A lot of Chihuahua owners want to add a cat to their family. But…
Are Chihuahuas good with cats?
Do Chihuahuas and cats get along?
Here you’ll discover the answer.
Continue reading to learn:
- If Chihuahuas like cats.
- 17 tips to make Chihuahuas and cats get along.
- A bonus tip for Chi parents who discovered that their pooch is not getting along with the new cat (if this is you, this is a must-read).
- And more…
Are Chihuahuas good with cats?
Chihuahuas can be quite good with cats. This applies when the two animals have grown up together in the same household. Then, they either learn to tolerate each other or become best friends. There are families who have both without problems.
Do Chihuahuas like cats?
Chihuahuas don’t like or dislike cats by default. Whether they learn to get along with cats or not, depends at what age the two animals were introduced to each other as well as how socialized both of them are.
17 tips to make Chihuahuas and cats get along with each other
Before you introduce a Chihuahua and a cat to each other, you’ve got some preparation to do.
Let’s start by focusing on how to set your Chihuahua up for success:
#1: Treat your Chihuahua like a dog, not a doll
This might seem weird to you.
Probably you’re thinking – ‘How can treating my Chi like a dog help them get along with cats? Aren’t dogs supposed to chase cats by default?!’
Well, the truth is that a lot of Chihuahua owners who carry their dogs in purses or in their arms, give the Chis neurotic complexes.
This makes the Chihuahua snappy because they’re not using up any energy. These tiny dogs can become insecure around other dogs and people if they haven’t had close encounters with them.
They should be experiencing the world on their four paws instead of being carried around.
Letting your Chi on walks will help build confidence, satisfy their curiosity and direct their energy to getting more exercise.
This in turn will make your Chihuahua less agitated and likely to lash out at any stranger or another animal. It’s a win-win for you and your Chi.
Part of the reason why most Chihuahuas have a reputation of being yappy is because they’re aren’t allowed to express their animal nature – sniffing around, digging, meeting other dogs and humans freely.
You might also like: 101 Funny Chihuahua Pictures
#2: Train your Chihuahua
Many people make the mistake of not paying enough time to their Chihuahuas.
They think that because the dog looks cute it’s as harmless as a toy. Better think again.
Aggressive unsocialized Chihuahuas can and will bite a person or another animal.
It’s up to you as the owner to either make it better or worse. What will help you make the right decision along the way is perceiving your Chihuahua as you would a big dog.
Training your Chihuahua since puppyhood can prevent a number of behavioral problems.
With the proper training, your Chihuahua won’t be a nervous little ball of fur.
A big part of how your Chihuahua acts comes from how you’ve raised, taught, and disciplined them.
Chihuahuas are intelligent little dogs and could benefit from obedience training. It could come in handy in tricky situations that involve a cat.
An obedient Chihuahua is less likely to jump on a cat in a moment of frustration.
If that isn’t a good enough reason to enroll your Chihuahua in obedience training as soon as possible, I don’t know what is.
Imagine your Chi beginning to growl at a cat and stopping the second you say ‘NO, *insert name here*’. Yeah – that’s precisely how far you can go 🙂
#3: Consider your Chi’s individuality
Sure, it’s easy to look at a Chihuahua making assumptions on how they’re supposed to act based on the breed’s standards.
Bear in mind that for good or bad, not all of your expectations will be met and that’s okay.
The breed standards will give you an idea about Chihuahua’s behavioral traits and all but in the end, you should consider your Chihuahua’s character and needs.
Don’t overgeneralize. Remember – each dog is different.
There’s the possibility that your Chi is lovable, loyal, and calm but your cat is not.
You might be interested to know that Chihuahua mixes often get some nice traits from the other breed.
#4: Socialize your Chihuahua
The more you socialize your Chihuahua, the better chances they will have of getting along with other human and animal representatives.
How can you do this?
By offering your Chihuahua a diversity of environments and encounters.
Next time you decide to meet a friend, why not invite them over?
Or, you could bring your Chihuahua with you.
It’s okay to have them sit in your lap when you are at a restaurant, cafe, or are chilling on a bench in the park.
But…let them walk until you reach the destination.
While you’re on the way, you’ll probably meet other pooches. Don’t withhold your Chihuahua from sniffing them and engaging in play.
