You already have a cat as a pet, but you are thinking about getting a Maltese? Or you already have a Maltese, but you really want a cat? Can this go well? Do Maltese and cats get along with each other? Or will they end up in a war?
Maltese and cats can get along well if the basic conditions are right. This works best if you get the new animal from a breeder where the new animal has already had experience with the other animal. In most cases, getting the two together works better if the Maltese were there first. You will need to be patient and understanding though.
Maltese are actually very lovable, friendly, and open dogs. If you handle things right, they will also accept a cat as a new member of the pack. Read on if you want to know all there is to consider when introducing Maltese and cat to each other.
We will also tell you what to look for when buying the Maltese or the cat and why it is better to have the Maltese first.
And finally, we will give you some tips on how best to introduce the two pets to each other.
Maltese And Cats
You may have already guessed it, but in most cases, the problem with the introduction of Maltese and cat is not the Maltese, but rather the cat. This is not meant in a negative way towards the cat. But Maltese are known to get along with other animals as well as with families and kids.
Cats are rather loners by type. They regard the area in which they live as their territory. And they do not like to share their territory.
With Maltese it is different. They are pack animals, and they also don’t have a huge problem with accepting new members into their pack.
Of course, even a Maltese will not go up to the cat wagging its tail and fall around its neck with joy. Getting used to each other is a long process for the cat, the Maltese, and also for you.
You must be aware that the two will not be the best of friends already on the second day and your job is finished. It will not happen that way.
Your job begins with the preparation for the new family member. You need to find the right animal from the right breeder and prepare a new home for the pet. You also need to prepare the pet already living with you for the new arrival.
Then, when the new pet arrives, you need to take time to allow the two to get used to each other under your supervision. It is best if you have maybe a few days off, especially in the beginning.
It is not you who decides how long this acclimatization phase lasts, but your two pets. Give them the time they need.
The good news is that you made a good choice when you decided to get a Maltese. These dogs can get used to new roommates relatively easily. So you could have done significantly worse.
What To Look For When Buying The Maltese Or The Cat
You can also make the success of reuniting Maltese and cats more likely. To do this, you just need to know where to buy your new pet.
You will have the best success if the new pet has already had contact with conspecifics of the old resident pet. This is not as difficult as you might think.
There are Maltese breeders who also have cats in the house. There the puppies learn directly already that there are cats and they are not so bad. This will help you when you bring him home to your cat.
In the same way, there are cat breeders who also have a dog. If you are very lucky, maybe even a Maltese. Also in the constellation, the cat already learns that there are dogs.
Overall, it makes it much easier to introduce the two pets if they have already had contact or experience with the other pet’s species.
You should not underestimate this! It may pay off for you to search a little longer for a suitable breeder, where these boundary conditions are given. It really makes the whole thing easier.
Introducing A Maltese Dog To Cats
If you already have a cat and want to buy a Maltese as another pet, you will not find it quite so easy.
Cats are creatures of habit that do not like change so much.
Your cat will have already taken your house as their territory. Therefore, it will consider a new pet as an intruder in its territory.
Cats are generally more skeptical of newcomers. She may even see your new Maltese as a threat.
This means that you have to be more careful and patient. The cat must learn that the Maltese is not a threat to it. And it must learn to accept that the Maltese now also lives with you.
There are some tricks that will help you with this. But be aware that you will have to invest time and patience to get a good result.
Further below we describe in more detail how you can make the acclimation as easy as possible for your cat and your Maltese.
Introducing A Cat To Maltese Dogs
On the other hand, if you already have a Maltese and want to get a cat in addition, you will have it a little easier. But do not get me wrong. It will still not be a success by itself.
Introducing pets to each other is always associated with effort and patience. The only question is how much effort it will be and how easy it will be in the end.
Maltese have the advantage that they are rudder animals. They accept new family members easier than cats, so the acclimation will happen a little faster.
You can make it a little easier still if you buy your cat from a breeder who also has dogs. Then the cat already knows dogs and knows what to expect.
She will then perhaps also already have experience with the typical behaviors of dogs.
Dogs simply have different social behavior than cats. This can be upsetting and frightening for a cat that does not know dogs.
