Maltese vs. Cat: Building Bridges of Friendship

Picture this: a fluffy Maltese dog with those adorable puppy-dog eyes and soft fur that’s just begging to be petted. It’s easy to assume that these little furballs would get along famously with every cat they meet, right? Well, hold onto your hats because the reality might surprise you!

Maltese dogs are known for being friendly and cuddly, but when it comes to the classic dogs-versus-cats showdown, things can get interesting. Will your Maltese and your cat be best buddies or frenemies? The answer isn’t as simple as you might think.

Maltese Dogs: Friendly Companions

Now that we’ve set the stage, let’s get to know our four-legged stars a bit better. Maltese dogs aren’t typically the type to pick fights. In fact, they’re famous for their friendliness and easygoing nature. Think of them as the extroverts of the dog world, always ready to make new friends.

One key to understanding their compatibility with cats lies in their low prey drive. Unlike some other breeds that might have a strong urge to chase anything that moves, Maltese dogs often don’t share that inclination. They were bred to be companions, not hunters, which makes them more amenable to forming bonds with other animals, like your beloved cat.

But what sets Maltese apart is their size. These little pups stand at a mere 10 inches tall and tip the scales at around 9 pounds, give or take. That’s not too different from the average cat’s dimensions, although some feline friends like Ragdolls and Maine Coons might be a bit larger. A smaller dog is usually less intimidating to a cat than a bigger one, but do keep in mind that some hefty cats might end up bossing around their tiny canine counterparts!

In the world of pets, it’s all about personalities and temperaments. Maltese dogs, as a breed, have a reputation for being charming, intelligent, playful and like to swim. These qualities can make them excellent candidates for learning to be gentle and calm around cats. But remember, just like people, each dog has its unique quirks and preferences.

As we move forward, we’ll explore the art of introducing your Maltese to your cat and share some tips to ensure a smooth transition. So, hang tight as we continue this journey into fostering a harmonious household where both your Maltese and your cat can thrive.

How Can You Tell If Your Maltese Is Getting Along With Your Cat?

Now that we have a better understanding of Maltese dogs and their potential compatibility with cats, let’s explore how to gauge the dynamics between them. It’s not always as straightforward as dogs and cats becoming instant best friends or sworn enemies. Often, there’s a subtle middle ground to navigate.

In some cases, your Maltese and your cat might strike up a friendship that resembles a heartwarming scene from a Disney movie – they sleep together, play together, and eat side by side. These moments are what pet owners dream of, where harmony reigns supreme.

However, life with pets isn’t always that picture-perfect. Sometimes, your Maltese and your cat may tolerate each other without displaying outright hostility, but they could be living under a cloud of stress. Like roommates who share a house but avoid each other in the hallway, they coexist without forming a close bond.

On the flip side, some cats and dogs may be genuinely stressed living in the same space, making their cohabitation challenging.

To help you assess the situation, here are some signs that indicate your cat and Maltese are getting along:

  1. Sleeping together: Cats and dogs who cuddle up for a nap together are often on good terms.
  2. Playing: If they engage in playful interactions, it’s a positive sign.
  3. Eating comfortably beside each other: Sharing mealtime peacefully is a good indicator of harmony.
  4. Greeting each other: Friendly greetings and interactions suggest a positive relationship.

While these are positive signs, it’s crucial to remember that circumstances can change. Stress, illness, or pain can lead your cat and Maltese from a state of love to one of loathing.

On the flip side, there are warning signs that your cat and Maltese might not be getting along, including:

  1. Snarling or snapping of barking: Aggressive behavior is a clear red flag.
  2. Chasing (both cat and dog): Continuous chasing can indicate trouble.
  3. Resource guarding: If either pet is possessive of food, toys, or territory, it can lead to conflicts.
  4. Not allowing either to get close to their owner: A sudden change in possessiveness toward their human could signify a problem.

How Can I Help My Maltese Get Along With My Cat?

Now that we’ve discussed the signs of your Maltese and your cat getting along or not, it’s time to delve into the practical steps you can take to foster a positive relationship between them. Whether you’re bringing a new Maltese puppy into a cat-filled household or attempting to bridge the gap between your existing pets, proper socialization and introductions are key.

1. Early Socialization: The best way to set the stage for a successful relationship between your Maltese and your cat is to start early. Puppies and kittens should be socialized effectively to ensure they’re comfortable with a wide range of experiences, including interactions with other animals, people, and various situations. Early socialization helps build a foundation of adaptability and tolerance.

