Australian shepherds are well known for their fun and friendly personalities. But does that same fun-loving personality translate over to cats?
After all, man’s two best friends have been notorious enemies since the dawn of history! If you have a cat and are considering adopting an Australian shepherd, you’re probably wondering how your pets will get along.
While no two dogs have the same personalities, Australian shepherds generally do well with cats because of their loyalty to both human and animal members of their family. If anything, your dog may be more afraid of your cat than your cat is afraid of your new shepherd.
If you do sense tension at first, you can take a few steps to help better acquaint your two pets.
Let’s take a closer look at the Australian shepherd and why their temperament pairs well with cats. We’ll then share a few tips to help your pets get along and advise you on how to introduce a new Australian shepherd into your home.
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Why Do Australian Shepherds Get Along With Cats?
Despite what you may have seen on television and in cartoons, not all cats and dogs hate each other.
Although they have historically not gotten along, it’s perfectly possible to raise both a cat and a dog harmoniously in the same household. It just takes the right conditions for them to become the best of friends.
When it comes to Australian shepherds, you have to understand that they are highly intelligent dogs who know better than to chase and hurt a smaller member of their family.
The only time an Australian shepherd will show unbridled aggression is if they are hurt, sick, or if there is something else wrong.
Aussies are also highly loyal dogs. If you raise them with a cat, they’ll go out of their way to protect their feline sibling and treat your pet cat as a member of the pack.
Why Might An Australian Shepherd Not Get Along With Cats?
Australian shepherds were originally bred to be farm animals, i.e., they have a TON of energy to burn.
Sometimes, a young shepherd can be a bit much for an older cat! If your shepherd wants to play, your cat may interpret this as aggression and respond accordingly.
This isn’t a great way to start a relationship between your two pets, though.
Therefore, it’s best to give your shepherd plenty of room to run, play, and burn their energy away from your cats. Otherwise, your cat will despise the new addition to the family and actively avoid it.
What About Miniature Australian Shepherds?
Compared to their larger cousins, miniature Australian shepherds are a little more laid back. They still love to play and make friends but their smaller stature makes them more appealing to house cats.
A miniature Aussie will get along with old and young felines as well as any other pets you might have.
In fact, cats can make a good house partner for your miniature Australian shepherd. Leaving these dogs alone for too long isn’t a good idea because they are prone to anxiety.
If left too long, their anxiety can translate into distress and aggression. Yet, your cat will keep your mini Aussie company and hopefully prevent any anxiety.
How To Build A Tranquil Relationship Between Your Aussie and Cats
Before you adopt an Australian shepherd, know that they are highly energetic canines.
As shepherds, they were bred to chase cows and sheep around the Australian outback. If you don’t have the space or time to exercise and train your dog, you could end up with a disobedient and destructive pet.
Therefore, you should be careful about how you first introduce a new Australian shepherd to your cat.
If possible, train your shepherd to respond to “sit” and “stay” commands before introducing the two pets. Put your shepherd on a leash and slowly bring it into the same room as your cat.
Command your shepherd to sit and stay and let the two pets sniff each other out.
Keep a tight hold on your dog and do not allow it to chase your cat, even in play. This will startle your cat and ruin any chance of developing a healthy, friendly relationship.
Over the next few interactions, keep your shepherd on a leash around your cat until they are both completely comfortable around each other. From there, your two pets should have a friendly dynamic.
Introduce Aussies and Cats At A Young Age
If you are thinking of adopting a cat and an Australian shepherd together, it’s smart to introduce them from a young age.
By raising the two together from infancy, you’ll completely avoid any of their instinctive territoriality and they will grow thinking they are siblings.
The only downside to raising a kitten and a puppy at the same time is that you’ll have to deal with both of their never-ending supply of energy. Be prepared for messes, scratched-up furniture, and late nights playing with your new friends.
5 Tips For If Your Australian Shepherd Still Doesn’t Get Along With Cats
Even if you’ve taken the steps to delicately introduce your pets, not all Australian shepherds will get along with cats. You can still help the process, though with these 5 tips:
- Reward your dog for behaving around your cat
- Play with both pets together
- Supervise their behavior
- Feed them at the same time, in the same location (different bowls though)
- Sleep with them in the same room
Over time, your Australian shepherd will become comfortable with your cat and associate it with food, comfort, play, and bedtime.
Australian shepherds are intelligent, loyal, family-friendly dogs with a ton of energy and a proclivity for making friends!
Their fun-loving personalities make them a wonderful addition to the household and, if trained properly, they’ll get along just fine with your pet cats.
The trick is to raise them from a young age to accept their feline siblings, train them to get along, and burn any excess energy your Aussie might have by playing, running, and being free.
Even if it takes time, you can raise an Australian shepherd to live harmoniously with a house cat.