Can Dobermans and cats get along
There is no black and white answer to the questions “are Dobermans good with cats?”. Dobermans are naturally predatory towards small furry animals. Every Doberman is an individual and with socialization and training, the majority of Dobermans can learn to be good with cats.
Ultimately, it comes down to how you go about introducing and conditioning the Doberman and cat. Even though Dobermans have a predatory nature towards small animals they are also a friendly and gentle dog. They are also highly intelligent and respond well to training.
The chances of a Doberman and a cat living in harmony are greatly improved if they are brought up together from a young age. Alternatively, a Doberman puppy coming into a home with an existing calm adult cat is usually successful also.
This article looks mainly at having a Doberman and a cat in the same household. If the problem you have is your Doberman chasing other people’s cats see here.
Things to consider – Dobermans and cats
There are many considerations to take into account before committing to introducing a Doberman and a cat.
The first thing to take into account is the situation and why you are wanting to have a Doberman and a cat in the same household. Variations may include;
- Doberman puppy and kitten entering the home at the same time.
- Doberman puppy entering the home of an existing cat.
- Kitten or adult cat entering the home of an existing Doberman
- Another scenario.
Each of these scenarios will need to be considered to determine how successful the situation will be.
The individual Dobermans history and nature
Does your Doberman display chase and prey drive behavior? Dobermans are friendly but they 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 Doberman 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 Doberman in town. Take note that feral cats are often mistaken as strays and stray cats can adopt feral behaviors over time.
How many Dobermans you have
If you have more than one Doberman it is probably not a good idea to get a cat. Dobermans, like most dog breeds, will form a pack. When they do, they become territorial and chase away any potential threat.
The age of the Doberman or cat
In many cases, adopting a full-grown cat would be best if you have an adult Doberman. 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 Doberman 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 Dobermans obedience
It is important that your Doberman be reasonably obedient. This way you can tell them to leave the cat alone or come when you call. A Doberman that does whatever it wants will be difficult to control around a cat
Fortunately, Dobermans are highly intelligent and very trainable.
How do Dobermans react to cats
There are two possibilities when introducing your Doberman to a cat for the first time.
The Doberman becomes excited
Your Doberman 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 Doberman wags their tail (nub if docked) and looks relaxed then they simply want to bond with their new whiskered friend. However, cats can be apprehensive of dogs and become defensive.
The Doberman preys on the cat
Many Dobermans love to pursue virtually anything that moves – a behavior that stems back to their natural prey drive. For this reason, many dog owners presume that a Doberman will make life hard for a pet cat. There is indeed a chance that your Doberman will associate the cat as prey, especially when it is still a tiny kitten.
A prey-driven Doberman is difficult to distract, as they will stare intensely on the target of their attack. You can also see great tension on their leg muscles and tail. If this is the case, separate your pets immediately.
If you are convinced that your Dobermans predatory instincts are dormant, then perhaps, it is high time that you add a cat to your family. Use the following techniques so you can introduce your whiskered friend to your Doberman.
How to introduce a Doberman to a cat
For more tips on introducing a dog and cat see here.
Make your pets familiarize with each other’s scent
Dogs have an impressive sense of smell. 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 pooch 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 them enough time to adjust to their new situation.
Feed your pets on opposite sides of a closed-door
Feed your pets on either side of the door. Continue this process until the 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 Doberman on a leash and ask them to sit down.
Next, allow your newcomer 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 Doberman 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 Doberman 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 close buddies.
Doberman 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. If the Doberman is docked it will be the nub. It is also thought that if the tail is wagging the dog is happy. This is not always true. If the tail (or nub) is wagging in a stiff motion while be 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 Doberman harming the cat. Cats are capable of doing harm to a dog.
Many good 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 – Dobermans and cats
Dobermans are naturally predatory towards small furry animals. Every Doberman is an individual and with socialization and training, the majority of Dobermans can learn to be good with cats.
Although the predatory drive of a Doberman may suggest they may not be suitable to be around a cat, with the right training and socialization towards cats this is possible. There are many households where a Doberman and a cat live in harmony and have become best friends.
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