The goal of socializing is to make your Chihuahua less reactive to situations that they could otherwise perceive as threatening or irritating.
When socializing your dog, feel free to introduce them to people of all backgrounds and ages.
If possible, try to meet them up with cats that are well-behaved.
We’ve talked quite a bit about building a solid foundation for the likelihood of your Chihuahua getting along with pets and humans. Now let’s continue with tips on how to introduce the cat and the dog safely.
At first, you should…
#5: Keep the Chihuahua and the cat separated at first
Whenever you decide to bring a new animal home, you should bear in mind the following:
- There’s an adjustment period for the new pet.
- Both pets can get stressed out if you introduce them to each other before previous preparation.
- The cat and the Chi need to have their safe places where one can’t disturb the other.
That sums it up well but shall we go more in-depth?
In the first few days upon bringing your new pet home, it’s good to set up two different rooms with a bed, toys, and food.
Decide in advance which room you’ll dedicate to which pet. Make sure each one of them has all the necessary items inside so the Chi and the cat feel comfy.
After you bring the newcomer to your home, give them a ‘tour’ of the house. In other words, let them roam free provided there are no windows or doors open through which they can escape.
While the newcomer is exploring the house, your other pet should stay in their own room to not disturb the new member of the family 🙂
On the next day, you can put the newcomer in their room while your older family member gets around the house. The idea is that the first pet can sense the smell of the new one and get used to it.
During this period keep track of how both of your pets react to each other’s smell. Keep letting them out of their room in turns until you can’t see any tension or distress from their side.
#6: Introduce the cat and the Chi through a door or a baby-gate
This is important and easily implementable. The cat and the Chi should be separated by an obstacle such as a door or a baby gate.
That way you’ll ensure one won’t hurt the other.
Don’t be too quick to open the door or baby gate just after they’ve sniffed each other.
Instead, repeat the process daily, at least 2 times a day for several days in a row.
#7: Keep your cool
Almost as equally important as the previous tip is to stay calm and collected while monitoring your pets.
Cats and dogs are highly susceptible creatures so if they sense tension in you, they’ll most likely pick it up.
It’s good to keep in mind that even though you act confident and relaxed, the pets might still get aggressive or anxious.
#8: Separate your cat and Chi if you notice inappropriate behavior
If for some reason one of the pets or both of them start acting inappropriately, remove them from the situation.
You’ll recognize hostile behavior when you see hissing, hear loud meowing, or witness an attempt from your cat to scratch the Chi.
Your Chi might not act as an angel as well. Signs from their side that it’s time to end the interaction include barking and whining.
#9: Reward wanted behavior
Act as a proud parent when you see your cat or/and Chi acting appropriately.
Sniffing is fine, curiosity too. If your pets remain calm and collected, give them a treat.
By doing so you’ll create positive associations with the experience.
If both of them ignore each other, that’s fine, too. Don’t hesitate to give them a snack for such behavior.
This way what you’re communicating to them is ‘Well done, keep it up.’ The more they ignore each other, the more treats they should get.
Stop giving treats as soon as one of the pets exits the room. You should teach your pets that they get treats when they’re near each other and are acting calmly.
#10: Put your Chihuahua and cat in the same room
This is the big moment.
You can ask a friend or family member to help you for convenience.
The Chihuahua should be leashed. This will enable the cat to run away if it gets scared or the Chihuahua tries to attack it.
If the cat is the one trying to attack the Chihuahua, you have to be able to pull the lead gentle enough to save them from being scratched.
Caution: Don’t pull the lead abruptly as you might cause tracheal collapse.
Your friend could stand close to the Chihuahua and cat so that if one of the animals tries to attack the other, this person could stand in-between before things escalate.
#11: Keep the initial encounters short
Don’t try to force the time your cat and Chi spend in one room.
At first, keep the meetings short and observe.
You can do it for 10-15 minutes at a time. But for best results, take the decisions whether to extend or cut the time based on how the Chi and the cat react.
In case you notice something is off and one of the animals is showing signs of annoyance, stop the meeting. Then put each of the animals in a separate room.
#12: Read the cat and the Chihuahua’s body language
Cats and dogs are masters at non-verbal communication. You can become one too if you want to prevent dangerous situations between your pets and understand your Chi and cat better.
A cat and dog’s body language will tell you a lot about how they feel regarding a certain experience.
