If you think that one puppy or kitten is adorable, then two must be twice as adorable, right!? While puppies and kittens may look sweet in photographs together and can keep each other company, there are some considerations any pet owner should keep in mind when raising a puppy and kitten in the same home. Here, our Villa Rica vets explain what they are.
If a puppy or kitten is adorable, then the two of them must be equally adorable and sweet, right? While this is often the case, raising a puppy and a kitten in the same house isn't always so simple.
When raised together, these creatures can often become fast friends and companions, but that doesn't mean there won't be any growing pains. A mature dog may mistake a cat for prey, which is also a possibility, however tragic. Our Villa Rica Animal Hospital team explains how to avoid this by preparing your puppy and kitten for success and a long, happy life together.
What are the 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 adorable puppy even comes into your life.
More than your kitten's temperament, your puppy's breed and temperament will determine how successful you will be in raising the two together in the long run. Every dog has an instinctive desire to hunt; in fact, much of their play involves simulating some aspect of hunting, from chasing a ball (small animals) to tugging on a rope (dividing up a catch). Some toys have squeakers that mimic the sounds of dying prey (yikes!).
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 see your cat as prey as they grow larger.
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 a kitten together?
In addition to being cautious about the breed of dog you choose if you intend to raise a puppy and kitten together, there are several methods 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 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 have their own personal space. Setting them up in connected rooms with a baby gate between them can be a great place to start.
When introducing your two animals in this manner, you should expect some excitement. If your kitten hisses and spits at your dog, don't be alarmed; they're simply establishing their boundaries with a new, possibly frightening, creature. These initial introductions should elicit positive or even apathetic responses. If your puppy and kitten are content to do their own thing while still in each other's line of sight, it's a good sign that they can live together safely and happily.
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 is always a good idea to ensure that your dog understands commands such as Sit, Stay, Stop, and Leave It. If your puppy becomes overly physical with your kitten, overly excited in their presence, or begins 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 acceptable when it comes to your cat.
Managing Your Pets' Time Together
The final factor to consider when raising a puppy and kitten together is how closely you must control and observe their interactions. You'll be able to judge this as their relationship progresses, but depending on your puppy and kitten's temperaments, you might want to do any of the following:
- Avoid having your dog and cat in the house alone together. You can crate your dog when you need to leave the house for a long 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 time or in the same place. Some dogs are very protective of their food and may get confrontational with your kitten, even if the kitty 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.