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How to Introduce Kittens to Dogs: Your Cats and Dogs Can Get Along

I grew up with dogs and cats, and I am a long-time animal lover. It is hard for me to keep from bringing home any animal in need.

Beagle dog with black and white kitten snuggling.

Beagle dog with black and white kitten snuggling.

Dogs or Cats?

People often ask a new acquaintance, "Are you a dog person or a cat person?" I say, why should anyone have to choose between them? Dogs and cats both have their special advantages, and I would never want to do without either of these wonderful species in my life.

If you already have cat-aggressive dogs, you may think it is not possible to add a cat to your household, but that is not true. Most dogs can be trained to accept a kitten into the family.

How to Introduce Your New Kitten to Your Dog

I have successfully used this simple method to introduce two eight-week-old kittens to my four cat-chasing dogs.

Start With Spunky Kittens

I adopted kittens instead of grown cats because I thought they would have a better chance of adapting to the dogs, not having any previous negative experiences to get over. I got the spunkiest kittens I could find. I know that nothing stimulates my dogs to chase more than a cat that runs from them, so I was looking for cats that would stand their ground.

Introduce Your Pets Slowly

If your dogs are anything like mine, they will be very excited and interested in the new kitten. When you first bring the kitten home, keep it in a safe, quiet place for a few hours. I used a spare bedroom. I left them in the carrier for about an hour, then after they had a chance to relax, I gave them the run of the room.

Give Them Time to Get Used to Each Other

When the kittens seemed to be feeling at home, I brought in the first dog. I went with the most mellow dog first. If you have two people, you can each hold one of the animals. Pet them and get them calm, and let them get used to seeing each other.

If the cat doesn't seem afraid, let them sniff each other. If the animals seem comfortable, let them on the floor together. For this first meeting, I kept it short, maybe five minutes. Give the kittens a break, then introduce the next dog.

Give Love and Praise

I continued in this manner for a couple of days, keeping the kittens isolated in their room between meetings and increasing the length of time the animals spent together.

If the kittens seemed afraid, I comforted them, but I didn't have much to worry about there. It was a pretty amusing sight to see this tiny kitten hissing and swatting at my 125 lb Rottweiler. They were a little afraid, but these cats didn't back down a bit.

If the dog made any, even slightly aggressive, movement, I would give him a stern "No," and pet the kitty to show him it's my kitty. Then I pet the dog to reassure him that he's still my dog.

Give the Kittens a Safe Place

When I felt like everyone was pretty comfortable one-on-one, I put up a baby gate over the door to the kitten room and left the door open for short periods of time.

Only when I was there to closely supervise, I allowed the kittens to come out of their room through the gate to visit. This way, if they needed to retreat, they had a safe place to go. Within a week of bringing my kittens home, the cats and dogs were able to co-exist in the house without a problem.

A Variation of This Method

My daughter recently adopted a kitten and had to introduce it to her two adult pit bulls. They already had a cat in the household, but that didn't mean the dogs were not super interested in the kitten.

The kitten was already used to dogs and was not afraid of them. He was so fearless that it was a bit of a problem. Even though we didn't think the dogs wanted to hurt the kitten, we were afraid they would by accident.

My daughter started letting the kitten spend time with the dogs while inside his crate. That way they got used to the sight and smell of one another without danger. Within a week, the dogs had calmed down enough that the cat could safely be set free.

There are a lot of high places in the house that the cat can go if he needs a break from the dogs.

Monitor Them Carefully Until You Are Sure

Once the kitties got a little bigger, they found the doggy door. I had always intended them to be indoor-outdoor cats. When the cats started going out in the yard, I had to do a little more training with the dogs until they got used to seeing the cats outside.

Be sure to observe the interactions between your cats and dogs carefully until you are sure that the kitties are safe.

Now my cats and dogs are friendly, even affectionate toward one another.

My 4 dogs and 2 cats peacefully coexisting.

My 4 dogs and 2 cats peacefully coexisting.

Pets Teach Us a Lot About Love and Loss

Part of having pets is saying goodbye to them. The sad fact is, dogs and cats do not live as long as humans. When I look back at the stages of my life, I think of the companions I had with me. It's hard saying goodbye, but the joy they bring to my life is worth the pain of letting them go.

The flip side of that is that when I lose a pet, it's usually not too long before I find another animal that needs my love and care. Introducing new pets to the existing members of my household is an ongoing process. They are all special in their own unique way, and they all add something to our lives that nobody else could.

Questions & Answers

Question: My two eight week old adopted kittens are scared of my dog. The orange one hisses whenever the dogs around. What should I do?

Answer: The kitten hissing is less of a problem than if the dogs were growling. Keep exposing them to one another, and make sure the dogs know not to hurt the cat and keep the cats safe. After a while, they will feel more secure.

Question: My eleven-year-old kitten came home today. She was amazing with the kids and me. Very sweet, until the dogs scared her. She attacked me viciously. Is there anything I can do?

Answer: The cat was obviously frightened. She wasn't so much attacking you as she was trying to get away. Try keeping her in a crate for a while. That way she is safe, and so are you, but she and the dogs can get accustomed to the sight and smell of one another.

Question: Our two adult cats are uninterested in interacting with our dog because he runs up to them playfully. We know he isn't aggressive but our cats don't want to give him a chance. Any suggestions to help them want to interact and try to be friendly with the dog?

Answer: It is probably best to just leave them to work it out for themselves. Your cats may warm up to him, but if they don't there is probably not much you can do about it.

