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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We got Toby, a 20-pound Chihuahua mix, in February of last year. We've had our Siamese cat Lily for... maybe around a decade, give or take a few years? She's always been very skittish, a scaredy-cat through and through, and she still hides from him.

A few minutes ago, she was at the threshold of my brother's bedroom (her sanctuary), so I decided to go in and start petting her. Eventually, Toby came. He's not really allowed in that room, but I thought it might be a good idea to make an exception this one time. When they saw each other, she puffed up her tail and started hissing, while Toby stared at her with an interested expression (wide eyes, ears pricked). I was petting him stiffly while quietly telling both of them that they were being good, but then he gave chase. I began yelling at him and... also hitting him. I know it's wrong. I was just angry and didn't know what else to do. I also put him in time-out in my room for a few minutes, both as punishment and to give Lily a chance to go hide.

I've always been afraid that just as Lily was finally close to being comfortable around Toby, he would frighten her again, and it just happened.

I'm upset and so, so lost.
 

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It's a cartoon myth that cats and dogs are just natural enemies. But it's certainly true that not all dogs and cats will ever get along, no matter how hard you try. They can probably never be trusted together without risking injury to one or the other. (And it won't automatically be the cat that gets hurt. They are not helpless.)

I have the opposite problem - sort of. Our dog's first friend when we got him was a black cat who lives at the groomer's shop. That cat was around dogs all the time and would actively play with Franklin. Now any time Franklin sees a black cat - even blocks away - he thinks it's Clipper or at least assumes that cat will want to play. It turns out, that's not always the case.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
They can probably never be trusted together without risking injury to one or the other. (And it won't automatically be the cat that gets hurt. They are not helpless.)
That reminds me... If Lily were to scratch him, would that maybe enough to get him to knock it off permanently? It's not ideal, of course, but if it's the only way...
 

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That reminds me... If Lily were to scratch him, would that maybe enough to get him to knock it off permanently? It's not ideal, of course, but if it's the only way...
It's far from "the only way"! Next time you allow them around each other keep the dog on a leash, and give him a firm leash correction if he tries to chase the cat! Trust me, it's more for his protection than the cat's.

Do that for awhile so the dog understands that chasing the cat is not allowed. This gives the cat time to be around the dog without being threatened too. And then let them try it again without the leash with supervision...
 

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That reminds me... If Lily were to scratch him, would that maybe enough to get him to knock it off permanently? It's not ideal, of course, but if it's the only way...
Yes, if Lily took an eye out, it would probably teach him a lesson.

I had a beagle. He loved everybody, including cats. One time I took him rabbit hunting at a friend's farm and he trotted up to a farm cat, about the same size as my beagle, who promptly knocked him on his butt. After that he hated cats. When my sister stayed with us for a time and brought her cat, it was my job to get them to coexist. I was able to do that, with time, doing basically what BigBlackDog suggested. They were never pals, but they learned to ignore each other. So it is possible.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Yes, if Lily took an eye out, it would probably teach him a lesson.
No, I didn't mean it like that! I didn't really think of that possibility. I thought just... the nose or something, I don't know. I'm sorry. Like I said, I'm kinda desperate and willing to at least entertain any idea. (I don't know if that was necessary to clarify, but just in case it is. I only heard about this forum today.)

Yeah, maybe I could try the leash thing.
 

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Every cat and dog is an individual. And like with people, they each have their personal likes and dislikes.

From your post, it sounds like this is the first dog your cat has had to deal with in 10 years. She is telling you that she doesn't like the dog. Respect that. Don't try to push her into being around him.

When they ARE in the same room, as suggested, put a leash on him. No correcting necessary - just use the leash to keep him from giving chase. You can also use an exercise pen to contain him to an area while letting her roam freely. You will need to limit its use to when you are there with them as he could knock it over in an attempt to chase her.

If your brother's room is her sanctuary, do NOT have the dog interact with her in there at all. She needs to know that she is always safe there no matter what.

I have had both cats and dogs for years. I have had some cats who never accepted the dog(s) - those cats always had access to a room that was off limits to the dog(s) (I like baby gates for that purpose).

