maltese puppy and kitten

Maltese ARE cat-friendly… Yorkies, afraid not.

Readers Digest has published a list of 10 most cat-friendly small dogs.  Maltese IS on the list, but the Yorkshire Terrier is not, so chances are 50/50 your Morkie will be cat-friendly.

Generally speaking, cats who haven’t been raised with dogs are afraid of them. And generally speaking, dogs see cats as prey.  So when the cat sees the dog and gets scared, it runs. The dog, sensing prey or at least a game, chases and the cycle begins.

It makes sense that Yorkies are less cat-friendly since they were initially bred to chase rats and mice.  To them, anything in their size range is fair game!

Your first concern has to be for the cat because dogs can hurt and even kill cats but very, very rarely the other way around. It’s not ok for your cat to live in fear, or your dog to live to catch the cat.

But the cat can’t get away with aggressive behavior either; if your cat takes a swipe at the dog, stop it with a loud sound or verbal correction.

Animal experts also advise: don’t comfort the ‘upset’ animal since that’s encouraging and reinforcing insecurity.

To help increase the odds your pets will get along, follow these tips:

  • both animals should be well socialized – that is, used to people and other animals. Introducing your pet to visitors and taking your on walks in public areas both help.
  • introduce your cat and dog very slowly and gradually, starting with just a couple of minutes at a time. One way to do this is to put the cat in a carrier cage and let the dog approach.
  • since dogs respond to verbal praise, give him plenty when he’s calm and quiet with the cat and responding to your commands such as “sit.”
  • give the cat unrestricted house time, with the dog outside
  • make sure the cat has and knows it has, a safe spot to escape from the dog, like a small box under the bed. But don’t let her stay there all the time.
  • never leave them together thinking that they will “sort it out themselves”

One more tip: block the animals from staring each other down; that stare is the animal world’s way of saying, “ya, bring it!”  Snap your fingers, step between them or call out their names to end that ‘killer gaze.’