If you're planning on adding a new fur baby to your family, you may not yet be sure if you'd like a puppy or kitten. Our vets in Stockton share some facts about why raising puppies and kittens together is a great idea.
Raising a Puppy & Kitten Together
If you intend on raising a puppy and kitten together, you may consider using several strategies to introduce your two pets to each other and give them a foundation to develop a great rapport.
Introduce Them Slowly
Introducing your puppy and kitten early on is a great way to help them adapt to each other. How they're introduced is also important.
During your puppy and kitten's first introduction, we recommend ensuring they can see one another, but that each also has their own space. Setting them up in connected rooms and separating them with a baby gate may be an excellent start.
Expect some excitement when introducing your two pets this way. It's okay if your kitten spits or hisses at your dog - they are just asserting their boundaries with this new creature.
With these first few introductions, the goal should be creating space for positive interactions, or even just apathy. Your puppy and kitten may be happy to do their own thing within eyesight of each other. This is a great sign that they will be able to comfortably and safely live together.
Training Your Puppy
It's always important to work on your puppy's obedience. This is even more true when they are being raised with a kitten.
Ensuring your dog understands commands such as "sit", "stay", "no", and "leave it" are important if you find your puppy is getting too physical with your kitten. If your puppy is getting too excited around them or starting to chase or stalk them, these commands can be critical in snapping your puppy out of it and teaching them what is and what isn't allowed when interacting with your cat.
Best Dog Breeds to Raise with a Cat
The most surefire way of setting your puppy and kitten up for success comes before your adorable puppy even comes into your life by selecting the breed of dog.
The breed and temperament of your puppy, more than your kitten, will be what determines how successful raising the two together will be. Dogs are hunters a lot of their play involves simulating some aspect of hunting, from chasing down a ball (small animals) to tugging on a rope (fighting their catch).
This hunting instinct, or "prey drive," is much stronger in some breeds of dogs. The prey drive is where you may run into issues with your dog's behavior. As your dog grows to be larger than your cat, even if they seem to initially get along, if your puppy is of a breed with a highly-tuned hunting instinct, those instincts take over and they will view your cat as prey.
Dogs like Terriers, Beagles, Shiba Inus, Huskies, Dobermans, Malamutes, and Cattle Dogs all have notoriously high prey drives and, if your puppy is one of or mixed with these breeds, you will likely have to be very careful of their prey drive when rising them with your kitten.
Managing Your Pet's Time Together
You need to manage and monitor your kitten and puppies' time together. You will be able to assess this as you watch their relationship develop, but depending on your puppy and kitten's individual temperaments, you may want to do any of the following:
- 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.