Let’s look at the basics…
When it comes to Chihuahuas you should pay attention to their overall posture, ears and tail. At times they’ll show signs of:
- Aggression – Stiff posture, fixated eyes, ears pinned back, maybe teeth showing.
- Anxiety – Tense posture, tail tucked down low between the hind legs.
- Fear – Tense posture lowered down to the floor, ears facing to the back, with a tail tucked between the legs. The Chi might tremble.
- Playfulness – Relaxed posture such as the play bow, jumping and/or around or spinning, ears facing up, wagging tail.
As to cats, the biggest indication of how they feel is their ears and their tail. These show emotions such as:
- Anger – Tail tilting back and fort at a fast pace, ears pointing to the side.
- Fear – ears pointing to the back and tail tucked between the legs.
- Friendliness – Tail, and ears facing up, nothing to alarm you.
- Relaxation – Tail pointing up, maybe slightly moving back and forth, ears pointing a bit forward.
#13: Keep the Chihuahua’s and the cat’s belongings separated
Let each one of your pets have their own territory even after you’ve successfully introduced them to one another.
This will prevent territory problems.
Treat them as you would two kids. You wouldn’t let one kid eat from the bowl of the other, would you?
The same goes for toys, sleeping bed, and your attention.
Caution: Keep the feeding stations as far away as possible from each other.
#14: Give your pets equal attention
It’s super easy to start pampering the new pet and to forget about the other in the process…
The best way to integrate the newcomer won’t be to shower them with attention all the time. Give them space to explore and learn how to be independent instead.
Show love and affection to both of your pets daily and be careful to not neglect any of them.
#15: Keep away a teething Chihuahua puppy from the cat
Biting danger ahead!
Have you ever been bitten by a puppy?
It hurts, leaves wounds and marks for a short period of time.
In short – your cat can get frustrated if they end up being bitten by a nibbling Chi. And for a good reason – puppies’ teeth are very sharp.
Plus, your Chi should not get used to the idea that it’s okay to bite the cat. Regardless if it happens during playtime.
During the teething period, you can put the puppy in a playpen. This will allow them to have enough space to use their energy and the cat to be safe and sound at the same time.
#16: Ideally, bring together a cat and a Chi who are the same age (or close) and have similar energy levels
This way your cat and Chi won’t be in constant confrontation with each other.
Imagine bringing together a pensioner and a teenager and locking them up together all day. Chances are that at some point the teenager will be too much for the pensioner to handle.
Your pets, if having a big age difference, the case won’t be much different.
An older pet will need more quiet time and sleep. A younger pet will need a lot of sleep as well but in-between the sleeping sessions, they’ll become hyperactive and look for a play buddy.
If that’s not you, then it’s gonna be the other pet. And the older they are, the less they will tolerate a creature jumping around and interfering with their personal space.
#17: Use a crate when bringing a new cat home
In case the cat is the newcomer, you want to make sure they don’t escape because they got scared by your Chi.
The safest way to do ensure that without risking the cat being injured, is to bring them home in a crate.
Then you can introduce them to your Chihuahua. It’ll be even better if the Chi is leashed.
This will allow the Chihuahua to get closer and the two animals would be able to smell each other.
That’s how you’ll be able to prevent any excited behavior from your Chi’s side. If the Chi starts scratching the crate or jumping on it, gently pull them away.
In case your Chi reacts strongly, redirect their behavior by showing them a toy or asking them to do some commands. Give a treat to reward them only after they’ve calmed down.
You can repeat this exercise several times until you’re sure your Chi doesn’t react strongly to the cat’s presence.
Bonus tip: If the cat and Chi don’t manage to tolerate each other, keep them separated at all times
Basically, if all else fails but you feel strongly about both cats and Chihuahuas, you can have both as long as you have the necessary living conditions.
First, you’ll need two rooms. Then, you’ll need to restrict the pets’ access to each other’s rooms.
It’s a must that the cat and the Chi stay far away from each other, especially when you leave them home alone.
This might not be the best option if you live alone and work at an office.
Dogs are sociable creatures and Chihuahuas, being lap dogs, are very affectionate.
For this option to work out, it’s advisable to spare the chores with other family members which are as invested in and dedicated to your Chihuahua and cat’s well-being as you.