Can Rescue Chihuahuas Live With Cats?

Adopting your pets is a kind thing to do out of love and care. You are saving lives and making room for another animal in need at the rescue or shelter. You might see the cutest chihuahua in need of a home and want to fill out an application to adopt him or her, but something stops you. Your cats! Will a chihuahua and them get along? How well do they get along with dogs?
A lot of individuals think that both dogs and cats are born to fight each other. After all, we’ve learned this from pictures and stories. In fact, cats and dogs can live together in peace and happiness. These two are not natural foes. When cats and dogs grow up together, they can become good friends with a strong bond.

Can I Adopt A Chihuahua if I Have A Cat?

A man works in a home office with his cat


You can, but first, you need to do some study. Not every dog will get along with every cat, and not every cat will get along with every dog. They are not enemies, but each animal has its own personality, fears, likes, and dislikes, as well as its own way of acting.


It’s not always about the kind of animal. Some cats and dogs don’t like each other, and some cats don’t like other dogs. It comes down to the animal in question.

If cats and dogs grow up together, they usually get along well. When they were both young, they were more likely to like and get along with each other. They will at least ignore each other, which is better than fighting.

There are a few things to think about before you choose a dog to adopt.

1. The Dog’s Breed

Group of dog walkers working together outside with dogs


Some dogs have a strong desire to hunt. This is something they have from birth and can’t be taught away. It’s just what you do. Your dog runs after the squirrel not because he hates the squirrel but because it is in their nature to do so.

Breeds of dogs that are known to have strong drives to hunt are:

Australian Cattle Dogs
Doberman Pinschers
Jack Russel Terriers
Siberian Huskies
Yorkshire Terrier
Rhodesian Ridgebacks
Shiba Inus
This list doesn’t have everything. Even tiny Toy Poodles might try to chase a cat if they have some hunt drive. Greyhounds who run in races have been taught to chase small animals. Whether or not a stray dog can live safely with cats will depend on how the breed is wired.

Also, some dogs may have had the fun of chasing cats when they lived somewhere else. Once a dog learns “how fun” it is to chase a cat, it is unlikely that the dog will ever be completely calm around a cat.

2. The Dog’s Age/Size


A younger dog is more flexible and may not have hunted before. They might be interested in the cat, but they might not want to chase it around the house. It’s much easier to get a puppy used to cats than it is to get a dog used to chasing rabbits and mice who is a few years old.

Most of the time, a cat can live with a small dog, like a chihuahua, because they are small and easy to control. However, keep in mind that any dog regardless of his size can have a drive to hunt. If your cat has claws and wants to defend itself, it could hurt your dog as well. Especially an apple head chihuahua because of the shape of their eyes.

Introducing Your Rescue Chihuahua to the Cat

chihuahua and a cat outside


Still, people who already have a cat are more likely to want to adopt a chihuahua dog than people who already have a chihuahua to want to adopt a cat. Even though this is sometimes the case, the dog is generally brought into the home after the cat has been there for a while. This means that the cat thought they were in charge of their home, but now there is another animal there. Permanently!

The two need to be presented together slowly, with kindness, and without any expectations. When your animals are used to each other and feel at ease, they will tell you. It won’t go faster no matter how hard you try.

Bringing a dog home to meet a cat or a cat home to meet a dog, the most important things to remember are the same. It’s not impossible, and if you know how to do it, you can do it.

You Should Have A Plan 

Before you bring your chihuahua home, you need to have a plan for your cat’s safety and comfort. Depending on what kind of cat you have, this new arrival may make your cat feel very threatened.

Keep Your Chihuahua And Cat Separated 

Your chihuahua is happy to be in a new place and can’t wait to check it out. That’s reasonable, but make sure your dog doesn’t run in and scare your cat. It’s a good idea to put your cat in a safe area of the house that your chihuahua can’t get to first. Then, your dog can run around and explore as much as it wants.

If you do this, your new chihuahua will be able to smell the cat before he can even see it. When the dog seems to have calmed down, take him outside for a walk or to play, and let your cat out of its room. At this point, your cat is able to stroll around and sniff the dog without seeing him.

Introduce Slowly 

When you bring your chihuahua back inside, you can let them meet face-to-face while the dog is still on a leash. This will make it hard for him to run after the cat. There’s also no promise that your cat will stay for this meeting. Let them go to a place where they feel safe if they want to.

Your cat’s safe place could be under the bed, in a cat tree, behind a piece of furniture, or on a desk. Tell them it’s okay for them to go where they want. Keep your chihuahua on a leash inside the house until everyone has met each other.

