Cats and dogs have a reputation of being natural enemies, yet you must have seen and heard stories of owners who have managed to raise both dogs and cats together and now live most peacefully.
But the real question is:
Are Australian Cattle Dogs (Blue Heelers) good with cats?
As a general rule of thumb, the secret to letting dogs and cats live in harmony is to let them thrive together and get them both to have a sense of belonging to each other.
However, if you are dealing with adult cats and dogs here, it may not be the easiest way to help them get along, but it’s surely not impossible.
Here’s a complete guide to help answer all of the swarming questions in your mind and ensure you leave the page armed with just the right techniques for your Blue Heeler to get along with cats.
Are Australian Cattle Dogs Good With Cats?
So let’s be honest here.
You can’t just adopt a cat and let your Australian Cattle Dog get along with it, small animals can trigger the prey drive in your ACD which could lead to injury.
The silver lining is, Blue Heelers are highly intelligent dog breeds which makes it effortless for you to train them and let them behave according to what you want.
The same applies to cats.
Regardless of how well you train your Blue Heeler, you can expect the unexpected and prepare for a fight if your cat teases the dog.
This means you need to consider both sides and ensure that they both live in harmony and make them eager to learn more despite the age of your pets.
How Do I Introduce My Australian Cattle Dog To A Cat?
Cats can get along well with Australian Cattle dogs as long as they have been brought up together.
If your Australian Cattle dog is still a puppy, it can be a great opportunity for you to introduce him to cats and build that ever-needed initial bonding to help them have a better relationship as they grow up.
At first, it is better that you set realistic goals and expect them to dislike each other in the first few meetings.
However, this can vary with the type of cat you currently have and their temperature, as Australian Cattle dogs are peaceful unless triggered by other aggressive animals.
If your dog has successfully lived with cats in the past, chances are, they have already familiarized themselves with cats.
The introduction that you will do this time will be slightly different from introducing them to cats in general.
Pay Attention To The Body Language
Here, the body language of both of these animals plays a key role in determining how they feel about each other.
For example, if the cat’s ears are pinned back, and it’s moving its tail from left to right, this could indicate that it’s happy with the meetup.
However, it is the dog that you need to pay close attention to.
It is not very uncommon for dogs to behave nicely in front of you and prey on the cat in your absence.
However, there are certain things that their body language can give away to help you take the right action before this could lead to a mishap in your absence.
This means pay attention to the way your Blue Heeler looks at the cat.
They have a strong prey drive, so they are likely to become focused on the cat and chase it around the house.
It is okay if your dog is paying attention to the cat, it is bound to happen, but if he has his eyes fixated on the cat, that may be something to be concerned about.
3 Methods To Introduce Your Australain Cattle Dog To Your Cat
To avoid that, here are some of the ways you can introduce your dog to your cat effectively.
1. Face To Face
This is the most straightforward way to introduce your pets. This is the method where you let the dog and cat stay loose and observe their behavior.
Bear in mind; one person should always be nearby and try to say commands and notice whether the dog is responsive.
If the cat is not hissing the dog or can easily move around the dog, this can be a positive indication and can help you move further with the training.
Coming to the dog, try to ask your dog to sit or ignore the cat; if he successfully obeys your command, the cat is surely safe.
However, if your dog fails to obey your command and has stiff body language in front of the cat, then take him away and go for the other options mentioned in this guide.
2. Take It Slow
If you noticed your dog’s eyes fixated on your cat, it’s time you try desensitization for both.
This is where you make your dog get used to your cat’s presence by increasing its exposure in front of him.
A big part about making Australian Cattle dogs aggressive towards cats is when you favor or replace your dog’s place with them.
Therefore, always try to treat a cat as a part of your family, all while making sure you are not giving it your dog’s food, bed, nor divert your attention from the dog to the cat.
This will worsen the situation and can make your dog aggressive towards your cat.
3. Look At That
If you cannot get your pets to treat each other well, this method is your savior.
For this to work, you first need to find out the trigger point of your dog to help you get an idea of what your dog is okay with.
For instance, if you notice your dog start to bark or chase your cat 5 feet in distance, this means you need to conduct this training at least 7 feet away from the cat.