2. Familiarity Breeds Compatibility: If your Maltese is accustomed to cats (and vice versa), introducing them to your home should be smoother. They’re more likely to understand each other’s body language and have a head start on establishing boundaries.

3. Slow and Steady Introductions: The key to introducing a Maltese to a resident cat or vice versa is patience. While Maltese dogs typically won’t chase cats, you can never be 100% certain how they’ll react to each other. Allow both pets some space and time to get accustomed to one another’s presence. Gradual introductions can go a long way in preventing misunderstandings.

4. Supervised Interactions: Initially, supervise their interactions closely. Keep both pets on a leash or in separate rooms if needed. This control ensures everyone’s safety and allows you to intervene if tensions rise.

5. Positive Reinforcement: Reward both your Maltese and your cat for calm and friendly behavior around each other. Treats, praise, and affection can reinforce positive associations.

6. Safe Zones: Create separate safe zones for both pets where they can retreat to when they need a break from each other. Cats often appreciate elevated perches as escape routes.

7. Gradual Increase in Interaction Time: As your Maltese and your cat become more comfortable, gradually increase the time they spend together. Always prioritize their well-being and comfort.

8. Seek Professional Help If Needed: If introductions prove exceptionally challenging or result in ongoing stress or conflict, consult with a veterinarian or animal behavior expert. They can provide guidance and strategies for managing the situation.

Remember, every pet is unique, and there are no one-size-fits-all solutions. By approaching the introduction process with patience and understanding, you can increase the likelihood of your Maltese and your cat becoming friends and enjoying a harmonious coexistence.

What Should I Do if My Maltese and Cat Don’t Get Along?

Sometimes, despite your best efforts, your Maltese and your cat may not see eye to eye. It can be disheartening, but it’s essential to address the situation in the best interest of both your pets and your household’s overall harmony.

1. Consult with Your Veterinarian: If your Maltese and cat consistently clash, it’s a good idea to consult your veterinarian. They can rule out any underlying medical issues that might be causing stress or aggression in one or both of your pets.

2. Seek Professional Help: For more challenging situations, consider enlisting the assistance of an animal behaviorist or trainer who specializes in pet interactions. They can provide tailored strategies to help improve the relationship between your Maltese and your cat.

3. Gradual Reintroduction: In some cases, a gradual reintroduction process may be necessary. This involves separating your pets completely for a period and then slowly reintroducing them using the techniques recommended by a professional.

4. Safe Spaces: Ensure both your Maltese and your cat have designated safe spaces where they can retreat when they need a break from each other. Providing separate feeding and resting areas can help reduce conflicts.

5. Patience and Time: Remember that it may take time for your pets to adjust to each other. Be patient and continue to reinforce positive interactions with rewards and praise.

6. Rehoming as a Last Resort: While it’s a difficult decision, if all else fails and your pets’ well-being is at risk, you may need to consider rehoming one of them. Ensure that they find loving, suitable homes where they can thrive.


It’s crucial to prioritize the safety and happiness of both your Maltese and your cat. While the hope is always for them to become best buddies, sometimes personalities and past experiences can make that difficult. Seeking professional advice and making informed decisions based on your pets’ individual needs is the best way to handle a situation where they don’t get along.

In the world of pets, the Maltese and the French bulldogs are often hailed as a sweet and affectionate breed that lives to shower its owner with love. They are not known for their aggression, and in most cases, they do get along quite well with cats. However, as responsible pet owners, it’s crucial to recognize that the dynamics between individual animals can be complex and unpredictable.

The truth is, you can never be entirely certain how a dog will behave around cats, even if they belong to a breed renowned for its friendly disposition. The key to success lies in the art of introductions—slow, steady, and controlled. Taking these precautions ensures the safety and well-being of both your Maltese and your cat.

If, despite your best efforts, your Maltese causes trouble with your cat, don’t despair. Speaking to a behavior specialist or consulting with your vet can provide valuable insights and strategies to address the situation. While it may be a last resort, rehoming one of them could be considered if their well-being and quality of life are at risk.

In the end, fostering a harmonious relationship between your Maltese and your cat requires patience, understanding, and a commitment to providing a loving and supportive environment for both furry family members. Every pet relationship is unique, and by being attentive to their needs, you can help ensure a peaceful coexistence in your home.

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