While one puppy or kitten is adorable, two must be twice as adorable, right? While puppies and kittens may look sweet in pictures together and can keep each other company, there are some considerations any pet owner should remember when raising a puppy and kitten in the same home. In this post, our Powder Springs vets explain what these are.
About Raising Puppies & Kittens Together
While you're likely excited to get a new pet, it can be thrilling — even scary — to bring to new fur babies into your home at the same time. And while a puppy and kitten together are sweet and adorable, raising a puppy and kitten in the same home as one another doesn't always turn out to be as simple as many owners expect.
When raised together, these creatures can potentially become fast companions and keep one another company. That said, you may experience some growing pains. There's also the possibility, however tragic and unfortunate, that a grown dog mistakes a cat for prey. In this post, our team at Powder Springs Animal Clinic explains how you can take steps to avoid this by preparing your puppy and kitten for success amid a long, happy life together.
What are the best dog breeds to raise with a cat?
As you prepare to introduce your two young pets to each other, there are a number of practices you can implement. Before your adorable puppy even arrives home, you can start by choosing its breed and temperament carefully.
More so than the kitten's, your puppy's breed and temperament will determine how successful raising the two together will be in the long-term. All dogs possess an instinctive drive to hunt. A lot of their play entails simulating some aspect of hunting, whether it's chasing a ball in place of small animals or tugging on a rope (which is similar to dividing up caught prey). Some toys contain squeakers that are exciting to puppies since they mimic the sounds of dying prey (yikes!).
Naturally, some breeds will have a much stronger "prey drive" or hunting instinct than others. The prey drive is often the culprit for many owners who run into issues with their dog's behavior from the start. As your dog matures and grows to be larger than your cat, those with highly tuned hunting instincts may end up treating a cat like prey, even if they cohabitate well and get along swimmingly.
Dogs such as beagles, dobermans, malamutes, cattle dogs, beagles, shiba inus, terriers and huskies all have notoriously high prey drives. If your puppy has a mix of one of these breeds in his blood, you'll likely need to be very mindful of their prey drive when raising them with your kitten.
You might also choose to ask how you can keep both your puppy and kitten safe when you bring them in to see your vet for the first time. In the meantime, here are some of our best tips.
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 to one another, make sure they can see one another, but each have their own personal space too. Setting them up in connected rooms with a baby gate between them can be an excellent start.
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.
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!
Making sure that your dog knows commands like Sit, Stay, Stop and Leave It are always important. But, 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.
Your puppy will also need an experienced veterinarian to perform routine exams and provide preventive care, including vaccinations and parasite prevention. If you are having issues with training, an underlying health condition may be the culprit. If this is the case, we can identify the problem, develop a custom treatment plan for your pet and provide ongoing puppy vet care and guidance as you navigate your new role as a pet parent.
Managing Your Pets' Time Together
The last thing to keep in mind when raising a puppy and kitten together is how closely you need to manage and monitor their 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. You can crate your dog when you need to leave the house for 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 times or in the same place. Some dogs are very protective of their food and may get confrontational with your kitten, even if 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.
If you are planning on bringing a puppy and kitten home soon and are looking for a vet near Powder Springs, we would be happy to welcome you to Powder Springs Animal Clinic.
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.