If you are looking to expand your family you may be considering getting both a dog and a cat at the same time. Here, our vets in Fairhaven talk about how to successfully raise a puppy and kitten together and what to take into consideration.
Can You Raise a Puppy and a Kitten Together?
It is always exciting to get a new pet, but it can be scary to get two new fur babies at the same time there are a lot of benefits to raising your new puppy and kitten together. When dogs and cats are introduced properly at a young age, the hate and fear instinct doesn't have the chance to grow and increase in them so they can overcome it a lot faster. This is not always the cause, it can depend on the breed but in most cases, puppies and kittens can be the perfect match for each other.
Our New England Animal Hospital vets will explain why raising them both at the same time can be good for your pets.
Will Your Pets Make a Good Match?
Puppies and Kittens are generally a good match for each other for several different reasons including:
- Personal Hygiene: You will notice that your puppy and kitten will start to clean each other, this is just them telling each other that it is time for a cleaning.
- Keep Each other Company: When you have to leave the house your pet misses you. Having a puppy and a kitten at home together gives them someone to spend time with on those days when they are all alone.
- Outside "Buddies": Kittens are not always outdoor pets but they can be a play friend for your puppy as they are learning to go outside. You can put both your kitten and puppy on a leash and take them outside for playtime.
- Sleep: Sleeping in a new place can be very scary but then you have your new kitten and puppy they can cuddle together when they want to sleep.
- Potty Training: If you are raising a puppy and kitten together, they can be potty trained together and will be able to learn from each other.
- House Rules: As you are teaching your dog not to jump on the furniture or stay in a certain area of the house, you can teach all your pets the same rules. This also makes it easier on your puppy because they are not being disciplined when the kitten is not.
How To Raise Your Puppy and Kitten
Beyond being careful about the breed of dog that you get if you intend to raise a puppy and kitten together, there are a number of strategies you can use to introduce your two pets to one another in order to set them up for success and a life of friendship!
Slowly Introduce Your New Pets
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 has 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.
Spend Some Extra Time on Puppy Training
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.
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 a long time 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 time 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.
Can They Become Best Friends?
One benefit of raising a puppy and a kitten together is that they will most likely be the best of friends for life. Since they are growing up together, they are there for each other. Having each other also helps especially if your cat or puppy has anxiety or attachment insecurities.
Make sure to do some research on the best types of dogs that bond with cats. Certain types of dogs -- those with a strong prey drive -- aren't usually good with felines. Think twice about keeping any kind of terrier, sighthound, or husky with cats. Spaniels and retrievers, bulldogs, Keeshonds, poodles, and Lhasa apsos are usually good with kittens.
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.