Do vizslas and cats mix? Vizslas have a strange relationship with cats, and the answer isn’t so obvious. Fortunately, this article explains everything you need to know about these two unlikely companions.
Naturally, vizslas will not be good with cats. Small animals like cats often trigger a vizsla’s strong prey drive instinct that is deeply ingrained from their gundog past. But, although unlikely, a good relationship can still be nurtured with training, time, and care.
Everything will be fully explained below.
Why Vizslas Find It Hard To Get On With Cats
Before I start, I want to say that it is possible for a vizsla and a cat to get along. But let me first explain why the odds are not favorable…
Vizslas have a strong prey drive in them from their gundog past working to hunt, point, and retrieve wild game, it’s literally in their DNA to lose their mind when they see a small animal like a rabbit, squirrel, hedgehog, or yes, a cat.
Even some toy breeds of dog that are incredibly small, trigger the same response to “chase and capture”.
These instincts are so deeply ingrained into the breed, that they will always be there… Even if your vizsla is not from a direct working lineage, he or she will still have that prey drive, just waiting to trigger.
And of course, cats are different animals, small in size, fast, and love to make sudden movements…
The perfect storm for any vizsla.
Related article: 9 Things you must know BEFORE getting a vizsla!
Can Vizslas And Cats Get Along?
Fortunately, despite the difficulty, it is still possible for a vizsla to get on well with a cat.
With the right training, time, caution, and planning, you can have a vizsla and cat living harmoniously under the same roof.
It may not be a simple or easy journey, and you will certainly need to be there to oversee all interactions that happen, but it can work.
Admittedly, this relationship will work much better if you already have a cat first and then get a puppy vizsla after. This way the vizsla will grow up with the cat having already established their place in the family. I can appreciate however, not everyone will be doing it in this order.
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Interesting read: Male vs Female Vizslas: What To Know
How To Make It Work: Step By Step
The most important thing to understand is the pack mentality and hierarchy. Your vizsla must view your cat as a higher-ranking member of the pack in order to respect her. The “pack” being your family.
If your vizsla considers your cat to be lower in status, there will always be the danger of him tormenting, chasing, and seriously injuring your cat.
⭐ Beginning stage:
In the beginning stages, it’s important to keep your vizsla and cat separated. Their smells will be strong enough for both of them to know they are present.
This is the best and safest step to start with. Your vizsla and cat should remain separated for a couple of days.
This allows them both time to get accustomed to each other’s smells before actually seeing each other.
⭐ Introduction stage:
The first time you introduce them in the same room, your vizsla should be on the leash. And you must instantly demonstrate to your vizsla that the cat is a valued part of the family.
Pick up your cat, hold her, stroke her, and interact with her in front of your vizsla. Your cat will probably want to gain height, and that’s fine. Your vizsla needs to remain on the leash across the room.
Keep breaking his focus on your cat with treats and toys. The same goes for your cat. This stage should be repeated on a daily basis until your vizsla is unphased by your cat’s presence in the room.
⭐ Getting comfortable stage:
The next stage is to give your vizsla some slack with the leash allowing him to get a little closer. When both enter the room, have your cat’s favorite ball of yarn, and your vizsla’s favorite chew toy.
Try and encourage your vizsla and cat to play while they are in the same room (but not with each other).
Offer both your vizsla and cat some treats as this helps to create positive associations in the presence of each other.
This should last another few days.
⭐ Getting rid of the leash stage:
After 2-3 weeks of practicing the above, it’s time to ditch the leash.
But before you do, analyze your vizsla in the presence of your cat. By now, he shouldn’t be bothered by her, and you must be confident that they have established some level of rapport.
The first time you bring them together without the leash, be ready with treats and toys, and ALWAYS break their attention from each other before it gets too intense. And it will.
Breaking their focus upon each other is the key to diffusing situations before they escalate. All your hard work could be undone if your cat gets spooked and makes a run for it. All it takes is one sudden movement.
⭐ Maintenance stage:
The next stage is to simply monitor and maintain a safe relationship between both your cat and vizsla.
Please remember, however, you cannot trust the relationship yet. You will always need to be there to supervise interactions. Perhaps even for the first year.
It’s hard for me to give you a specific time frame until when you can feel confident that both can be left alone together. For me personally, it would take years. But it all depends on your situation and how well your cat and vizsla have bonded.
⭐ Two extra tips along the way:
● Feed your cat before your vizsla. By eating first, your vizsla will consider your cat to be higher in social rank and will better establish your cat’s place in the family.
● Allow your cat to be physically higher than your vizsla. Allow your cat to eat higher and perch on the window ledge. Being physically higher is another form of superiority.
There’s one simple and primal reason why your cat’s “rank” must be higher than your vizslas… this is because your vizsla can kill your cat, but your cat can’t kill your vizsla. And they both know it!
What’s stopping that from actually happening is the fact that your vizsla views the cat as higher in the pack ranking than they are.
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Raising a Vizsla Puppy With a Cat
As I previously mentioned, if you already have a cat, and are considering getting a vizsla puppy, the relationship will be easier to make work from the beginning.
If your vizsla gets to grow up from a small young puppy around your cat, this acts as valuable time whereby they can bond without the obvious physical threat.
Although it won’t be long before your vizsla grows to be physically bigger and stronger than your cat, these early months will prove to be invaluable and will give you the time to facilitate a healthy friendly relationship between both of them.
If this does happen to be the case for you, encourage your cat and puppy to play with each other, give them treats around one another, and show both of them that they are valued members of the pack.
If anything, you will need to be more cautious with your cat during these early stages.
Remember to defuse any escalating situations quickly with distractions, toys, and treats.
Focus on building positive associations when they are around each other, and they will have a solid foundation that will continue developing in the future.
Do vizslas get along well with cats? The first answer is always no. But this doesn’t mean you can’t nurture a friendly relationship between the two. It will just take time, dedication, and a lot of caution.
The key to making this work is to establish your cat’s social ranking of the pack to be higher than your vizsla. (the pack being your family). This is because your vizsla is strong enough and big enough to kill your cat, but not the other way around.
If you are trying this right now, please take all the precautions you can to avoid serious accidents.