If you are looking at housing multiple pets, you’re going to want to know how they get along with one another. Additionally, its good information to know for any possible introduction or moment where such animals are to meet. So what about the Samoyed dog breed; how do they typically respond, react and do in the presence of cats? Loving both equally, I was curious to see if it is possible for them to live together in harmony. I’ve spent some time doing some research and here is what I found out.
So, are Samoyeds good with cats? Samoyeds can be good with cats, but they have a naturally high prey drive which can result in chasing. At least to begin with. However, with socialization from a young age, appropriate training, safe interactions, and close supervision, you can establish a harmonious environment and help these two animals to get along with one another.
Samoyeds like to chase things. Its what they have been trained to do and traits they have inherited over generations.
In fact, Samoyeds originate back to a nordic people (The Samoyedes; hence the name) from 1000 years ago. They were born and bred not only to sled heavy loads but to serve as watchdogs and hunters.
So, it comes as no surprise they intrinsically know how and want to chase. Standing anywhere from 19 to a bit over 23 inches at the shoulder and being powerful in nature; its important that we do our best to keep cats safe.
Thankfully, Samoyeds are highly functional and intelligent – doing well to training. This is, of course, going to be essential if we want our Samoyeds to get along with cats.
Let us now take a closer look at how these two animals interact before turning to some of those practical things you can do to foster a good relationship between the two.
Do Samoyeds Get Along With Cats?
Samoyeds, being a hunting and herding dog by nature, have a strong desire to hunt and chase. This is not limited to cats; its in their instincts to hunt any small animal in which they see.
But can we blame them? This is what they were bred to do.
Even though they have since become domesticated, we have to remember that they have the same genetics as those dogs in which they descended from.
It is in their genes which largely influences their behaviour when it comes to certain things.
When a Samoyed sees a squirrel, bird rabbit, cat, or any other type of small animal outside, they will want to chase it – without a second thought.
Back to their hunting days, food was always more scarce and they needed to act quickly at the sight of any small prey.
This means they have a hyper-awareness to any small animal which may be in the area around them.
So, when they see an animal running, this “prey drive” instinct automatically kicks in. Before even they know it, they are chasing.
This is something that new owners will need to keep in mind – especially if you bring a Samoyed into the home that already has cats (or vice-versa).
It’s also not limited to cats – you should be cautious with any pets – whether that be a rodent, rabbit, or even bird that you bring into your home.
Samoyeds are very inquisitive to any small animal, especially those that make noises or have particular smells.
While Samoyeds are not aggressive, their prey instinct should not be underestimated. It requires training and socialization to overcome. We cannot blame the Samoyed – they do not know any better.
With all this being said, all is not lost. In fact, Samoyeds can learn to get along with cats. And can do so very well.
It does require specific socialization, training and other practices in order to facilitate this environment.
As an owner, you essentially need to train that this instinctual behavior is no longer required, necessary or accepted.
A lot of Samoyed owners report that getting a young puppy Samoyed and a kitten together is critical.
Samoyeds that grow up together with cats appear to do better than any introductions that are done later in life; and instincts have began to develop.
However, other owners report that its not impossible to get an older Samoyed to get along with a cat – it just likely to require more time, patience and training.
Raising Samoyed Puppies With Cats
One of the best ways to ensure your Samoyed gets along with cat(s) is to raise them together, while they are both young. Preferably, as a puppy and a kitten.
While this may not be possible depending on your current situation and circumstances, it is generally considered to be the best approach.
Of course, this is not fail-safe. Issues can still arise and this does not negate the fact that your Samoyed has a natural prey instinct. This is why it is important that you still continue to train, monitor and supervise interactions throughout their lives.
Having a Samoyed puppy and a kitten is equally going to be a lot to manage and to consider, but they will both learn to appreciate and understand that one another are going to be around and that both are part of the home environment and social hierarchy.
Just remember, you should be sure to take things slow and give your kitten as comfortable as possible at all times.
Its a good idea to give them a little extra room and be careful whenever you let your puppy loose. Puppies love to play and this can be too much for most, laid back kittens.
You’ll likely notice that if your cat is comfortable and content, they are less likely to run away. Especially when your Samoyed approaches. As running is usually what kicks the Samoyed into chasing; this is exactly the kind of relationship you want to foster.
Ultimately, the main issues come when your Samoyed spooks your kitten/cat, and they feel the need to flee. This is when the instinct to chase will call.
Cat Training Your Samoyed
All Samoyeds will have their own unique personality; while most will be keen to meet people, there are others that are more independent and like their own space.
While some dogs will be more inclined to get along with cats than others, the good news is that all can be trained to respond in a more favorable way.
This specific form of interaction training is what is commonly referred to as ‘socializing‘.
Socializing your Samoyed is all about boosting their confidence within certain contexts and situations; especially those that are new to them. Like us, dogs can get nervous and anxious in new situations and usually show this in their behavior.
With socialization, its about giving your dog more exposure and time to become comfortable with a new activity, person or animal. It helps them to become confident and more relaxed in that setting.
Socialization is not just about helping your Samoyed get used to cats, but also to other people, environments and situations.
So, in order to effectively socialize your Samoyed, you need to do all you can to appropriately and safely get them around as many cats, dogs, people, places as you can. This will help them to build familiarity with them.
According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), Samoyeds are intelligent and open to training but do best when its from a young age.
So, to begin with, you are going to want to introduce your Samoyed and cat to one another in a safe, separate, but enclosed environment.
