Do Chihuahuas Get Along With Cats?

As pet lovers, we tend to own different types of animals in one household and as such, it is important to understand their behaviours, temperaments and personality of these various animals before introducing them to each other.

A Chihuahua and a Cat
A Chihuahua and a Cat

To answer the question of this article, do Chihuahuas get along with Cats? Yes, Chihuahuas can get along with cats, if they are properly trained and socialized at an early stage.

Early age training and socialization go a long way in ensuring a peaceful cohabitation of two different or the same animals.

Chihuahuas like most dogs are known to be naturally territorial and could get aggressive when they feel threatened by other animals, likewise cats.

To better understand how these two could coexist, we need to have a brief understanding of each of them.

The Chihuahua’s Personality

In general, a Chihuahua has a huge personality to compensate for its tiny size and would often be a bully to have its way.

In the presence of other dogs, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to see a Chihuahua being in command as they tend to disregard their tiny size and exert their influence.

This could be a disadvantage as a Chihuahua won’t back down if confronted by a bigger dog or cat, risking the possibility of getting injured.

Chihuahuas are sassy, bold, curious, intelligent and very fast learners src.

They are not so friendly towards strangers or other dogs if they are not properly socialized at an early age.

A chihuahua can be socialized at an early age by introducing it to other people such as family members and friends.

Also, they can be socialized with other dogs to help familiarize them to being in the presence and possibly coexist with other dogs and pets.

The Cat’s Personality

In as much as we are focused on Chihuahuas getting along with cats, we still have to get a basic understanding of a cat’s personality.

Cats are a mix-bag of personalities and it could be difficult to predict how they would react in various situations.

I found this incredible cats personality index created a team of researchers primarily based out of the University of South Australia, which was summarized below by the good folks at Real Clear Science

  • Neuroticism- reflects the strongest levels of traits, such as insecure, anxious, fearful of people, suspicious and shy;
  • Dominance- reflects bullying, dominant and aggressive to other cats;
  • Impulsiveness- reflects impulsive, erratic and reckless; and
  • Agreeableness- reflects affectionate, friendly to people and gentle. However,
  • The fifth factor Extraversion also revealed traits normally associated with Self-control in Scottish wildcats including decisive, aimless, persevering and quitting.

As a cat owner, understanding and knowing your cat’s personality can go a long way to inform your decision on if you should bring a chihuahua home or not.

chihuahua sitting in front of white background
Chihuahua

Introducing Chihuahuas to Cats

We are going to explore two possibilities in this article;

  • Introducing a new chihuahua to an already existing household cat;
  • Introducing a new pet cat to an already existing household chihuahua.

Introducing a new pet chihuahua to an existing pet cat

To successfully do this, certain things have to be taken into consideration.

Preparation:

  1. Ensure you understand your cat’s personality, you can review the cat’s personality section of this article again to properly identify which your cat falls into.
  2. Prepare a space in your home for your chihuahua to exist alone, without the interference of your cat. A dog crate would be a good idea.

Scent Swapping:

Animals rely on scents for identifying people and other animals. Scent swapping is the concept of introducing pets to each other without ever having them meet each other.

  1. Take a soft piece of cloth and gently wipe it over the head and body of the chihuahua before you bring it home.
  2. Then gently and frequently introduce it to your cat.
  3. Also, repeat the same thing with your chihuahua by introducing your cat’s scent to your dog.

Bringing your chihuahua home:

After getting your house dog-ready and scent swabbing;

  1. First off, keep them separate. Remember the place I asked you to prepare in the first step? Well, it comes in handy now.
  2. Pet them both by stroking them gently. Do not wash your hands while petting them, this would also serve as a form of scent swapping and they would know you have interacted with the other pet.
  3. You can also gather the scent of the new pet chihuahua with a soft cloth and wipe on the furniture around the house, most especially in areas where your cat spends the most its time in.
  4. Delay their face to face meeting for a few days. Allow your chihuahua to roam the house while your cat isn’t around.

The first Introduction:

  1. In preparation for their first introduction, you need to exercise your dog, especially if it is young and excitable.
  2. Be aware of your demeanour around your pets as they can sense it when you get tense and could react based on it.
  3. Never let your chihuahua chase the cat. This might either make your cat scared of your dog and never want to interact with it or your cat might fight back and hurt your chihuahua. It is safe to say you should clip your cat’s nails before now.
  4. Keep a barricade between your cat and chihuahua. Also, keep your chihuahua on a leash if it is necessary.
  5. Keep tasty treats in hand to reward your chihuahua for good behaviour.
  6. If your chihuahua gets excited, get it away from your cat and get it distracted.
  7. Keep the introduction sessions short and always end on a positive note.
  8. Never leave your chihuahua and cat alone together until you are sure they are comfortable in each other’s company.

Progression:

After their initial introduction, keep the meetings consistent, you should notice improvements as they get used to each other.

If you don’t see any improvements, seek professional help from a Vet.

Maintain good relations:

Maintain good relations between your chihuahua and cat by doing the following;

  1. Keep the cat food away from the chihuahua because dogs tend to get drawn to cat food.
  2. Always feed both your chihuahua and cat separately, if possible, in different rooms.
  3. Never rush things, take note that every pet is different.

Introducing a new pet cat to an existing pet chihuahua

Take the following things into consideration to ensure its success.

Preparation:

  1. Ensure you understand your chihuahua’s personality while preparing for their introduction.
  2. Prepare a space in your home for your cat to exist alone, without the interference of your chihuahua.
  3. Also, clear out a flat surface, like a shelf. This is for your cat because cats like to leap onto high places whenever they get frightened.

Scent Swapping:

  1. Take a soft piece of cloth and gently wipe it over the head and body of the cat before you bring it home.
  2. Then gently and frequently introduce it to your chihuahua.

Bringing your cat home:

  1. First off, keep them separate. Keep your cat in a room away from your chihuahua.
  2. Pet them both by stroking them gently. Do not wash your hands while petting them, this would also serve as a form of scent swapping and they would know you have interacted with the other pet.
  3. You can also gather the scent of the new pet cat with a soft cloth and wipe on the furniture around the house, most especially in areas where your chihuahua spends the most its time in.
  4. Delay their face to face meeting for a few days. Allow your cat to roam the house while your chihuahua isn’t around.

The first Introduction:

  1. In preparation for their first introduction, you need to exercise your dog, especially if it is young and excitable.
  2. Be aware of your demeanour around your pet as they can sense it when you get tense and could react based on it.
  3. Never let your chihuahua chase the cat. This might either make your cat scared of your dog and never get to interact with it or your cat might fight back and hurt your chihuahua.
  4. Keep a barricade between your cat and chihuahua. Also, keep your chihuahua on a leash if it’s necessary.
  5. Keep tasty treats in hand to reward your chihuahua for good behaviour.
  6. If your chihuahua gets excited, get it away from your cat and get it distracted.
  7. Keep the introduction sessions short and always end on a positive note.
  8. Never leave your chihuahua and cat alone together until you are sure they are comfortable in each other’s company.

In Conclusion

We have learnt that chihuahuas and cats can get along well, with the right training, introduction and relationship maintenance.

We love pets here at TinyWoofs and wholeheartedly support the cohabilitation of chihuahuas and cats.