As most of us can agree, there are no better pets than cats and dogs. They are furry, cuddly, and adorable and big enough for us to hug and play with. Moreover, they are the only pets who are so much like humans, ultimately making them our favorite pets. Additionally, some of us call ourselves cat people while others are dog people. Some are both. The latter ones often choose to have both a cat and a dog at home, which can cause some friction due to the animals’ differing temperaments. You might worry about this especially if you own a German Shepherd as these dogs tend to be bold and establish their own rules. So, this begs the question, “Are German Shepherds good with cats?”
Yes, German Shepherds can be good with cats of all breeds. Generally speaking, German Shepherds are instinctively curious and can be suspicious of cats, but with proper training, both of your pets can get along just fine. There is a number of ways you can approach teaching your two pets to get along. After a while, your cat and dog may even become best friends!
However, no matter how peaceful your German Shepherd might be, it is important to be aware that some dogs and cats require more preparation and training in order to get along.
How To Train Your German Shepherd To Get Along With Cats
Generally, all German Shepherds should have proper training prior to meeting any cat. As a result, it is always best to make sure that you start the training with a German Shepherd puppy since they are easier to teach. However, if you adopted your dog later, don’t worry – there is always a way to train all dogs, but you may need the help of a professional trainer.
When training your German Shepherd to be on his good behavior when meeting the cat for the first time, it is important that your dog knows how to sit down on command and stay still. This will ensure that, in case something was to happen, your dog will listen to you and remain seated until you move the cat someplace safe. What’s more, German Shepherds should be calm and relaxed before meeting the cat as any negative emotions might cause the dog to be overly cautious and angry.
Furthermore, there is no special training that you can subject your German Shepherd to. Therefore, it is important to use your best judgement and use the best combination of tricks and approaches that will suit both the specific dog and cat.
Age Of The Dog And Cat
As a rule, puppy German Shepherd will have an easier time to acclimate to a cat. The same goes for a cat – the younger it is, the easier the socialization will be. Puppies and kittens are curious and easy-going, which makes them in perfect age to be introduced to each other. Hence, if you have the option, make sure that you either get a German Shepherd puppy or a small kitten to ensure a smooth transition.
However, if you already have an older pet, do not fret! Even if your furry friend is a little older, it does not mean that the dog will not be able to be around cats and vice versa. There are just a few more steps to take in order to make sure that your older pet feels comfortable and not as if he is being replaced.
The Personality Of The Dog
German Shepherds are herding dogs with a prey and hunting drive. This means that they not only need lots of physical activity but also require lots of space. As a result, many German Shepherds are free-spirited and quite energetic. This can come in handy when introducing your dog to a cat since cats enjoy being playful as well. This, in turn, can turn your pets into instant friends.
Furthermore, German Shepherd, just like many dogs, relies on its instinct – meaning that your canine friend will instantly know that the cat is in the house. Hence, if your dog is rather energetic and prone to reacting rather quickly, it might be best to take some additional steps before introducing it to the cat. For instance, you can higher a dog trainer to help your dog learn proper behavior before the cat arrives.
Similarly, since German Shepherds are herding dogs, their prey drive is strong and might be heightened by a small feline entering your home. Therefore, always try to react if your German Shepherd starts to chase, attack, or bite your cat. These are all signs that your German Shepherd does not feel comfortable with the new addition to the family and this should be quickly addressed to ensure the safety of both of your pets.
The Personality Of The Cat
Most cats are very timid and reserved, carefully examining every situation that they enter. Nevertheless, just like humans, felines can be bold and open to new experiences. As a result, it is very important to know the personality of your cat prior to introducing it to your GSD.
Many felines enjoy spending time alone and sleeping most of the day. As a result, they may not be very excited at the prospect of a dog living with them and sharing the same space. Hence, ensuring that you have enough space in your house or apartment is essential for your cat to have enough space to retreat if it feels like it.
What’s more, cats are very likely to want to play with your German Shepherd, once they start feeling comfortable. Cats are also known to playfully attack a dog’s wiggling tail, which can sometimes bother your dog. Hence, always make sure that you know the personalities of your two pets and adjust accordingly.
How To Introduce Your Cat And Dog
When introducing dogs to cats, it is important to follow certain directions. With time, the majority of pets will socialize with their new friend and it will seem as if they were born to be friends. However, it may require some help from you and maybe even a professional dog trainer.
Nevertheless, sometimes German Shepherds can get along with cats very well during the very first meeting. They even might act like old friends, who have been reunited after a long time. However, if you can, it is best not to risk any problems by following certain steps.
The first meeting is extremely important as it sets in the tone for the rest of the relationship. Hence, if you’re bringing a new cat home, make sure that the feline has time to adjust and find space for itself. This will help your new furry friend to feel safe and at home, which will be essential to carry on. What’s more, give the cat some food, water, and toys to make him feel comfortable. You may also scatter some treats around for extra safety.
Once letting your German Shepherd in to see the new cat, be sure to do it slowly. Scaring the cat by showing him an overexcited dog will not bring any positive effects. It is always best to limit the initial interaction to a few minutes at a time to let your pets get to know each other.
Getting Your Pets Acquainted
Once your pets have officially met, you may start prolonging the amount of time they spend together. If they seem to be okay with each other, meaning that there is no barking, excessive chasing, growling, or hissing, you may let your pets hang out together for hours – all while supervising them carefully.
One way you can ensure that your pets will get along is to reward your German Shepherd’s good behavior when approaching the cat. If your pets sniff or lick each other without any aggressive behaviors, consider giving them a treat that will make both your dog and cat feel safe and appreciated.
Another thing you can consider to get your German Shepherd to get along with your cat is to show them both equal attention. If you are only going to pet and show love to your dog, then your cat might feel rejected and become aggressive. Hence, always be sure to be affectionate to both of your pets.
Important Things To Consider
No matter what type of pet you’re trying to introduce to a German Shepherd, be sure not to force it. This will only make the pets feel threatened and unsafe and can make the pets despise one another. Hence, allow your pets to explore their surroundings freely and smell each other in order to get properly acquainted.
What’s more, never punish any of the animals for bad behavior when it comes to the introduction period. Just like any animal, German Shepherds and cats need time to adjust to their new surroundings as well as to accept their new companion. Remember that all the pets are doing is to act according to their natural instincts, meaning that it is not their fault if they sometimes misbehave.
Finally, even though your pets might start out not liking each other, don’t give up hope. Think about people: How many times have two people not liked each other and then became best friends? This is the same way that pets function. Simply allow your pets some time and let them get used to one another in a peaceful and calm matter. Most of the time, this will work and you will have two happy and friendly pets.
So, are German Shepherds good with cats? Yes, they can be. However, it is always important to take your pet’s temper and personality into consideration and adjust your training as well as approach accordingly. While some German Shepherds may not require too much convincing to accept your newest family member, others might feel threatened and use their prey drive to attack your feline friend. Hence, it’s always important to cover all your bases and take care of both of your pets. You never know, they might become best friends forever.