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I've always had cats as pets, never a dog. I've always,...

<< Back to: rec.pets.dogs: Chihuahuas Breed-FAQ

Question by kittymum
Submitted on 8/15/2003
Related FAQ: rec.pets.dogs: Chihuahuas Breed-FAQ
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I've always had cats as pets, never a dog.  I've always, however, been fond of chis and am doing research on them with the hopes of being able to get one as a pet.  

I'm a stay at home housewife (no kids).  I have lots of time to train a puppy. We have an excellent vet, and my adult cats are healthy, spoiled indoor cats.  

My question is after all of that intro...do chis do well with cats if brought into the home as a puppy?  And do they have a tendency to get into cat's food and litter?  How harmful would getting into the food and litter be?  I'd take steps to make sure it didn't happen but would want to know in case I was "out-smarted"....it's happened with the cats....they're too smart for my own good sometimes :S  Much as I love my furry kids :)

Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated....I want all of my animals to be as healthy and happy as possible.    

Answer by chimama
Submitted on 8/15/2003
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Congratulations on choosing to bring a chihuaua into your life, and for asking all the right questions.

You will find that chihuahuas share many characteristics with cats.  They are Very very fastidious and spend time grooming themselves and each other.  They are also fond of curling up on your lap for hours, lying for hours in the smallest dot of sunshine, or curling up into a little ball under blankets, sheets, rugs, whatever.  They are not fond of water but will tolerate a bath, especially if you start young.

The main difference is that a chihuahua will bond with one or two people.  You will become the center of their universe, their entire lives will be devoted to adoring you and doing whatever it takes to keep their human happy.

As far as litter, both my chihuahuas are litter trained (Minnesota is not chihuahua friendly 7 months out of the year).  You may find that your chihuahua prefers clumping litter in their own tray and doesn't want to share.  One of mine also likes the clumps removed daily, she will actually go to the litter tray, then look up at me as if to say "You want me to go in there?  It's Dirty!"  Once I remove the clumps (all hers)and smooth the surface, she happily hops right in and does her business.

I don't know about cat food, I would consult with your vet about cats and dogs eating each other's food.  I feed dry kibbles and leave them out all the time.  Chihuahuas need to eat small meals several times a day, they will not overeat and get fat.  The way they get fat is too many treats and not enough exercise.  Teeny tiny bits of chicken, veggies, whatever you are eating is the best for them, and never give them anything until after you have finished and they have behaved themselves (waited patiently and quietly).

As for bringing the puppy home, my advice would be to take the cats with you when you go to choose a puppy, and only go to a reputable breeder.  Ask to see the parents, dogs from other litters, etc.  The breeder should want you to spend at least an hour there, while you're sizing up the pups, they'll be sizing up you.  Pups should be comfortable being handled by humans, pups that cower or parents that snap and snarl mean turn around and leave.

Let your cats smell the puppies, pet one cat and one puppy, you might just find that you and your cats agree on the puppy you like.  That's the winner!  Your cats will think it was their idea to get a dog.  Take everyone home and make sure the cats get at least as much attention as the puppy.  Since the cats are adults, they should be reasonably tolerant of an infant, regardless of species.  You might even find them all curled up together, living happily, each convinced that the other is just a very strange looking cat or dog.

This is turning into quite a novel, since you've done some research, if you haven't already done so, buy the book Chihuahuas for Dummies.  It is by far the best book I have ever read in regards to the care and feeding of these adorable little creatures.

Best of luck from the pet of two very lovable and spoiled 'furry little children'


Answer by Pam
Submitted on 10/23/2003
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I have never seen a Chi groom themselves or a companion like a cat will do. They will lay curled up on your lap, lay in the sunshine, and burrow under cover (what ever kind). They tolerate a bath if it is done correctly. Use warm water and get them wrapped in a towel asap.  I do find that cats and Chis chose one or two people to be loyal to.  Who ever feeds, pets, and loves on them the most is their slave.  That is up to one or two people.

If you want to adopt a Chi (or any other breed) into a cat house, you need to make sure the cats food is out of the reach of the dog. For one thing, each need to have a supply of food to nibble on during the day. It is likely that the dog will eat the cat food and their food also, leading to weight gain for your pup.

I find the answer to the question about feeding interesting.  I do not agree about feeding your Chi "whatever you are eating, is best for them".  The best food for them is a good brand of dog food recomended by your Vet.  

