It has been a myth between dog owners and a legend that dogs and cats always have to be enemies or that dogs still kill cats or destroy their bones. While this is true among some breeds like Pitbull, it is not a habit of dogs to kill cats. Dogs are known to be more kind than cats (every owner who had both animals will say the same). And I have a dog and a cat living together as if they were of the same litter. And believe it or not, German Shepherds and cats are known to get along very well. Even though the fact that German Shepherds are guard dogs and have sharp teeth.
“To achieve the pleasure of having a German Shepherd and a cat living together with no issues is pretty simple. It only requires small steps, like making sure to train them and act out the scene before getting them together. You can do this by visiting a friend with a cat to make sure your dog is ready to live with a new cat.”
How Can a Guard Dog Live With a Cat?
Before we get into this post, we have to know some facts about German Shepherds.
While German Shepherds are known to be the most popular dogs worldwide, not many people know the character of these dogs. German Shepherds are known to be highly disciplined dogs with sharp teeth and one of the most muscular bodies of all time. They are known to be excellent hunters and ready to rip off any enemy in a matter of seconds. They are trained in armies to break into buildings and jump from very high hight and continue to chase their PREY.
After all, they are also known to be the KINDEST dogs around, weird? No, any German Shepherd owner will tell you that this breed is the best. It is a perfect mix of kindness and toughness.
While they have very high prey instincts that they always chase any fast-moving object that they can chase cats. They are also known to live with cats with no issues, depending on how they were brought up. For example, if a German Shepherd was brought up to destroy any PREY, then he will likely never let a cat alive. However, if a German Shepherd is brought up to be a playful dog with the ability to scare strangers, then he will never damage any cat. German Shepherds are known to be one of the most dogs that can control themselves, and that’s why they are lovely.
How to Introduce a Cat to a German Shepherd
I always love to have the cat older than the dog, not the opposite. At least, if a cat is older than a dog, it can run very fast to escape any potential threats. If the cat was very young and you had an old muscular German Shepherd, they can be well together. However, it can be dangerous and threating for the cat.
We can’t know how your dog will react with the cat. But you can have an overview of what will happen if you followed those steps:
- Try to go to an area where there are many stray cats with your dog. Look at your dog’s expressions, does he growl? Bark? Is he excited that he wants to play with them? Or he wants a chance to get them in his mouth? If he succeeded in this test and didn’t show any signs of potential aggression problems that I would work on the next step.
- Visit a friend with a cat: Please, before proceeding to this dangerous step, make sure of two things:
- Your friend’s cat is OK around dogs: We want to test the dog to see what he does with a typical cat, not with aggressive or a fearful cat that will make his adrenaline levels reach the sky.
- Your dog is on a leash and preferably a muzzle: Don’t misunderstand, I am not with this. However, you will feel terrible if your dog ate your friend’s cat. Take all the safety measurements to make sure that your dog is OK and nice around cats! And will never hurt one.
- Leave the dog alone wearing the muzzle with the cat: Try to leave the dog and cat alone and stand behind the door to enter the room in a second if you heard any weird thing. If you found that your dog didn’t hurt the cat at all, then congrats! You can buy a cat for your dog.
So, the above steps are for people who want to buy a cat for a full-grown German Shepherd. Let’s look at the opposite side.
How to Introduce a German Shepherd to a Cat
If you have a full-grown cat, it will be pretty easy, actually. Because even if cats are aggressive towards dogs, they won’t be able to eat them. It’s much easier to introduce the dog to the cat if you bought a young dog, the dog will grow up with the cat and become the cat’s best friend. That’s the reason I prefer this option as it guarantees that your dog will be OK around a cat 100% of the time.
Warning Signs Your German Sheperd Might Give
Great, you have introduced your dog to a cat. However, as we said. German Shepherds are sweet but hunters, so in the first couple of months, you have to keep a close look at the relationship between your dog and your cat. Generally, you should take the situation seriously if one of these things happened:
- You noticed your dog growls whenever the cat tries to play with him.
- The dog keeps showing his teeth at the cat.
- The dog has resource guarding problems: I will explain this in a second
If you noticed any of the above signs, then it’s probably best to separate the German Shepherd and the cat from each other. There is a probability that they won’t be OK with each other again.
Resource Guarding Problem in German Shepherds
A lot of German Shepherds or dogs, in general, suffer from resource guarding. If you don’t know what it is. Naturally, it is the dog trying to safeguard his resources (food, toys, bed, etc.)
Resource guarding is a severe problem that leads to dangerous behaviors like:
- Food Aggression: Growling or trying to bite any person or animal that comes near to his food.
- Toy Aggression: Refuses to let go of his toys.
- Keeping food safe: You will notice that sometimes your dog takes the food and burry it somewhere away from the eyes of any person or animal.
- Intolerance of any person/animal sleeping over his bed.