Question: What is the best way to introduce a puppy to deaf cats?

Answer: The procedure should be pretty much the same. I think the cats will make whatever adjustments they need to for keeping track of the puppy.

Question: We adopted a semi-feral kitten. I say semi because once she gets to know you, she is super lovable but not with other animals. She runs anytime she can hear or smell my Yorkie coming down the hallway. Face to face is not successful, the kitten growls and hisses then runs and hides. What should I do?

Answer: If you can hold the kitten, and comfort her in the presence of the dog, that might help her to become accustomed to him more quickly.

Question: My dog blue is very unpredictable and I am not sure how to keep him from acting aggressively towards my 8-week old kitten, any ideas?

Answer: You just need to make sure they are always supervised when they are together, until you feel like you can trust him. The most important tool you have is that your dog wants to please you. Make sure he knows that you will be very angry with him if he hurts your kitty.

Question: When I let my eight-week-old kitten outside to observe the area so she won't get lost, my beagle comes and sniffs her. Then, she will go a little bit farther away from me and my beagle will nip at her but not a full nip. What should I do?

Answer: You could put the dog on a leash so he can interact with the cat, but you can restrain him if he gets too pushy.

Question: My 10-week-old kitten keeps picking fights with my chihuahua. My dog is scared of him. What do I do?

Answer: They will probably work it out for themselves. Since neither one is physically capable of doing serious injury to the other, I would just try to distract the aggressor when it seems to be getting out of hand. Other than that, just let them work it out.

Question: My three-month-old kitten keeps hissing and swatting at my chihuahua but he is a very friendly dog and gets along perfectly with my other kitten and even lets the kitten bully him, what should I do?

Answer: Restrain the kitten if necessary, but chances are they will work it out for themselves. Luckily, it is unlikely that either of them will do real harm to the other one.

Question: I got a new 8 week old kitten. I have two dogs already, a 16 year old Pit mix and a 3 year old Frenchie. So far I've kept the kitten in a separate room with a baby gate up. The dogs and kitten can see each other. Everyone seems okay, with some hissing from the kitten and some barking from the Frenchie. When can we start introducing them?

Answer: It sounds like they are ready. Just make sure to monitor them when they are together.

Question: How long did it take for the cats to become comfortable going outside?

Answer: It took about a month. I had a doggy door. Once they discovered it, they were indoor/outdoor cats.

Question: I have a 14 year old lab and a 1 year old german shepherd. we just got a 6 month old kitten. My dog is very very interested, but I keep her restrained. They've spent time together with the kitten in the carrier and pup hanging out. I took the kitten out to let them sniff each other and she started hissing and swatting was very afraid. She doesn't seem to like dogs at all. She even hisses while in carrier and pup sniffing. Any suggestions?

Answer: You don't say how long you have been at this. Try letting the kitten walk around with the dog still restrained. The kitten will probably keep a safe distance from the dog, but you will still have to supervise at first. Often, even though the cat hisses at the dog, she will still return to him, and be interested in him. My own, very old cat still sometimes hisses and swats at my much younger rottweiler.

The dog is a little too rambunctious for the cat sometimes, but they still like each other. The cat just gives a little warning. Also, cats will sometimes swat a dog for no obvious reason. That's just how they are.

© 2012 Sherry Hewins


Sherry Hewins (author) from Sierra Foothills, CA on June 27, 2020:

Maybe it's just a matter of the dog being a little older now, and more jealous of his territory, and of you. As long as he doesn't hurt the kitty, I would not worry to much about it.

You can't really make him like the kitty, they will have to work that out on their own. Maybe he will warm up to her eventually.

TheHomie1738 on June 26, 2020:

I’ve recently added a 12 week old stray To my family. She’s been with us for 4 or 5 weeks. My boyfriend has a 2 yr old cat in the home as well. I have an 6 yr old 85 pound dog and we’ve been together since he was 6 weeks old. Usually he LOVES cats. Hes cuddly and play sooo carefully with every other cat he’s ever met. Unless the cats unfriendly or scared then he gives them space. But anytime my new kitten tries to be sweet to him he gets up and walks away. She is always running up against him purring. As well as anytime he lays down she RUNS over and try’s to snuggle up close. If me and him are chilling and I she comes over to get pet. He leaves me and won’t even come when called. Dose he not like her? Can I fix this and how?

Sherry Hewins (author) from Sierra Foothills, CA on April 07, 2020:

Jessica - that is pretty normal behavior. As long as your dog is just interested in the kitten and not behaving aggressively toward her, it's nothing to worry about. Supervise their interactions, but don't interfere any more than necessary for the cat's safety. Your dog will soon become accustomed to the cat, and she will no longer be so interesting.

Jessica on April 07, 2020:

I have bought home a 9 week old kitten, 2 of my dogs don't pay her much attention but the 3rd dog fixates on her and won't respond to any commands from us whilst locked on. Does anyone have any advice?

Sophia on August 05, 2019:

I have a 7 year old female dog and we just adopted a 10 week old kitten. My dog keeps lunging at him when he is close to me. She keeps putting herself between me and the kitten even when she’s just laying on the ground. The kitten will hiss if she gets too close or run Away. They are 100% fine when I’m at work, just sleep separately and keep to themselves from what I can tell, but as soon as I’m home the dog doesn’t like the kitty to get near me. She’s always been a bit possessive over me. I’m hoping I’m time they’ll be best buds. When they’re both in the living room she’ll just lay and watch him play, but as soon as I’m in the room she’s on high alert. Please help!

