Are Vizslas and cats a good mix? The technical answer is yes; they can live together in harmony, but it requires you to invest several hours in training and socializing your pets. While they can easily live together, the Vizsla was bred as a dog that hunts small animals and brings them back to its owner, which is ingrained in the dog and can’t be helped.
If you want to give a Vizsla a forever home but are worried that it could hurt your cats, you need to know a bit about this breed. It is possible that if the Vizsla is socialized and trained as a puppy, it can learn to tolerate and live with a cat. Below, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about the Vizsla and how well they get along with cats.
Can a Vizsla Live with Cats?
This question has no easy answer; while a Vizsla and a cat can get along, the odds aren’t great. You see, Vizslas originated in Hungary and were once known as Hungarian Pointers due to being hunting dogs. The Vizsla was bred to be both a pointer and retriever for hunters, and because of that, they have a strong prey drive.
It’s in the dog’s genetic makeup to hunt small animals, and whether your dog has ever hunted or not, its hunting pedigree remains a strong trait. The instinct to hunt and retrieve small prey is just as natural to the Vizsla as the fight or flight response. Add in the cat’s tendency to make small, fast movements, and you have a recipe for disaster.
Despite the dog’s active prey drive, training a Vizsla to accept a feline is possible but difficult. However, it requires a great deal of training.
How to Train a Vizsla to Live with a Cat
The best way to train Vizsla to live with a cat is by adopting a Vizsla puppy rather than an adult. The process gets much, much harder if your Vizsla is introduced to cats after reaching adulthood. It is essential to make sure you’re always present when there’s a possibility of your cat and Vizsla coming into contact with each other.
The first step is to keep them separated for the first few days so they can get acquainted with each other’s smells and get used to each other’s presence. After a few days, bring your Vizsla into the same room as your cat and keep it leashed on the other side of the room. Hold and pet your cat and show your Vizsla that your cat is a part of the family; you should also make sure the two don’t concentrate on each other for too long.
Using Toys and Treats
Once your Vizsla no longer reacts to your cat’s presence, you can move them a little bit closer to each other but keep them separated. Take out both of their favorite toys, encourage them to play (not with each other), and give them plenty of treats, so they associate the experience with the treats.
After a couple of weeks of this, it might be time to let the Vizsla off the leash. When you allow the Vizsla off the leash, ensure you have treats and toys to stop your pets from focusing on each other. From now on, you need to monitor your cat and Vizsla and ensure they aren’t left alone. There isn’t a time frame on how long to watch them, as it’s different for every Vizsla.
Feed the Cat First
A final tip is always to feed your cat first and to place your cat’s food on a platform higher than your dog’s food; this makes your Vizsla think the cat is a higher-ranking member of “the pack.”
The Vizsla breed makes an excellent pet for someone who doesn’t have small animals such as cats, rabbits, or other tinier creatures in their home. While you can find a Vizsla that gets along great with cats, if they aren’t socialized and properly trained and the cat decides to take off running, the Vizsla will probably chase after the animal and try to bring it back.
If you decide to give a Vizsla a forever home, take your time when introducing it to the felines in your home, and always be on alert, just in case the Vizsla decides to chase the cat down and retrieve it. Following the tips above for training and socializing your Vizsla should also help.