Are Australian Cattle Dogs good with cats

Do Blue/Red Heelers do well with cats

Blue Heelers that are raised with a cat in the household often learn to get along well and even become good friends. When it comes to other cats in the neighborhood, they are more than likely going to chase them.

Every Australian Cattle Dog is an individual and with socialization and training, the majority of them can learn to be good with cats. This not only includes cats in the same household. They can be taught to not chase other peoples cat also.

Ultimately, it comes down to how you go about introducing and conditioning the Blue Heeler and cat. Even though most dogs have a predatory prey drive towards small animals, Blue Heelers can be a friendly and gentle dog. They are also highly intelligent and respond well to the right training.

The chances of a Blue Heeler and a cat living in harmony are greatly improved if they are brought up together from a young age. Alternatively, a Blue Heeler puppy coming into a home with an existing calm adult cat is usually successful also.

This article looks mainly at having a Blue Heeler and a cat in the same household. If the problem you have is your Blue Heeler chasing other people’s cats see here.

Can a Blue Heeler kill a cat

A Blue Heeler is more than physically capable of seriously harming or even killing a cat. It is unlikely that they would kill a cat unless they have shown aggressive tenancies in the past.

A Blue Heeler is more likely to chase the cat or even try to herd it. This is more a dominate and controlling behavior rather than aggression.

Things to consider – Blue Heelers and cats

There are many considerations to take into account before committing to introducing a Blue Heeler and a cat.

The situation

The first thing to take into account is the situation and why you are wanting to have a Blue Heeler and a cat in the same household. Variations may include;

  • Blue Heeler puppy and kitten entering the home at the same time.
  • Blue Heeler puppy entering the home of an existing cat.
  • Kitten or adult cat entering the home of an existing Blue Heeler dog.
  • Another scenario.

Each of these scenarios will need to be considered to determine how successful the situation will be.

The individual Blue Heeler history and nature

Does your Blue Heeler display chase and prey drive behavior? Most Blue Heelers are friendly but dogs, in general, are innately predatory. Without early intervention, your dog’s instincts will kick in. If this is the case, forcing a cat into your home is an accident waiting to happen.

The cat’s history and nature

If you have an existing cat and are considering getting a Blue Heeler you will know the personality and nature of your cat. If you are considering a rescue cat try to get some background about the cat.

If possible, ask the shelter about the cat’s previous living conditions and socialization to other pets, particularly dogs. The cat may show aggression towards your dog even if he is the friendliest dog in town. Take note that feral cats are often mistaken as strays and stray cats can adopt feral behaviors over time.

How many Blue Heelers or dogs you have

If you have more than one Blue Heeler or dog it is probably not a good idea to get a cat. Blue Heelers, like most dog breeds, will form a pack. When they do, they become territorial and chase away any potential threat.

The age of the Blue Heeler or cat

In many cases, adopting a full-grown cat would be best if you have an adult Blue Heeler. It may be better if it is a large cat breed. It would be risky to have a fragile kitten inside the house.

If you have or are getting a Blue Heeler puppy, we suggest you take in a kitten. Although a puppy is less threatening to an adult cat, it is best to see your pup and kitten grow together and become playmates.

Your Blue Heelers obedience

It is important that your Blue Heeler be reasonably obedient. This way you can tell them to leave the cat alone or come when you call. Most Blue Heelers are usually fairly obedient. A dog that does whatever it wants will be difficult to control around a cat.

How do Blue Heelers react to cats

There are several possibilities when introducing your Australian Cattle Dog to a cat for the first time.

The Blue Heeler becomes excited

Your Blue Heeler may treat the cat just as he would treat other dogs. You can expect your dog to lunge at the cat or sniff at them like there is no tomorrow. This is simply because of curiosity. They may also chase the cat or play rough without the intention to harm.

If your Blue Heeler wags their tail and looks relaxed while then they simply want to bond with his new whiskered friend. However, cats can be apprehensive of dogs and become defensive.

The Blue Heeler herds the cat

The Blue Heeler may view the cat as an animal that needs to be herded. Blue Heelers have a strong herding drive. They often will try to herd other dogs and even children. For more about Blue Heelers with children see here.

. Your can’t train an instinctive behavior out of a dog, but you can redirect or manage it.

The Blue Heeler becomes anxious

Some Blue Heelers may not be sure about the cat. This is generally not the case as Blue Heelers are confident and friendly. In this situation, they are likely to keep their distance. Don’t force them to interact. Simply take things slowly.

The Blue Heeler and cat are fine together

In a lot of cases, the Blue Heeler and cat will accept each other in a short time. It is still important to still take things slowly. Supervise their interactions until you are 100% confident there will be no problems. If the cat was to swipe at the Blue Heeler, it may set things back.

How do you introduce a cat and a Blue Heeler

For more tips on introducing a dog and cat see here.

