Introducing a dog to a cat can be nerve-racking, especially when the dog is large or has a strong prey drive. That said, there are many videos out there showing dogs and cats snuggling, so there must be a bit of hope. But what about the Weimaraner?
Can Weimaraners get along with cats? The answer comes down to the individual dog. Weimaraners have a high prey drive, and some of these dogs will not do well around cats or other small pets.
Let’s delve into why many Weimaraners shouldn’t be around cats and how to introduce a dog to a cat to ensure a harmonious household.
A Little on the Weimaraner Background
Weimaraners hail from the town of Weimar in Germany and were developed in the early 19th century. They were to be the perfect hunting dog, and it’s thought that Bloodhounds and German and French hunting dogs went into their development.
These dogs were initially used to hunt big game, such as bears and wolves, but were eventually used as all-purpose hunting dogs. Weimaraners were used to point and retrieve gamebirds, rabbits, and foxes.
The Weimaraner arrived in the U.S. in the late 1920s and became famous due to William Wegman and his Weimaraner portraits. You might have also seen them on “Sesame Street”!
Can Weimaraners Get Along With Cats?
Weimaraners were bred to hunt, which gives them a high prey drive. This means they typically need to be leashed at all times when out in public. When they see a small animal running, like a squirrel, their instincts kick in, and they will chase it down and likely kill it if they catch it.
Introducing an adult Weimaraner to a cat when they are not accustomed to being around a small animal can prove to be disastrous. But if the dog is introduced to a cat while they’re a puppy, and there’s a great deal of training and socialization, there is a chance that the Weimaraner will get along with the cat.
However, if you have an adult Weimaraner and they attempt to chase cats in the neighborhood, it might not be a good idea to attempt to bring your dog and a cat together in the same household. Likewise, if your cat is nervous around dogs, the Weimaraner will not be the best choice. These are hyper and energetic dogs, which might not suit most cats, and a timid cat is more likely to engage the dog’s prey drive.
The 5 Tips for Introducing a Weimaraner to Your Cat
If you have a cat and are planning on bringing home a Weimaraner, there are a few steps that you should take to ensure a safe introduction. Starting with a puppy instead of adopting an adult dog is highly recommended.
You also need to have patience, and you should never force an interaction if one or both pets seem nervous or hesitant.
1. Safe Space
Ensure that your cat has a safe place where they can escape to if they are scared; this could be a cat tree or even under a bed.
This is also necessary for any cat living with a rambunctious puppy, as they will need to take a break at times. This means the puppy shouldn’t have access to where your cat is resting or hiding.
After the puppy is first brought home, keep the two animals separate. Keep your cat in a safe room, allowing the puppy and cat to sniff each other under the door.
This gives both pets a chance to become familiar with the scents and sounds of each other in a safe way. When the puppy is outside for a walk, take the cat out of the room so they can explore the house and gain information about the puppy.
3. Slow Introduction
Even before attempting an introduction, tire out your puppy with a walk and playtime, which will make them less excitable.
When it’s time to introduce the Weimaraner and the cat face-to-face, have your puppy on a leash, and ensure that the cat has somewhere to escape if they are uncomfortable.
Watch the body language of both animals. If your Weimaraner starts to display any aggressive signs, such as lunging, barking, and growling, or your cat is growling and hissing with flattened ears, take a break. There’s no rushing this process.
4. Positive Reinforcement
Reward good and calm behavior when the cat and Weimaraner are around each other. This can start when they are still in the early stages and sniffing each other under the door. If they do this calmly, give them both a treat and praise. If they also interact face-to-face calmly, give treats and praise to both. This will teach them that positive things happen when they interact in a nice way.
During any of these interactions, you should remain calm and positive, since your pets will pick up on your mood if you are overly anxious or scared.
Eventually, your cat will become more comfortable around the puppy, and they might even start playing together.
5. Your Cat’s Preference
The decision to bring home a dog is up to your resident cat. Some cats are terrified of dogs, no matter how sweet they are. There’s always the possibility that your cat will eventually become comfortable around a dog, but don’t forget your cat’s well-being during this process.
Will the Weimaraner Get Along With Other Small Pets?
No. Unless they have been raised with these smaller animals since they were a puppy, the Weimaraner will view any small, furry creature as prey, including kittens.
Can You Leave a Cat and Weimaraner Alone Together?
No matter how well they get along together, leaving them unsupervised is not recommended. All it takes is your cat getting the zoomies and your Weimaraner being unable to control their natural instincts and giving chase.
Can an Adult Weimaraner Ever Get Along With a New Cat?
Maybe. If the Weimaraner has successfully lived with cats in the past, there is a possibility that it can work out. However, Weimaraners form strong bonds with their family, and any cat that wasn’t around while they were a puppy might be considered not a part of the family and thus, fair game.
Just because most Weimaraners can’t get along with cats doesn’t mean these are bad dogs. After all, humans are the ones who encouraged their high prey drive. The most important takeaway here is that these animals should never be left alone and loose in the home together, but through socialization and training, a puppy can definitely form a bond with a cat.
Just ensure that you don’t allow your Weimaraner to do anything upsetting to the cat, such as bark at or chase them. Even if it seems playful, your dog will start viewing this as acceptable behavior, which might only worsen over time.
Take your time with the introductions, dole out praise and treats when merited, and remember to prioritize your cat’s welfare because they are the smaller animal.
Featured Image Credit: Sari ONeal, Shutterstock