Sherry Hewins (author) from Sierra Foothills, CA on July 23, 2019:

keep them separated most of the time until the dog settles down. That will usually happen once they get used to the sight and smell of the cat. If you dont have a separate room for the kitty, you could leave her in a crate where the dog can see her.

Jess on July 21, 2019:

I recently found a feral kitten, around 8 weeks old, I also have a 2 year old pitbull, who is super friendly with other animals, of all breeds, but has a MAJOR problem when seeing other animals, he whines very loudly and immediately wants to go to that animal, the kitten however is not liking that very much and the dog ends up scaring the crap out the kitten. Hissing and growling, then hiding. How can I go about getting them to like each other? The kitten is very lovable but does not love this dog. If the dog could calm down and the kitten could trust him they'd be best friends.. please help.

Sherry Hewins (author) from Sierra Foothills, CA on July 11, 2019:

Apache - I'm glad to hear it sounds like you are making progress. Restrain the dog and encourage him to be gentle. I bet the kitty will want to play too before long.

Apache on July 10, 2019:

Lately he has wanted to play more and she just isn't ready. It scares her every time. Should I try to keep him from playing so she doesn't get scared?

Otherwise, I am sure she will eventually get it because she is getting more curious and there will be a second kitten soon. Thanks for the help.

Sherry Hewins (author) from Sierra Foothills, CA on July 09, 2019:

Apache, You could try comforting the cat to reassure her, but the cat will figure it out eventually. When she sees him day after day, and he never bothers her, she will become accustomed to his presence.

Apache on July 08, 2019:

I am trying to introduce a kitten and soon two kittens to a dog. The dog is indifferent to the new fur ball and is quite perfect. But she hisses at him if he so much as walks by. Any advice to help her realize he is safe????

Sherry Hewins (author) from Sierra Foothills, CA on May 23, 2019:

Lora Hollings, you bring up a really good point. Just because a dog is accustomed to your cats does not mean he is OK with all cats. Many dogs accept their own cats but are still aggressive with strange cats.

Lora Hollings on May 23, 2019:

Wonderful article with some great suggestions on how to introduce kittens to a mature dog! I fostered a mature dog who ended up going to a home which had 3 adult cats. He had been introduced to cats at my house as I had two. But, still he had to get acquainted to new cats and they had to learn to accept him as another household family member. I brought a crate over and his new pet parents used it for two weeks so that they could smell each other and get accustomed to one another without feeling threatened. It really worked out well as I got the crate back but not the dog back two weeks later! Thanks for sharing.

Sherry Hewins (author) from Sierra Foothills, CA on May 07, 2019:

That's so nice that your dog want to take care of the kitty. That does sound scary though. I think I would try to teach the dog not to do that. Just tell her no whenever you see her start to do it, and stop her if she does not stop. Then reward her with praise. She should get the idea pretty quickly, but in the meantime, keep an eye on the situation.

Jessica on May 07, 2019:

We found a 4 week old female kitten that was abandoned by it's mom. We have a 3 year old female husky, and a 1 year female old German Shepard. Both the dogs are fine with the kitten, but our Husky has "adopted" her, basically. This is very common it female dogs if you bring abandoned kittens home. She licks the kitten, which is fine, but she tries to pick up the kitten by putting her mouth over the Kitty's head. We don't think she'll hurt the kitten on purpose, but we don't know if it'll hurt the kitten without her knowing. Any thoughts?

Sherry Hewins (author) from Sierra Foothills, CA on February 24, 2019:

Morgan, that seems pretty tough. Is this older cat new to all of the other animals? Perhaps you can let him spend time in a crate where the other animals can see him and they can all get used to the sight and smell of each other.

Morgan on February 20, 2019:

I need tips on introducing my older cat (5) to my two big dogs (1) and other cat (7mo). I just got my older cat back and he can be aggressive if he feels threatened, he’s an outside cat who loves hunting. Hes fought small dogs before. I let one dog meet him and he scratched him on the eye so now I’m doing the article said and letting him be in a room adjusting to me and at night he gets the house to himself to find his places to hide. But I know the longer I keep them separated the more tension I build. How should I introduce Them. Also, my babygirl cat feels buck and starts prowling on the big cat (he’s HUGE) and I’m scared he’s going to put her in place and hurt her..any tips on breaking up a cat

Sherry Hewins (author) from Sierra Foothills, CA on January 23, 2019:

Jess, I think that actually all sounds pretty good. As long as nobody is in serious physical danger, you should let them sort it out for themselves.

If you're afraid one of the cats may really get hurt, don't let them get together unless they are supervised. Even then, hands off unless you really need to intervene to prevent injury.

Jess on January 23, 2019:

At the moment, I live with my parents and their 6 year old great dane, Athena, and 10 year old black cat, Lucy. Their house is two stories and I live on the second floor, my parents and their animals live on the 1st floor. Their cat used to hang out upstairs ... until my mom picked up a kitten about 4 weeks ago. I adopted the kitten as my own and set up my room upstairs to be a kitten room and her safe space. She took to it right away! She is totally comfortable upstairs. She's a pretty confident kitten (or so we thought), but I'm having some difficulty introducing her to Athena and Lucy.

