Jana worked in animal welfare with abused and unwanted pets. She loves sharing her hands-on experience regarding domestic and wild critters.
Are you facing any of the following scenarios?
- You already have a dachsie. You really also want a kitten.
- Same as above, but you just rescued a stray kitten.
- You have a cat but want to adopt a dachshund.
- You want to rehome a cat or kitten with a family who has a dachshund.
Whatever the situation, the key is a calm introduction. This article will reveal the best tips for a successful meeting and which negative triggers to avoid.
Start With Sober Expectations
A responsible owner worries about their pet’s reaction to a new animal. It’s normal. The truth is that anything can happen. Dogs can react to a kitten with unexpected dislike or surprise you with furious tail-wagging.
The best start is to expect a bump or two in the road ahead. Don’t assume that the dachshund will be fine with a new animal in the house the second that they are introduced. All dog breeds need time to assimilate the changing family dynamic, the unfamiliar smell of a kitten or cat—and here’s the secret…
The way you behave is more crucial than the way the dog reacts.
Shaming and Scolding? Not Going to Work
Dachshunds are super-careful by nature. This harks back to the day when they squared off with a really dangerous quarry. When they encounter something unfamiliar, they will act antsy. To fully understand why your dachshund appears overly careful or even skittish, we need to look at the breed’s history.
Dachshunds Are Hunters
This breed is also called the Badger Dog. Originally bred in Germany, they were hardwired to hunt badgers, rabbits and other animals that hide in underground dens. Once down there, they had to be alert and ready to bolt if necessary, seeing that they often engaged with deadly animals willing to fight ugly.
Hunters also used packs of dachshunds. If you have more than one, you might already be familiar with how they can feed off each other’s excitement and nervous energy. Your pack of dachsies might even howl together!
The bottom line is this. Due to their breeding, dachshunds have a strong self-preservation instinct and an equally strong prey drive. Stay aware of these instincts and work with them. Trying to scold a dachsie that growls or runs away is only going to make things worse.
Avoid These Bloopers
While we’re at it, let’s go over more common mistakes. Keeping these tips in mind can shorten the time your dachsie needs to accept the cat and possibly even avoid a full-blown bad reaction.
- Avoid spontaneous introductions. Each meeting must be carefully considered so that both animals are safe.
- Never put the cat or kitten down on the floor. It must be held at all times or placed in a cat carrier.
- If you have several dachsies, separate them and introduce each dog to the kitten alone.
- If the dachshund has a history of harming or killing cats, you need to find the cat a safer home.
Why Some Dachshunds Get Along With Cats
Some dachshunds let the cat walk all over them. Why? Well, these dogs either grew up with cats or have seen a lot of them during their lifetime. Some dachsies have such a good nature that they mother everything from chicks to rocks. But even if they have little experience with cats, there are good points to this breed that play in your favour.
The Good Stuff
- They are intelligent and can grasp any situation given enough time and gentle handling.
- They are curious about new animals.
- They are known to get along with other pets.
- Dachshunds are not primed to be aggressive.
- They have a sense of humour and like to play.
Why Some Dachshunds Don’t Like Cats
Once a dachsie decides cats are uncool, it’s next to impossible to change their minds. To be fair, this goes for all breeds and mixed breeds. In other words, this is not a dachshund thing. All dogs, by nature, include a percentage that doesn’t get along with cats.
How to Introduce Your Cat and Dachshund
The following tips can prepare you beforehand and also reduce the chances of a stressful encounter between your pets.
1. Prepare for Several Meetings
A dachshund that meets a kitten in a controlled environment, especially a few times before they are allowed to fully interact, is more likely to accept a new pet. By the time they can walk around in the garden together or share your bed, the dog will be used to the kitten.
2. Start With Scent
If your dachsie is a bit grouchy or skittish, you can let him or her smell a blanket that has the kitten’s scent. Do this a few times and praise the dog or even better, give it a biscuit. The dachsie will associate the smell with a treat.
3. The Cat’s Age
Most introductions that involve kittens eventually work out. Older cats are a different kettle of fish. Introducing adult dogs and cats can get hairy and needs to be done with utmost care. If you are set on doing so, keep the cat in a carrier case and the dachsie on a leash. Don’t let the dog near the case as this can make the cat feel trapped. Simply allow them to see each other from a distance. You might want to contact a professional animal behaviourist to safely get them used to each other.
A kitten can be rolled up in a blanket and shown to the dog. Eventually, you can maybe allow the dachsie to sniff the kitten’s hindquarters - not its face. Stay alert in case the dog’s intentions go sideways.
4. Slow and Calm
You might have a dachsie with the nature of a Buddhist monk but the first introduction should always be done with your caution on high alert. Even so, ensure that your dog does not catch on and think that you are nervous or scared. Slowly and calmly introduce the kitten.
5. Keep it Short and Quiet
Keep meetings quick and resist making high-pitched noises. Talk to your dog in a slow, low tone and allow it a few sniffs before calmly ending the encounter. Even if your dachsie growled or looked horrified, remove the kitten without scolding the dog and end the meeting. Tomorrow is another day.
Work With Your Dachsie
Overall, some dachsies can be trusted around other animals while others view cats as villains. It all boils down to the dog’s personality, experience and instincts. A dog that feels safe and understood by its owners when something weird is happening (that furball you are showing them), will come round. Keep an eye on the dynamics between the cat and dog, work with the dachsie’s natural curiosity and your pets will soon get along just fine.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.
© 2022 Jana Louise Smit