can see each other and that they each have their own space. Putting them in adjoining rooms, separated by a baby gate, can be a great start.
Whenever you introduce your two pets in this way, you should expect a certain amount of excitement. It's okay if your kitten hisses and spits at your dog. They're just asserting their boundaries with a new creature.
These initial introductions aim to produce positive reactions, even apathy. If your puppy and kitten are happy to do as they please while being visible to each other, this is an excellent sign that they'll be able to live together comfortably and safely.
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!
Making sure that your dog knows commands like "sit," "stay," "no," and "leave it" are important if your puppy is getting too physical with your kitten. If your puppy is 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.
Best Dog Breeds to Raise with a Cat
The safest way to ensure the success of your puppy and kitten is to choose your dog's breed even before your adorable puppy enters your life.
The breed and temperament of your puppy, more than those of your kitten, will determine the success of their education together. Dogs are hunters - a large part of their play consists of simulating some aspect of the hunt, whether it's chasing a ball (small animals) or pulling on a rope (fighting their capture).
This hunting instinct, or "prey drive", is much stronger in certain breeds of dog. It's this hunting drive that can lead to behavioral problems in your dog. When your dog gets bigger than your cat, even if they seem to get along at first, if your puppy belongs to a breed with a highly developed hunting instinct, this instinct will take over and he'll consider your cat as prey.
Dogs such as terriers, beagles, shiba inus, huskies, dobermans, malamutes and bouviers are all renowned for their hunting instincts. If your puppy belongs to one of these breeds or a mix of them, you'll probably need to pay close attention to their hunting instincts when raising them with your kitten.
Managing Your Pet's Time Together
You need to manage and monitor the time your kitten and puppies are together. You can assess this by observing the development of their relationship, but depending on the temperament of your puppy and kitten, you can take one of the following steps:
- 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.