You can let your new chihuahua off the leash to watch what they do after the two have sniffed each other without the cat hissing or scratching and without the dog running after the cat. Reattach the leash and repeat the procedure if the dog runs off after the cat right away. Give your chihuahua a treat for smelling the cat without striking out. Talk to them in a soothing, quiet tone, and demonstrate to your dog that being gentle with the cat is the behavior you desire to see.

Be assertive in your behavior to let the pets know they can rely on you and that you are in charge. They can feel safer around each other if they believe you will keep them protected.

Never Punish Your Pet

If the first meeting doesn’t go the way you wanted, don’t punish your pets. If you punish them, they might think that the other animal is more accepted than they are. When you see that they are getting along, give them praise. If they know that this makes you happy, they will do it again. In this way, you will reward the good behavior.

Adopting a Cat-Tested Chihuahua 

ragdoll cat and chihuahua in front of white background


If you want to adopt a certain dog, ask the people at the rescue center about the dog’s past. Some things about their past may be known, like if they’ve lived with cats before or if they’ve been tried with cats.

If the chihuahua has a past of chasing and killing tiny creatures. It could be dangerous for cats to be around this dog. For them, a cat is simply a different small animal. They don’t know that this isn’t a target animal.

Some shelters will watch how a dog acts when he sees a cat. Among these, but not only, are the following:

  • Taking a dog for a walk on a leash and letting him see a cat.
  • Taking a leashed dog past a cat
  • Keeping a dog’s leash while a cat is brought into the room
  • Putting a leash on a dog and letting a cat walks around the room
  • letting the dog and cat walks around the room at the same time

When the dog acts mean toward cats, the rescue might decide that it can’t live with cats. This is important information to keep in mind If you want to adopt a rescue chihuahua.  If you notice that the chihuahua was tried out on cats and failed, you can’t bring him home to your cat.

If the chihuahua is interested in the cat or totally ignores it, they are said to have a chance to live with cats instead of being told they can’t.

It’s not easy to tell if a dog likes cats or not, and some of the tests can make the cat feel bad. Because of this, some shelters don’t even test their dogs for cats.

Dogs in Foster Homes 

If your chihuahua is in a foster home with cats, that’s the best way to find out if he will get along with your cat. Many rescues only work with foster homes. This means that animals can be saved even if there is nowhere for them to live. People take care of the animals until they find stable homes.

A lot of foster homes take care of multiple pets at the same time. The people who foster animals may also have their own pets that live with the foster pets. This means you can look through the dogs and find out which ones are already getting along with cats. This is a sure way to know that the chihuahua is used to cats and doesn’t want to chase them anymore. You can also ask the foster about the dog’s behavior, which is a nice bonus.

Your Chihuahua With Other Cats And Animals

Your chihuahua might get along fine with your cat at home, but when they go outside, they might want to chase every cat and tiny animal they see. This isn’t strange. It means they know your cat is a part of their family and that they can eat any other animal.

You’ve Tried, but Nothing Happens 

Even when you try your hardest, you can’t always get your chihuahua and cat to get along. Consider hiring a dog trainer or an animal behaviorist if the situation is out of control. Talking to a professional about your problem can give you ideas you haven’t thought of yet. They might even be able to come to your house to see how things are going.

With their help, you can learn how to meet your dog and cat’s needs in a way that makes them both feel more at ease.

When To Leave Your Pets Alone Together

A cat and a dog on the couch. Animals, pets. Neva Masquerade and Chihuahua.


You shouldn’t do this until you’re sure that the two won’t hurt each other.

When a cat can walk by your chihuahua without the dog responding, it’s a good sign that the dog has accepted the cat’s presence. Your cat no longer hisses or growls is another sign that it is getting used to the dog.

If your chihuahua is still trying to chase the cat, whining loudly when he sees the cat, panting, or frantically trying to smell the cat, the two of them aren’t ready to be left alone together. If you leave the house, put them in different rooms until you get back.

By watching what they do when you’re not around, you can tell if they can get along without you. Keep the travels brief at first if you give it a try. Try going outside for a while, then coming back inside.

Last Word

Rescue chihuahuas can live with cats if they are of breeds that are less likely to chase and kill small animals and if they have never done so before. Ask the rescue or foster home about the chihuahua’s history to learn about his past. If they have been mean to tiny creatures in the past, it’s probably not safe for them to live with cats.

If you find a chihuahua that doesn’t mind cats, take your time when introducing them. Your dog and cat will learn to get along with each other over time.


Should I let my cat and chihuahua fight?

Crate Training For Rescue Chihuahuas

Crate Training For Rescue Chihuahuas



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