While we can’t know the exact reason that develops resource guarding in dogs, we know that resource guarding can happen due to a variety of reasons:
- Separation Anxiety: Yes, the same. This little problem is a beast that causes bunches of many issues, including but not limited to resource guarding and potty training issues.
- Not given enough food: If you noticed that your dog tries to keep his food safe, please increase the quantity of his food. If it worked, then this issue is because he is hungry. Also, increase the number of his meals because if you give your dog one meal/day, he will likely keep his food to be eaten at night as he would be hungry.
- Just not well trained: It happens, you need to retrain him.
While it’s effortless to correct this problem at younger dogs, this issue becomes harder if your dog grows up. So I recommend adjusting it at the moment of seeing it. Oh, and by the way, you can leave a comment with your problem, and we will answer it right away!
German Shepherds and Cats and Dealing with Resource Guarding:
I prefer to remove the cat from the house and give it to a friend until the dog corrects this behavior. Resource guarding is a threatening problem, especially with hunters like German Shepherds. So I prefer to remove the cat, rehab the dog, and return the cat to avoid any potential damages.
German Shepherds That Don’t Like Cats:
Sometimes, German Shepherds won’t like cats for no reason. They find the cats to be small creatures and will try to bark at them or bite them whenever they see a chance. If this is your situation, then I prefer not to keep them together. However, you can try your dog to love it by using the following steps:
- Separate them from each other permanently: The first and foremost step, you have to make sure that no one can reach the other until you resolve this problem.
- Make sure the cat isn’t hitting the dog: We have to persuade the dog to be OK with the cat. So, it’s better to make sure that the cat can help us. If the cat tries to poke the dog from to time, then it’s best to correct the cat’s behavior first. Because this will not give a reason for the dog to love the cat.
- Start putting bars between them: Now, I am sorry to tell you that you have to make some changes to the decor of your house. You will put baby gates or bars to make sure that the dog can’t reach the cat and start leaving them to stare at each other.
- Give a treat for each one of them EQUALLY: So, whenever you find the dog quiet and not barking, give him a lovely treat. However, you should never ignore your cat, and you should give it a treat too! Otherwise, she will be jealous. Try to spend as many treats as possible!
- Start putting a muzzle onto your dog and remove the bars gradually: Make sure that this lasts for only 30-45 minutes daily. We certainly don’t want the dog to be muzzled all day and remember to give him treats whenever you find him quiet and not trying to harm the cat. Remember, treats are always the key to good behaviors.
- NEVER TAKE AN EARLY MOVEMENT: If you found your dog OK around the cat, it doesn’t mean you should leave them together right away. As your dog may be OK only because of the muzzles, so you still have to take as many precautions as possible
- Start removing the muzzle and staying with them: Now grab the treats and let them together in your presence and be ready to jump right between them if something happened. If you found your dog is OK, then give as many treats as possible!
- Start leaving the cat and the dog alone: Step out of the room and leave the cat and the dog alone. Make sure that the place is easily accessible that you can run into it in seconds if needed.
After that, you should have your German Shepherd and your cat going well together with 0 issues.
Why Do We Raise Dogs and Cats Together?
The reasons may vary, the most popular ones are obviously that we love both! And we want to have a beautiful life with both of them and by the way, you will find that most of the time the cat is stronger than the dog and terrifies him.
Another reason is to have a companion for your dog/cat. I wanted to buy another cat or dog for Kira because I am so busy that I am not able to spend time with her as much time as possible. So if I bought another dog or cat for her, she will probably spend more time with the cat that can make her very happy. HOWEVER, buying another dog/cat needs more care, time and effort from your side too and will need more training. So you should search well before proceeding to this step 😉
When Shouldn’t I Have German Shepherds and Cats Together?
While we have discussed that growing up German Shepherds and cats together can lead to a funny life where both of them will stimulate each other. However, I strongly recommend to not get both together if you’re a new owner. If you have never raised a cat or a dog and this is your first time to raise each of them, then how can you help them pass through a severe stage that requires an expert to deal with them? Especially that you are buying a very disciplined and muscular dog that can become a stiff weapon if not appropriately trained.
Wait a little bit until you become entirely comfortable around your dog and thoroughly familiar with all the doggy traits then you can think about getting a cat. Remember, after all, they’re creatures that require love and care. And by the way, you can find the traits of cats here.
Raising a German Shepherd with a cat isn’t for new or beginner owners. It is a subject that requires more knowledge and more familiarity with the traits and behaviors of both. While I provided solutions to most of the problems that you will face, I still recommend being somehow an expert before taking any step that can affect the life of any creature. After all, you want to have a happy life not a life of fear and pressure.
If you want to raise a dog and cat together badly, then I’d recommend raising a playful dog like Labrador where you can feel safe with him being around the cat, you can view our article about Labs and Cats together to know more. Meanwhile, if you have any questions about any subject, let us know in the comments and we will offer free help for you all!