Puppies and kittens are both adorable pets, so it must be even cuter to raise them together, correct? While this may seem like a good idea, and they might be able to keep each other company, there are several factors you have to consider when raising a puppy and kitten at the same time. Our Grand Prairie vets explain more here.
While a puppy and kitten are both individually cute, it may not be simple to raise them both together, no matter how sweet it may seem.
When these pets are raised together, they could become friends quickly and keep each other company, but there may also be some growing pains during this process. There is a chance that a grown dog could mistake your cat for prey. Today, our vets at Carrier Animal Hospital discuss ways you can avoid this and help set your kitten and puppy up for happy life together.
The Best Dog Breeds to Raise With a Cat
While there are various measures you can implement when having your two young pets meet each other for the first time, one of the best things you can do actually starts before you bring your puppy home.
Your puppy's breed and temperament, more than your kitten's, will be what determines how successful you are at raising both of them together in the long term. By instinct, all dogs have the drive to hunt, in fact, a good portion of their play consists of simulating some aspects of hunting, such as chasing down a ball (small animals) and tugging on a rope (dividing up a catch). Some dogs even find certain toys exciting because some squeakers simulate the sounds of dying prey (yikes!).
A handful of dog breeds have a much stronger hunting instinct (prey drive) than others. And the prey drive is where you might encounter some problems with your pup's behavior. As your dog grows to be larger than your cat (even if they are getting along well), if your pooch's breed has a highly-tuned hunting instinct, these instincts might take over and they could seriously chase your kitty as their prey.
Dogs like Beagles, Shiba Inus, Huskies, Terriers, Malamutes, Cattle Dogs, and Dobermans 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 when rising them with your kitten.
Raising a Puppy & Kitten Together
Looking past being cautious about the breed of dog you adopt, if you plan on raising a puppy and kitten together, there are some strategies you can use to introduce your two pets to one another to help set them up for a successful, life-long friendship!
Introduce Your Pets Gradually
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 it's time for your puppy and kitten to meet each other for the first time, make sure they can see each other, while still having their own personal space. Setting them up in connected rooms with a baby gate between them can be an excellent start.
You should expect some excitement when you introduce your two furry friends this way. Don't be concerned or alarmed if your kitten hisses and spits at your dog, they are just asserting their boundaries to a new (and maybe scary) creature. Your goal for the first several introductions should be to establish positive reactions or even just apathy. If your puppy and kitten are happy to do their own thing while in the eyesight of the other, it's a good sign that they should be able to live together safely and comfortably.
Designate Time for Puppy Training
It's very important to work on your puppy's obedience. This becomes even more critical when you are raising them with a kitten!
Your dog needs to know commands such as Leave It, Stop, Sit, and Stay. 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.
Ways to Manage the Time Your Pets Spend Together
The last thing you should know when raising a puppy and kitten together is how closely you have to monitor and manage the time they spend together. You will be able to assess this as you watch their relationship develop. Depending on your puppy and kitten's individual temperaments, you might want to try the following:
- Avoid having your puppy and kitten eat at the same times or in the same place. Some dogs are very protective of their food and may get confrontational with your kitten, even if your kitten was only sniffing the interesting food the pup is eating.
- Avoid having your dog and cat in the house alone together. You can put your dog in their crate when you have to leave for a while or close off part of your home with one animal in it to prevent confrontations.
- Designate safe areas of your home for each pet to go when they want to be alone. 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.