Puppy & Kitten: Are They a Good Match?

Raising a puppy and kitten together can be very rewarding but will also need a little extra attention to ensure success. Today, our La Mesa vets talk about whether a puppy and kitten are a good match and how you can help them get along as they grow up.

Life With a Puppy and Kitten

Raising a puppy and kitten together may take a little effort but it can be greatly rewarding. There are several strategies you can use to introduce your two pets to one another to get them to coexist.

Take Your Time Introducing Your Puppy and Kitten

Raising your puppy and kitten together from early in their lives is a great start and can help solidify a good relationship between them, the way you introduce them is important too.

During your kitten and puppy's first introduction to one another, you should make sure they can see one another, but each has their own space too. A simple way to introduce them slowly is by having them set up in different areas of the house separated by a baby gate.

When introducing your two pets this way, you should expect some excitement. 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. One day you may even find your puppy and kitten sleeping together.

Put Some Time into Training Your Puppy

Training is an important part of raising a puppy and it becomes even more important when you are raising a puppy and kitten together.

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.

Does the breed of dog affect how they will get along?

The most surefire way of setting your puppy and kitten up for success is by choosing a breed of dog that is known to behave well with cats.

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.

Ensuring Success When Your Puppy and Kitten Are Together

You will always need to keep an eye on how your puppy and kitten are interacting 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.

Do you plan on bringing home a new puppy and kitten to grow up together? Contact our La Mesa vets to learn more about how we can help keep your new furry friends happy and healthy.