When you are considering adding a furry friend to the family you may be stuck between whether you want a dog or a cat. But why not consider raising both? Our New Hope Animal Hospital vets in Dallas offer some information on how to successfully raise a puppy and kitten together and some tips to make it easier.
Can you raise a puppy and a kitten together?
It’s always exciting to get a new pet, but it can be scary to get two new pets at the same time. However, 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. And so, they can overcome it a lot faster. This is, however, not always the case. Sometimes, it can depend on the breed. But in most cases, puppies and kittens can be the perfect match for each other.
Our New Hope 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 some muc-need play time.
- 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: 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 you decide to get if you intend to raise a puppy and kitten together, there are several strategies you can use to introduce your two pets to one another to help 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 in this way, you should expect some excitement. Don't be surprised, or worried, if your kitten hisses at your dog. They are just asserting their boundaries to a new, and maybe scary, animal.
The goal of these first couple of introductions is positive reactions. Or perhaps just apathy. If your puppy and kitten are happy to do their own thing within each other’s line of sight, that's a great sign that they will be able to safely and comfortably live together.
Spend Some Extra Time 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, too excited around them, or stalking or chasing them, these commands can be critical to snapping your puppy out of it and teaching them what is and isn't allowed when it comes to your kitten.
Managing Your Pets' Time Together
The final item to keep in mind when raising a puppy and kitten together is how closely you need to manage and monitor their time together.
You should be able to more easily 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 to help smooth the process:
- 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 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.
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 breeds that are 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.