Are Chihuahuas Good With Cats?
This question arises when we speak about any dog in general. The notorious conflict between cats and dogs has become a legend, folklore, an embodiment of conflict. However, one thing is when we talk about a dog that is either the same size or bigger than a cat and another – a miniature Chihuahua, who may be up to 4 times smaller than an average house cat.
Generally, Chihuahuas are famous for their natural curiosity and easy-going personality. The notorious “fame” of being nervous, aggressive overprotective dogs is usually a result of owners` misconception and relates to grown-up Chihuahuas.
Young Chihuahua puppies are always curious and eager to meet new pack members, whether humans or other animals. It is entirely up to owners how the first meeting will go and whether it will grow into a lifetime friendship or World War Z.
What is the deal with cats and dogs?
To understand whether your Chihuahua will be good with a cat, we need to take a closer look at the very root of the notorious inter-species conflict.
Like most animals` behavior, the opposition between cats and dogs is based on instincts. In our case, those are:
- Dogs chase
- Cats run
Those instincts come from the very origin of felines and canines, their physiology, and hunting techniques.
We all know that cats can hide their claws when they walk around and release them during a fight or a hunt. Thanks to these abilities, wild cats can get close enough to their prey unnoticed and catch it in a matter of one jump. In other words, cats naturally don’t have to chase their prey too much. However, once a wildebeest’s or roe deer’s parents come to help their child, a cat will naturally prefer to run for its life instead of fighting for prey.
Those are the instincts, the rules of the game in the wild nature that keep the balance for millions of years. And as far as your home cat is pretty close to any wild feline, those basic instincts remain in action even if your fluffy friend has never had to haunt his or her dinner.
Unlike cats, dogs are hardly quiet walkers. No matter whether you have a great deal or a Chihuahua, you will hear your furry friend walking around the house. That is because canines cannot hide their claws. For the very same reason, wild canines like wolves or jackals have to chase their prey sometimes for really long distances. And they never let go.
You might have noticed how your Chihuahua is eager about fetch game, how hard it might be to take the toy or ball after he or she catches and brings it back. As adorable as it is, this peculiarity is the expression of an instinct that helped canines survive as a species.
Therefore, it is pretty natural that a cat would prefer to flee an annoying or potentially dangerous opponent, while a dog only gets more persistent as soon as the object of interest starts to run away.
In other words, if you ask whether a Chihuahua is better or worse with cats than other breeds, the answer is no. Your tiny Chi is the same level of a dog as your neighbor’s Sheppard and has the same instincts and principles. It is entirely up to you whether your pets will get along.
How to introduce a cat to a Chihuahua?
Before settling the big first date, it might be pretty helpful to conduct several behavior experiments with your pets to find their behavioral peculiarities. In other words, whether you already have a cat and want to bring a Chi puppy home or plan to introduce a cat into your house, being a proud Chihuahua owner, see how your existing pet reacts to other animals in the household.
You may ask your friend or relative to bring their pets, introduce them gently and see the reaction. After several “play dates,” you will learn a lot about your pet’s personality. However, avoid putting labels! If your pet didn’t make a new friend well, it does not mean that he or she is unfriendly. There are strong chances you have violated the laws of nature introducing them.
Cats and dogs are both territorial. When another animal appears out of nowhere, it is an invasion and violation of animals` morals. Allow your pets to meet in a neutral zone – behind the door. This way, your existing pet will know who is about to enter his or her territory and will be more relaxed about this perspective;
When people meet, they look each other in the eye, shake hands or hug. Animals also have their social code. But unlike humans, they get all the needed information from the opponent’s scent and body language. This communication is most efficient in the distance. Only after analyzing the first impression will your cat or dog decide whether to proceed to any contact at all.
Many owners make mistakes, putting two animals in front of each other right away or enforcing explicit content immediately. Unfortunately, this kind of physical violation of personal space is a solid reason for a fight in the animal world.
A lot depends on the way your existing pet’s position in the family. Both canines and felines live in groups with a strict hierarchy. The leader sets the tone, and all other family members follow. Once your pet feels that he or she is the pack leader, the desire to protect the territory, followers, and resources from any intruder is natural.
If you are the leader in your relationships with your pet, he or she will naturally trust and respect your wish to introduce another member. In other words, your work on settling peace between a Chihuahua and a cat starts long before your even decide to introduce another member to the pack.
Here are things to observe during the first date even if things seem to go smooth:
- Stare - Once you see that a Chihuahua and a cat are staring at each other without moving, it is an alarming sign. In the animal world, a stare in the eye always precedes the fight. It is crucial to instantly distract the animals, snap them from this condition and break eye contact. Animals` psychology is built the way that they can start their relationships from scratch after a short break.
- Silence – many believe that if a Chihuahua is silent, he or she is calm and relaxed. It is not true at all. The basic rule of communicating with canines (and many people as well) is that bark is often a sign of insecurity, not aggression. In other words, a barking dog is half not as dangerous as the one that is being unnaturally silent. Once you notice silent staring or looking away silently when a cat approaches, know that your Chihuahua is about to attack. Again, make sure to snap an animal out of this condition immediately.
- The “ready” position – when you see a cat or a dog leaning forward, lowering his or her head like they are about to jump, it is a sure symptom of an upcoming fight. Please don’t mix it with the standard playful pose, which might seem pretty similar. Your hint is the ears. Hoping to minimize the damage, any animal will try to hide all body parts that stand out. Especially ears. That is why before the fight, ears are pinned down, while a playful animal will always keep them up.
Guide to peace between Cats and Chihuahuas.
Even if the first date went smoothly, you are still facing a long and challenging adaptation period between the two animals. Here are the ground rules that will help you establish peaceful coexistence between your can and your Chihuahua.
- Separate the food. Food is a crucial resource for an animal. Being naturally territorial, cats and dogs, first of all, protect their food. Even the slightest suspicion in violation of this code will lead to an ultimate war. Therefore, you must make sure that can and Chihuahua eat separately and their feeding habits never cross.
- The litter box. Make sure that your Chihuahua cannot reach the cat’s litter box. First of all, a dog may try to eat the filler and get poisoned. Moreover, a litter box is also a territorial matter. When it appears at the dog’s reach, a litter box becomes a violation act for a Chihuahua. Also, no cat will be happy to see a Chi wondering around the “marked” territory.
- Attention. Cats and dogs require the same amount of attention and pampering from their owners. Neglect often leads to aggressive and destructive behavior.
- Observation. Never leave your Chihuahua and a cat alone until you are sure that they are safe for each other.
- Teething cub. Once a Chihuahua puppy or a kitten teething, they can become pretty impudent and annoying with their urge to bite and nibble all the time. It can become a reason for aggression from another pet and the foundation of life-lasting conflict. Try not to leave a teething pet alone with an opponent and, of course, limit the access to the crate, toys, pillow, and other important belongings of a grown-up animal.
At The End Of The Day.
Of course, we want our pets to live in harmony and love each other as much as we love them. However, introducing a cat to a Chihuahua requires understanding that their relationships will always be based on their instincts rather than your vision. The good news, it is entirely up to you to establish a comfortable and healthy environment having both Chihuahua and a cat in your house. All you have to do is be aware of your pets` world visions and respect the laws of nature.