After spending a week away from each other, Shadow and Yeti have been quite brotherly this week. Although seeing Shadow go for Yeti’s jugular and watching Yeti get into kick-claw mode, I am learning to remember boys with be boys.
My veterinarian also assures me that this is normal puppy-kitten play. It’s important to let them figure out how to get along.
Here are a few tips I’ve learned from my own experience.
- Allow puppies and kittens to have supervised play. Keeping a close eye on play times is important because it can quickly turn into a game of chase around your china cabinet.
- Teach the command “Leave it” to your puppy. Not only is this an essential command for protecting your best leather sandals, but it’s key for assuring safe play. Oral play–even going for the jugular–is common for puppies. But, that doesn’t mean allowing the puppy to have the upper-paw with kitty.
- Accept that kitty will not learn “Leave it.” My kitty loves to instigate, but teaching a command like “Leave it” only makes him think it’s time to play-attack my leg. If kitty won’t stop pestering the puppy, it’s best to separate them for a while.
- Make sure kitty is wearing a break-away collar. Puppy might think it is fun to drag kitty across the floor, and kitty may not mind. But, a break-away collar will ensure that puppy can’t accidentally choke kitty.
- Keep kitty’s claws. Your puppy may have a war wound or two, but the natural feel of a claw on the snout will teach him to curb his enthusiastic play.
- Let communication happen. A yelp or a meow tells each pet when enough is enough.
- Keep crates nearby. It may be easiest to crate the puppy to keep the chasing to a minimum. But, having an open kitty crate nearby is also a good idea. My kitten sometimes climbs in his as a way to be near the puppy. It can be a good bonding experience.
- Allow a communal drinking bowls. Play like exercise is hard work. Having a communal drinking bowl can be another bonding experience after a good romp.
- Treats and praise for good behavior. Talk it up when your puppy listens to you and treat your kitty when he’s sweet to his furry pal.
All in all this playing is one of the best ways for pets to bond. It might even save a life. One night, Shadow’s effective Retriever tackle prevented Yeti from escaping the yard. So, let those puppies and kitties play, for boys will be boys.