Vizsla Breed

Are Vizslas Good With Cats? Tips For Introducing Vizslas And Cats

Written By: Rachel

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If you are thinking of getting a vizsla, or you have a vizsla dog and want to get a kitten, a common question to ask is are vizslas good with cats?

As Hungarian vizslas were bred to hunt small game like birds, rabbits and ducks, it might seem unlikely that vizslas and cats can get along. But the good news is with the right training and preparation it is possible in many cases.

So if you would like to own both vizslas and cats, read on. We answer the question do vizslas get along with cats in full, explain how best to introduce them and share useful tips to ensure your vizsla and cat can live together in harmony.


This article is based on research and personal experience as a Vizsla owner. I’m not a qualified dog trainer, Vet or dog behaviourist.


Are Vizslas Good With Cats?

Yes, with the right training and socialization, vizslas can be good with cats.

Despite their hunting bloodlines, vizslas are also friendly and highly sociable and can be trained to tolerate and live happily with cats.

Exactly how well your vizsla and cat get along depends on several factors.

Let’s take a look at these factors and how they come into play when introducing vizslas and cats.

Can Vizslas And Cats Live Together Happily?

Not only can vizslas get along with cats, they can live happily together too.

Unlike other dog breeds similar to vizslas, they can be trained to co-exist.

It took our vizsla and cat several months to get used to each other.

While they still couldn’t be described as best buddies, our vizsla is clearly fond of the cat and is happy to live with him.

She licks his ears, greets him at the door with a big kiss and often shares the couch or bed with him. I can’t say the fondness is shared by the cat, but he tolerates her!

The process can take anywhere from weeks to months. There are several dynamics that will influence whether your vizsla and cat can live together happily:

  • The age of each animal when introduced
  • Your cat and vizsla personality
  • How well you manage early interactions
  • The level of prey drive in your vizsla
Hungarian vizsla dog sitting on couch next to British Shorthair cat.

Age

There is no doubt it is much easier to introduce a vizsla puppy to a kitten or mature cat than it is to introduce an adult vizsla to a cat or kitten.

As a puppy you can train them right from the start to accept the cat and teach them not to stalk them or see them as prey.

On the other hand, introducing a rescue vizsla or bringing a kitten into the house with your adult vizsla will be much more difficult.

We cover both scenarios below, but know it is much harder to train an older dog to accept a cat into the household.

Personality

Vizslas are smart and highly trainable and have a strong desire to be part of the family pack. These traits are one of the biggest pros of vizslas.

You need to draw on these traits to help make the transition to life with a cat easier.

The personality of your cat will influence the situation too. If they are skittish and prone to running away it may encourage your vizsla to chase the cat.

On the other hand if your cat stands their ground and shows your vizsla who’s boss, they will have a much better chance of living together happily (or at least tolerating each other).

Early Interactions

How you introduce and manage interactions in the early weeks is really important for a successful relationship.

It is essential to go in with a plan and actively manage every interaction for several weeks.

This gives you the opportunity to correct any negative responses to the cat and ensure your cat doesn’t attack your dog.

Prey Drive

Prey drive is the natural instinct to chase and catch prey.

Hungarian vizsla dogs all have some degree of prey drive – it is in their genes. However some vizslas have more prey drive than others.

Knowing the level of prey drive in your vizsla is very important when introducing an adult vizsla to a cat or kitten. We discuss it in more detail in the next section.

Hungarian vizsla pointing with foot raised in grass.

Do Vizslas Have A High Prey Drive?

Vizslas were bred as a close-working hunting companion to point, flush and retrieve game.

As a result the vizsla dog breed has a higher than average prey drive.

But the level of prey drive will vary between dogs and will be heavily influenced by their bloodlines.

If you bought your vizsla from a reputable breeder they can tell you whether your puppy has strong hunting or field trial bloodlines.

You can also judge the level of natural prey drive based on their actions off leash:

  • Do they want to play with other dogs or do they go off in search of birds?
  • Do they completely ignore you once they have fixed on a small critter to chase down?
  • Are they always out in the backyard chasing rabbits, squirrels or chipmunks?

If your vizsla has been trained to hunt or has a high natural prey drive you may struggle to introduce a kitten or cat to the household.

On the other hand a vizsla puppy with high prey drive can still be trained to accept a cat.

What Is The Best Age To Introduce Cats And Vizslas?

There’s no doubt the ideal age to introduce cats and dogs is when they are both young.

A kitten and a vizsla puppy can be raised together quite easily as they have not yet established territory or developed ingrained habits.

However in most homes this doesn’t happen, so let’s take a look at how to introduce puppies and kittens to the home in the different scenarios.

How To Introduce A Vizsla Puppy To A Cat

If you can’t bring a puppy and kitten home at the same time, introducing a vizsla puppy to an adult cat is the next best way to have both a cat and dog in your home.

Most cats are pretty savvy and will outsmart the puppy and quickly establish dominance over the pup.

However you should start slowly and follow the steps below to improve the chances they get along.

1. Start With Them Separated

When you bring puppy home, put the cat in a separate space where they cannot see each other.

Provide food, water and litter tray for the cat in a space the puppy can’t get to.

Allow a few days for both the cat and puppy to become aware of each other through smell (without seeing each other).

You can do this by showing the cat the puppy’s bed and play pen when the puppy is not there and vice versa.

2. Initial Visual Introduction

The next step is to introduce the two animals to each other from afar, through a glass door, window or baby gate.