Make your pets familiarize with each other’s scent

Dogs can remember more than 50 distinct smells. So, why shouldn’t you make use of this impressive ability?
Grab a cloth or a towel and wipe it down your cat. Let your Blue Heeler sniff it. Better yet, tuck the cloth underneath your dog’s bed so he can get accustomed to your cat’s scent. Do the same for your cat.

Separate your cat at first

Avoid face-to-face confrontations for the first few days. Confine your cat in a room with her bed, food, water, and toys. Ideally, install a cat tree scratcher or a multi-level cat condominium. Having multiple high areas to hide can help your cat feel more secure. Cats are just as territorial as dogs. Hence, you need to give her enough time to adjust to her new environment.

Feed your pets on opposite sides of a closed-door

Feed your pets on either side of the door. Continue this process until your whiskered newcomer and the resident pet can eat calmly directly on each opposite side of the door. This will help prevent fear and aggression from developing.

Conduct short face-to-face meetings

Do this in a common area of your house, not your cat’s little retreat or your dog’s domain. Be sure that you have already set an escape route for your cat just in case things could go haywire.
Keep your Blue Heeler on a leash and ask them to sit down.

Next, allow your cat to come and go as they wish. Let them explore the room at her own pace. Just keep rewarding your dog for good behavior. It would be better if your dog acts as though the cat does not exist and is more interested in the treats.

Repeat this process several times daily, but keep it short. Having frequent short visits are better than dragging it out so long that either pet becomes stressed or agitated.

If your cat leaves the room, let them do so. There may be times when your Blue Heeler tries to see how you would react if he gets too close with the cat in an aggressive way. If this happens, give the “Stay” command and immediately reward your dog if they obey.

See to it that your pets eat simultaneously

Let your pets eat together, so they can create a close bond. At first, you need to supervise all interactions between the two. To stay on the safe side, place your cat’s food on the counter. Over time, this will establish the idea that they belong in the same pack.

Proceed with caution

After multiple introductions and simultaneous feedings, set your pets loose inside a room and observe how they would react towards each other. If your Blue Heeler shows tolerance with your cat’s presence even without your intervention, then you can finally have peace of mind knowing that your pets can hang out together and eventually, become snuggle buddies.

For more tips on getting a dog to get along with a cat see here.

Dog signs of aggression towards the cat

It is also important to be aware of signs of tension, dominance, and aggression in dog body language. This is not a full list of aggression dog body language but it can include:-

Hackles are up – Hackles are patches of hair between the shoulder blades or near the rear end of the dog. if they are standing up it is a sign of aggression.

Ears and tail are erect – if the ears or tail are standing straight up it is a sign of aggression. It is also thought that if the tail is wagging the dog is happy. This is not always true. If the tail is wagging in a stiff motion while being held high it is a sign of aggression.

Bearing teeth – Showing teeth by raising their lips is a warning sign. It is often followed by a snap or bite. Most dogs will do an air snap rather than a full-on bite. This is a further warning to let the other dog know the next one is for real.

Growling – a deep growl or snarl usually with eye conduct focused on the other dog. All growling is not necessarily aggressive and many dogs use a play growl when playing. This has a completely different tone. Continuous barking without gaps is a similar sign of aggression.

Stiff body posture – A dog will become noticeably rigid and stiff in their body when they’re becoming agitated. They may stand in a wider stance than normal or try to raise the height of their head and body. They will have their eyes focused on their target.

Signs of cat aggression towards the dog

It is equally important to be aware of the body language of the cat for any signs of aggression and fear. The only concern is not the Blue Heeler harming the cat. Cats are capable of doing harm to a dog.

Many cats could take the approach that the best defense is an offense. There are countless stories of dogs losing an eye from a cat swipe.

Signs of fear and aggression in cats include:-

  • ears flattened sideways
  • tail tucked under their body
  • crouching, and leaning away
  • fluffed fur
  • showing teeth
  • hissing or growling
  • swatting or swiping
  • biting, and scratching
  • pupils of their eyes dilate wide 

If the cat is showing a combination of these behaviors allow them some space from the dog. Always make sure that the cat has an escape route. This will prevent them from resorting to a fight response.

Summary – Are Blue Heelers good with cats

Blue Heelers that are raised with a cat in the household often learn to get along well and even become good friends. When it comes to other cats in the neighborhood, they are more than likely going to chase them.

However, with socialization and training, the majority of Blue Heelers can learn to be good with cats. This not only includes cats in the same household. They can be taught to not chase other peoples cat also.

Ultimately, it comes down to how you go about introducing and conditioning the Blue Heeler and cat.

Blue Heeler related posts you may like

How to exercise a Blue Heeler or Cattle Dog

Herding Breed Behavior Problems

Best Type of toys for Blue Heelers

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