Samoyeds are famous for their gorgeous white fluffy coats and permanent smiles. They also form strong bonds with their owners due to their origins.
These dogs are from Siberia, where they hunted, pulled sleds, herded reindeer, and snuggled up with their owners in places where the temperature could dip down to -60°F!
If you’ve been thinking about adding a Samoyed to your family, but you have a cat or two, you know that it’s essential that all your pets can live safely and happily together. But do Samoyeds get along with cats?
Samoyeds have a high prey drive, and most are prone to chasing cats. But if socialized and raised alongside them, Samoyeds can get along beautifully with felines.
Let’s go over the best ways to introduce your new Samoyed to your cat(s) and how to prevent any potential problems from arising.
Do Samoyeds Have a High-Prey Drive?
Samoyeds got their name from the Samoyedic people (also known as Samodeic people), who were semi-nomadic and traveled with their dogs to Siberia roughly 1,000 years ago.
The dogs pulled their sleds and were used as watchdogs and for hunting reindeer, which is where the prey drive comes in. But somewhere down the line, the Samoyede switched the dogs from hunting reindeer to herding them. However, their instincts didn’t go away.
Samoyeds don’t have as high a prey drive as some other breeds, but they are still known for chasing almost anything that moves (including leaves)! This also means they will chase cats, particularly if they haven’t been well-socialized around smaller animals.
The Importance of Socialization
Samoyeds won’t necessarily get along with cats unless they are familiar with them. The best-case scenario is to bring home a Samoyed puppy and introduce them to your cats. Training and socializing an adult dog to accept your cats is possible, but it will be more challenging.
Socialization and training are essential for a dog regardless, but even more so when you have cats. When socialization is done well, even a Samoyed will get along with your cat.
Socialization means taking your puppy or dog to as many places and environments as possible and introducing them to various people and animals, including cats and other dogs.
This way, the puppy or dog will feel confident, be able to navigate new situations more easily and be less likely to react out of stress or fear when they encounter something unfamiliar.
Introducing Your Samoyed to Your Cat
It’s easier to introduce a puppy to a cat than an adult dog, but if you follow these steps, you can still be successful.
You’ll want to start by setting up a safe space for your Samoyed and cat. Neither pet should be able to get into each other’s space. This also gives your new dog the chance to become acclimated to the new environment.
Introducing your Samoyed to a new home with all the unfamiliar scents and sounds, in addition to other pets, will be overwhelming. So, place them in a room where they can get to know their new home and the people who live there before introducing the cat.
Ensure that your cat has places they can easily get to that the dog can’t access, such as tall cat trees or even cat shelving that enables the cat to travel around an entire room from up high. This way, your cat can always feel safe, as they have a place that they can go to get away from an exuberant puppy.
This might take a while for some puppies, but while the pets are separated, try to start basic training with your new dog. Aim for “sit,” “stay,” and “come.” This will help when you first introduce your pets.
Separation for Several Days
This isn’t always ideal, particularly for the pet contained in a room. But this gives you time for training your Samoyed and ensuring that all pets are healthy and fully vaccinated. It’s sort of a quarantine situation.
Switching Out Rooms
While your pets are adjusting to the presence of another animal, you’ll want to switch rooms occasionally over the separation. So, place your cat in the Samoyed’s room, and let your dog explore the areas that your cat was in for a short period of time.
The important thing here is that it enables your pets to get used to each other’s scent without yet meeting directly.
Feeding Them at the Door
Place your dog’s and cat’s food bowls on either side of the closed door. They will be able to hear each other, and eating in close proximity will help them associate closeness with each other as a positive thing.
The Meet and Greet
If both pets seem relatively calm at this time, you can try a face-to-face meeting. However, you’ll want to keep them physically separated at first.
Try introducing them to each other with a baby gate or a glass door between them. Or you can put your puppy on a leash and have a firm hold on them.
