Australian Shepherds are working dogs known for their intelligent nature, energy, and agility.
These dogs most often show strong affection and loyalty to their owner and family.
On the other hand, they may display aloofness and distrust to strangers, and be very cautious of them.
Australian Shepherds are usually good with any dogs in the household and are not prone to aggressive behavior toward them.
But what about pets other than their own species, like for instance cats?
Do Australian Shepherds Get Along With Cats?
The majority of Australian Shepherds get along with cats just fine as long they are properly socialized at a young age.
Aussies are very good-natured and affectionate dogs, so they are not prone to showing aggressiveness to people or animals.
Many Australian Shepherds in fact act gentle and friendly around cats and love to spend time in company of them.
They may even play with more energetic breeds of cats and romp about with them.
As well as that, Australian Shepherds are generally good behaved dogs. They learn quickly and can easily be trained to live at peace with the family cat.
However, a small amount of Australian Shepherds may not get along particularly well with cats.
Why is this?
Australian Shepherds are herding dogs, originally bred for the purpose of herding flocks of sheep.
They also have a high prey drive which could make them inclined to chase moving objects and animals.
Therefore, as a result of their instincts, they may chase after cats, just as their ancestors would have chased sheep.
Moreover, they could even nip your cat, since herding dogs often nip sheep in the hind legs to urge them on.
This sort of behavior would only annoy or frighten your cat, driving him to hide away from your Australian Shepherd.
Your Australian Shepherd dog will especially be prone to chasing your cat if he does not get enough physical activity for his breed.
An Australian Shepherd is an energetic, working dog, so he needs to get plenty of exercise daily to release all the energy that he has.
Otherwise, he may become restless and bored.
This could potentially impel him to chase after your cat as a way of finding something to do and combating boredom.
Do Mini Australian Shepherds Get Along With Cats?
Mini Australian Shepherds may get along with cats even better than their standards sized counterparts.
This is because Mini Australian Shepherds are compatible with other pets, have an exceptionally friendly disposition, and love to play.
This makes them want to make friends with other people and animals. As a result, they will act playful and good natured toward everyone.
Additionally, mini Aussies usually will not have as much of a temptation to chase other animals such as cats. This is due to their smaller size.
A bigger Australian Shepherd may view a small animal as prey or an easy target.
A mini Australian Shepherd will not be a lot bigger than a cat, so they will not be as prone to chasing after cats and other animals.
Though it is not very common, it is still possible for a Mini Australian Shepherd to not get along with a cat.
Every dog is an individual and will have a different temperament.
How Do I Introduce My Australian Shepherd To My Cat?
Ensure There Are Hiding Places Around For Your Cat
You may be unsure of how your cat will react to bringing a new dog home for the first time.
This is especially true in the case where your cat is aloof, easily frightened or startled, or if your dog acts frantic around new animals.
In this case, ensure that there are places around for your cat to hide if he feels threatened.
You could do the introduction in your living room or somewhere where your cat can jump onto the couch or on top of furniture if he feels scared or insecure.
This is also good if things don’t go so well at the first meeting, and your dog chases in pursuit of your cat or becomes too excited.
Let Your Dog And Cat Become Familiarized With Each Other Scents Before
For instance, you could exchange your dog’s and cat’s toys or blanket before the introduction.
This way they can smell each other’s scent before they meet so that they can already have a slight sense of familiarity.
This can make it easier for them to bond, as they will have already become acquainted with each other in a small way.
Scent is a vital way that animals such as dogs and cats communicate with each other.
By smelling another animal’s scent, your dog or cat can read and understand a lot of information about another individual.
Allow Your Dog To Meet And Interact With Your Cat
Allow the two animals to interact freely with each other and socialize. They may sniff one another in curiosity as they exchange information and make friendly advances.
Ensure you are always there just in case things don’t go as well as you planned, and to comfort your pets.
If your dog is overly excited or frantic, keep him on a leash and make him sit until he has settled down.
When your dog remains calm and interacts in a friendly way with your cat, and vice versa, remember to positively reinforce any such behavior.
This will help your animals recognize that friendly and peaceful socialization brings a positive outcome.
After a while, your dog and cat should be fine with each other and will have become properly acquainted.
However, it is necessary to give both your animals time, as some dogs and cats may take longer than others to bond.
How Do I Stop My Australian Shepherd From Chasing My Cat?
