Puppies and kittens are pretty cute so it may be hard to choose one to bring into your home. So what if you could raise them together? While is an option that many people choose and it can be done, it will not always be 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.
Here we have compiled some of the ways that you can help make raising a puppy and kitten together just a little easier.
Are certain breeds of dogs better than others with cats?
It's true that there are a number of things that you can do after your puppy and kitten are home to help them get along but there are also things you can implement and consider prior to choosing your new companions. One of the things you can take into consideration is the breed of the puppy you choose to bring home.
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.
How Raising a Puppy and Kitten Together Can Be Successful
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.
Take Your Time Introducing Them to Eachother
While ensuring that you introduce your pets to each other early can help them be comfortable around each other, you should also consider how you introduce them.
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 separating 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.
Train Your Puppy to Ensure Appropriate Behavior
Obedience training will go a long way in helping your dog to behave properly around your cat.
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.
Always Monitor Your Kitten and Puppy When They Are 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.
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.