Mum leaves her kittens with the dog: how to get two pets together

Szénási Szimonetta

2023. March 1 - Photos: Getty Images Hungary

We found a wonderful video where a mother cat is not afraid to leave her litter of kittens in the care of the dog. It's not just a utopia, we'll tell you how you can have a perfect harmony between two pets!


We still prefer to use the phrase ‘dog-cat friendship’ to describe the relationship between two people who are always bickering. But it is not a given that the two animals are at war with each other. In fact, there are some amazing friendships that have been forged between a dog and a cat (not to mention the inseparable bond with parrots, ducks, ducklings and other pets.)

Your responsibility!

Most cats are wary of dogs, and rightly so. Although both animals are predators, the size differences mean that cats are usually outmatched when it comes to fighting and unfortunately in most cases the cat does not survive the encounter. Especially if the cat’s hunting instinct is very strong and not properly controlled. This is your responsibility as a responsible owner, as your pet’s “fun” can lead to the death of another animal and cause untold pain to its owner.

When the dog is not the enemy

However, with proper, timely training and well-constructed socialisation, the two enemies can quickly become buddies, or at the very least, peaceful flatmates. A beautiful example of this is the video below, in which the mother cat is not only not afraid of the dog, but even lets her puppies go to her with a calm heart. And the puppy looks on with interest at the playful kittens’ frantic nagging. He clearly has no intention of harming them, and even rolls over on his back to show that he is a partner in the fun.

To make your coexistence work for you, take the following advice!

1) Early socialisation

As mentioned above, training is of paramount importance not only in the dog-cat relationship, but also in the adaptation of the animal to all other living creatures and situations. This is why it is essential to socialise puppies early on, i.e. to familiarise them with different situations, other animals and people.

If you have adopted your pet as an adult and you find that there are problems in this area, you should contact a professional as soon as possible to help your pet open up to new things. This is likely to be a lengthy process, it may take weeks or months to make a difference, but believe me, it will be worth the effort!

2.) Strong instincts

We’ve also talked about the hunting instinct that comes with predators. What you can do is to teach the dog to curb the urge through appropriate methods. The strong instinct can be manifested by the dog chasing people running or cycling while walking, but it is also typical to chase birds, cats or other animals, even larger ones.

Knowing basic commands such as Stay!, Come to Me!, Let Go!, etc. is essential in these situations, so if you find yourself lacking in these, for example if your dog is not reliable when being called, they need to be relearned as soon as possible! Again, the help of a dog trainer can lead to faster results.

3.) Neutral terrain

The key to successful familiarisation is that it takes place in a relatively neutral environment. If you want to do it in-house, do not start the process near the existing animal’s bedding area. Choose a place, such as the kitchen or garden, where you do not feel that your new arrival is threatening your position within the family.

4) Gradually!

At first, the two animals should only get to know each other through a grid. This way they can safely sniff each other, but not harm each other. If there doesn’t seem to be any conflict, you can try to get them together outdoors.

Make sure the dog is on a lead so you can pull it back if necessary. If they approach the cat without aggression, be sure to praise them! You can also reinforce good behaviour with a reward wall. Gradually increase the amount of time you spend together, while monitoring the reactions of both animals.

5.) Sometimes it needs to be repeated

If the first meeting didn’t go well, try another time, prepared to intervene.

6) Sometimes letting go is the right way

You also have to accept a neutral relationship between two of your favourites instead of a friendship. Peaceful coexistence is still better than having to part with one of your pets – in certain life-threatening situations, it is the right decision to keep only one of them.

In animals with a history of problems, it is more common to have a failure to socialise. If you are aware of any events in your dog’s past that may have caused problems with other animals, you should consult a professional before getting a new pet.

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