You should not give your pet any "treats or food" while you are eating.  This will stop the begging that they will do if encouraged when fed from the table.

Yes, your Chi will get into the cat litter and eat the waste if they can get to it.  It does not seem to hurt them but it is discusting.  

Good luck on taking your cat to help pick out your new puppy.  I can't imagine what a disaster that could be.  If you decide to adopt a puppy, let nature take its course.  It may take a few weeks, but they will figure out how to make it work.

Best of luck in your new parenthood.


Answer by chimama
Submitted on 10/24/2003
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I agree with Pam for the most part.  

I should clarify that I do not believe in feeding pets from the table, and that the best ( and only ) food for any pet should be a balanced high-quality pet food.  

I have found that when I eat, my chi's will wait patiently for me to finish (I outrank them).  Sometimes I will give them a tiny sliver of chicken or carrot (vet recommended and approved) after I have finished my healthful meal as long as they have been good.  Begging doesn't get them anywhere, and they know that.  It reinforces their place in the pack and that 'This is my food, and I am giving it to you'.  I don't do this all the time, and if I'm eating junk food or a less-healthy meal they're out of luck, no matter how good they are, they're not getting any.  

I use treats sparingly in training, I can get 10 treats out of one animal cracker, specially formulated for dogs, no sugar, etc.  A dog will work just as hard for a tiny taste as they will for a big piece.

As for taking your existing companion animals with you to select an addition to the family, I do rely on my own experience and that of several other people.  If your existing companion animal is well behaved, it may make the addition easier.  

Pam may know more than I do about introducing cats and dogs, in the one situation in which I was involved, this worked.  Most of what I know is based on adding a new dog to a house where there already is one and two where a new cat was added to a cat household.  I would defer to Pam on this.

If you choose to purchase a new animal by yourself, please do consider introducing  them on 'neutral ground'.  Have another member of your household or a friend that your existing pet knows hold the new animal.  Take your existing pet to see your new pet at the end of the block or at your friends house, let them get acquainted before you and your friend and both animals return to your house.  

I agree completely with Pam here, they'll work it out.  Give both animals attention, don't ignore your existing animal and lavish affection on the new arrival, that makes it worse.  There may be some sparring, but as long as there is no loud yelping or blood, let them work it out, it's part of establishing rank.  As long as they all know you outrank everyone else, leave them to sort themselves out.


Answer by cortney
Submitted on 3/16/2004
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The first day I brought my chi home, I was afraid that my older "killer" cat would eat my pup.  He's eaten rabbits way larger than my little chi.  I had to keep a good eye on them, but now they love each other to death.  My cat is always grooming or snuggling with my chi.  Later, we got 2 kittens and my chi was sooo excited.  Now he has 2 little kittens to take care of, but now they are both bigger then him.  He thinks that he's a cat.  I did have to put our litter box up high because for some reason, my chi enjoys eating poo.  Don't know why.  But, I never had any problems with chi's and cats' so I'd say go for it.


Answer by New proud owner
Submitted on 5/18/2004
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I brought my baby chi into my home very carefully. I kept them both in separate rooms. Then we introduced the to each other very carefully. My cat does get a little rough for the baby chi so we have to keep them into separate rooms while we're gone. As for the cat food, I put her food on a long bench (where the chi can't jump on)it will give your chi diarrhea because the cat food is very rich compaired to dog food, not to mention weight problems...


Answer by animalmadBecca
Submitted on 6/23/2004
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I love cats and dogs, I have 1 dog and four cats and I am getting a chihuahua in about 6 weeks. If it weren't for my eldest cat me, my uncle and my mum would be dead because when the gas was on accidently at night my cat woke up my mum by licking and scratching her face (something he had never done before and he was 2 years old at the time). So this just proves how cool and clever pets are. PS: My collie dog likes eating her own poo and the cat poo like cortneys chihuahua, it is gross.


Answer by fugazi
Submitted on 1/18/2005
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I have 2 cats and my fiance and I want to bring in a 1 yr old chi mix (dashund is the other breed).  The chi mix is currently being fostered on the weekdays from the local canine and humane rescue center.  The foster family consists of three other dogs whom the chihuahua gets along with.  Our cats are almost 4 years old from the same litter.  They are very loving and affectionate.  They stay indoors and never seen a dog.  We are wondering what is the best way to introduce the chihuahua into our home.  We currently own a two-story townhome with a small fenced-in patio to give you an idea of the surroundings.  Any help/advice would be appreciated!  Thanks!  