My Bat-dog had strict rules and the cats violated those rules every chance they got. It made Bat-dog upset and she would chase them. They were only allowed loose together if I was with them to play interference. If I went out, they were separated. Tornado-dog sees The Twoonie (my two current cats) playing and wants to join in, The Twooney don't like that. So, again, I separate them if I cannot play interference.

In the past, I have had cats and dogs that got along great. My golden helped raise 4 orphaned newborn kittens. She was their surrogate mother. When I fostered, I had a fellow foster parent come over with a new foster dog. When they walked in (dog on leash), all my cats, including the fosters, came into the living room and perched on chairs and the sofa to "evaluate" the dog. The other foster was dumbfounded - her cats all ran and hid when a new dog came. But my cats were used to dogs and were confident cats - this was their house and that dog was subject to their rules.

Each animal and home will create a different relationship. One dog and cat may have a great relationship, but when you add a second dog or cat, everything changes. You may have a dog and cat who get along famously, but if one dies and you get a new dog or cat, it's completely different.

As I mentioned, some cats or dogs will have rules. Those rules can control the interactions and behaviors of the other pets. Acknowledging those rules and making safe areas for the other animals to enjoy themselves is important. With both my Bat-dog and Tornado-dog, a baby gate at the bedroom door allows The Twooney to chase each other all night without the dog trying to give chase, yet still allows The Twooney to come cuddle on the bed with me and the dog(s).

As for the cat scratching as a deterrent, it is a toss up. Some dogs, even big ones, will get scratched and forever be afraid of cats. Others will see it as a challenge and become aggressive towards cats. It is definitely NOT a safe way to change your dog's behavior.

Years ago, my sibling brought her 6 month old puppy to visit. Her cats were scaredy cats and ran - convincing the puppy to chase after them. I had a few confident cats who wouldn't run. When she brought the puppy over, there were a couple cats watching from furniture perches. One cat was across the yard. That cat saw the puppy and walked right up to it and swatted the puppy in the face. Then the cat sauntered away. The puppy hid behind the sofa the rest of the day. But longterm, she was always a cat chaser.
 

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I know you weren't considering an eye injury to your dog, but it is a very real possibility. I was being unnecessarily snarky.
 

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Here's yet another anecdote, which may or may not be useful. My sister had a cat and five dogs. The cat was not the least bit intimidated by dogs.

So when we visited with my 116-pound black lab, and he charged the cat (who was on the smaller size,) the cat did not move, blink, snarl or raise a paw. She just would not budge and she stared him right in the eye. The dog stopped short, looked at me with a very puzzled look, then at the cat, then at me again, before finally walking away, totally dejected. He never chased another cat.

A confident cat who is used to dogs is no fun to chase because he won't run away.

Still, there are dogs who will kill a confident cat without hesitation. My Plott hound considere anything that was not either human or canine to be prey.
 

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You don't need to give a correction. Simply use the leash to keep the dog from running after the cat. Otherwise, when the cat enters the room, redirect the dog to a favorite toy. When he plays with the toy and ignores the cat, give him tons of praise.
 

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My dogs have only one real rule in the house. That rule is to LEAVE THE CATS ALONE.

Some dogs have high prey drive like yours. When the cat runs, the dog's prey drive kicks in. Because the cat DOES run it is unlikely you will ever be able to trust the dog and cat together with you not there to supervise.

Yes to the leash and yes to a correction because the cat can lose and lose badly. Some dogs ESCALATE in drive when the cat hisses and fights back. The result of that is typically a dead cat.

I would teach the dog a "leave it" command first on things other than the cat such as food dropped on the floor.

After the dog understands "leave it" I would go back to the cat situation and correct the dog absolutely. I would say "Leave it!" then correct. I would use a prong collar and make the correction count. If the dog yips at the correction it counted. Do not nag.

This is a situation for clear correction as the cat very well could pay with it's life.
 

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We got Toby, a 20-pound Chihuahua mix, in February of last year. We've had our Siamese cat Lily for... maybe around a decade, give or take a few years? She's always been very skittish, a scaredy-cat through and through, and she still hides from him.