Lucy doesn't want to come upstairs or be in the kitten room, so I've been scent swapping by putting towels that they've laid on in the other's space. They don't seem to mind the smells (Lucy has slept on Clover's towel and Clover has slept on Lucy's), but when I started inviting Clover to come down the stairs, Clover will growl and hiss the entire time.

Just recently, Lucy was on one side of a door and Clover was on the other and Lucy was curious but didn't want to get too close, and Clover was just sitting there growling, and even took a swipe at the door. Lucy has hissed and growled, but always left the situation if she was nervous. Clover seems ready to rumble. It's like she's really curious and wants to meet Lucy (deliberately going to the door that Lucy was on the other side of), but then afraid to the point of being ready to attack?

I don't expect them to be best friends, but I'd like to get to the point that they could relax around each other. I could keep Clover upstairs for good, but I was actually planning on getting another kitten and now I'm worried that Clover that this recent behavior means Clover might be an only cat sorta feline.

Can you help me with additional steps since Lucy doesn't like going into Clover's territory and the scent swapping seems to be going well but then they see each other and Clover gets agitated.

Sherry Hewins (author) from Sierra Foothills, CA on October 20, 2018:

Quinn. Certainly this could work in reverse. Does your new dog have a history with cats? Your main focus has to be to protect your cats, they may scratch you dog, but they can't kill him.

My daughter's pitt recently killed a stray kitten that wandered into her back yard, and she has cats that the dog plays affectionately with. So, be cautious and take it slowly. Don't leave them alone together until you are sure.

I recently got a Rottweiler that I introduced to my two cats (the former kittens in the article). The dog was excited, but not particularly aggressive. The cats were skittish, but not extremely scared. Within a couple of weeks they were coexisting peacefully.

Quinn the cat on October 20, 2018:

So we have two cats, and we adopted a dog named chance he is a pit bull so would this work the other way around because we do not want either the cats or dog to get hurt.

Sherry Hewins (author) from Sierra Foothills, CA on October 19, 2018:

How long have you had both of the animals, did you introduce them gradually as I suggested?

While most dogs and cats can learn to get along, it is not always the case. Your first priority should be to make sure they are both safe.

If you think your cat is in real danger, it might be best to find a new home for one of your pets.

Aubrey king on October 19, 2018:

So I have a pit bull and he attacked my cat George a few weeks ago and I am having trouble getting them to get along

Sherry Hewins (author) from Sierra Foothills, CA on September 20, 2018:

Like everyone else, your focus will need to be on protecting the kitty. Once she fill safe, she will stop hissing. Don't worry about the hissing too much though. Comfort her as best you can, but allow them to interact as long as you feel that it's safe. They usually work it out for themselves.

BROOKE on September 20, 2018:

I have a 2 year old blind husky. we just recently rescued a 3 month old kitten. my husky is very energetic and playful, it comes with the breed, and even though she is well trained she is obsessed with the kitten. she will lay by the door of her private room as long as she can, she wants to go through the door, and she seems like she wants to play, not aggressive. However, kitty is not liking her right now. she hisses every time she sees the dog, but my dog can only hear the kitten and wants to investigate. I don't want to overwhelm and stress out either one, but we would like them to coexist. Any advice?

Sherry Hewins (author) from Sierra Foothills, CA on September 04, 2018:

If the initial meeting went well that's a great sign. Usually, they will work it out for themselves.

Jen on September 03, 2018:

Hi i just got a 6 weeks old Australian German Sheppard mix puppy and have a 1 year old cat..i need help how to get them to get along if this will work ...they havent shown any real aggression towards each other yet...and fyi both are

Sherry Hewins (author) from Sierra Foothills, CA on June 04, 2018:

Kristy, there is not really much you need to do as long as the dog does not get aggressive. The cat will calm down when it gets to trust the dog. If the cat swats the dog, that might provoke him, but if the dog is as calm as you say, the most he would be likely to do is bark or growl a warning.

The cat can't really hurt the dog, so your main focus is to protect the cat.

Kristy on June 03, 2018:

My daughter's dog is very friendly and the New kitten will lay down next to him but as soon she gets face to face with him she starts growling and hissing. I do not know what to do.

Janice on May 24, 2018:

My daughter got a kitten from a friend she’s five months old she’s very nasty she hisses and growls at my puppy what should I do

Alysia Howell on March 13, 2018:

I have a 7 year old lab who's been babyed all his life and a 7 week old kitten who we've just brought home, and our lab has already tried to eat kitten. My mum is terrified to keep the kitten. Any tips?

Sherry Hewins (author) from Sierra Foothills, CA on February 09, 2018:

Rebecca, isn't that amazing? It does take persistence on the part of the "pack leader."

Rebecca on February 08, 2018:

We have a very lovely 3 year old Labrador, and 2 weeks ago we brought a new kitten. Much to our horror it was obvious our dog saw him as prey and went for him. It's taken two weeks of feeding either side of pet crate and lots of little introductions on lead some more successful that others, lots of treats (though we found this didn't work at the beginning as it got our dog a bit wired). 2 weeks on and they have just cuddled next to each other on the sofa! I honestly didn't think it was going to work out. We did have to make sure our dog knew we were pack leader (lots of obedience training) and that the new kitten was under our protection.

Sherry Hewins (author) from Sierra Foothills, CA on November 08, 2017:

Rachel, the dog crate sounds like a pretty good solution for short-term, until you are sure they're OK. I wouldn't want to leave her there all day every day. In general, it would be nice if the kitty has a high spot to retreat to where the dog can't get her.

