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john65pennington's avatar

Will an older grown dog, harm a new kitten?

Asked by john65pennington (29182points) June 22nd, 2010

A friend has asked us to “babysit” her new kitten for a few days, while she is on vacation. my first thought was, “will my border collie and new kitten be compatible or will my border collie resent the kitty and attack her? i still do not have an answer, after three days of babysitting. the kitten stays in a small cage and my border collie stays outside. we are afraid of the end results, if they make contact with each other. if you have had a similiar experience, please share. will the kitty survive, if she is set free with my border collie?

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10 Answers

dpworkin's avatar

You can make a test meeting with your dog on a good lead with a choke chain. The dog is quite likely to be curious, which may frighten the kitten but is not really objectionable. However, if the dog appears to you to be menacing, you can haul it in and end the experiment.

john65pennington's avatar

dpworkin, thanks. my border collie is very protective of his domain and my wife. i do not know if he will consider the kitty to be a threat or will accept the situation. border collie is a male and the kitty is a female, if that might make a difference.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@john65pennington You just answered the question. A protective border collie will make quick work of the kitten. You will not have a chance to intervene before the kitten is toast. Don’t let them anywhere close.

robmandu's avatar

Be wary of the playful dog, too. A small kitten making squeaky noises might, to a happy dog, be indistinguishable from his other toys.

My rule: don’t leave helpless, defenseless critters alone with stronger, bigger ones.

Also, most domesticated pets have some understanding of “good” vs. “bad” behavior, and will often wait until they are alone or unsupervised before doing something they know is “wrong.” An animal that behaves well on a “test visit” is only indicative that it’s trained to understand expectations in certain situations. Beyond that remains to be seen.

MissAusten's avatar

It can be hard to predict. We had a rough collie (he looked just like Lassie) that absolutely mothered any kitten we adopted. We had a husky that had to be separated from our cats at all times, and once almost killed one of our cats.

You could try introducing your dog to the kitten while the kitten is still in the cage. See how the dog reacts, praise her for being good, and reward her with treats. Progress to letting the kitten out while the dog is on the leash, and continue to reward your dog’s good behavior. Separate them at the first sign of trouble. No matter how your dog reacts, you want to avoid leaving the animals alone together. It isn’t your cat to take risks with.

Coloma's avatar

Yes, just be careful..and….also, if your dog is on leash do not hold him back tightly and send him the message there is something to be afraid of or keep away from.

I learned this in an obedience class years ago, that holding a dog back in what seems like a gesture of restraint to the person actually is sending the dog a ’ beware’ signal, which can actually PROVOKE an attack from the fear vibe the dog is receiving.

Just like a horse…to ‘whoa’ a horse it is a slight pulling back on the reins, not continious pressure.

This may be repeated several times to acheive the desired behavior.

A short yank on the leash, then release.

I’d keep the kitten separated anyway…it is going to be stressed out switching environments too, and there is no need to introduce an animal that is only staying a few days.

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

I once had some friends who owned a German Shepherd and a couple of cats. The Shepherd and the kitten took to each other so well that, when the Dog lay down, the kitten curled up in her belly and went to sleep.

On the other hand, we were told that our Wheaten Terrier – a dog bred as a ratter – would not get along well with cats (we don’t have one). I believe it; she gets very twitchy at the sight of a cat or any other small critter. She chases bunnies and squirrels all over our yard.

A border collie is a herding dog, so it wouldn’t have any breed characteristics that would make it a bad mix with a cat. I would, however, let them meet cautiously as others suggest.

reverie's avatar

From looking at the answers above, and from my own experience, I think the answer to this question is that your dog might harm the kitten, or it might not. Everyone can share with you positive and negative experiences of relationships between cats and dogs, but there’s simply no way of knowing for sure what will happen in this particular situation.

I think it’s up to you to decide whether or not you want to take the risk that your dog might harm or kill the kitten. If I were in your situation, I wouldn’t really consider it my risk to take, since the kitten belongs to someone else.

As @Coloma says, the situation isn’t a permanent one, and so I think there’s even less reason to take any risk to the cat’s safety given that this will all be over in a few days. If you’re not comfortable with keeping the kitten in a cage, perhaps you could allocate a quiet room of your house that the dog isn’t allowed to go into whilst the kitten is staying with you, leaving the kitten more room to roam, but without the dog posing any risk to its safety.

Siren's avatar

I agree with the others who suggest not testing the waters between the kitten and your dog, especially since they will be in the same house for only a few days. Probably not enough time for either to get to know the other, and for the kitten’s sake, probably not worth the risk. But I applaud you asking around on Fluther first. You sound like a very responsible person.

Kraigmo's avatar

I know of cats that have died because they were “introduced” to a dog. Keep them apart. There is no safe way to test it. It’s too dangerous right now, the kitten needs to grow up a bit.

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