A few minutes ago, she was at the threshold of my brother's bedroom (her sanctuary), so I decided to go in and start petting her. Eventually, Toby came. He's not really allowed in that room, but I thought it might be a good idea to make an exception this one time. When they saw each other, she puffed up her tail and started hissing, while Toby stared at her with an interested expression (wide eyes, ears pricked). I was petting him stiffly while quietly telling both of them that they were being good, but then he gave chase. I began yelling at him and... also hitting him. I know it's wrong. I was just angry and didn't know what else to do. I also put him in time-out in my room for a few minutes, both as punishment and to give Lily a chance to go hide.

I've always been afraid that just as Lily was finally close to being comfortable around Toby, he would frighten her again, and it just happened.

I'm upset and so, so lost.
hey! i'm no expert in dogs but some dogs just wont get along with cats. or any animal for that matter. i owned a shihtzu, maybe weighing 8kilos at most. he was given to me as an adult, because he KILLS any animals he sees, including cats. when i say kill he really did kill a cat with the previous owner. he's also killed baby birds and chased mice, anything that moves.

the previous owner (my aunt) did try to fix this. but he didnt even change a bit. and he's not even aggressive towards humans. he was the sweetest boy. that when i go to school, he waits on the staircase until i go home, will follow me literally EVERYWHERE and will sleep on my feet.

from this experience, i can say maybe not every dog gets along with other animals, even when they are socialized since puppyhood. not your fault at all, it's just natural for them to go for living things. remember, dogs used to be wild animals. just keep your head up.
 

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My dogs have only one real rule in the house. That rule is to LEAVE THE CATS ALONE.

Some dogs have high prey drive like yours. When the cat runs, the dog's prey drive kicks in. Because the cat DOES run it is unlikely you will ever be able to trust the dog and cat together with you not there to supervise.

Yes to the leash and yes to a correction because the cat can lose and lose badly. Some dogs ESCALATE in drive when the cat hisses and fights back. The result of that is typically a dead cat.

I would teach the dog a "leave it" command first on things other than the cat such as food dropped on the floor.

After the dog understands "leave it" I would go back to the cat situation and correct the dog absolutely. I would say "Leave it!" then correct. I would use a prong collar and make the correction count. If the dog yips at the correction it counted. Do not nag.

This is a situation for clear correction as the cat very well could pay with it's life.
I will just say this - SOME dogs can be taught a 'leave it' and then (if they persist in cat chasing) be given a 'meaningful correction' on a prong collar, to drive the point home, without much fallout. Or.... you could have a very sensitive dog who also has a huge amount of prey drive. I have two such dogs. They will absolutely, without any hesitation, chase a cat (or kill one if the cat isn't fast enough) but they would be totally, emotionally, mentally, destroyed by a prong collar correction hard enough to elicit a 'yip' out of them.

I'm sure you will chalk this up to "unstable temperament" or being "nervy". That's OK. I totally agree. They are both shelter mutts with unknown history & are prone to anxiety. That doesn't matter to me one bit in this circumstance. Cat chasing can NOT be handled in such a heavy handed way with them -- the fallout risk is too great. My point is.... Sometimes management is necessary in order for the best possible outcome for ALL animals involved. Don't resort to "corrections" if simple separation & management strategies can accomplish the same end result. Especially severe corrections that cause intense physical/emotional pain to the dog. There is a better way.
 

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I will just say this - SOME dogs can be taught a 'leave it' and then (if they persist in cat chasing) be given a 'meaningful correction' on a prong collar, to drive the point home, without much fallout. Or.... you could have a very sensitive dog who also has a huge amount of prey drive. I have two such dogs. They will absolutely, without any hesitation, chase a cat (or kill one if the cat isn't fast enough) but they would be totally, emotionally, mentally, destroyed by a prong collar correction hard enough to elicit a 'yip' out of them.