You should still keep them separate, but allow them to see each other for the first time.

Watch for responses. If your puppy barks or whines, redirect them with a toy or a treat.

Don’t let the puppy fixate on the cat.

Also give your cat plenty of reassurance, but allow them to leave if they want.

3. Prepare For First Face To Face Meeting

Before introducing them face to face for the first time ensure your puppy has had some exercise and play time. They should also be relaxed and not overtired.

Also ensure your cat has an escape route or a higher place to go if they opt out of the introductions.

9 week old Hungarian Vizsla on lead being introduced to a cat at home.

4. Introduce Them Face To Face

It’s time to introduce them properly. Choose a communal place where they will be expected to share the space. The living room or yard is a good option.

It is essential to put your puppy on a leash and it is a good idea to have plenty of treats on hand.

Allow them to see and sniff each other, but don’t let the puppy lunge at the cat.

Keep the introduction short and actively manage the interactions.

Redirect the pup with treats or toys if they bark or whine at the cat.

5. Continue Managed Interactions

Every day you will should orchestrate several interactions between them until they are more comfortable with each other.

This can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks depending on their unique personalities.

Take it slow and don’t allow things to get out of control.

If the puppy is overly focused on the cat, redirect them with a toy or treat.

Also reward the pup when they look away from the cat.

Try and avoid any interactions when your puppy is overtired or has zoomies, as they are less likely to behave in these scenarios.

6. Watch And Manage

After a few days or weeks of managed interactions, you should be able to give them more freedom to interact off leash.

You may still need to get involved, but most cats will quickly assert their dominance over a puppy and your puppy will soon know who is boss.

It is highly likely your puppy will take a swipe to the nose at some point.

Our cat would bat our pup across the nose with his paws (without claws out) to tell her to back off.

So long as neither is injured in these interactions a little swipe from the cat isn’t a bad thing.

This is all part of establishing the pecking order in the home – you want the cat to be higher up the chain than the dog.

By actively introducing them while the puppy is small, you can hopefully get them to a point where they tolerate each other before the pup gets much bigger and stronger than the cat.

10 week old vizsla puppy sitting next to adult grey cat.

How To Introduce A Kitten To A Vizsla Dog

It can be much more difficult to introduce a kitten to a household with an adult vizsla.

It will depend a lot on the personality of your dog, their prey drive and previous interactions with cats.

Tip: If you don’t have a cat but want your vizsla to be cat friendly, find a friend or neighbour with a cat and start introductions with your vizsla puppy early. If in the future you decide to get a cat it will be easier as you have already socialized them with cats.

1. Start With Them Separated

Before you bring the kitten home, ensure you have plenty of high spaces for your kitten to retreat to if they want to escape the dog’s attention.

Follow steps 1 to 3 as outlined in the previous section to introduce the animals to their scent and a visual introduction.

Carefully note any change in behavior by your dog.

2. First Face To Face Introduction

If your dog is crate trained, pop them in their crate for the first introduction. Bring the kitten into the room and let them see the kitten.

Be reassuring, but take note of any negative behaviors like growling, lunging or barking.

3. Managed Interactions

Depending on how it goes your next meetings could be with the dog on a leash.

Ensure the kitten is out of reach of the dog and has a high place to retreat to.

If the dog has been taught the leave it command that can also be helpful to manage their interactions if the dog gets too close or aggressive.

Watch your dog’s response closely. If there is any lunging, barking or growling, redirect and give a verbal command to stop and redirect.

Repeat this process as many times as you need until your dog is relaxed when in view of the kitten when on the lead.

Once the dog is relaxed and you are confident they are not going to lunge at the kitten, you can manage interactions off lead.

You will have to actively manage all interactions until both animals are relaxed and can be trusted to behave around each other.

You never want to leave your dog and the kitten alone until you have full confidence they will be safe together.

This can take anywhere from days to months, and unfortunately in some cases they may never be able to be left alone together.

Hungarian vizsla dog and British shorthair cat laying next to each other in dog bed.

Do Vizslas Like Cats – FAQ

Do Vizslas Kill Cats?

Yes, vizslas that have not been socialized to live with cats can kill them. Vizslas are hunting dogs and many have a strong prey drive. If trained to hunt small animals they could chase down and kill cats.

Will A Cat Keep My Vizsla Company?

Yes, if your vizsla and cat have been trained to live in harmony together, it is possible for your cat to keep your vizsla company when you are not home. Having another animal around when the humans are not home can help make them feel less lonely and help with separation anxiety.

What Should I Do If My Vizsla Chases My Cat?

If your vizsla chases your cat you should immediately try to stop the chase with a stern verbal command and redirect with a toy or treats. If it is happening regularly you may need to put your vizsla on a lead whenever the cat is present. Also work on positively rewarding your vizsla when they are not chasing the cat.

Conclusion – Do Vizslas And Cats Get Along?

So do vizslas like cats? It is possible for vizslas and cats to get along, particularly if you introduce a vizsla puppy to cats.

It will take many hours of training and socialization, but they can live together happily in some cases and tolerate each other in most other cases.

However, if you have trained your vizsla to hunt and they have a strong prey drive, introducing a cat to the family may not be a good idea.

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About Rachel

Founder of It's a Vizsla, Rachel is a vizsla owner who loves to research and share practical tips to help other vizsla owners care for their fur babies. She loves getting outdoors and hanging out with her vizsla, Lottie.

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