Q. I have a 1yr old male 38 lb Labradoodle and my gf just brought a month old kitten home. Can they interact? If not, for how long?
JESSICA L DESROSIERS
A. Interactions whenever a new pet is brought into the house should start off slow, then can be increased in time. The best steps when introducing a new cat is to allow your cat or kitten to have a room in the house all to him or herself. Allow your dog to sniff under the door to get used to the kitten's scent, and even show your dog articles such as bedding the cat has slept on. After a few days, an introduction with your dog on leash, or a barrier such as a gate where both pets can look at each other but not see each other is best. This will allow each to get used to seeing the other without the ability to jump, bite or scratch the other. Once the two are used to this, then a face to face interaction can begin. If at any time a fight or scuffle breaks out, separate the two pets and try again at a later time. The amount of time this introduction takes can vary depending on how the two react to each other.
Until your kitten is older, or you are sure both are fine together, do not leave the two pets together unattended. Even a well-meaning and playful dog can accidentally break a leg of a kitten or worse without meaning to! A safe room for your kitten to be in while you are away, or a barrier to allow your kitten to escape to safety if needed will help until both are big enough to play alone safely.