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Do Australian Shepherds Get Along With Cats?

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After their last Australian Shepherd passed away, Alene Husson and her husband Gerry decided to get a cat because they're much easier to care for. However, the New York couple soon found that the cat just didn't fulfill the need for a dog, albeit it was wonderful. So they decided to get another Australian Shepherd they would name Bleu. When the couple carefully introduced Bleu to their cat named Nikita, the two animals bonded almost instantly.

"I know that's very unusual," Husson tells News Week in an interview, adding, "I think the fact the cat had grown up with another dog when they were both little made a difference." Plus the fact that Bleu was introduced to Nikita as a puppy. Nikita the cat and Bleu the Australian Shepherd have been best buddies since then, wrestling, playing, and cuddling the day away together.

Nikita the cat and Bleu the Australian Shepherd
Nikita the cat and Bleu the Australian Shepherd

Now, there are cat people and there are dog people. But what about people who love both? Can you have a cat and an Australian Shepherd dog in your household? Will the Australian Shepherd get along with the cat? Rest assured, an Australian Shepherd and a cat can become the best of friends. Or, they can learn to coexist peacefully at least. If you already own a cat and are looking to add an Australian Shepherd or the other way around, I would suggest getting them when they are young.

Australian Shepherds' Behavior Around Other Animals

Australian Shepherds, otherwise known as Aussies, are members of the herding group. As such, they possess a strong instinct to herd anything that moves. This includes other household pets, such as cats, as well as their owner and children. Aussies herd by instinctively nipping at the heels of and circling livestock. Some felines might find this instinctual behavior too annoying to tolerate. However, keep in mind that this is a generalization and each Australian Shepherd is different. Moreover, some Aussies are bred to herd while others are bred for pets or show.

If you are planning to add an Aussie to your cat, I would advise not getting it from the working or herding line.

Your Aussie can live peacefully with a cat if it is socialized as a puppy and is trained to leave the cat alone. Aussies are very trainable and teaching them a "leave it" cue and a strong "stay" can help keep the peace. Slow introductions will also help. However, while you are at it, make sure your feline always has an escape route. Until you are positive they won’t have issues, never leave your new Australian Shepherd alone with your cat at home.

A factor that will also come into play is the individual personality of both the Aussie and the cat. For instance, if your cat is a senior that likes to be left alone, it might not mix well with an energetic Aussie puppy. However, if you already have an Aussie and looking to add a cat, here are the top 10 cat breeds that get along with dogs:
  1. Abyssinian Cat
  2. American Shorthair
  3. Birman
  4. Bombay Cat
  5. Japanese Bobtail
  6. Maine Coon
  7. Norwegian Forest Cat
  8. Ragdoll
  9. Siberian Cat
  10. Tonkinese Cat
These cat breeds are known for their friendly, gentle, and easy-going nature. As such, they are notoriously suited for a puppy’s love and energy. So if you already have an Aussie and are considering adding a cat, choosing the right breed will go a long way toward a harmonious relationship.

Videos of Australian Shepherds and Cats


This adorable video shows an Australian shepherd puppy and a rescue cat becoming the best of friends.


This is Ellie, the blue merle Australian Shepherd who loves playing the household cat. But sadly the feline just can't figure out how to play together with the dog.


This video shows an Australian Shepherd meeting a cat for the first time.


In this adorable video, a cat is seen helping two Australian Shepherds.

Conclusion

Australian Shepherds are normally not aggressive towards cats and can be very tolerant and live well with them. However, your Aussie will likely harass your cat by chasing it or attempting to herd or play with it. Surveys show that Aussies indeed do get along with cats. And if an Aussie isn't as readily accepting, it will at least tolerate the cat. 

Nevertheless, some Australian Shepherds will actively dislike cats or be scared of them. If you already own a cat, it is advisable to get it an Aussie puppy. Introducing an adult Aussie that hasn’t had prior experience with cats can be challenging. If you already own an Aussie, it is advisable to get it a cat breed that is known to get along with dogs.

Remember, every Australian Shepherd has a unique personality and so does every cat. As a result, introducing them slowly and carefully is crucial to ensure a positive outcome.

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