I'm sure you will chalk this up to "unstable temperament" or being "nervy". That's OK. I totally agree. They are both shelter mutts with unknown history & are prone to anxiety. That doesn't matter to me one bit in this circumstance. Cat chasing can NOT be handled in such a heavy handed way with them -- the fallout risk is too great. My point is.... Sometimes management is necessary in order for the best possible outcome for ALL animals involved. Don't resort to "corrections" if simple separation & management strategies can accomplish the same end result. Especially severe corrections that cause intense physical/emotional pain to the dog. There is a better way.
The question remains:
IF the dogs described above were corrected as stated (prong collar enough to elicit a response) would they chase that cat again?

It is likely the dog would recover. It might take some time.

A severely wounded or dead cat hasn't any chance to recover at all.

Separation etc. is all good until someone "forgets." Seen it too many times. The cat pays the price.

I too have had high prey drive/unconfident dogs (most people in Dog Sport start with such dogs). A correction given when the dog was in drive was not destructive (another topic entirely) and was often very effective training.

Of course the OP knows their own dog and can choose what to do.
 

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The dog in question is a 20lb chihuahua mix NOT an 85lb shepherd, etc. I think we need to focus on helping with THIS dog - what's that saying so often quoted? Ah yes, train the dog in front of you.

Simply using a leash or exercise pen to prevent the chihuahua from chasing after the cat when they are in the same room, using baby gates to provide a safe place for the cat where the chihuahua cannot go (the cat may also use higher perches like tables and chair backs, etc), and separating them when they cannot be supervised, will keep both the cat and dog safe, help the young chihuahua learn not to chase, and prevent undue stress in the household.
 

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I will add that the chihuahua and cat have been living together for over a year with no major issue UNTIL the OP let the dog into a room he wasn't normally allowed into while the cat was in there.

@TobyBoo, I understand your desire to get them to be one big happy family, but your cat is telling you she does not want to be around the dog. She is not going to change regardless of whether the dog chases her or not. Her hissing, etc is her opinion of the entire thing, don't force her. She may never like him. As he grows older and calmer, he may stop caring about her and they can build a existance of tolerance. But by bringing them together like that, you actually encourage him to focus on her. Keep her sanctuary Toby-free.
 

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My reply disappeared, so sorry if this winds up being a duplicate; I was strangely and spontaneously logged out.

I was attacked by a pack of angry chihuahuas once (long story). I think personality matters more than size; in my very limited experience chihuahuas don't see themselves as small or gentle. Many little and small breeds turned out to have too strong a personality for me.

Have you considered catifying your home, OP? Just look up images online of 'catification'. Shelves that go up the wall like steps, ceiling high catwalks, really high cat trees. I don't think most dogs could follow the cat (but I could be wrong). Then the cat could get potentially used to the dog from safety. And you could have cat-only pathways that allowed the cat to leave the room, but not the dog.

I've never used catification like this, but am trying to think outside the box. If you do this, make sure the toe tufts between paw pads are regularly trimmed, if your cat is long/ medium furred. Also, I don't think this would be a good experiment with an elderly or overweight cat.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I will add that the chihuahua and cat have been living together for over a year with no major issue UNTIL the OP let the dog into a room he wasn't normally allowed into while the cat was in there.

@TobyBoo, I understand your desire to get them to be one big happy family, but your cat is telling you she does not want to be around the dog. She is not going to change regardless of whether the dog chases her or not. Her hissing, etc is her opinion of the entire thing, don't force her. She may never like him. As he grows older and calmer, he may stop caring about her and they can build a existance of tolerance. But by bringing them together like that, you actually encourage him to focus on her. Keep her sanctuary Toby-free.
Well, not "no major issue". This happens almost every time he sees her. Sometimes, they are somehow calm, and that's been increasingly frequent the longer we've had him, but this is hardly the first time this has happened.

Also, he is around eight years old, not a puppy. So, unfortunately, him growing "older and calmer" is out the window, though I was hoping that if his age won't do anything, training and experience might.

As lovely as it would be to see them snuggling and being best friends, I don't really see that happening at this point, and that's okay. I just want the cat to not have to hide all day.

(I'm not trying to be rude, just clarify some things.)

I have taken him to a professional trainer before (mostly for other issues), and I have been wanting to order another block anyway, so maybe I should just do that.
 
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