Every time your dog stares too long at the cat and doesn’t listen to your commands, give him a treat and divert his attention.
Make him ignore the cat and reward him if he successfully listens to you throughout the day.
You can then gradually get him slightly closer to the cat and offer a treat every time he goes through the process calmly.
If you currently don’t have treats, simply saying commands like “yes or no” can work just fine.
This will help your Blue Heeler to understand that a cat is not an enemy, and they will likely remain normal behind your back as well.
Do Australian Cattle Dogs Get Jealous Of Cats?
Dogs are the easiest to get jealous of. They are jealous of not just cats but any other animal or person in general.
If they notice their owners ignoring them for a few hours and pet another animal, you can expect your dog to act out and show aggressive behavior to gain your attention.
You can get an idea if your dog is jealous when they start to whine as you pet your cat.
In these situations, you need to be mindful and keep all your pets equally to eliminate any resentment and jealousy.
You can do this by:
Avoid changing your dog’s routine:
Dogs hate it when you switch up their routines.
This makes them feel as though you are favoring other pets or people over them.
Try to maintain the same schedule for their food, give food in the same bowl and take them out for frequent breaks.
Appreciate your dogs so they can feel relaxed and safe in the presence of cats
Avoid giving too much attention to cats in front of them
Why Is My Australian Cattle Dog Barking At My Cat?
If your dog is barking at your cat, this could be the biggest indication that your cat is not safe around dogs.
Along with barking, dogs will also have a stiff body and have their eyes fixed on the cat as a way to show their prey instincts.
Here, the best way to eliminate that is to reward them every time your dog does a great job ignoring the cat.
If he has his eyes on the cat and looks away on your command, immediately present him a treat to appreciate his good behavior.
Besides, equipping your dog with the right training can also help you control when he’s barking at your cat.
This can be done by teaching your puppy “speak” and “quiet” commands in specific places.
How Do I Stop My Australian Cattle Dog From Chasing My Cat?
If you have both a cat and dog in your house, you can frequently expect some real chasing action.
However, with proper training and behavior control, you can easily put this situation under control and make your dog obey you in no time.
As soon as you see your dog lunging to chase the cat, redirect his attention to his favorite toy or treat to stop at the exact moment.
Another thing you can do is to have a longer leash for your dog to work with and always make sure your cat has a routine in the house.
This can be done by placing cat condos, cat trees, and cat shelves where the cat can feel safe in your absence.
But above all of this, giving your dog training can also prove to be the best solution to end all the chasing and help your paw friend build a positive relationship with the cat.
How Long Does It Take For A Cat To Get Used To A Dog?
This truly depends on the cat you have. As for Australian Cattle dogs, they are intelligent dog breeds always on the run to please their owners.
If they both treat each other the right way, it will take no longer than a few months for them to get along.
On the other hand, if you notice the cat and dog in the same room and completely ignore each other, this can be your first step towards success.
Don’t expect them to be BFFs at once; if you have adult pets, it may take longer than usual, say a few years, for them to have a good connection.
But, before that, make sure you are always there to control the situation in case your dog acts out and starts to chase the cat around.
Remember, before you begin the introduction process, make sure your dog is ready with the basic training, and your kitty is at least trained to get the litter box right.
Another thing you can do to speed up the process is to avoid favoring them in front of each other.
For example, give food at the opposite sides of the door and ensure you keep your cat in check while you are rigorously training your dog to be on his best behavior.
Remember, dogs can always feel it when you are prioritizing someone over them.
This way, you will ensure that you don’t spoil your cat nor take your dog’s good behavior for granted.
As you have come to the end of the guide, everything boils down to square one:
Are Australian Cattle Dogs (Blue Heelers) good with cats?
In simple words, they aren’t unless you train them to be nice to them.
However, if we talk about the cats in the neighborhood, you can expect your dog to chase them around and get complaints coming up to you.
Therefore, whether you own a cat or not, always make sure your dog is well trained to control his prey instincts on your demand and be friendly enough to accept other animals.
Once you are done with that, you can rest assured of a smooth experience with your dogs and cats.
Tell me how it goes!