Are you thinking of getting a Shih tzu, but worrying if it will get along with your cat? Do Shih Tzus Get Along With Cats? The good news is – yes, they can definitely live together with humans. But, just like other pets, they have to be properly introduced to each other until such time wherein they get used to the idea of being in the same house together.
Observe how your pets behave when they are exposed to each other as some dogs and cats can be very temperamental. You don’t want your Shih tzu to end up with scratches on their vulnerable eyes. Shih Tzus are sociable, tame and playful by nature. They can easily adapt to their environment – be it a puppy or an adult. Cats, on the other hand are sometimes skeptical and chill. Most tv shows show that cats are afraid of dogs, but in reality it is the opposite. Cats can be grouchy. Most cat breeds are actually not very sociable with other pets.
How to introduce your Shih Tzus to Cats?
The first question is when should you start introducing your Shih tzu to your pet cat? The answer to that is – the earlier, the better. A kitten and puppy can adapt better than an adult cat and dog. There is a greater chance of a kitten and puppy to get along well as they grow up together than exposing adult cats and dogs. But, it doesn’t mean that they could not get along together. It is possible through consistent but rather gradual encounters with each other.
You may initiate their first meeting outside your home or your pet’s territory so as it won’t trigger their territorial instincts. Put the adult dog on a leash to make sure they wouldn’t harm each other in case one of them feels threatened on their initial encounter.
Dogs have the tendency to corner a stranger – be it an animal or human. While the latter, don’t like the feeling of being cornered. That causes cats to panic which make them bite and/or scratch as defense. Manage your dog’s leash. Always maintain their personal space during their first three encounters. Just let them get comfortable with each other’s presence. There is no need for interaction yet. Don’t force it. Remember they are still adjusting to each other’s presence.
Observe their body language. Once both of them are calm and adjusted to each other’s presence, let them walk around each other. Be ready to pull them away once the other gets uncomfortable to avoid harming any of them. You would know that they are okay together (for now) once they started sniffing each other. Well then congratulations for successfully passing the second stage of dog and cats introduction. But, cohabiting them together takes consistent gradual exposures. It may take long for some, as it depends on your pets’ personality and temperament.
Signs that your Shih tzu and cats could get along
This may not sound good but the greatest positive sign that they could get along is if they are ignoring each other. Once they are ignoring each other it means they are tolerating each other’s behavior. They don’t have to play together to tell that they could get along. What is important is that they are comfortable with each other’s presence at home.
Signs that your Shih tzu and cats could not get along
Aside from the usual growling and hissing, the most common red flag is when either of the two crouches while staring at the other. When this happens get ready to pull them away as the other is about to attack. Personality and temperament is a huge factor here. It could be the dog is too playful for the cat or vice versa.
Considerations for both pets
Coexisting cats with dogs can be stressful if not properly managed, so here are few tips for all the soon to be cat-dog parent:
Have a separate feeding area for them so as they won’t feed on each other’s food. Keep a certain distance when they are eating to avoid unexpected chaos. Also, remember cat food is for cats, and dog food is for dogs. Never mix these foods as they have different nutritional value specifically made for each pets.
If any of them is pregnant, it is highly suggested to post-pone their interaction. Pregnant pets are quite sensitive and gets easily irritated so chances of making them get along is really low (if not impossible)
Nursing or lactating pet
Same with the pregnant cases, exposure in this case is not suggested. Nursing pets tend to be aggressive and protective of their litters. Exposing your pregnant Shih Tzu to your cats would just cause stress and trouble for all you.
Shih Tzus are highly adaptable breed. They could get along well with any other dog breeds, so as with cats. Exposure at early stages is highly suggested for higher chances of coexistence. Puppies and kitten tend to socialize better than adult dogs and cats. Although, Shih Tzus in general is a friendly dog breed, personality and temperament play a huge factor here. Upbringing also affects your pet’s personality. Spoiling them too much would make them feel jealous in the presence of other pets. Introducing cats to your dogs would be hard if that’s the case.
Constant socialization outside your pet’s territory would be beneficial of you plan to introduce other pets in your home.
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