Do German shepherds get along with cats(6 helpful tips)
I personally enjoy the sight of a dog chasing a cat, and I’ve always wondered if German shepherds get along with cats in the same home.
After some research, I discovered that yes! German shepherds and cats get along pretty well, but with some good training and early socialization. If you own a German Shepherd dog and would like to get a cat, you should be interested in knowing if German Shepherds get along with cats and how.
What you need to know about German shepherds and cats
Dogs and cats have forever had this long-standing battle between them. I can’t say why. I guess it’s how God made them. Dogs and cats find it difficult to get along with each other, but it is not impossible because dogs and cats can actually get along with each other depending on how the owner manages them.
Coming down to breeds, not all dog breeds get along with cats. The German Shepherd Dog is a herding dog with a drive, excitement, or motivation to hunt or go after an object (prey drive). Its main instincts are to protect and pursue. Sometimes they don’t mean any harm, but to the object they’re chasing, it could be very scary, while to you and your GSD it could even be fun. This doesn’t necessarily mean your dog will chase everything all the time, especially cats.
Cats are the opposite of the German shepherd dogs, except when it comes to rats, then they become the predators. Like humans, some cats are timid and reserved, and some are more bold and extroverted, but when it comes to new environments, cats tend to approach with extreme vigilance and more lack of interest than dogs, so keep this in mind when introducing your new cat to your German shepherd. Still wondering if German shepherds get along with cats? The answer is yes, they can be good with cats, but it largely depends on that particular German shepherd.
Socializing a German Shepherd Puppy
The term “socializing” simply refers to teaching and instructing on how to interact with people and objects in the environment. a German shepherd puppy is fundamental to the process of bringing together German shepherds and cats. Without socializing, you’re sure to get a growling mess of a dog, resulting in difficulty to make german shepherds get along with cats and the process of German shepherd socialization begins right from birth.
Experts have reached the conclusion that the socialization bracket for puppies begins and closes at around 15 weeks. But working breeds such as the German Shepherd need more time and careful introductions to new people and places until 2-3 years of age because they tend to grow larger and with stronger personalities. According to the AMERICAN KENNEL CLUB, GSDs are open to learning how to socialize between 1-3 months.
The best way to socialize a German shepherd puppy is to introduce them to many different experiences as early as possible. In this case, introduce them to cat smells, cat situations, and the environment so they can see cats as friendly and not threats. Do not try to rely on the lovely nature of GSDs to make your German shepherd get along with cats.
Introducing a German Shepherd puppy to a kitten
Introducing a German shepherd to a cat isn’t necessarily difficult. It is easier and more important to introduce a German shepherd puppy to a cat than to a bigger dog. That could be dangerous because no matter how socialized you think your dog is, it is not safe for the cat. A German shepherd is less scared in the first 3 months of his life, is more eager to see life, and has more acceptance of the new situations around him, so having a cat with a German shepherd is very easy at this stage.
Here are more tips on how to introduce your German shepherd puppy to your kitten:
1) A Separate Area for Both
Before bringing your two curious cuties into your home, you should make sure to prepare separate spaces in the home for them where they can feel safe. This is important. These spaces could be side by side in a crib but separated with a pet door or glass. Make sure they have their own toys, food and water dishes, and when they eat or drink they can visibly see or smell each other. This promotes a sense of familiarity between the two just until the German shepherd is trained (socialized) or just so they have where to go if things get too heated or too much.
2) Scent Training/Swapping
For their first meeting, you’ll want the German shepherd and cat to get familiar with their scents, so simply take two fresh clothes and rub them on both pets. Take the dog’s clothe to the cat, and take the cat’s clothe to the dog. Allow them to find these clothes on their own, and then monitor their reactions. Too much excitement or disinterest? Whatever it is, make sure to take note. Do this from time to time till they’re both calm about the scent of the clothes.
Yes, the pets have seen each other, but only through the glass or pet gate. Bring them out together, but make sure there’s a little distance between them. They could be on either side of the room. Do this a few times till the pets are accustomed to seeing each other. When they behave, give both pets treats, and take them back to their safe place, where they’ll continue to see and smell each other. This is to promote familiarity.
4) In-person meetings
The final part we’ve all been waiting for!! It’s time to find out if your German Shepherd is going to get along with your kitten. Here, both pets get to meet and smell each other at close range without any glass or doors but make sure your puppy is on a leash and has learned to do the “sit, stand, and leave it” command. If not, it’s not ready. Start with a smaller leash, and when the German Shepherd behaves and the cat becomes comfortable, you increase the leash little by little.
Also, make efforts to teach your cat how to remain as calm as possible, because when it runs, your puppy will chase it based on instincts. Do not forget to incorporate treats for good behavior.
Factors to consider when bringing German shepherds and cats together (why do german shepherds not like cats):
Aside from the instinct to chase and prey drive nature of the german shepherds, they do not necessarily hate cats, but these are just some of the factors one must consider when trying to make german shepherds get along with cats.
German Shepherds get along with cats better if they get basic training together. The age of your pets matters, so it is advisable to get a German Shepherd puppy and a kitten rather than an older dog. Both are likely curious and ready to play, plus they’re not yet scared of each other.
You have to consider the personalities of both the German shepherd and the cat, and also how sociable the pets are, and also their level of exposure to the other animal, just in case you’re introducing pets with an age difference. If you know your GSD is aggressive around strangers or other animals, bringing it home to the cat will not be a good option. Likewise, cats that are very skittish and reserved probably won’t feel at home around your dog, whether your GSD behaves wonderfully or not.
The spaying or neutering factor:
A GSD that has been neutered or spayed would be less interested in showing dominance to a cat than one that hasn’t, this would largely affect how well german shepherds get along with cats.
6 tips to help your German Shepherd and cat get along.
You could make use some of these helpful tips to also get your german shepherd get along with your cat.
- German shepherds respond very well to encouragement and praise, so don’t be stingy with giving treats when need be, check out Best Homemade Organic Dog Treats – Your Dog Will Love You
- Do not yell or punish the dog when it chases or lounges; it’s only acting on instinct. Instead, hold back its treats.
- German Shepherds are usually very jealous dogs, so if they see you spending more time with the cat, they can get irritable. So give them lots of time and attention.
- Ensure they both have their own separate space to go back to when they need to get away from each other.
- If you’ve spent a considerable amount of time trying to make German shepherds get along with cats, and it seems difficult, you could introduce them to a trainer.
- If you’ve made some progress before, and the pets start reacting badly to each other, you could just move back to the previous stage.
Final thoughts: Do German Shepherds get along with cats?
Well, yes, German Shepherds get along with cats, but not all GSD’s do so because they are not guaranteed to do so. To achieve this, you, as the pet owner, will have to consider some of the above factors like temperament and age, and then do some proper training and socialization for both pets, and do not forget to give it time, don’t rush it!!.