Kittens and puppies are both cute animal companions. However, if you want to raise them together, you need to consider certain factors. Our Seattle veterinarians provide this information.
Puppies and kittens are both popular pets, making it reasonable to consider raising one of each in the same household. Nevertheless, cohabitating with a puppy and a kitten is not always a straightforward endeavor.
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 are some tips to facilitate a harmonious coexistence for your puppy and kitten.
The Best Type of Dogs to Raise With a Cat
Numerous practices can be implemented when introducing your two young pets. One crucial step in ensuring the success of your puppy and kitten's coexistence occurs before adopting the puppy.
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. A lot of their play involves simulating some aspect of hunting, like chasing down a ball (small animals) or 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, known as "prey drive," varies in intensity among different dog breeds. Potential issues in your dog's behavior may arise due to a high prey drive. As your dog grows larger than your cat, even if they initially get along, a strong hunting instinct in the puppy's breed could trigger a predatory response towards the cat.
Dogs like Beagles, Huskies, Cattle Dogs, Dobermans, Shiba Inus, and Malamutes all have very high prey drives. If your puppy is one or a combination of these breeds, you will probably have to be very watchful of their prey drive when raising them with a kitten.
Raising a Puppy & Kitten Together
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.
Introduce Them Slowly
Introducing a kitten and a puppy in the early stages of their lives could be a great way to get them accustomed to one another, but the way you introduce them is very important.
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.
Designate Time To Training Your Puppy
It is essential to establish obedience in the upbringing of a puppy, particularly when co-raising them with a kitten.
Ensure that you instruct your dog in commands like "Leave It," "Stay," "Stop," and "Sit." If your puppy displays excessive physicality or excitement around the kitten or begins to pursue or stalk them, these commands are crucial for instructing your puppy on appropriate behavior with your cat.
How to Manage the Time Your Pets Spend Together
When raising a puppy and kitten together in the same household, it is important to monitor and regulate the time they spend together carefully. Assess the situation while observing the development of your dog and cat's relationship. Depending on their temperaments, you may consider implementing one or a combination of the following 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.
Contact Madison Park Veterinary Hospital today and schedule an appointment to get advice from our Seattle vets on how you can raise a puppy and kitten together.