Raising a Puppy & Kitten Together

If you think that one puppy or kitten is adorable, then two must be twice as adorable, right!? While puppies and kittens may look sweet in photographs together and can keep each other company, there are some considerations any pet owner should keep in mind when raising a puppy and kitten in the same home. Here, our Edgewater vets explain what they are. 

If a puppy or kitten is adorable, then when you take the two of them together they must be just as cute and sweet, right? While this certainly can be the case, raising a puppy and kitten in the same home isn't always so simple. 

While these creatures can often become fast friends and keep each other company when raised together, that doesn't mean there won't be some growing pains. There is also the tragic possibility that an adult dog will mistake a cat for prey. Our Animal General team explains how to avoid this by preparing your puppy and kitten for success and long and happy life together.

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

While there are a number of practices you can implement when introducing your two young pets to one another, one of the most surefire ways of setting your puppy and kitten up for success actually comes before your adorable puppy even comes into your life. 

The breed and temperament of your puppy will have a bigger impact on how well you can raise the two of them together in the long run than the temperament of your kitten. All dogs have an innate desire to hunt; in fact, a large portion of their play involves imitating various hunting activities, from chasing after a ball (small animals) to pulling on a rope (dividing up a catch). Some toys' squeakers also entice your puppy because they resemble the sounds of dying prey (eww!).

But some dog breeds have much greater "prey drives" than others in terms of their innate hunting instincts. And the prey drive is where you might experience problems right away with your dog's behavior. Even if they get along just fine as your dog gets bigger than your cat, if your pup is of a breed with a highly-tuned hunting instinct, those instincts may take over and cause them to charge your cat-like prey.

Dogs like Shiba Inus, Huskies, Terriers, Beagles, 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 mindful of their prey drive when rising them with your kitten.

How do I raise a puppy and a kitten together?

There are several methods you can employ to introduce your two pets to one another in order to set them up for success and a life of friendship, aside from being cautious about the breed of dog you choose if you intend to raise a puppy and kitten together!

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 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 in this way, be prepared for some excitement. Your kitten may hiss and spit at your dog, but don't be alarmed; they are merely establishing their boundaries with a strange, possibly frightening creature. These initial introductions are intended to elicit favorable responses or even apathy. Your puppy and kitten will be able to live together safely and comfortably if they are both content to do their own thing while in sight of one another.

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!

Make sure your dog can understand commands like "Sit," "Stay," "Stop," and "Leave It." However, these commands can be crucial in getting your puppy out of it and teaching them what is and isn't acceptable when it comes to your cat if they become overly physical with your kitten, become overly excited in their presence, or start to stalk or chase them.

Managing Your Pet's Time Together

The final consideration when raising a puppy and kitten together is how closely you must manage and monitor their time together. You'll 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 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 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 the 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 looking to raise a puppy and kitten together in your home, contact Animal General 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!