Are Australian Shepherds Good With Cats? (Veterinarian weighs in)


Do you have an Australian Shepherd and looking at also getting a cat? Or you may be looking at a breed of dog that will also get along with your cat. Australian Shepherds are a very popular dog breed and are very fun and loving making them a sought-after breed. While most people do not think that dogs and cats can live together peacefully, this is often a myth, and most dogs and cats will live together without any issues.

Are Australian Shepherds good with cats?

Yes, Australian Shepherds are usually great with cats. Some Australian Shepherds do not like new cats or other pets in their house and should only be one pet house.

While there is no perfect pairing without a little time and training, most Australian Shepherds will easily and quickly adapt to life with a cat.

It is always best to start introducing your Australian Shepherd to cats and other pets when they are very young. This will help them become socialized and not aggressive to any type of pet that you want.

Are Australian Shepherds Good With Cats? (Vet weighs in)

What are common Characteristics of Australian Shepherds?

Australian shepherds are a medium-sized dog that is very intelligent and loyal. This breed of dog is very high-energy and loves to play.

They were originally bred to be herding dogs and may try to herd your cat around your house. Most cats will learn to play with your Australian Shepherd and can become great friends with a little time and training.

How to introduce my Australian Shepherd to my cat?

It is always best to introduce new animals slowly. Never force your dog and cat to play together. This will never work as this can cause them to start fighting, and one of them or even you get injured. By following these few tips and tricks, your pets can learn to tolerate each other.

Have separate areas

At first, you need to have separate parts of your house where they are kept away from each other. They should be able to smell each other through a door but not see each other. As long as they are not trying to fight each other by just smelling them, you can proceed to the next step.

It is best for the first few weeks that your cat and Australian Shepherd sleeps in different parts of the house to prevent any accidents from happening.

Having these designated spaces that are off-limits to the other pet will give your cat or dog a place to retreat to when they do not want to play anymore.

Have a gait in between them

Allow your cat and Australian Shepherd to see each other and smell each other. They can put their nose through the bars of the gait and see each other.

Many times this takes a few days for your cat to stop hissing at your dog and your dog to stop barking at your cat.

Once they are accustomed to each other and not attacking each other through the gate, they can start having supervised playtime.

Allow them to play Supervised

When you first allow your Australian Shepherd and cat to start to play together, it is best to do this while under supervision. It is best to have two people at first. Each person will be in charge of watching and saving just that one pet from harm.

Most times it is best to have your Australian Shepherd on a leash. This will allow you to control your dog while they are playing. Many times your cat will run and jump on something to get out of the way if they are in danger.

Australian Shepherds Good With Cats

Some Australian Shepherds are very hyper and can scare your cat at first. They may even want to pounce on your cat to get them to play with them.

Most dogs do not realize their size and can quickly hurt your cat if they are not careful. Keeping them on a leash will help you prevent your cat from getting injured.

Allow them to Play while your home

If your Australian Shepherd and cat seem to get along with supervised playtime, they can start spending time together unsupervised while you are home.

This will allow you to see how they act when you are not directly watching them but still close enough that you can intervene if needed.

The first time it is best that your dog still has a leash attached that you and quickly grab if you need to. For the first month that they are together, it is best to not leave them at home alone together.

After a month of supervised playtime, you can start leaving them together for very short periods of time. 

Allow them to stay together while you are gone

Once your dog and cat love to play together without any issues when you are home, they should be good to be left at home alone together. Always have a safe spot that each one can get to when they do not want to play.

Many times your cat will easily be able to get away from your dog as they can jump up on a counter or high furniture to getaway.

What to do if My Australian Shepherd and Cat do not get along

Sometimes not matter how much training and supervised playtime you try, your dog and cat never will play nice together. Then it is best to keep them separated. 

Some cats will try to pounce your dog and get them to play when your Australian Shepherd may be older and not want to play.

Many times your cat and Australian Shepherd will not play together but will co-exist peacefully. They will not bother each other and will stay in the same house without really ever interacting much. This is normal for most dogs and cats living together. 

Australian Shepherds Good With Cats

Frequently Asked Questions?

What breed of dog is best at playing with cats?

Almost any breed of dog can learn to play with cats. Small dogs tend to like to play with smaller cats. As your cat gets bigger than your small dog, they usually will stop playing together.

Most all large dogs love to play with cats. They can hurt small cats and kittens playing a little too rough with them. The best size dog to get to play with a cat is a medium-breed dog.

Most dogs that weigh 25 to 40 pounds are big enough to play with a fully grown cat but not too big to hurt them.

If you start your dog off as a puppy teaching them to play nice with cats, any breed of dog can learn to play well with cats.

Do Australian Shepherds good with other dogs?

Australian Shepherds are very obedient and very playful. This makes them very friendly towards other pets. Australian Shepherds tend to get along with all dogs.

They even love to play with children. This makes them a great family dog and a member of a multi-pet household.

When will My Australian Shepherd Calm down?

Australian Shepherds can be very hyper.  They will start to calm down after 2 to 3 years old. This is when they are fully an adult and no longer a teenager.

They tend to listen more and not play too rough with other pets and cats. If you have a very hyper Australian Shepherd, it may be best to wait until they have calmed down some before getting a cat for them to play with.

Final Thoughts

While some cats and Australian Shepherds never get along no matter how much training you attempt, they may always need to be kept away from each other when you are not around. Having separate rooms that they stay in will help stop any accidents from happening.

You should NEVER force them to play with each other. The best way to make sure they will get along is to get your cat and Australian Shepherd together as a puppy and kitten. This way, they will grow up with each other and learn to tolerate each other from a young age.

Usually, with a little training and patience, all pets can learn to tolerate and get along with each other.

Dr. Sara Ochoa, DVM

I am a graduate of St. George's University with a Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine. I have been practicing Veterinary Medicine for the past 5 years treating small animals and exotic animals. I own a dog, cat, rabbit, and tortoise. I have extensive knowledge treating all species of animals with a passion for surgery.

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