Rachel on November 07, 2017:

I'm getting a kitten in a couple weeks. I have a 4 year old staffie mix who sometimes likes to chase cats when first meeting them. Although if they stand their ground and swat at her she'll be a big baby and come hind behind me. I know how I'm supposed to introduce them. But I'm living in a studio apartment and was wondering if you had any ideas on how to keep them separated while I'm away especially. I do have a big dog crate I could possibly leave the kitten in. But I just want to do this right so the kitten understands my dog won't hurt her and be terrified of her.

Sherry Hewins (author) from Sierra Foothills, CA on October 23, 2017:

I would try to comfort and soothe the kitten. Cat's don't really understand reprimands. It would give it a bad association with the dog. Better to reward the kitty if it is calm when the dog is nearby. Then it will begin to associate the dog with good things.

It sounds like things are going OK as long as neither of the animals tries to hurt the other one. If the kitty swats the dog, then you might have to intervene. For the most part, they will work it out for themselves.

Callie on October 23, 2017:

Hi Sherry,

We have a 3yr terrier who is very laid back/lazy & loves everyone and everything. We adopted a 3month old kitten and the kitten loves human contact but every time our dog even gets close or is in the area to the kitten it hisses & hunches up. Is this normal and should be reprimand the kitten for doing this? Our dog just walks away and looks depressed because the kitten does not want anything to do with him.

Suzie from Carson City on September 27, 2017:

Sherry, great article and very good topic of discussion. Maybe I've just been lucky but I've had canine and feline together, numerous times in the past. Some times, I brought the kitten home after my dog & sometimes, the other way around. There was always the initial "Hiss & back hunching" from the cat, but only for a day & then with patience and a little encouragement, they became friends. Any dog of mine has always been the friendlier one, while cats (being CATS) seem to learn to merely tolerate their canine sibling. Only once or twice did I witness my cat and dog actually show affection toward one another. However, I had one lovable cat that always wanted to sleep curled up near the dog.

Dogs are taking a gamble when they wish to "Play" with a cat. As we all know, it depends on the cat's particular mood at the time. All I know is that it's great entertainment when the cat puts up her dukes and swats at the dog with a one-two punch-get-outta-my-face. !! LOL

Sherry Hewins (author) from Sierra Foothills, CA on September 27, 2017:

Aw Larry. I'm so sorry your pets have passed. One of my cats just loves one of the dogs. He follows her around and sleeps where she sleeps.

Larry W. Fish on September 27, 2017:

A great article, I loved it. It brought back a lot of memories. I had a dog, a beagle/lab mix that I loved so much. My granddaughter had a Siamese cat. She had to move and couldn't take the cat with her so my wife and I ended up with a two pet family. My dog and that cat were like sisters, they got along so well from day one, playing, sleeping next to each other. We loved them both. Sorry to say they are both deceased now, but the memories we will have forever.

Sherry Hewins (author) from Sierra Foothills, CA on August 22, 2017:

Mary - It is much harder when the cat is grown, and already afraid of dogs. You should definitely still reprimand the dogs any time you see them being aggressive toward the cat. Most dogs want to please you, so showing your displeasure when they misbehave should help. At this point, no matter how nice the dogs are, the cat will probably never get over her fear.

Mary Wickison from USA on August 22, 2017:

We have two cat chasing dogs. Although the cat was here first, the dogs are not tolerant of her.

At one time they had the cat pinned on the ground but luckily she jumped over the wall. Now she creeps in for feeding when she knows they are asleep. They are all outside animals and it is a bad situation here.

I tell the cat she needs to 'man up', but she just looks at me blankly. I have tied the dogs and taken the cat up to them but the cat is so filled with fear, I can feel it. I see my neighbors with their cats and dogs co-existing so I know it's possible.

Rehoming here isn't an option, so I guess things will just stay the same. Perhaps as they all age, things will improve.

If we were to get another kitten, I would definitely use your advice.

Michelle on July 31, 2017:

Sherry, I love this! We have a Rottie who is what my husband calls, a bit spoiled! I don't see it, but I digress.

This past week, I;ve noticed a stray cat at my work that also seems like he's been a house cat at some point. Our security guard says he's been around for quite a few months. We haven't seen him until just last week. He's super friendly and I've been feeding him breakfast and dinner since last week. Such a love, I just want to take him home! I just don't know how our Rottie (aka. Love Bugg) would do with her. Our neighbors have a cat that I take care of when they go away, and when I come home from feeding him, she's all wiggle bum! Any advice?

Sherry Hewins (author) from Sierra Foothills, CA on July 29, 2017:

Roger, I don't think it is necessary to trim your kitten's toenails, and I bet that would be difficult to accomplish.

Roger Vanderaa on July 29, 2017:

i will be introducing a 9 week old kitten to my 2 dogs shih shuz in a couple of days. my major concern is the dogs eyes being scratched. should i trim the cats nails before i introduce them . i live in a small apt.

Sherry Hewins (author) from Sierra Foothills, CA on July 28, 2017:

You need restrain the dogs until they learn not to overwhelm the kitten. The kitten won't usually scratch unless it feels threatened. I have never had a kitten scratch a dog's eye. They usually get the nose. I've never had a kitten cause a dog any serious injury. Good luck with your new kitten. I hope you have an easy transition, and they all learn to get along.

