Are Havanese Dogs Good With Cats? (Plus How To Introduce Them)


Havanese dogs are known for being good with cats, as they are playful, gentle canines and will often see cats as new friends. Cats also tend to be more tolerant of Havanese dogs than other breeds, so if you want to introduce the two, you have a reasonable chance of success.

Of course, this is not true for every Havanese or every cat ever, so you’ll need to take the personalities of the individual pets in question into account if you want to ensure they have a peaceful or loving relationship. Don’t just assume that your Havanese will love cats, or that your cat will be overjoyed to see a Havanese dog.

Why Do Havanese Dogs Get Along With Cats?

It’s not exactly known why Havanese dogs tend to be so good with cats, but they are – and you will often find that your cat warms up to a Havanese dog much more quickly than to other canines.

One possible explanation is the size similarity. Havanese dogs are often pretty similar to cats in terms of size, so your cat is less likely to feel threatened by these dogs than they are by larger canines.

It is also possible that the Havanese’s gentle nature is responsible for their friendliness toward each other.

Havanese tend to be playful and sweet, rather than aggressive, and cats will be able to detect this in their body language.

Again, this means that a cat is less likely to feel threatened, and more likely to respond positively to the dog.

Of course, not all Havanese dogs will get along with cats, but on the whole, most will!

5 Tips On How To Introduce A Havanese Dog To A Cat Successfully

As with introducing any two animals, you need to hold the first meeting with care, and keep an eye on the behavior in the following weeks and months. While it is often a good idea to let the animals “sort it out themselves” to a degree, you need to be ready to intervene if fighting becomes serious.

You should have enough space to be able to separate the two animals if necessary.

  • As with all pet meetings, it is a good idea to introduce smells first. Take a blanket that the dog has used and give it to the cat, and vice versa. Allow them to get used to each others’ scents. Feed the two on opposite sides of a closed door so that they can smell and hear but not see each other.
  • Feeding them near each other helps to encourage a pleasant association with the other pet. Over time, they will adjust to the idea of another animal being in the house, and cease to see it as a potential threat.
  • Prior to the first meeting, make sure that your Havanese has mastered some basic commands, such as “sit” and “stay.” These will make it easier to keep the dog calm, which is important when meeting a cat. It is also a good idea to have your Havanese on a leash so you can prevent jumping.
  • Keep the first meeting short, and offer lots of rewards. It should be held on neutral ground if possible, not in either pets’ “space.” You should follow it up with other short meetings, and not allow the animals to spend too much time together, even if they seem to be getting along.
  • Gradually increase the time they spend with each other, until you no longer need to worry about them. They will learn each other’s cues and responses, and slowly establish a peaceful relationship in most cases. Some will even become best friends.

Advice On How To Make Sure Havanese Dogs And Cats Live Together Peacefully

  • To keep an ongoing easy relationship, you should create a safe area for each animal which the other animal does not have access to. A cat, for example, might be given a room upstairs.
  • It may be hard to block the cat from the dog’s space, but you can discourage it from going in there and feed it in a separate area.
  • As cats are naturally more solitary creatures, your cat is unlikely to bother your Havanese, but being pack animals, your dog might want to play when your cat wants some time alone.
  • You may want to feed your pets separately to avoid aggression or food theft. Feeding your cat on a high surface or in a different room can stop the dog from stealing its food, or the cat from stealing the dog’s food.
  • Some Havanese dogs get on with cats so well, they’ll even eat from the same dish and sleep in the same bed, but it’s always good to give both pets another option in case they want a bit of space. Even best friends want a little alone time occasionally.
  • Don’t let your Havanese chase the cat unless the cat is enjoying the game.

Does It Help To Get A Havanese Puppy And Kitten So They Get Used To Each Other For A Longer Time?

Yes, young animals are much more adjustable, and getting both pets young will really help them to adapt to each other.

Young animals are far more accepting of others, and will likely just see another playmate, forming strong bonds with the other animal.

An older cat may have had negative experiences with a dog that could put it off friendship with your Havanese.

If you don’t have the option of introducing two youngsters, consider pairing an older Havanese with a young kitten. This pairing is more likely to work than the other way around, although some old cats will accept a young dog.

Your success here will very much depend on the pets in question and how well you manage to introduce them.

Many older cats will tolerate having a Havanese around as long as they do not have to interact with it, but you should be aware of both your pets’ needs and avoid getting a dog if you know your cat hates them.

Summary

Most Havanese dogs are great with cats, but it’s important to be aware that this is not true for every Havanese. Their hunting instinct can kick in, and few cats enjoy being viewed as prey!

References

http://www.havanesefanciers.com/edu-havs-cats

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