Can Australian Shepherds Get Along With Cats?

Australian Shepherds are very versatile breed. They are not only great working dogs, but also great family friends. As i have mentioned many times on this site, one of the great features of Australian Shepherds is the desire to please their owner. That‘s why they become fast-learning and great friends. However, knowing that this breed is very attached to their owners raises the question. How Aussies share attention of their owners with other pets in the same household? The nature of Australian Shepherds is to chase animals, they have strong herding instinct. So, potential owner would be wondering if Australian Shepherds are good with cats? Whether it is possible that these two animals could live friendly and there won‘t be constant war at home?

Can Australian Shepherds get along with cats? A properly socialized Australian Shepherd will get along with cats. However, it will be way easier to teach them live together if they are younger. The younger they are introduced, the less conflicts there will be between them. Simply cause instincts will not be strengthened yet. The first meeting of your Australian Shepherd and kitten determines how they will agree, so it is always better to prepare in advance. If an adult Australian Shepherd was not properly socialized previously, it is still possible to teach him how to interact with cats using proper trainings.

It is worth mentioning, that there are no general rule how your Aussie will interact with a cat. Every pet is really individual and has a different character. Lucky for you, Australian Shepherds are classified as a very smart dog, who can learn new things very quickly. So, even if your dog and cat will not become best friends, some preparation and trainings could help to avoid chaos at home.

Australian Shepherd And Cat In The Same Household

If you are planning to keep Australian Shepherd and a cat at home, you need to know how to teach both pets to live together. Aussies like any other dogs are tend to fiercely defend their territory and prevent new pets, especially if they are less socialized. Cats, despite their smaller size, do not give up and also have a tendency to defend their territory. Cats are often independent by nature and can simply ignore a dog. But dogs usually do not pass through cats calmly. In result, many animal lovers who raise a cat and such an active dog like Australian Shepherd, have a hard time finding a way to turn them into friends.

To get a better idea of how Australian Shepherds interact with a cat in the same household, we asked 40 people to fill in a survey and here are results:

Do Your Australian Shepherd Get Along With Cat?

Survey results: How well does your Australian Shepherd get along with your cat?

  • 48 % of Australian Shepherd get along very good – spend time together, plays and so on
  • 30 % of Australian Shepherd get along good – not the best friends, usually don‘t disturb each other
  • 22 % of Australian Shepherd don‘t get along – never ending chasing of each other

To summarize this survey, there is about 78 % change that your Australian Shepherd will have good relationship with your cat. The other side, when Aussie and the cat don‘t get along at all, most likely never got a proper introduction to each other.

Another quite common problem is a big age difference between dog and cat. At different ages, animals have different energy levels. For example, if you have an old cat, and now you are planning to get a puppy Australian Shepherd. In this case, your cat most likely want to spend most of the time in her own space. And young dog who wants to know the world, for sure will try to know his household, which for cat could look as an attempt to get into their space.

6 Steps to Introduce Australian Shepherd to a Cat

Before their first meet, one of the most important thing is to take care of safety. Dogs can get very excited when they see a cat, so it can take some time for them to become friends! The right time to introduce your cat to new puppy is when he or she gets used to it and feels comfortable in the new home. You need to be patient and give your cat some time to get used to the new resident, especially if the cat has never experienced living together with a dog. It is totally normal for a cat to react to a new dog by hissing, tearing or trying to escape and hide.

1 step: the first time you bring your puppy Aussie home, try to keep him in a separate room. It is important that both animals smell and hear each other, but do not see. This will allow puppy to get to know the new environment and the old resident should be safe in their space.

2 step: take an old towel or t-shirt and wrap a new pet. Then take a towel or t-shirt to the old pet‘s room and leave it next to him. He should start sniffing and smell the new animal to which he will gradually get used to.

3 step: the process described above should take up to couple hours. Then swap the animals and move them to the previous room. Now do the same process with the old pet, wrap him into a towel or a t-shirt. Then leave it next to new pet in a separate room.

4 step: at this stage both pets will have a chance to get closer each other and make friendly contact. Keep both pets on different sides of the same door. Put some food or toys for both of them behind the door. As they enjoy their food or play-time, they will hear and smell that another animal is nearby. This will create a positive atmosphere between them.

5 step: when you notice that the animals no longer show interest in each other and no longer try to smell each other through the bottom of the door, then it is the right time to move on to the next step. At this stage both animals should see each other, but should be separated through a barrier or glass wall. Initially, tensions may arise between pets, which should gradually subside.

6 step: once the animals have calmed down, make sure to repeat this process more often. If you see them getting more and more accustomed to each other, it is time to speed up the process. For example, you can bring both pets to the same room. Hold the dog by the leash and sit on the couch yourself. The cat will be able to approach the dog calmly, at its own pace. Dogs usually start barking when they notice a new animal in their area, hoping to scare it. If your Aussie becomes aggressive and wants to attack the cat, discipline him by spraying with a little water. The key is to prevent the dog from developing the habit of attacking and following the cat. And the cat must feel calm so that the dog does not attack or irritate her. If a dog starts barking at a cat, you need to get him used to obeying the command „NO“ and letting him know that cat is also resident of this house.

Friendship between cat and Australian Shepherd can be hampered by different behavioral traits in these animals. Cats are naturally not so much attached by either human or other animals, especially dogs. Therefore, try to keep them together as often as possible.

Take time each evening for activities and games with both pets together. As long as the pets are playing under your care, you can be sure there will be no conflict between them.

Signs That Your Cat Does Not Like a Dog

Cats are creatures of habit, they don‘t like any changes in their life. You probably experienced that if you moved to another house or a newborn appeared in the family. The same situation is if new pet has appeared in the same household.

What are the signs that your cat does not like your new puppy?

  1. If you noticed that whenever your cat meets a dog and her tail is a low hanging – that is not a good sign. Tail should be horizontal.
  2. They are trying to bite or hiss at dog.
  3. They keep hiding or running to other room, even when they met a lot of times

If you noticed these signs of aggression, would be better to slow things down and maybe slowly start the introduction process again. Make sure your Australian Shepherd follows your commands and acts gentle with the cat. Gradually the cat will notice that dog does not want to hurt her and she should not be afraid.

Main Mistakes Owners Make When Training Their Dogs

One of the main mistakes made by dog owners during trainings is too much emotions. It is not good to train with excessive energy, especially in a high mood or laughing for joy. An overly energetic dog will not be able to concentrate on learning.

Australian Shepherd breed is particularly distinguished by its close relationship with owner, so it is better to postpone trainings if you are angry, upset or just not in the right mood. Otherwise your intimidated dog will look at the training lessons as an inquisition. If your dog starts to play around, don‘t start to get angry, better let him calm down and try again after a while. When dog is doing something right – calmly praise him and move on.

Just remember that consistency is the key, so sooner or later your dog will learn what are the rules of your house so act calmly!

Final Thoughts

To train Australian Shepherd to live friendly with cat is like teaching him any other command. It could require some time and patience, but Aussies are curious dogs, they like attention and to satisfy their owners. These instincts make this training process a lot easier.

However, if after many such trainings the dog do not agree, you can always contact a professional behavior specialist.

Related Questions

Are Miniature Australian Shepherds Good With Cats? Miniature Australian Shepherd character is the same as standard. With a proper trainings and dedication from his owner, dog will learn that he needs to be friendly with all residents at the house.

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