This isn't quite the same situation as the question asked here: How can I introduce a cat into a household with dogs?

It's also not something that's happened to me. And - fair warning - this did not end well.

People I know found an abandoned kitten that was just barely old enough to be away from its mother. They have two large dogs. One of the dogs is very playful and does not understand "small and fragile".

They were keeping the kitten separated from the dogs to prevent accidents, but the kitten got out of the room when the dogs were around, and the playful dog accidentally killed the kitten (they had to supervise this dog closely when their child was a baby - the dog despite training has never managed to understand that it can break something small and delicate). They're devastated.

How could this tragedy have been prevented?

  • They need to train the dog not to kill things. That's what play is with a big dog and a small thing..simulated killing.
    – Oldcat
    May 23, 2014 at 21:50

1 Answer 1


First, as a side note, I'm really sorry this happened. That's really sad. The dog needs to be trained to settle down and socialize with other animals that may not be as strong or big as them. I'm sure the big dog was just trying to play with the kitten, and played too roughly for the kitten. It may be the same process as like training a dog not to chase prey.

I have two dogs, a labrador and terrier. I also have chickens and I had to train the dogs not to eat the chickens. Also around the same time that I got the chickens, I got a cat. So the process of training my dogs to learn the boundaries of playing, was long.

For future reference, whenever the dogs are around an animal that it smaller than them, keep them on a leash. I know that keeping dogs on a leash while socializing is not recommended or helpful for them, but you need to be able to control them around an animal that is not as strong as them, such as a kitten. When the dog goes to make a big jolt or is thinking about it, tug on the leash and pull him back. This is a repetitive process and can be frustrating, but continue to pull him back saying "gentle" until they calm down around these small animals.

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