Roger Vanderaa on July 28, 2017:

i am getting a 8week old kitten in a few days. i have 2 shihshu dogs who are very curious about everything. my major concern is the kittens nails scratching at the dogs eyes. please help

Sherry Hewins (author) from Sierra Foothills, CA on July 16, 2017:

Sonya - You don't say how long you have been trying to introduce them. Since you have such an old dog, my advice would be to give it a week, to see if the dog gets used to smelling the cat. If that does not work, maybe it would be best to rehome the kitten. You don't want to stress your old dog out in his last years.

Sonya on July 16, 2017:

Hi Sherry - we have a 15 year old dog who is mostly blind, completely deaf, and has very bad arthritis in his back legs so he can't move quickly. He is a sweet dog and very social and completely non-aggressive with all humans and usuallWe found a kitten outside and took him recently. We kept them separated until the kitten was comfortable, but now we are trying to introduce them. But I cannot get the dog to accept the kitten. We have tried a lot of things but the dog just barks uncontrollably and will not calm down no matter what we do. And if he smells the cat anywhere, he will follow the scent and bark and bark and bark.

Sherry Hewins (author) from Sierra Foothills, CA on July 01, 2017:

Monica, I think that sounds like a promising start. It's not unusual for a dog to like cat poop. Maybe he's just trying to clean the kitty up. I don't think he's trying to eat the kitty, but he could get carried away and hurt it. You are doing the right thing, just keep exposing them to each other in a supervised way. The cat is still new and exciting right now, but once the dog gets used to having it around it won't be nearly as fascinating.

Monica on July 01, 2017:

Hi, I have a 1 yo outdoor walker coon hound who was in heat when I got her fixed 2 weeks ago. About a week ago we found a little kitten we took in. They were on the screened in porch separated from each other by a baby gate and the cat put in a crate for safety at night or when we weren't around. Whenever the cat would meow or if we were on the cat side cleaning the litter box, or caring for the cat, the dog would get really anxious, try to jump over, whining, very excited. The cat would hiss at her. Today we decided to introduce them, my husband was holding the cat while I was holding the dog. At first the dog would back off olwhen the cat hissed, then she just ignored her for a few minutes. Then the cat relaxed s we were petting her and she was purring and closed her eyes and I was also petting the dog. She was calm and relaxed so we brought the cat closer so the dog could smell her. She started licking the cat, especially the ears and the butt area (the cat had soft atolls and has some poop stuck in her fur. Earlier in the day I gave the dog her treats on the towel the cat had been laying that had a couple poop spots and the dog was going crazy trying to lick those spots, I think she thinks the cats poop is yummy). So the dog kept licking the cat, especially trying to get to her butt which we redirected. Then she was sniffing her ears and nipped at the cars ear twice, at which point we told her no and removed the cat. What does this behavior indicate? Is she loving and caring for the cat or is she trying to eat the cat? I can't get a good read on the situation. When she was trying to eat her poop and. Upping at her ear is the dog treating the kitten (less than 1.5 lbs, very tiny) as a tasty treat? The plan is to eventually have the cat as an outdoor cat with access to the porch. We live out in the country on 8 acres of land with national forest behind our house

Sherry Hewins (author) from Sierra Foothills, CA on June 17, 2017:

Kayla - I had 4 dogs that went crazy when they saw a cat, yet they were able to accept kittens into the family. They still go nuts if they see any other cat. Just be patient, and don't trust them too much too soon.

Kayla on June 16, 2017:

Hello we are getting a kitten but we already have two dogs at home that go crazy when they see another dog or a cat

Sherry Hewins (author) from Sierra Foothills, CA on June 05, 2017:

Jazmine - You should follow your instincts as far as not leaving the two alone unsupervised. The cat is learning to trust, but perhaps the dog is not yet trustworthy. Be sure to let the dog know that you disapprove anytime you see her show any aggression toward the kitten. Your dog's desire to please you is your best tool in this situation. Help her understand that any aggression toward the kitten will make you angry or displeased with her. Any slight growl or standing up of hair should prompt a stern warning from you. As soon as the dog backs off, she should be rewarded with praise.

Jazmine on June 04, 2017:

Hello! I am looking for some advise on how to improve our new kitten and 5yr old dogs relationship. We have had the kitten and few weeks and she has become accustomed to the dog over short meetings continuing to get longer. She doesn't cower or run and will even approach the dog, however our dog is acting somewhat aggressive. She has barked and snipped at the kitten as the kitten was playing and will continue to put herself between us and the kitten. I'm nervous to leave them alone for even a second, any advise?

Sherry Hewins (author) from Sierra Foothills, CA on June 01, 2017:

havanese+kitten+?!?!?!? Not every dog has the temperament to get along with a kitten. However, I have trained a previously cat-aggressive dog to accept a kitten.

If you are that worried, perhaps you should start out with having them on opposite sides of a fence until they get used to seeing each other.

Is your dog otherwise well behaved? Does he obey you? If so, you should be able to control him, at least while you are present. Never leave the two of them alone until you are sure you can trust him.

havanese+kitten+?!?!?!? on June 01, 2017:

this sounds great! but, i wouldnt call my dog " aggressive" just he is very domonait and repulses at he sound of getting a kitten. im worried the dog may attack the kitten. If i followed your rules correctly, we should be holding louie-the dog firmly (as well as the kitten) The reason im particularly worried is because of our hampster incedent... every time I wouldbring the hampster out, he would have his heart set on killing it! please, give me some advice!

