Introducing an older big puppy to a tiny kitten requires patience. Even if your puppy means well, he can injure your kitten with his exuberance. Taking the time to introduce your puppy and kitten allows your pets to become the best of friends.
Create a safe haven for your kitten. This room should have everything your kitten needs, including a bed, food and water dishes and a litter box.
Share towels and blankets between your puppy and kitten for a few days before introducing them. Your puppy will probably show much more interest in the towels that your kitten has used than your kitten will in your puppy's bedding, but the idea is to get both pets familiar with each other's scent.
Allow your kitten to explore the home on her own. Take the opportunity while your pup is playing in the yard or on a walk with another family member to let your kitten roam around and get comfortable in the house.
Exercise your puppy vigorously before introducing him to your kitten. You will probably want to do more than go for a walk, so try a rigorous game of fetch or other active game to ensure he is calm when meeting your kitten.
Start with visual contact. Have one person sit with your puppy while you bring the kitten in. Do not hold the kitten up to your puppy or let your pup run over and sniff your kitten. Just allow them to get used to the sight of each other.
Add physical contact. Hold your kitten and allow your puppy to come up and sniff your her. If your pup is calm and generally well behaved, praise him. If he is overly exuberant or aggressive, stand up so the kitten is out of reach and give your pup a firm "no." Repeat until he reacts in a calm manner or finds something else to do.
Supervise your pup and kitten constantly once you let them roam the house alone. At first, follow your kitten around so your puppy knows you are paying attention. As he proves trustworthy, back off somewhat, keeping your eye on things without necessarily making it apparent to your dog that you are watching.
- Keep introduction sessions short initially. You may find that your puppy gets more excited, rather than calmer, as the session wears on.
- Watch the body language of both your puppy and kitten. Your pup is probably getting too excited if the hair on the back of his neck or back stands up, he barks repeatedly or he gets into a "play crouch," with his front end on the ground and his rear quarters in the air. Your kitten may be feeling threatened if she growls, crouches or flattens her ears.
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