If you are hoping to bring home a new pet it can be difficult to choose between either a kitten or a puppy. Why not have both? Our kitten and puppy vets in Nashville offer some information about raising a puppy and kitten together, what makes them a good match and what breeds are best suited to this type of companionship.
Deciding Whether You Want a Puppy, Kitten or Both
Jumping into pet ownership can be scary when it's a single pet, but it's entirely different when you are considering two new pets. Luckily there are perks to raising a puppy and kitten together from the time they first come home. 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 vets for puppies and kittens in the Nashville area will explain why raising them both at the same time can be good for your pets.
Successfully Raising a Puppy & Kitten Together
When you decide to raise a puppy and kitten together it can help to have an idea of what to expect and how to make the transition as smooth as possible.
Allow Them to Meet Each Other on Their Terms
While it can be helpful to allow them to meet each other as soon as possible and while they are still quite young, it is also important that you don't force the introduction.
You should allow each pet to have their own safe space in an area where they can see one another when you are beginning introductions. Setting them up in connected rooms with a baby gate between them can be an excellent start.
It's important to expect some level of excitement, curiosity and defense when they are seeing each other for the first time. It is okay if your kitten hisses and spits at your dog, they are just asserting their boundaries with a new 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.
Make Sure That You've Done Adequate Training With Your Puppy
Obedience training is an important part of life with your new puppy but it can be especially crucial if you plan of raising them with a kitten. Your kitten and puppy vet in Nashville may be able to offer recommendations if you need a little extra help.
Making sure that your dog knows commands like "sit", "stay", "no", and "leave it" are important if your puppy is getting too physical with your kitten. If your puppy is 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.
How to Know If Your Puppy & Kitten Are a Good Match
There are a number of reasons why raising a puppy and kitten together is a great idea such as:
- Personal Hygiene: Over time your puppy and kitten will begin to clean each other when they notice that the other is dirty. This is a great sign that they have accepted and care for each other.
- Keep Eachother Company: One of the benefits is knowing that your pet will never be alone when you need to leave the house for a period of time.
- Outside "Buddies": While your kitten will not be an outdoor pet you can still bring them out on a leash when you bring your dog out.
- Sleep: When you get a new pet it can cause them to be nervous at bedtime. Your home is new to them after all. Luckily if you are raising a puppy and kitten together they can cuddle up at night together to feel more safe.
- Potty Training: Potty training or house training may actually be easier as you teach both your new puppy and kitten at the same time.
- House Rules: It will be important to raise both animals using the same rules. Dog not allowed on the couch? The cat shouldn't be either!
Will Your Puppy & Kitten Become Inseparable?
By raising a puppy and kitten together you allow them the opportunity to be 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.
What breeds of dogs live well with cats?
The most surefire way of setting your puppy and kitten up for success comes before your adorable puppy even comes into your life by selecting the breed of dog.
The breed and temperament of your puppy, more than your kitten, will be what determines how successful raising the two together will be. Dogs are hunters a lot of their play involves simulating some aspect of hunting, from chasing down a ball (small animals) to tugging on a rope (fighting their catch).
This hunting instinct, or "prey drive," is much stronger in some breeds of dogs. The prey drive is where you may run into issues with your dog's behavior. As your dog grows to be larger than your cat, even if they seem to initially get along if your puppy is of a breed with a highly-tuned hunting instinct, those instincts take over and they will view your cat as prey.
Dogs like Terriers, Beagles, Shiba Inus, Huskies, 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 careful of their prey drive when rising them with your kitten.
What should you keep in mind when you have a puppy and kitten?
You need to manage and monitor your kitten and puppies' 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. Separate them in different rooms or crate/cage them.
- Avoid having your puppy and kitten eat at the same time or in the same place. Dogs can be protective of their food and may get confrontational with your kitten, even if the kitten 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.
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.