Sighthounds are often compared to cats. They can be aloof and lazy, yet loving and enjoy sprinting around! So, you may think these animals could be the best of friends.
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Nothing’s cuter than a giant dog cuddling a tiny cat, but is this safe? Borzois have a strong prey drive, and often see small animals as prey.
Borzois and cats live together peacefully in many households, and can sometimes be the best of friends. However, many Borzois cannot live with cats due to their strong hunting and chasing instincts. This giant breed can easily injure or kill a cat.
In this article, we’ll talk more about Borzois living with cats, and how you can safely adopt a Borzoi into a multi-pet household.
Can Borzois Live with Cats?
Many Borzois successfully live with cats. However, Borzois have a strong prey drive that causes them to chase and kill small animals—so these animals should be introduced with great caution.
If you have a cat and would like to adopt a Borzoi, it’s best to adopt an older rescue dog who has been tested around cats. Rescues will also tell you what they know about the dog’s history, such as if they’ve lived with cats in the past.
Keep in mind that sometimes dogs are okay with cats they see as theirs, or who they’ve been trained not to chase. They may still go after new cats or those outside the home.
This is simply because dogs’ brains work differently than human brains. While we can quickly grow frustrated, thinking we’ve already trained our Borzoi not to chase cats, the dog has really only learned a very specific behavior: not chasing cats indoors, or not chasing a specific cat. They think the others are fair game!
This is why we always teach tricks in multiple settings, and sometimes have to restart training when moving from indoors to outdoors or from our own yards to a distracting dog park!
Prey Drive: Can it Really be Trained Away?
Unfortunately, keeping Borzois with cats is always a risk. This is because they have a strong prey drive that cannot be entirely trained out of them.
It’s also a risk if you’re an inexperienced dog trainer trying to train a young puppy. You may find that they leave your cat alone when the cat is napping but then race after a running cat.
Sudden movements catch a Borzoi’s eye because they’ve been bred for so long to chase and hunt small animals. Many Borzois live happier lives when they don’t have to constantly fight this urge, and it’s often a losing battle—similar to training recall with these dogs.
That said, a dog who’s successfully lived with cats since puppyhood and been tested by a good rescue has a great chance of living happily alongside your cat. Take precautions, ask the right questions, and introduce your pets slowly and carefully.
Rescue Borzois and Cats
Like we stated above, your best chance of a thriving cat and Borzoi relationship is to adopt a grown rescue dog who’s been tested for reactivity to cats.
Some Borzois have stronger hunting instincts than others, and often Borzois who were raised with cats will get on with them in a new household.
This eliminates a lot of training work on your part, as well as risk to your cat. Rescuing a Borzoi also means saving a life!
Borzoi Puppies and Cats
If you want to adopt a Borzoi puppy, that’s also possible. After all, Borzois raised around cats were also puppies at some point. They had to be introduced to cats, socialized, and trained.
This is much more work than adopting a rescue who already knows how to behave, and it can go wrong—even Borzoi puppies are quite strong!
These dogs have a bite force meant to hold onto wolves, so taking down a cat is no problem for them. We advise going in with caution and ensuring that you know what you’re doing when it comes to training your pup.
We’ll talk more about introducing your cat and dog below. You should take things slowly, and never allow your puppy off-leash around your cat until you’re positive they won’t chase or nip.
Training Your Cat to Accept Borzois
Just like your Borzoi needs to be socialized to small animals, your cat should also be socialized with dogs. This will make their relationship more successful and prevent bickering.
Even a well-behaved Borzoi may get sick of a cat who always smacks them around, especially if they scratch! The problem is, cats aren’t likely to seriously injure a Borzoi—while a fed-up dog can cause a lot of damage to a cat.
It’s also no fun for your Borzoi if your cat attacks them! And a cat who runs away from dogs is at even more risk since they might engage your Borzoi’s curiosity and hunting instincts.
Cats who’ve grown up around large dogs will be best suited to living with Borzois. You should also introduce your pets slowly.
Introducing Borzois and Cats
First, place your cat in a closed area of your home. This way, the animals can’t interact.
Allow your Borzoi to explore your home. They’ll be able to smell your cat to their heart’s content, without actually interacting.
After some time, you can then place your Borzoi in an enclosed room or outside. Let your cat come out and sniff where the dog has been. Again, this is a great way for them to get to know each other before interacting physically!
Next, you can allow the animals to see each other. Keep your Borzoi leashed so that your cat gets to make the first move, and you can stop them from chasing if they try.
Until you fully trust your Borzoi, you should keep them leashed at all times around your cat. Introducing your pets may take days or even weeks—work on their timeframe and have patience! This isn’t something you want to rush through.
Lastly, muzzling your Borzoi is a good option until you know they’re truly cat-friendly. Some cats will pounce at a dog they find threatening. I’ve had this happen, and it’s scary when you think you have control of the dog and the cat finds a way to risk themselves regardless!
Borzois and Small Dogs
Borzois and small dogs work similarly to Borzois and cats. They can live together peacefully, but things can also go very wrong.
If you have other dogs, plan to adopt more pups, would like to have doggy playdates, or plan on spending time at a dog park, ask the rescue how your Borzoi gets along with other dogs as well.
Just like they cat test their dogs, many rescues will also test them with other dogs. Be sure to ask about small breeds since Borzois are specifically dangerous to smaller pets.