The addition of a new kitten to a home is a heartwarming experience. On the other hand, wondering how your fluffy feline might react to your dog, and vice versa, can be an anxiety-inducing nail-biter. Thankfully, some kittens are compatible with some dogs. As with most things in life, it's a case-by-case basis.
Take Things Slowly
A successful beginning can often help pave the way for future compatibility and harmonious living between your kitten and dog. When kitty first comes home, make a point to isolate her from any other pets in your home, dogs or otherwise. By doing this, you can help her peacefully transition to the strange new place and all of the noises, smells and sights it has to offer her. Get your kitten relaxed with your home by giving her the opportunity to look around the place without your dog's presence. Opt for a time when another member of your household is taking Spot for a walk, for instance, or when the pooch is at a grooming appointment.
As soon as you think that your kitten has relaxed, start the introduction. Put a leash on your dog and encourage your kitten to enter the dog's vicinity. Place a simple border between them, such as a child gate. Supervise the behaviors of both animals. If you observe even the smallest hint of aggression, such as growling or hissing, get them away from each other; try again in a few days. As you progress with the introduction over days and weeks, never allow your kitten and dog to be near each other without your constant supervision. The instinct to go after prey is intense in some dogs, which might cause your pooch to chase after the kitty. Even if your dog seems happy to see the kitten, be careful. If he's much bigger than her, and becomes overexcited he could unintentionally harm her just by attempting to have some fun.
It isn't uncommon for puzzled dogs to feel threatened and anxious about newbies in the home. Try to prevent your canine from seeing the addition of a kitten as a bad thing. Don't allow him to associate this new era with loneliness and lack of attention. On the contrary, make a point to offer your dog plenty of affection and interplay, whether through cuddling up to him, enjoying long outdoor strolls with him or regularly playing games with him -- think hide-and-seek or fetch. If he doesn't associate the kitten with negativity, there's a stronger chance of him accepting her. Voila, possible compatibility.
Time is the only way to know for certain whether or not a dog and kitten are going to be compatible. If a kitten has had a frightening experience with a dog, she might have a harder time getting used to canines. The same could be said about a dog and a negative feline experience. Dogs and cats frequently develop peaceful interactions, however, even if things didn't initially seem promising. Since they often don't think of each other as rivals, some forge strong relationships. Young kittens often welcome the concept of another furry canine friend being around, especially since they're still getting used to being away from their siblings and mothers.
- Animal Planet: 10 Tips for Bringing a New Kitten Home
- Feline Advisory Bureau: Introducing Your Cat to Other Cats and Dogs
- PetEducation: Bringing Home a New Cat or Kitten
- Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Australia: How Do I Introduce My New Kitten to My Older Dogs?
- PAWS: Introducing Your New Cat to Your Dog
- The Humane Society of the United States: Introducing Your New Cat to Other Pets
- Family Pet Animal Hospital: Introduction of a New Pet
- Best Friends Animal Society: Introducing a Cat and a Dog
- Three Lions/Valueline/Getty Images