What if I find that even after meeting and proper socialization my Australian Shepherd still continues to chase my cat?
Chasing after animals is only an instinctive behavior that this breed is prone to displaying, and it is possible for it to occur at any time.
His instincts may especially be triggered if he sees a startled cat take off in front of him or flee in his presence.
He will be inclined to chase after it as a result. What can be done about this sort of behavior in your Australian Shepherd?
Ensure Your Australian Shepherd Gets Enough Exercise
A crucial way to discourage your Australian Shepherd from chasing your cat is to give him plenty of exercise daily.
As a result of his herding origin, this breed is very energetic, athletic. and needs to stay active.
They are also immensely intelligent dogs, that need plenty of things and work to do to stay occupied.
Some Aussies can get very hyper, bored, and restless if they are not able to release their energy.
These hard working dogs will need a minimum of an hour of physical activity every day, but more than that is even better.
As a result, they will not be as enthusiastic and interested in the prospect of chasing your cat.
Redirect His Focus Immediately
As soon as you see your Australian Shepherd begin to break off into a chase after your cat, redirect his focus immediately.
You may do this by calling your dog’s name, telling him to sit down, or shifting his attention to a toy or a piece of food.
When your Australian Shepherd obeys, reward him for his good behavior. This will tell him that you want him to leave the cat alone and focus on you instead.
Keep repeating these actions every time your Australian Shepherd begins to gain interest in chasing the cat.
Australian Shepherds have highly trainable, obedient, and fast learning abilities.
Therefore, it should not be too long before your Aussie learns to recognize that you want him to stop chasing the cat.
Negatively Reinforce Bad Behavior
If your Australian Shepherd still refuses to listen to you and continues to bother or chase the cat, negatively reinforce this behavior.
This means that your dog will face consequences after continuing to chase the cat and refusing to listen to you.
This could be that you raise your voice at your dog, telling him firmly ‘No’.
As Australian Shepherds usually want to please and obey their owner as of nature, this may discourage your dog from pursuing your cat.
However, this might not always work for every individual. Alternatively, you can slip a leash on your Australian Shepherd and put him on time out on in a separate room.
This will make him associate the act of chasing the cat with something negative.
He will realize that this behavior has the consequence of being put away in a separate room. As a result, he may not want to continue doing it.
Do this as much times as you need to for your Australian Shepherd to eventually stop chasing your cat.
How Long Does It Take For A Cat To Get Used To A Dog?
Most often it will take one or two days for your cat to get used to a dog. Nonetheless, some cats may take longer than that, as every individual is different.
Sometimes, it could even take a few weeks or months for your two animals to become accustomed with each other.
This is why patience is key, and to give your cat and dog freedom to interact with each other regularly without your interference.
It also depends on the personality and temperament of your cat. A peaceful, friendly, good natured cat will be quicker at becoming friends with your dog.
Also, a highly energetic, playful, or frisky cat may get along better with your dog.
This is because their energy and playfulness will match the temperament of the dog, making them good mates.
A shy, easily frightened, or aggressive cat may, on the other hand, take much longer before he gets used to a new dog in the home.
Additionally, if your cat displays such traits, it is important to keep an eye on him around your dog.
This will prevent any accidents from happening, and you will have control over any negative behavior displayed.
For a very insecure and distrusting cat that takes longer than one to two days to get used to a dog, start off slow.
Increase gradually the time your dog and cat spend with each other every day.
Make sure that they are in a safe space and that you reassure your cat so that he realizes he is not in any danger.
You could also try to put your dog and cat’s beds or food bowls beside each other or in the same area.
This would give them more contact with each other and they will learn to reside in each other’s company and co-exist in peace.
Conclusively, do Australian Shepherds get along with cats?
Australian Shepherds usually get along with cats and can live in perfect harmony with them. They may play or relax together.
However, there are some Australian Shepherds who do not get along with cats.
What can I do about if my Australian Shepherd tends to chase my cat?
The best solution is to exercise your Aussie regularly to release excess energy.
Whenever he chases your cat, redirect his focus on you and reward him for obeying and settling down.
If he continues, raise your voice firmly or put him alone in a room for a while. These steps can teach him that bothering the cat is not acceptable.
When introducing your new dog to a cat, allow them to socialize as much as they need to.
It will usually take one or two days before they are friends, but sometimes, this bonding process may take longer.