To do this you can have them either side of a baby gate – this way they can visibly see, hear, smell and acknowledge one another without being able to get close to one another.
Before you ever let them physically get close, you are going to want to train your Samoyed three important commands. These are best taught while they are young and will have far-reaching benefits regarding their ownership.
These commands are:
- Leave It
Once your dog learns these, you can look to facilitate a safe, face to face, interaction.
The first time you do so, be sure to keep it brief and at safe distance. In fact, it helps to remain very close, and keep your Samoyed in your lap. Only let them interact for around 5 minutes.
Be cautious of any acts of aggression by your dog. Taking your cat away and leaving your dog may be required.
This will teach them that their behavior has caused them to leave, and being a breed that requires lots of attention from their owners, this will serve as punishment for their actions.
Keep facilitating these short, and peaceful interactions over the course of a few weeks. You can look to increase the time they spend in each others company as the relationship begins to foster.
When they can handle around 30 minutes without any acts of aggression, agitation or too much energy, you know that you are getting somewhere.
At this stage, you could look to place your Samoyed on a leash and look to let them interact with your cat in this way.
Again, be sure to remove your Samoyed from the situation if any acts of aggression are displayed. You may even need to use the ‘Leave It’ Command.
Once your Samoyed/Cat respond well to this stage of interaction, you can look to proceed further. This time, the interaction can occur without a leash. However, remain close, vigilant and monitor the situation carefully.
For these kind of interactions make sure that your cat has a chance of escape and that your Samoyed cannot chase and follow suit.
Remember that your Samoyed will grow to be upwards of 60 pounds. They can cause a lot of harm and injury to your cat, even if they did just want to play.
If you notice that your Samoyed is not responding well to your own socialization efforts, you may want to consider taking them to an obedience training or socialization class.
This will help them meet other dogs and help you to train them more effectively if required.
How to Introduce Your Samoyed To A Cat
Introducing your Samoyed to a cat may happen due to a number of scenarios and even happen in different contexts and environments.
Either way, there are some useful practices that you can follow to help the encounter end more positively. Remaining vigilant and able to act promptly is important too.
First and foremost, you should never leave a Samoyed alone with a cat. This is especially true if they are new to one another and they are yet to feel comfortable in each others company.
Never force your Samoyed into a situation in where they do not feel comfortable, or are showing signs of anxiety, nervousness or excitement.
If they are not in the right frame of mind, either the cat or your Samoyed could get hurt. Essentially, you do not want the Samoyed or cat to be surprised or caught off guard.
If raised properly, your Samoyed will recognize you as their guardian and owner; someone who protects them. As such, they will trust you so long as you do not give them a reason to.
If you are introducing your Samoyed to a cat in the same house, or if you are bringing either home, make sure that you establish and set up their own living space.
An area that is secluded and that they can retreat to, relax and feel comfortable in. Having this available at all times is a must.
Equally, always ensure that the cat has a way to escape (this could be a high shelf, a cat tower, a baby gate that they can clear that the dog can’t etc).
It is also important that you praise both your dog and your cat throughout the interaction. Providing treats helps to facilitate positive responses and emotions on the interaction, and of one another. It helps to make the memory of the meeting a positive one.
How to Help Your Samoyed Become Adjusted To A Cat
Below are some additional tips to help your Samoyed become better adjusted to living with a cat.
- Calm your Samoyed down before bringing a cat, or any new animal into the room. Ensure they are sufficiently comfortable and relaxed.
- Exercise your Samoyed sufficiently, ensuring they have plenty of time to run around ahead of any interaction.
- Reassure your Samoyed regularly within any interaction. Offer treats and words of encouragement.
- Try not to overwhelm your dog with too much stimulus at once. Keep interactions to a familiar setting.
- Ensure you give your Samoyed time to learn about cats and other animals. Help them to become familiar and be consistent with your efforts.
Body Language to Pay Attention To
When trying to help your Samoyed and cat get along, you should observe your dogs body language before, during and after the interaction. This will help you to get a better understanding of whether the interaction was a positive or negative one.
Below are some of the most commonly observed signs to look out for.
Generally, if your Samoyed is showing signs of content and appears relax, you will likely be able to further the interaction of your dog and cat.
However, any signs of anxiety or nervousness could mean that interactions with a cat may need to be slowed, or pushed to another time.
Signs Your Samoyed Is Relaxed
- Tail is wagging,
- Relaxed posture/demeanor,
- Moving around slowly,
- Showing curiosity,
Signs Your Samoyed Is Anxious
- Panting more than usual,
- Licking their lips,
- Stiff, uptight posture,
Samoyeds can learn to get along very well with cats. In fact, many Samoyed breeders are even known to own cats to help facilitate such a relationship.
However, we must always remember that the Samoyed dog breed was initially bred to hunt. They naturally have a high prey drive, and desire to chase.
While this is something that will never go away, we can look to help reduce, minimize and control this behaviour.
If you want to house a Samoyed and cat, then one of the best things you can do is to get both from a young age.
A puppy and a kitten are most likely to see eye to eye, the chances of injury are lower, and you can give them time to become familiar with and learn about one another before any dominance or social hierarchy have developed.
If it is not possible to adopt either young, you will likely need to spend some more time with socialization activities and you may find the process all that harder.
Thankfully, it is still possible. It will be worth your time and effort mind you.
Ultimately, be sure to keep both your dog and cat safe at all times. Ensure they have their own personal, secluded and comfortable space and always ensure you monitor any interaction closely.