Answer by wally
Submitted on 4/10/2005
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do cats poo and if they do where in the house or in backyard?


Answer by scarybookfan
Submitted on 12/27/2005
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I just got a chi pup for Christmas.She has been at my house now for 3 days and immedetly took to my 2 cats vise versa. My cats are pretty weird with other cats so  thought this would be a problem. I never even heard a hiss from either of the cats with my new chi.I think they find each other fascinating!!I don't think you should bring your pets to scope each other out when you pic out your new friend,I believe if you bring a chi into a home with already existing cats/family they will do just fine.She isn't potty trained yet and I am having a problem with that though, I have never seen anything like it...she goes all the time!!!And she does eat poop out of the litter box.I have the clumping kind and I don't think it bothers them in anyway cause I have seen baby kittens eat that before they even started eating solids!!!I guess that just broke them in(it was even scented too)!I guess I am going to have to read up on the potty training thing.And I was letting her eat the dry and canned cat food but I guess now I will be careful since that was the wrong thing to do.It's just hard to "keep em' separated"!


Answer by megan
Submitted on 2/14/2006
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Ever since I was a child, I was never *allowed* to have any pets except for goldfish, which I hated and never wanted in the first place, so Mum had to look after them. When I was at primary school(UK), I was the only one in the whole class who could not take the class pet hamster home for the weekend, because my paretns would not allow it.  I got bullied because of this and cried for days.  All my other friends had dogs, cats and rabbits.  I was left out of things when they all talked about their pets, I couldn't join in.

When I grew up and moved out of my parents home, I was excited about giving a loving home to a pet of my own, however, the council did not allow pets.  Then I got engaged and moved in with my fiancee, but he was allergic to animal hair.  After the break-up I moved back with my Parents and am still there today.

An animal shelter friend of mine has asked if I'd be interested in fostering a dog until he finds a new home.  i approached my parents on the subject but the answer was no.  I broke my heart.

I long to move out and own a pet, but cannot afford a place of my own at the moment.

Being an only child, gorwing up without any pets has been miserable for me especially when both my parents grew up with dogs.  I felt as though I have missed out on so much. I used to ask the neighbours if I could walk their dogs, but it got embarassing after I left school, so I stopped.

Has anyone else had similar experiences, or know of someone else who has?

I have tried volantry animal work which I adored, but it left me feeling more upset, knowing that that was as close as I got to owning a dog, cat etc.  All my co-workers all had pets of their own and shared stories and photographs.  I envied them.

Would love to hear any thoughts that anybody may have about my situation.

Thanks, huggsssss


Answer by KyleW
Submitted on 2/24/2007
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About one year ago my girlfriend brought me a lil chihuahua puppy as a birthday gift, and I immediately fell in love!! However I was worried because my roommate had a fully grown male cat in the house, but the two quickly grew fond of each other and now are best friends! Calvin (the cat) would never sleep in his bed, he would only sleep on his master's bed, and now he regularly curls up next to Trixxy (the chi) in her cage and the two will sleep together for hours. As for other posters who said they've never seen the chis and cats groom each other, it is an every day event in our home. It's the cutest thing!

One big advantage however is that my chi is very active and is never intimidated by any other animals, and the cat is very timid. I have noticed that Trixxy does better with cats one on one. When I have taken her to houses with multiple cats, the cats have never been welcoming to her. But when there is only one cat in the house, Trixxy almost always seems to make friends.

As for the cat food, we had a problem with Trixxy eating the cat food, because the higher amounts of protein make the food more appetizing to chihuahuas, who have a much weaker sense of taste than other dogs. We found that Trixxy was scratching herself CONSTANTLY, almost all day, and once we put the cat food out of her reach all of the itching stopped. I dont know how the two would be related, but it was the only change we made. The biggest difficulty is keeping the dog food away from your cat or cats, because they grow to be much more nimble. I have my chihuahua trained to know that when I make her food, it is time for her to eat it. So I put the cat in my bedroom and then prepare the dogs food and let her eat.


Answer by Neka & Feluci the Furry Chi Chi
Submitted on 3/22/2007
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I would like to know if my chi eats my kitten food will it cause any problems besides weight and diarrhea


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