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German shepherds are known for being considerably loyal to their family. However, does that include other pets like cats?
The last thing you want to do is add another furry friend to your family only to see they can’t stand one another. So..
Are German Shepherds Good With Cats:
According to real german shepherd owners who also have cats, 82% of people said their dog gets along okay, or very well with cats. 18% of people said that their german shepherd doesn’t get along well with cats. The biggest factor in them getting along is introducing them when young.
In this post you’ll discover:
- What real german shepherd owners had to say about how their dog is with cats
- The only 3 reasons why german shepherds wouldn’t be good with cats
- 5 tips to ensure german shepherds are good with cats (Tip #5 is hands-down the best thing you can do!)
- And much more
Let’s jump right in.
Table of Contents
Real Owners Experiences Having Cats & A German Shepherd
The only real way to know if german shepherds are good with cats is to ask a bunch of people who own a german shepherd and also have a cat or two.
If one german shepherd is good with cats that doesn’t necessarily mean all german shepherds are good with cats.
So, I found a survey from IHeartDogs that got people to share their experience owning a german shepherd while also having cats.
In total, 355 people weighed in on the discussion of whether their german shepherd gets along with cats or not.
People had three options to choose from.
Yes, very well.
Gets along okay.
Or doesn’t get along well.
Then, they were given the opportunity to share more about why they gave the answer they did.
Here were the results:
28% of people said yes, their german shepherd gets along very well with cats.
31% of people said their german shepherd gets along okay with cats.
And 41% of people said their german shepherd doesn’t get along well with cats.
I was a little surprised with these results so I decided to survey 22 additional german shepherd owners myself (who also had cats).
I found owners in various german shepherd online communities on facebook, reddit, blog comments, etc.
Here are the results from my personal survey:
50% of people said yes, their german shepherd gets along very well with cats.
32% of people said their german shepherd gets along okay with cats.
And 18% of people said their german shepherd doesn’t get along with cats.
Which is more of what I expected to see when compared to the IHeartDogs survey results..
A few people gave detailed answers I felt were very helpful that you can find below.
General_Sort said: “I just went through it myself, adopted a cat after thanksgiving with a very playful older GSD. The first two months were really anxiety inducing but it gets better with time!
We had the cat in a separate room for the first two weeks and then allowed our dog short visits on a leash. The cat slowly took over more rooms in the house, and when she no longer ran and hid from the dog we got baby gates to corner off one room as a safe space. (This took 5 weeks)
Now, 3 months later, they play together, sleep very close to each other (but no cuddles yet) and we can leave them home alone together in the same room without any issues.”
Thin_Peanut_4178 said: “Mine loves both my cats. The one doesn’t mind her and will even try to play with her. The other doesn’t mind her from a distance but once she’s too close my little cat runs away and the dog thinks it’s a game.”
KraKing762 said: “We have the dog stay in his place and encourage the cats to be near him with treats. They’re not playful with our GSD but they managed to hang around him. It took a while but they’ve gotten use to eachother.”
My Take On The Survey Results:
I got the impression that many of the people who said their GSD doesn’t get along with cats from the IHeartDogs survey didn’t actually own a cat as well.
They mostly spoke about how their german shepherd would chase after cats outside.
And while many other people mentioned their german shepherd would chase their cats inside, it was mostly just playing and not aggressive.
All in all, according to many different german shepherd owners, german shepherds can be good with cats.
As with all breeds, they need training and socialization with cats to ensure they’re on their best behavior.
But this is more on the owners part to make sure they learn from a young age how to properly behave around cats.
The more positive experiences they have with cats the better behaved they’ll be around them.
3 Reasons Why German Shepherds Wouldn’t Be Good With Cats
If a german shepherd is introduced to cats when they’re a young puppy, there should be no reason for them not to get along with them.
However, there are some reasons why an older german shepherd wouldn’t be good with cats.
1) Never Spent Time Around Cats
If a german shepherd has never lived with or spent any meaningful amount of time around cats, it will be challenging for the two to get along.
Since they’ve never experienced a cat being a part of their family/pack, their natural prey drive will likely kick in.
And when the cat runs away, which almost always happens, it only makes them want to chase and catch them.
It’s always better to add a german shepherd puppy to your family when you already have cats.
As opposed to having an adult german shepherd then adding a kitten to your family.
Simply because they learn when they’re small that cats are friends which helps get rid of their prey drive.
Related Reading: Are German Shepherds Good Family Dogs? 472 Owners Asked
2) Bad Experience With Cats When Young
If a german shepherd had a bad experience with cats when they were young, it’s likely that this will carry over into adulthood.
This could be due to them being attacked by a cat, seeing another dog get hurt by one or maybe even simply being chased by them when they were young.
In any case, this would make for an uneasy relationship between the two.
Just like how any traumatic experience a dog faces when they’re a pup impacts how they behave around things that remind them of the traumatic event.
So if a german shepherd had a negative experience with cats when they were young, it will definitely affect their ability to accept a cat as family.
It’s not impossible, but it’ll definitely make it more challenging.
Related Reading: Are German Shepherds Aggressive? (100+ Owners Asked!)
3) Not Enough Space For Them To Separate
If you live in a small apartment it may not be the best idea to have both a german shepherd and cat.
Simply because there’s likely not enough space for the two to separate and have their own space.
Cats definitely need a place they can escape if they’re being chased or bothered by a german shepherd.
If they don’t, there’s more of a chance for them to have one or many ugly interactions.
5 Tips To Help Ensure German Shepherds Are Good With Cats
1) Give Cats a Place To Get Away
If you have a german shepherd and a cat, make sure your cat always has a place to get away.
Preferably high up where the german shepherd can’t reach.
That way they’ll feel safe and secure when they’re around the dog.
If you’re not able to give your cat their own space, or if they refuse to use it, you can also try using a baby gate to section off part of the house.
That way your german shepherd knows that that area is off-limits to them.
2) Proper Introductions
If you’re introducing a german shepherd puppy to your cats, make sure to do it slowly and properly.
Many people recommend doing a scent swap before ever introducing the two.
Which means giving your cat something that smells like your german shepherd to sniff for a little.
And giving your german shepherd something that smells like your cat.
This way when they first see each other it’ll feel somewhat familiar.
Next you’ll want to have them meet each other in a ‘neutral’ environment.
Meaning neither considers the space their domain.
Like a park.
Or a friend’s house.
Once they’ve gotten a little used to each other’s presence, you can slowly start letting them be in the same room together.
But always keep a close eye on them.
If things start to get too rough, separate them again.
It may take a while but eventually they should be able to coexist peacefully.
Slow and steady. You definitely don’t want to rush or force the interactions.
3) Introduce The Two Early
The younger you can have a cat and german shepherd meet one another the better.
If they’re both super young, they won’t know life without one another which means they should have a lovely relationship.
Or at least tolerate one another.
The older they get and more used to life without another furry friend in the house, the more challenging adjusting will be.
4) Tire Them Out First
The more pent up energy the two of them have, the more likely something can go wrong when they get together.
Making sure both are tired, especially your german shepherd, can help ensure their interactions are kept calm and peaceful.
This won’t always be necessary.
But for the first few interactions it’s a good idea to tire them out before putting them in the same room.
Once they get a feel for one another they should be fine together regardless of pent up energy.
5) If Possible – Adopt From Breeder With Cats
When looking for a german shepherd to add to your family, try to find a breeder that has cats.
This will help lessen the chances of your dog being aggressive towards cats.
Their entire life will have been around cats which means they’ll see them as normal members of their family/pack.
Which means when they meet your cat, it won’t be a strange event for them.
It’ll feel normal and proper.
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