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F1 and tiny chihuahua?

The Birds

Savannah Super Cat
#1
I'm hoping to introduce my F1 2yo, Cal, to my man friend's dog, who is an extremely meek 7 pound chihuahua. The dog isn't generally afraid of other animals, nor does he bark or react a lot when he passes them on the street. Still, he is tiny and we are worried about him. How should they be introduced? Is it possible that they could ever be trusted alone together? Cal has great manners overall, but he is feisty and really wanted to tangle with the lab who came over to my house recently. Thank you!
 

WitchyWoman

Admin
Staff member
#2
Introductions are similar to when you bring a new cat into the house. It could take a short amount of time or a month or longer depending on how much exposure they have to each other.

Keep the chi on a leash the first time they meet and let them get used to each other. Keep the dog in a crate or another room for a few hours, then switch and let the dog roam and put the cat in another room. Give them plenty time of time to get used to the sound, sight and smell of each other.

When in the presence of the cat, keep the dog leashed and under human control until they both act calm and accepting -- no lunging, growling, barking, hissing. Then try unleashing the dog.

Allowing them alone together is possible if sufficient time and patience is allowed using the above tips without incident. I highly recommend that the first unsupervised visit be one where you and your friend are outside peeking in and can get into the apartment or house quickly if things go wrong. Gradually increase the amount of time they are allowed alone together.
 

The Birds

Savannah Super Cat
#3
Thank you! So you think Cal won't view the dog as a toy and try to go after him right away? As my boyfriend pointed out, a lot of Cal's toys are bigger than the dog is!
 

Brigitte Cowell

Moderator
Staff member
#4
Its possible it could be difficult...if the chi is intimidated by the big kitty and yaps at him then the F1 might well swat at the dog and then things could degenerate badly. Hence the need to take it slowly. You might even put the dog in a crate in the living room for a bit so they get to see each other safely for a bit... Keeping the chihuahua on a leash for a bit is useful, not only for pulling the dog back if necessary but being able to retrieve the dog quickly if the F1 does decide the dog is a toy... you will need to play this by ear!
 

The Birds

Savannah Super Cat
#5
Generally speaking, are most adult F1s capable of playing safely with animals much smaller/much older/much younger than themselves? Do breeders keep the adults in the house separate from new litters of kittens (except for the moms of course)? This is assuming they are well adjusted and well socialized otherwise with no major aggression issues.
 

WitchyWoman

Admin
Staff member
#7
Thank you! So you think Cal won't view the dog as a toy and try to go after him right away? As my boyfriend pointed out, a lot of Cal's toys are bigger than the dog is!
The cat is more likely to see the intruder as an uninvited intruder rather than a toy. How it goes depends on the personality of both animals. The calmer the chi, the better it will likely go.

For what it's worth, my 11 month old F1 met his first puppy a few weeks ago when a friend brought over a 10 wk old boxer. Atticus was bigger than the pup. After a few sniffs, the cat grabbed the leash and tried to drag the dog to the front door. LOL. Sometimes it goes ok, sometimes it doesn't.
 

Brigitte Cowell

Moderator
Staff member
#8
Generally speaking, are most adult F1s capable of playing safely with animals much smaller/much older/much younger than themselves? Do breeders keep the adults in the house separate from new litters of kittens (except for the moms of course)? This is assuming they are well adjusted and well socialized otherwise with no major aggression issues.
I keep kittens that are born here separate from the rest of the household until they have their second vaccination... as I show some of my cats it seems sensible to protect unvaccinated kittens with immature immune systems. Additionally we have stairs and I worry about them falling from the upper floor...

Once 12 weeks and vaccinated though, they then are let out in the house and I have two F1s. If anything my largest (Nina, 62.5% and large) is the scaredycat of the household and is scared of them. They quickly learn to chase her, LOL! I've never found with the cats that the largest cat is the dominant one, usually it is the smallest one that is the feistiest!
 

Patti

Admin
Staff member
#9
I would definitely have both the dog and the cat on a leash when they first meet until you know how they will react together. I've had an F1 chase a German Shepherd, I would be concerned that Cal might want to go after the dog, and having only the dog on a leash is not going to do anything to stop Cal. Depending on how their first meeting goes will clue you in to how quickly or slowly you will be able to integrate them. I totally agree with Deborah that they should be given the opportunity to smell the other before actually meeting - you might even consider swapping pet beds before they actually meet.
 

The Birds

Savannah Super Cat
#10
Swapping pet beds in advance is a great idea!
The good thing is, the dog is so small that it's easy to hold him in one arm or in a bag the whole time,
it's no trouble to protect him that way.
I'm hoping that Cal is smart enough to see the dog as an "extension" of the human he's being held by.