Keep these meetings short, keep the animals calm, and reward them with treats afterward.
If things seem to be going well, you can remove the barriers but continue to keep your Samoyed on a leash. Try to read your dog’s and cat’s body language. Look out for signs like barking, pacing, stiffness, and being overly focused on the cat. If your cat is hissing with a puffed-up body and tail or is quite tense with a lashing tail, they are stressed. They should look alert but relatively relaxed and attempt to approach the dog. If either animal appears stressed or fearful, stop the interaction and try again later.
It might take a while before you get to this point, but it’s essential that you take things as slowly as needed.
If your pets seem comfortable around each other, you can reduce your supervision but try to stay close by. You might need to keep them separate when you’re not home, but it all depends on their interactions.
Keep in mind that Samoyeds are intelligent and eager to please, so they are also trainable. If you make it clear as part of their training that you want them to get along with the cat, it might go better than you expect.
But no matter how close they get, if you’re away from home for long periods, they should never be left alone with each other.
Keeping Your Samoyed Happy
A tired and happy Samoyed is less likely to chase and harass the cat. Continue with socialization and get them trained well. Take them to obedience classes, which will give them essential training in addition to the all-important socialization.
Samoyeds also need a great deal of exercise, as they are highly energetic and active. You should give them a minimum of 1.5 hours daily, but 2 hours is recommended. This breed is not for people who don’t love being outdoors! Your Samoyed must have all that exercise through walking, or you can take them hiking, running, and swimming. Although Samoyeds are not naturally drawn to the water, they can be trained to enjoy swimming if you’re a water person. Don’t forget to play with your dog every day!
With all this walking and playing and otherwise giving your Samoyed something to do, they will be happy and tired and less likely to pester your cat.
Should I Feed My Samoyed and Cat Next to Each Other?
This is only recommended during the introductory phase, when they eat on opposite sides of a door. Many dogs develop resource-guarding behavior, which can turn aggressive if the cat tries to eat some of your dog’s food. It’s safest to keep the food bowls separate to avoid any competition.
Why Do Samoyeds Like to Chase Cats?
For most Samoyeds, even ones that get along well with cats, the instinct to give chase when they see a smaller animal running is powerful.
Samoyeds were hunting and herding dogs, so chasing anything, whether it’s a reindeer, a ball, or a squirrel, is ingrained. This natural instinct can even override a well-trained dog.
Is It Okay If My Samoyed Chases My Cat?
Under no circumstances should you allow your Samoyed to chase your cat. The cat will likely run out of fear, and even if the dog has no bad intentions and is just playing, as long as the cat is afraid, this is a stressful activity for them.
This is where training will come in handy. Use commands like “stop” and “come” to interrupt the chasing. Reward your dog when they obey.
Do Samoyeds Get Along With Other Dogs?
Samoyeds are spitz dogs, which means they are well-suited to cold climates, and since they were bred to pull sleds, they are used to working alongside others.
The Samoyed is known to get along quite well with other dogs, so if you have multiple dogs, the Samoyed should fit in quite nicely. They also get along well with strange dogs at the dog park.
What If My Samoyed Never Gets Along With My Cat?
This is when you might want to get the help of a professional. If you believe that there is a chance that your cat and dog can peacefully coexist but you need help, speak to your vet and find an animal behaviorist.
With the aid of a professional, you will be far more likely to ensure a successful bond between your Samoyed and cat, or at least create a safer situation.
But in some cases, particularly if you’ve brought home an adult Samoyed that hasn’t been introduced to any cats before, it might be a lost cause, and you’ll need to make a hard decision.
Samoyeds are known for their social and affectionate natures but will enjoy chasing your cat unless you take the time to do proper introductions in addition to providing the right training and socialization.
Some Samoyeds might never really accept the cat, while others will become best friends. But you will have a greater chance at success if you take your time and are patient when you bring home your Samoyed.
Featured Image Credit: Chendongshan, Shutterstock