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Tips for introducing kittens to dogs

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
Okay... we thought two of the kittens were going the middle of last week, but my MIL wanted to wait until this weekend. We *tried* an introduction about two weeks ago, but dear MIL broke the rules and showed the kitten to the dog by letting them touch noses. She was surprised when the dog snapped and the kitten freaked out...

Anyway, so I'm trying to come up with some easy-to-follow rules that will protect the kittens. I am a little apprehensive that she'll just do it "her way," but I'm going to write up something anyway.

I haven't found any really good articles online... but there are a few.

Does anyone have any links or ideas to add to my instruction list? I didn't search for long.
post #2 of 8
If your dog snapped at the kitten, do NOT under any circs. try to introduce them again (or anything else). Don't leave them alone anywhere for even a minute because that's all it takes for fatal damage to be done. Not all dogs think cats are cute!
post #3 of 8
If your dog isnt trained they may never be able to have a cat introduced. for us, even though they didnt like eachother at first, we just let them do there own thing but we made sure we were able to call off the dog at any moment because they did fight for the first few weeks. I thought there was no progress, but then one day i came home to a cat and dog snuggling on the floor. Now they are the best of friends. Just have patience. Hope this helps
post #4 of 8
If you could get a dog gate that would be great, you can put it up somewhere in the house with the dog on one side the kitten on the other. This way they can get use to seeing and smelling eachother with the protection of a barrier. You can do this for a couple days or so till the dog doesnt seem as excited to see the cat.

Once you take down the barrier or let them be in the same room together, i would have the dog put on a leash and have it sit next to you, while you let the kitten explore. If the kitten approaches the dog and wants to sniff it is ok, b/c the dog is on a tight leash.Just be sure to watch the dog closely for any signs of jumping forward or lunging/biting at the kitten.

This way you dont let the dog chase the kitten ever and you can train the dog right away that being calm is the right way to behave around the cat,make sure to praise the dog if it is being calm around the cat, ecouraging the good behavior, and discouraging the bad. I would keep the dog on a leash with the cat around untill the dog seems like it doesnt care about the cat anymore, even after you let it off leash make sure they are still supervised though.

You may want to get a towel or blanket and rub it on the dog to get his scent on it, and then put the blanket whereever it is that the cats sleeps, then the kitten can get use to the dogs scent, you can do the same thing with the dog.

Another handy thing is to get a spray bottle and fill it with water. If the dog gets too close to the kitten or behaves in a way that you dont like around the kitten, you can spray the dog with the water and it should deter the dog. It works great on my dogs and the water doesnt hurt them, just dont get the cat. The good thing about a spray bottle, you dont have to be right next to them, you can squirt water across the room, you just need good

Goodluck, it can be tough but as long as you take the right precautions everything should be fine. Most importantly the dog has to be on a leash and trained basic commands before letting him be with the kitten.
post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 
Thanks, everyone. I don't have a dog. My mother-in-law does... and she definititely does not have that dog trained well at all... I am very worried. I am giving her lots of rules and suggestions... keep your fingers crossed for me. I'd rather not give them to her, but my husband is making me because we have too many cats.
post #6 of 8
Hello there!

I have a problem of sorts, and I'd like some expert advice. I have two almost 9 year old boxers (they are actually my fiancee's...I've only been with them for 2 years). They are very loving, as boxers are. 3 days ago, we acquired a 7-week old kitten. We have been trying to introduce them slowly, and in increments. Beau, the male, is just fine...when Jazz (the kitten) spits, it startles him, but he is just curious. He has made no agressive moves toward her at all.

Sydney, our female, is a different story. she has snapped at Jazz several times through the gate that separates them. Sydney doesn't growl, or raise her hackles. She shakes when Jazz hisses and spits. I'm wondering if Sydney's reactions are out of fear.

Jazz has her own room, and is shut in there, save for closely supervised outings to explore the house. We have considered putting Jazz in a kitty carrier, and letting the dogs come and smell at their leisure, but I'm afraid Sydney will snap, paw, and rumble the crate around. Can anyone help? Are we pushing the introduction too fast?

Thanks for listening...
post #7 of 8
Separating them by a baby gate doesn't work. Kittens will be up and over that gate in a heart beat. Spraying a dog with water also will not work. Unless the dog is under your control, spraying will only irritate them.

The best way to bring a kitten into a household with a resident dog is to take the dog to a reputative obedience trainer and get the dog under control BEFORE you take in a kitten. I witnessed a dog kill a kitten once and it took less than 5 seconds. If a dog is not under control, then I suggest that you keep the kitten and dog separated by a full door until the kitten is full grown and is big enough to get away from the dog. Give the cat a tall cat condo as a method to escape.

I recommend a book by Jan Fennell called The Dog Listener. It has wonderful, practical methods for learning how to control a dog. Seriously, no amount of introduction tips will work if the dog is out of control. A well behaved dog doesn't take more than a stern look or command spoken in a normal tone to get them to do what you want.
post #8 of 8
Thanks for the input!

Fortunately, my boxers are trained well, having been through two separate courses, and therapy dog certification. That's why I think it's fear that's making Sydney do what she's doing. And in retrospect, she is listening most of the time. I guess my ultimate question is, are we trying to push them too fast? Jazz is been with us for only 3 days...
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