If the cat comes to you as a new family member, she will be more accepting of the dog living there as well. After all, she has not yet claimed the territory for herself that the dog could invade.
And your Maltese will get used to the cat relatively quickly. He does not feel the need to defend his territory against the cat. He just has to get used to the fact that his pack has grown.
Of course, this works best if your Maltese already has experience with cats. Or at least has experience with other animals.
Therefore, with Maltese, but also with all dogs in general, you should start socialization when the dog is a puppy. Puppies should get to know other animals and be able to play with them.
This way they lose their shyness and fear of the unknown.
How To Introduce Maltese And Cats
To get your two pets used to each other, there are a few things you need to keep in mind.
This begins with the preparation before the new pet moves in with you. Get a blankie or something similar with the smell of the new pet.
Place this somewhere in your house so that your pet can already get to know the smell of the new family member. It’s best to do this about a week before your new pet moves in.
However, don’t put the blanket directly on your pet’s sleeping area. It should always have the opportunity to retreat without having the annoying new smell right in front of its nose.
The pet will develop an interest in the smell on its own and examine the blanket. Give it the time it needs.
Then, when you bring the new pet home, ideally you should have a few days off. Take care of the animals and especially show the Maltese that you as the owner are there for him.
Both pets should feel the security that their owner is there for them. This can take away a lot of the fear of the new situation.
If you had a cat first, you must make sure that your Maltese does not enter the cat’s territory. She always needs the possibility to retreat into her private area.
Start by keeping your Maltese on a leash. Do not let him sniff freely around the house when your cat is present. She would see that as an invasion of her territory.
Maltese do not have a strong hunting instinct, but they do love to play. This is another reason why you should keep your Maltese on a leash. Otherwise, he could chase your cat. You must avoid this in any case!
Even if the Maltese would not harm the cat, the cat learns that the Maltese is a threat to it. She learns this already at the first hunting attempt.
So if it comes to a hunting attempt, don’t start again from zero, but from -10. The cat’s confidence is gone for the time being.
Once your cat has had a bad experience with your Maltese, it will be difficult or impossible to get them used to each other.
The First Days
Leash your Maltese. In the first phase, your cat will decide how much distance it wants. It is enough for the time being that the two are there.
Your task in this phase is to show both pets that they can trust you and that you are there for them. Pet them both extensively, spend a lot of time with them.
Talk to them slowly and quietly. Give them trust, security, and safety. You can also work with treats. This way, the pets will associate the situation with something positive.
Go too slowly rather than too quickly. You won’t achieve anything under pressure.
If your Maltese already has experience with cats, he will be more curious than fearful. Nevertheless, you must prevent him from approaching the cat too quickly. It could happen that your cat tries to gain respect in a punchy way.
The litter box is also taboo for your Maltese. It would upset your cat a lot if your Maltese uses it as a minibar and eats the cat feces. When it comes to their quiet little toilet, your cat needs privacy.
The Further Time
It is always important that you are patient. Your pets will get used to each other, but it takes time.
Eventually, you will feel that you can let your Maltese off the leash when the cat is around. If your Maltese tries to chase after the cat, stop this from the beginning.
A command can be helpful in this regard. Say “no cat chasing” or something similar from the beginning every time the cat tries to chase. The Maltese will learn and you will have the opportunity to stop him later if the hunting instinct gets the better of him.
It is hard for dogs to get their hunting instincts under control. Even if your Maltese does not have an overly pronounced hunting instinct, he is still a dog. Never forget that!
There will always be setbacks as well. Therefore, patience is really your most important virtue in the process.
If there is no progress even after a certain amount of time, think about getting help from a professional dog trainer. This person can work with your Maltese and teach him everything he needs to know.
The whole process of habituation can take up to three months. However, you should be able to see progress even before that.
Maltese and cats can get along well. However, it is important that you as the owner have patience and time during the acclimatization process.
An important role in how easy or difficult the acclimation becomes, is who came first. It is easier if you have the Maltese at home first and then the cat comes later.
Cats tend to see new roommates as intruders into their territory. Maltese are more willing to accept new members into their pack.
Proceed gently, with understanding and patience, and remember the tips in this article. Then, in the end, there should be no problems with your two best friends becoming friends, too!