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Raising a Puppy & Kitten Together

If you think one puppy or kitten is cute, then two must be twice as cute, right? While puppies and kittens look adorable in photos together and can keep each other company, there are some things every pet owner should keep in mind when raising a puppy and kitten in the same home. Our Toledo vets explain what they are in this section.

Are puppies & kittens a good match?

If a puppy or kitten is adorable, then the two of them must be equally adorable, right? While this is often the case, raising a puppy and a kitten in the same house isn't always so simple.

While they can often become best friends and keep each other company when raised together, that doesn't mean there won't be some growing pains. A tragic possibility is that an adult dog will mistake a cat for prey. Our Shoreland Animal Hospital team explains how to avoid this by preparing your puppy and kitten for success as well as a long and happy life together.

What are the best dog breeds to raise with a cat?

The breed and temperament of your puppy will determine how successful raising the two together will be in the long run. All dogs have an instinctual desire to hunt. In fact, much of their play involves simulating some aspect of hunting, from chasing down a ball (small animals) to tugging on a rope (dividing up a catch). Squeakers in some toys are also appealing to your puppy because they mimic the sounds of dying prey (yikes!).

But some dog breeds have a much stronger hunting instinct, or "prey drive," than others. And the prey drive is where you may encounter problems with your dog's behavior right away. Even if your dog and cat get along fine, if your pup is of a breed with a highly-tuned hunting instinct, those instincts may take over as your dog grows larger.

Shiba Inus, Huskies, Terriers, Beagles, Dobermans, Malamutes, and Cattle Dogs all have high prey drives. If your puppy is one of or mixed with one of these breeds, you will need to be careful of their prey drive when raising them with your kitten.

How do I raise a puppy and kitten together?

Aside from being cautious about the breed, there are several strategies you can use to introduce your two pets and set them up for success.

Introduce Them Slowly

While introducing your puppy and kitten to one another early in their lives is a good start, how you introduce them is also important!

When first introducing your kitten and puppy, make sure they can see each other but also have their own space. Setting them up in adjacent rooms with a baby gate between them can be a great place to start.

Expect some excitement when introducing your two pets in this manner. Don't be alarmed if your kitten hisses and spits at your dog. They're asserting their boundaries to a new, possibly frightening, creature. The goal of these initial introductions is to elicit positive reactions or even apathy. If your puppy and kitten are happy doing their own thing while in sight of one another, it's a good sign that they'll be able to live together comfortably.

Dedicate Time To Training Your Pup

Working on your puppy's obedience is always important, but it's especially important when they're raised with a kitten!

It is always important to ensure that your dog understands commands such as Sit, Stay, Stop, and Leave It. If your puppy becomes physical with your kitten, excited around them, or begins to stalk or chase them, these commands can snap your puppy out of it. They also teach them what is and isn't acceptable when it comes to your cat.

Managing Your Pet's Time Together

The final consideration when raising a puppy and kitten together is how closely you must manage their time together. You should be able to tell as you watch their relationship develop. But depending on your puppy and kitten's personalities, you might want to try any of the following:

  • Avoid leaving your dog and cat alone in the house. You can crate your dog if you need to leave the house for a while, or you can close off a section of your home with one of them in it to avoid confrontations.
  • Avoid feeding your puppy and kitten at the same time or in the same location. Some dogs are protective of their food and may become aggressive with your kitten, even if the kitty was only sniffing the food.
  • Set aside safe areas in your home for each pet to spend time alone if they so desire. This can include teaching them to respect each other's space, getting a crate for your puppy, or reserving the upstairs or basement for a pet.

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.

If you are looking to raise a puppy and kitten together in your home, contact Shoreland Animal Hospital today. Our vets will be able to give you guidance on how to introduce your pets to one another, how to manage their behaviors, and how to get them comfortable with one another. Your puppy and kitten will be sleeping together in no time!

Welcoming New Patients

Shoreland Animal Hospital is accepting new patients! Our veterinary team is passionate about the health of Toledo pets and is looking forward to meeting you and your furry friend. Contact us today to schedule an appointment!

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