Are you thinking of getting a dachshund but don’t know if he’ll get along with your cat? Will he attack it? Or maybe you want to get a cat but already have a dachshund and aren’t sure what to expect. We’re here to answer your questions about keeping dachshunds and cats under one roof.
Can dachshunds live with cats? Yes, it’s possible to train dachshunds and cats to get along, but it won’t always work. It depends on each pet’s personality, age, background and status in the home. It’s easier to introduce a dachshund into a cat’s home than to bring a cat into a dachshund’s territory.
Read on to find out how to introduce a dachshund into a cat’s home, how to introduce a cat into a dachshund’s home, how to minimise any issues, and whether cats and dachshunds can ever live happily together.
Do dachshunds and cats get along?
It depends on each pet’s personality and what the situation is. Are you bringing a cat into a dachshund’s home or a dachshund into a cat’s home? Or are you adopting them both together? It also depends on their ages and backgrounds.
If you’ve seen any of those adorable videos of dachshunds and cats cuddling on the sofa, you’ll no doubt be hoping your dachshund and cat will get along just fine. And while it can be done, you need to realise this doesn’t just happen naturally – it takes training, patience, awareness and lots of hard work.
This is what you need to think about:
Because dachshunds are small and cute, people think they’re all flowers and sunshine. But they’re actually quite feisty. We’re not saying dachshunds aren’t lovely dogs, but you need to remember they were bred as hunting dogs, and this means their natural instinct is to chase and attack small furry animals.
Dachshunds are also notoriously territorial and suspicious of strangers (hence why they bark when new dogs get too close), and can get ridiculously jealous if someone or something is getting more attention than them.
Some dogs are more chilled than others, while others will get snappy and aggressive around cats. If you’re adopting an older dachshund, you’ll need to talk to the rehoming centre about whether they think he’s cat-workable.
If you’re doing things the other way round and bringing a cat into your dachshund’s home, you’ll need to watch your daxie carefully and think seriously about whether he could cope with having a cat in his home.
How does he react around other animals? Does he tense up? Do his ears go back? Does he bare his teeth? Does he growl or bark? If so, you’re probably going to have a hard time introducing a cat into the home, and it may not be the most responsible thing to do. If he’s fairly chilled, you might be able to train him.
The best option is to adopt a cat and dachshund together, especially if they’re a kitten and puppy. Socialising the pets from a young age will make conflict in the home less likely.
Depending on the dog, bringing a dachshund into a cat’s home is doable. The cat has established her territory and the dachshund will learn to fit into it. This is much easier with puppies than it is with older dachshunds.
Bringing a cat into a dachshund’s home is probably the hardest option. Dachshund’s are very territorial and won’t like a stranger encroaching on their space. They might feel the need to protect their ‘pack’, and may well be aggressive towards the newcomer.
The best time to introduce a dachshund to a cat is when he’s a puppy. He’ll still have his chasing instinct but, if he’s been socialised with the cat from the start, he’ll be used to living with it and shouldn’t see it as a threat. This doesn’t mean you won’t need to watch him though – he’s still a dog, and you must be absolutely sure before you leave him alone with the cat.
Training an older dachshund to live with a cat is much harder. He knows his mind and is even more independent and stubborn than a puppy, so might not tolerate a new cat.
If you’re bringing a dachshund into your cat’s home, you should definitely ask about his background. For puppies, ask the breeder about his parents. Were there ever any incidents with cats? Did they have a history of aggression? Those sorts of questions. If the parents were fine around cats, there’s a bigger chance your little sausage pup will be cat-workable and pick up your training without too many hiccups.
If you’re adopting an adult dachshund, get all the background information you can from the rehoming centre. Did he ever live with cats? Has he been socialised with cats? Has he ever attacked a cat? If he’s used to being around cats or living with cats, he’s probably going to be ok with your feline friend – he’ll just need a bit of training and for you to introduce them responsibly. If he’s had a run-in with a cat in the past, you should seriously think about whether you can safely bring him into your cat’s home.
Remember, some dachshunds will instinctively chase cats, and you can’t really train that instinct out of him. The reality is rescue dogs don’t always come with lots of information, so you might not be lucky enough to know much about his background. In this case, you’ll need to talk with the rehomers about his character and take their advice on whether they think he could live with a cat.
How do you introduce a dachshund to a cat?
- Put the cat in a safe, closed room
- Separate the cat and dachshund with a stair gate
- Swap smells
- Let the newbie get used to the house
- Walk your dachshund
- Grab some treats
- Keep your dachshund on a lead
- Let the cat out
- Wait for the cat to approach
- Distract your dachshund if he barks
- Give treats for good behaviour
- Be patient
- Repeat the routine
- Open the stair gate
- Take off your dachshund’s lead
- Do not leave them alone until you trust them 100%
Whether you’re introducing a dachshund into your cat’s home or vice versa, this is what you need to do:
Put the cat in a safe, closed room
Pick a closed-off room the dachshund will not be allowed to go into. A spare bedroom is ideal. Put the cat’s food bowl, bed, toys and litter tray in there.
Separate the cat and dachshund with a stair gate
Block off the home with stair gates. These are great as they let the cat and dog see and smell each other, without the dog being able to get the cat. It’s a good idea to make sure the dachshund is crate-trained too.
You need to get each pet used to the smell of the other one. Swap their blankets around and mix their scents as much as possible. Instead of washing your hands after stroking the cat or dachshund, rub your hands over the furniture and walls in the other pet’s space.
Let the newbie get used to the house
If you’ve brought a new cat into the home, you can let it out to explore while you take your dachshund out for a walk. It’s probably easier to get a friend to help you so they can make sure the cat’s safely out of the way before you get back.
If the dachshund is the newbie, walk him around the house on a light lead while the cat is closed away.
Walk your dachshund
Take your dachshund for a walk to tire him out and relax him.
Grab some treats
Have treats nearby so you can reward your dachshund for being good and doing the right thing.
Keep your dachshund on a lead
Keep your dachshund on a lead when you return home and bring him over to a stair gate.
Let the cat out
Let the cat out of her room (on the other side of the stair gate)
Wait for the cat to approach
Let the cat come up to the dachshund in her own time, or go back into her room
Distract your dachshund if he barks
If your dachshund starts barking or stares at the cat intensely, distract him and move him away.
Give treats for good behaviour
If your dachshund behaves well, give him a treat.
Leave it up to the cat to decide how close she wants to get – keep your dachshund in the same place.
Repeat the routine
Keep repeating this routine until they seem relaxed around each other.
Open the stair gate
When you feel comfortable, take away the barriers but keep your dachshund on a light lead while he’s not in the crate.
Take off your dachshund’s lead
Once you’re happy he’s not going to chase the cat, take him off the lead but supervise them closely until you’re 100% sure all is ok.
Do not leave them alone until you trust them 100%
Only ever leave your cat and dachshund alone once your trust your dachshund not to hurt the cat.
It can take a few months for cats and dachshunds to adjust and become pals, although some hit it off from the start. It just depends on your pets. During this time, watch them closely, give each of them equal amounts of attention to stop the other getting jealous, and make sure they both have safe spaces they can escape to.
So, now it’s over to you to decide whether it’s safe to have a cat and a dachshund living together under your roof. Take it slow, understand your pets and don’t force anything. With any luck, they’ll soon become the best of fur-ends!