If you’re worried about having a canine Catahoula together with a feline, then we have good news for you! Both pets can live together as a family.
Although having a Catahoula Leopard Dog with a cat can be tricky, as they aren’t the friendliest feline dog breed.
Bred as working dogs, Catahoulas are big on hunting. So, if they sense a smaller animal in their territory, their hunting impulses might activate.
On the plus side, Catahoulas are gentle and loyal. Once they acknowledge your feline friend as part of the family, trust that they will cherish and protect your cat.
If you’ve experienced firsthand how unruly your dog is to cats, it’s only because of their hunting drive. Catahoulas can’t help it when they spot a moving creature—their instincts to chase it will kick in hard.
Unfortunately, cats are just as agile and will run away when being chased, further encouraging a Catahoula. It’s always a game of chase between these two.
Fortunately, this isn’t a permanent scenario for both pets. Countless other Catahoulas grew up with cats, making them less rowdy and forceful towards neighboring felines.
You might even witness a Catahoula swooping in to save their feline friend when it's trouble. This shows and proves friendship and familial recognition of one another.
With a proper introduction!
Introductions are necessary if you’re bringing a new Catahoula or feline friend into the household. Get ready for a challenge, though, since there will be a series of chasing and pouncing from your dog.
So here’s what you need to do:
Having a trained Catahoula is vital. Your commands and your dog’s obedience will ease the difficulty of the introductions.
Chances are, they might get excited seeing the cat and begin being boisterous. So, strong “Stay,” “Leave it,” and “Come” commands will refrain them from doing so.
- Have your dog recognize the command by constantly saying your pet’s name with the command word.
- Train your Catahoula 3 times a day for 15 minutes maximum, as all dogs have a short attention span.
- Use positive reinforcement, such as praise and treats after completing the command.
- You need to be confident, patient, and loving with each training to reap excellent results.
We recommend separating them for the first few days. Then, let both your pets get acquainted with each other’s scent by meeting through the door.
If you notice your dog acting too excited near the cat, then your Catahoula may need more days to get used to your cat’s scent.
Feeding your pets close to each other on opposite sides of a closed door will help speed up the process.
Keeping them separated for too long will cause over-excitement for the dog the next time it sees the cat. Such behavior might lead to biting the cat’s neck and causing trauma.
So, once you notice your dog exhibiting calmness, start having him see the cat. You can try exercising your dog before the meeting to lessen his energy.
Remember to keep the sessions short for the first few times. Your pets are still getting to know each other, and long sessions may stir anxiety in your cat.
- Have a family member present in every session to hold one of your pets
- Loosely leash your Catahoula and keep it calm and seated beside you while your cat roams about the room
- If your Catahoula’s attention hones in on your cat, call your dog’s attention and provide treats when it listens
- Don’t forget to bring your Catahoula’s favorite toy for them to play with to keep their attention away from the cat
- You may take the leash off only if both pets are showing composure to each other’s presence
- Be constantly alert as a Catahoula can be unpredictable and suddenly pounce on your cat
- Enjoy the moment and let your pets recognize each other as one pack by being a loving family
Depending on your pets, it may take a lot of sessions before they get used to each other. So, practice patience and consistency with every meeting.
Bring enough treats for positive reinforcement to your Catahoula with every successful session.
Try to inch your cat closer to your dog every session. But if your cat wants to leave, set it free, as it might feel stressed if it lingers for too long.
With all this in mind, you may feel inclined to have a puppy instead of a grown Catahoula. So is having a puppy the best scenario for a family with cats?
Adopting a Catahoula puppy below 3 months old will still require the same dog training, but will be less rowdy towards a cat. When they interact, they’ll be more eager to play than to hunt.
A Catahoula may be a hunting dog, but rest easy knowing that puppies are less cautious. They’re still growing their confidence and knowledge of the world to brand a stranger as prey.
So, having both pets grow up together will foster familiarity and loyalty. In no time, your puppy will accept your cat less as prey and more as a friend.
But remember to supervise your pets at all times. Your energetic puppy still needs to learn control when it bites to play.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the situation, you can get help from a professional trainer. There’s nothing wrong with seeking help to diffuse the tension between your pets.
There might be a case where your Catahoula dog has previously killed smaller animals. Training them will prove more challenging. Sometimes, hiring a professional is the best advice.
Calvin is the co-founder and one of the main contributors to dogtemperament.com. He has been an avid dog lover all his life. He enjoys researching and sharing great ideas on how you can avoid common pitfalls of dog ownership and build the most loving and enjoyable relationship with your dog.