GreenMind Guides from USA on January 27, 2017:

Hi -- I really liked this -- we had to introduce two new kittens to tow established cats and it was...interesting. We had never heard our cats make those sounds before! Cool idea for a hub and I'm enjoying reading your others.

Sherry Hewins (author) from Sierra Foothills, CA on November 21, 2016:

Tori, Do you plan on having the kittens be outdoor cats? Is your dog generally aggressive toward cats? You can follow the same steps as I described for indoor training. Perhaps walk the dog first to help him get out some energy and make him calmer. Then have the meetings in a safe and controllable environment. Have a helper to keep both animals under control. Take your cue from the animals as to how fast to move along. Do not leave them together unsupervised until you are sure it's safe, but the more time they spend together, the sooner they will get used to each other.

Tori on November 18, 2016:


I live in a double story house and I have a 1 year old German Shepard who isn't allowed into the house at all. I recently adopted two feral kittens and now that they've gotten comfortable around me and don't hiss and scratch anymore, I would like to introduce them to the dog. We live upstairs and I don't want to contradict the dogs training by bringing him in to get used to the kittens so I would like to know if you have any advice on how to introduce them without them being aggressive. Any advice would be appreciated.

Sherry Hewins (author) from Sierra Foothills, CA on September 07, 2016:

I wonder if that kitty was weaned too early. I have seen that behavior in cats before, and it is often a lifelong habit. If the dog is only snapping at the kitty, and not becoming too aggressive, that may discourage the cat's behavior. It will have to be up to you to judge whether it is safe to allow the dog to reprimand the cat. You could try distracting the kitty with a toy, perhaps something soft it might transfer its sucking to.

Tina on September 06, 2016:

This is my first kitten and I am trying to follow your method. My 7 year old poodle appears at times very indifferent about this very hyper kitten. My first main problem was my kitten hates being separated (she came from a house where is lived with dogs so this process was really to get my dog use to a new addition to the household) and she would meow whenever I would separate her to her room. Yet, recently my kitten has been doing; what I can only assume is trying to suckle on my poodle. My dog hates it and will at first gently get up and move but the kitten will just follow her around and keep trying. I try to redirect the kitten, distract her but nothing appears to work. What should I do? I don't want my dog to get aggressive to get the kitten to stop because I don't want her to think she has to be aggressive with her now.

Sherry Hewins (author) from Sierra Foothills, CA on July 20, 2016:

Denise, I'm sorry to hear about you kitty. Perhaps the dog just got carried away with the licking and killed the kitten by accident.

Denise on July 13, 2016:

I had a spayed 4 month border collie mix and was given an 8 week old kitten. The dog seemed to like her very much. I came home at lunch to check on them and found the kitten love caked to death, stiff and wet. There was no sign of dog being aggressive. She licked kitten as mother dog would lick a pup. I kept dog gat d in kitchen with her bed while I was at work and kitten in next room with food and litter box. Looks like kitten got over the gate. I found the kitten in dogs bed, wet and stiff. Why would a very friendly dog have licked the kitty to death.

Sherry Hewins (author) from Sierra Foothills, CA on March 19, 2016:

Have your husband hold one animal while you hold the other. Let them see and sniff one another, but don't allow the kitty to scratch the dog. Give both of them plenty of petting, praise and treats. If you do that for ten minutes, several times a day, they should become more accustomed to one another.

Kylean McCallister on March 15, 2016:

I just got an 11 week old female kitten. She is very playful and friendly with both my husband and myself. However we also have an almost 2 year old border collie/Australian cattle dog mix. He is also very friendly and playful and gets along great with other dogs. He is however scared of almost everything and his only previous exposure to cats was a stray that would his at him and swat at his nose when he got close. The kitten and the dog seem interested in one another and watch each other very closely but if the dog moves too close to the kitten she hisses at him which in turn causes him to run away from her (I'm sure in fear of being swatted like the other cat did). I don't want to have to lock either one of them up in a bedroom but the kitten will really only come out of hiding if the dog is locked up. How can I get the kitten to quit hissing at the dog? He doesn't show any aggression towards her and wants to play but she doesn't seem at all interested in him being anywhere near her.

Sherry Hewins (author) from Sierra Foothills, CA on September 20, 2015:

Regan - good luck with your new addition. I do firmly believe that, with patience, you can make it work.

Regan on September 17, 2015:

im getting a kitten in December and I so want to make it work with my big mutt. I appreciate your advice and photo!!

Sherry Hewins (author) from Sierra Foothills, CA on May 20, 2014:

I love dachshunds! Good luck with the new family member.

william on May 20, 2014:

i have a long datschund and i will be getting a kitten soon so this will be very helpful. thanks for the advise

Sherry Hewins (author) from Sierra Foothills, CA on April 16, 2014:

That is wonderful CraftytotheCore - Your pets are lucky to have found you, and I am sure you feel the same about them!

CraftytotheCore on April 16, 2014:

Awesome! We have a lot in common Sherry! I love the picture of your dogs and cats together. That's what it is supposed to be about! You obviously worked hard for this glory and your pets are certainly loved.

I have a similar situation where we have 3 dogs, 2 cats, 3 birds, and a pig, all rescued. I grew up on a farm so I've always had a passionate place in my heart for animals. We adopted our border collie from out-of-state. We thought she was a lab. We live up north and labs are expensive and hard to find. Not many last long at shelters. So I had contacted a rescue group about getting her and they have a policy that we had to hire a dog behaviorist to verify that my home was safe considering the other animals we own.

