Cats & Terriers

Terriers were bred to hunt small animals, making them unlikely cat pals.

Terriers were bred to hunt small animals, making them unlikely cat pals.

So, you have a cat and now you want to add a Jack Russell terrier to the family. Some dog breeds are instinctively inclined to chase cats, Jack Russells being one of them. Out of respect to your kitty, you might want to consider a breed other than a terrier.

Not Bred to Love Cats

In its list of dog breeds that aren't recommended for homes with cats, the VeInfo website catalogs several breeds of terriers as being aggressive toward cats. The problem is the terrier's strong hunting instinct and his tendency to see cats and other small animals as prey. This driving terriers to chase and bite cats, chickens and even other dogs.

Raising Them Together

If you want a terrier badly and want to incorporate one into your family along with a cat, doing so isn't out of the question -- but your success will depend on how you approach the situation. Bringing a cat or kitten into a home that already has a terrier will be difficult at best and impossible at worst. Already having an adult cat established as a family member before getting a terrier pup, or getting a terrier pup and a kitten at the same time to raise them together, are two circumstances that are more feasible. Teach the terrier early on not to chase cats and to respect them as members of the household. A terrier puppy that has had positive socialization from the start will regard his kitten housemate as a sibling and will be more likely to live in harmony with her.

Helping Your Cat and Terrier Coexist

Raising a terrier from a puppy to be around cats isn't a guarantee that he will always treat them with respect. After two years or more, instead of two best friends napping together on the sofa, you may find your little dog enjoys harassing the cat. In order to reduce the chances of your terrier causing your cat harm, there are things you can do. Obedience training as a puppy will give you the tools and the authority to take control of a situation that gets out of hand. Supervise your pets' interactions. If they start playing, you don't have to drop everything to sit and watch them, but keeping an eye and ear on them will allow you to act quickly if your terrier becomes too aggressive. Provide your cat with high places to perch out of your dog's reach and use pet gates to keep your terrier and your cat separated when you are away from the house or cannot monitor them.

Cat Friendly Dog Breeds

There are some dog breeds that are known for their gentle dispositions and make for better choices than a terrier as they will be more likely to get along with your cat,. Among the cat-friendly breeds are beagles, golden and Labrador retrievers, Old English sheepdogs and cocker spaniels. These breeds are also known for their intelligence, which allows them to adapt to new, unconventional situations like moving in with a cat.

 

About the Author

Elle Di Jensen has been a writer and editor since 1990. She began working in the fitness industry in 1987, and her experience includes editing and publishing a workout manual. She has an extended family of pets, including special needs animals. Jensen attended Idaho and Boise State Universities. Her work has appeared in various print and online publications.

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