On Sunday night, my cat Raven gave birth to 4 kittens. They are doing brilliantly, fat, happy, noisy, cuddly. Raven has recovered well and is behaving like her usual super-friendly self.
There's only one problem: my dog is terrified of the kittens. He's a two year old Border Terrier, extremely loving and happy. Raven is his best friend; the best day of his life was the day we brought her home. They have always been close and playful. They're not playing as much now because Raven is tired but they are still affectionate towards one another. She came to us at 6 weeks old (!) so he has been around kittens before.
I just can't understand why he is afraid of them. He has been raised around small animals from 8 weeks old - his best friend as a puppy was my rat Daniel, and even now he loves my rats. He plays with them and understands he has to be gentle, he has never even come close to hurting them. So he is not wary of small animals.
When my rats are ill or dying, I hold them 24/7, and the dog has always shown curiosity, curling around them on the sofa to keep them warm when I leave the room. So he understands when animals need extra care and gentleness.
I recently found an orphaned baby mouse - the dog loved him, gently licked him, looked in my hands when I entered the room. So he understands about babies.
He has never been wary around any other animal - but this isn't just wariness, it's fear. When we pick a kitten up, he runs to the other side of the room, ears up, eyes wide. He has shown curiosity the day they were born but was not allowed to touch them, but now when we hold one up for him to sniff he runs a mile. He hasn't been told off for being near them, nor has Raven given him any warnings.
I honestly can't understand why he is so scared. Will this continue, or end when they start walking and behaving more like cats?