Cats and chow chows have a lot in common. For one, they both start with the letter c, but there’s more. Chow chows have a reputation for being aloof, which has led some to refer to them as cat-like. Of course, they’re also fierce and very loyal, so with these similarities, do chow chows get along with cats?
Chow Chows are not just similar to cats but also can get along well with them. They don’t have a very strong prey drive, which often is the biggest source of issues between dogs and cats. It’s possible the Chow Chow may not like the cat but will tolerate it as a member of the family.
A breed’s personality is an important aspect, but just one part of whether they will get along with the cat. The other and more important thing is that you specifically train your dog to get along with your cat.
Breeds like Chow Chows can be stubborn, but you can train them fairly easy to get along with a cat.
It will take some work however and the first part of that is arming your self with knowledge.
Read further for some basic breed information about Chow Chows and some helpful tips to help them have friendly relations with your resident house cat.
The History of The Chow Chow
The Chow Chow is genetically proven to be one of the oldest breeds of dogs in the world. They are a part of the ancient Spitz group of dogs that originated somewhere in Mongolia or Northern China.
Some of the first visual depictions of Chow Chows come from the Han Dynasty roughly 2,000 years ago. Representations of ancient Chow Chows exist on pottery and paintings from this period. The breed is likely even more ancient than this, this is our earliest confirmation we have of the breed’s existence.
Scientists consider the Chow Chow to be a basal breed of dog. Basal breeds are ancient types of dogs that have just a slight genetic divergence from the dog’s earliest ancestors.
In ancient China, they were popularly used as guard dogs, sometimes for the Chinese emperors. Marco Polo also mentions in his writings that he saw Chow Chows used to pull sleds.
Training Your Chow Chow
To make sure that your Chow Chow gets along with your cats it’s important you train them well. Training your dog well depends upon consistency and reward. With a strong-willed breed like the Chow Chow, many repetitions of training will be needed before it will fully click. In addition, you will need to reward them well with a favorite treat of theirs. A strong-willed Chow Chow will not do what you want for nothing.
Introducing Your Dog and Cat With a Leash
If you’re unsure how your dog might behave towards a cat, then make your first introductions with a leash. It’s important to note that this is not effective if you’re introducing a Chow puppy to an adult cat. Only do this if you’re introducing an adult Chow to a cat. Puppies this young should not have leash training. They can be more easily controlled at this size by simply picking them up and close supervision.
Have your dog on a leash, and perhaps have someone else with the cat. If your dog lunges at the cat, then pull sharply on the leash with a firm “no” or your preferred command phrase. When the Chow behaves, then reward them with a treat. Chow’s that don’t lunge at all and seem uninterested should also get a treat reward.
Repeat this training multiple times. Slowly, bring the dog and cat closer together until you feel confident having them meet without the leash.
Using a leash at first can be good because you have control of the dog and can prevent anything bad from happening. It also, in this case, can be a useful training aid.
Train Your Chow With a Command Phrase
It’s important that your dog listens to you. Obeying quick commands like “no” or “stop” can even save a dog’s life at times. If a dog is running out into the street when a car coming shouting “stop,” their training could be the difference between life or death.
With cats, a command phrase becomes essential in case your dog grows to become aggressive with your cat. A Chow Chow is considerably larger than a cat with a lot more power. They could hurt a cat quickly. So using a quick phrase to stop them in their tracks could prevent your cat from being hurt.
Your dog may not have even started the altercation. It could have been your cat who attacked your dog first. You should reprimand your cat and discourage this behavior where you can, but cats generally don’t listen as well as dogs. Additionally, the dog can do a lot more damage so their manners are much more important to get right.
Observe Your Chow Chow Body Language
Until you are completely confident that your dog and cat do well together, you should avoid leaving them unsupervised. In case anything bad happens that requires your quick intervention.
Knowing what your dog is telling you is an important part of dog ownership. Since dogs can’t really speak human language, they speak with their bodies. While a dog’s behavior may sometimes seem unpredictable, they’re usually telling you what they are about to do before they do it. People usually just don’t pay close enough attention.
Volumes could be written about being in tune with canine communication. For this topic, the important thing to understand is the signals that the dog gives that show potential aggression.
These can include things like:
- Raised hair on the back
- Stiffened body posture
- Erect ears and tail
- Growling, snarling or showing of teeth
Any of these signs could be the dog trying to say that they’re either angry at something or very scared. They are generally the warning signs of an attack towards whatever is setting them off. Watch for these things carefully. If you see them directed at the cat, it may be time to separate your animals for a little cooling off period.
Setting Up Your House To Make Your Cat Feel Safe
Training your Chow is important to a peaceful household, but there are also some things that you should also do on the cat side of the equation. Doing these things will reduce your cat’s stress so that they are less likely to lash out potentially starting a fight.
Feed Your Cat Up High
Food protection is a primary animal instinct. Even though dogs and cats have been domesticated for quite some time, some gifts of mother nature never go away. Protecting their food is one of these.
In the wild, many animals will steal food from each other. There are even some species who have entirely evolved around this food acquisition strategy.
To make food not be a source of conflict between your chow and cat, you should feed them separately.
Put your cat’s food bowl somewhere in the house where the dog can’t reach it. This way, your cat won’t be bothered when they are having a fine meal. In my experience, an unbothered cat is often a peaceful cat.
Have a Special Cat Space
Cats need chill time. They’re kind of like toddlers in that regard. Sometimes they just want a quiet place where nobody and nothing bothers them. My own cat’s mood and behavior improved remarkably when he got his own timeout spot to just hang.
Set aside apart of the house for your cats use only. You can use it but not your dog. For your Chow, it needs to be completely off-limits. This way your cat knows they have a place where they can run and hide if things get too heated.
It could be a bedroom, or some people find a laundry room to work well. You could even just set aside a piece of the hallway. Block it off with a gate or barrier of some kind. For a small to mid-sized breed like a Chow Chow, a child-gate will often work well.
You should also consider putting the cat’s litter box in the same place. That way, the dog won’t get to it. Dogs getting into kitty litter is messy and can be unhealthy for the dog. Plus, nothing will piss a cat off more than being rudely interrupted when their squatting.
Create Walkways For Your Cat
In a cat and dog household, traveling across the room can be hazardous for the cat. Some pups just can’t help chasing after a cat as their meandering on their way. While the pup may just be wanting to play, the cat may see it as the dog harassing them.
Try to make a path using cat trees, tables, and bookshelves so your cat can traipse undisturbed where your dog can’t get to them. Being a cat living with a dog can be a bit like playing lava for the cat. Don’t touch the floor, or else the lave will get you except in this case its the dog.
Chow chows are definitely one of the easier breeds to have a cat with. Their fairly nonchalant, and as long as you don’t bother them, then they won’t bother you. But still, some training is necessary.
Train your dog to obey you when you say “stop”. If you’re just introducing them to a cat, try it out with a leash first so you can have some element of control.
Give your cat places to hide out and separate their feeding areas to preserve the peace. Only you can fully know the temperament of both your Chow Chow and cat. This will not guarantee that they will get along. But if you take these steps, your animals will have their best chance at friendship or at least peaceful coexistence.