The dog behaviorist came in and saw the cats laying on the back of the couch while the dogs sat together politely to greet him. He said that he had never been in to a home where all the animals were so friendly to each other and so welcoming to him. It was a really good feeling because I do work very hard at being the best pet owner I possibly can be.

peachy from Home Sweet Home on June 17, 2013:

beautiful and interesting hub. I had never seen dogs get along so well with cats. Most dogs would be chasing after frightened cats and bite their heads off! Amazing skill and techniques you have here. Just beautiful.

moonlake from America on January 17, 2013:

It is possible and big dogs will also go after a puppy. We found that out one time when our son brought over his new lab puppy, our lab went after the puppy. The minute we yelled he stopped, the puppy was ok. I'm always a little leery when bringing a new little one into the house, kitten or puppy.

Sherry Hewins (author) from Sierra Foothills, CA on January 16, 2013:

Wow, lucky that kitty survived. It only takes a second for a big dog to kill a little kitten. I've never had anything like that happen, but it's always a possibility.

moonlake from America on January 15, 2013:

Our son brought kittens into his house with his labs. They were all doing fine the dogs seem to be ok with the kittens. One day a kitten walked to the black lab's food dish and she bite it in the head. She came close to killing the kitten. They rushed it to the vet and vet said he didn't think it would live but she made it. We ended up with the kitten.

We have always had cats and dogs and have brought new kittens to the house never any problem so I just couldn't believe his dog did this.

Voted up.

Sherry Hewins (author) from Sierra Foothills, CA on January 15, 2013:

Ashleigh, Maple may never like the kitten, but you should be able to teach her not to hurt the kitten. I would have the dog spend supervised time with the kitten, without the other dog, in short increments several times a day as I described before. Any time you see her lick her lips, or you think she's eying the cat aggressively, tell her "no" sternly, let her know that she's not allowed to even think about hurting that kitty. As soon as she backs off praise her. Until you feel you can trust her, don't leave the kitty around her unsupervised. Good luck, it sounds like you have your hands full.

Ashleigh Gare on January 14, 2013:

Hi there i hope you can help me , I have two huskys one female 8months and one male 13months we have had our new kitten for about 3weeks now and maple our female isn't warming to the new kitten I'm unsure what to do, the kitten does stand her round but I see this look in maples eyes and she licks her lips too , any advice would be awesome, kind regards

Nicky H on September 28, 2012:

Hi Sherry,

That's a very helpful article, I have a question though! I have two Staffies, a male and a female and I've been trying to introduce a kitten to them both for the last 3 weeks, using similar tips. My male is oh so ready to play and get on with the kitten, but my female is highly alert and tense around the kitten. We find it very difficult to distract her - she was not even intrested in treats by her nose! She is a very intelligent and stubborn character - which probably does not help! Any ideas on how to distract her, get her to shift her focus? Thanks!

Sherry Hewins (author) from Sierra Foothills, CA on June 04, 2012:

Thanks for your comment seanorjohn.Of course part of the secret is to get the cats accustomed to dogs while they are young.It still may be possible with older cats, especially if the dogs are not cat aggressive.Just take it slow and make sure you always have control so nobody gets hurt.

seanorjohn on June 04, 2012:

I always looked after friends dogs in the holidays but had to stop when we got kittens. They were absolutely terrified of dogs. Your hub has encouraged me to try again. Voted up and useful. Wish there was a category very interesting.

Sherry Hewins (author) from Sierra Foothills, CA on April 13, 2012:

I love that story, thank you so much for telling it. I hope you took some photos of that.

Rochelle Frank from California Gold Country on April 13, 2012:

I think your methods make the point that patience is the key-- working it a little bit at a time.

We have a small 'min-pin-terrier- chihuahua? mix" house dog who is a little excitable when she sees other animals.

Our hens are starting to get a little aged and we recently got a couple of baby chicks -- but kept them in a cage in the house, because our spring weather has been cold and stormy.

Our dog was curious and excited, but gradually calmed down and seemed to regard them as her pups-- sleeping by the cage and sticking her nose in to check on them. The chicks became accustomed to her, too-- and didn't hesitate to peck the doggie nose, when they thought she was being too nosey.

Now that the chicks are half grown and outside in an enclosed area with the older hens-- dog and chicks still come up to the fence to greet each other amicably.

A gradual, focused and patient approach can make unlikely pairings get along fine. You were wise to get kittens who were not too timid.

Sherry Hewins (author) from Sierra Foothills, CA on April 13, 2012:

Wow, thanks for your insightful comment. You're right it really is just common sense. It is amazing how quickly you can change your dog's behavior with just a little focused effort.

pattysue on February 08, 2012:

Sherry...I LOVE this approach!!! You took time with everyone involved and corrected the dogs in an appropriate manner. I had a client this week with a shy, fearful, protective young dog...and as the dog growled at me and misbehaved his owner offered "Good Girl"..."You're allright"...and "Atta Girl"s to her inappropriate behavior... Guess What? He was positively reenforcing her bad behavior!!! Bless his kind heart...he didn't mean to and he doesn't have a clue to what he was doing. His excuse...he doesn't have the money for trainging classes or the experience to go without them. Suggestion...?!? Most classes are for training the human, not the animal. It is FREE to go to the library and check out books to educate yourself in the absence of personal experience...OR ask someone with common sense and 'pet logic' on how to approach the situation...then be consistent and learn from each other! Well done Sherry!!!