If you have cats then you have probably heard the myth that they are solitary creatures who prefer the company of themselves. They hunt alone and therefore must prefer to be alone.
If you have Pit Bulls, you have probably been told that Pit Bulls and cats do not get along and if you have both, you are just asking for trouble.
Well, I don’t agree with either one of those statements.
While it’s true that Pit Bulls can have a strong prey drive, that does not mean they can’t be trusted with cats.
Pit Bulls and Cats- Can They Get Along?
In a word, yes. However, don’t just assume that and walk away. You must introduce them in the proper way and continue to stay vigilant throughout the years. As with any breed of dog, it only takes one second for something to go wrong.
What to do Before Bringing your New Cat Home
Cat-proof your house. Regardless if your Pit Bull is a fun-loving puppy or a senior couch potato, your cat will always be the weaker animal. Sure she has her claws that she can use to protect herself (hopefully all 4) however that’s about all she has. Granted a cat can do a lot of damage quickly however not enough to really protect herself.
Therefore, you must make sure she ALWAYS has a place to escape to. Whether it’s a high spot on her cat condo, under the couch or a bed, or through a small door that only she can fit through. It is absolutely necessary that she is able to get away at all times.
Now more than ever YOU must be the boss. Before bringing a cat home, work on your dog’s obedience skills. If he doesn’t have them, please make sure you teach him before you add a cat (or another pet) to your family.
Basic commands your dog should know before bringing home a cat:
- No- This is a no brainer right? When you say no, he must listen.
- Sit- When you tell your dog to sit and he does, he is showing that he is focusing on you.
- Stay- Same as sit, when you tell him to stay and he does, his focus is on you and not something else.
- Let Go- A must know command for a dog who may play a little too rough or is NOT playing and you need him to let go immediately.
- Leave it- This is a good command to use when your dog wants to chase. Practice with a toy that he loves by teaching him to leave it and walk away. In the future, when he see’s the cat run by and you can tell he’s anxious to run after her, “Leave It” can be used.
Introducing your Pit Bulls and Cats- First Impressions Matter
- When bringing your new cat home, it is best to keep her in a separate room with the door closed. Your dog will be able to smell her and know she’s there, even without seeing her. This is a slow introduction to let each pet know that there is another animal in the area.
- After a couple days, open the door but put up a baby gate. Now they can see each other and you will be able to judge their reactions.
- Keep a leash on your dog during this time frame and let them smell each other. If your dog gets too excited or jumps on the gate, put yourself between both animals and tell him NO with authority. Don’t be afraid to be strong with your dog. Your verbal commands and body language should be powerful and clear. Again, he has to know that you are the boss.
Taking Down the Gate
When you feel comfortable, whether it’s a few days or a couple weeks, remove the baby gate. Continue to keep your dog on a leash and watch how they interact with each other. My guess is your cat will either ignore your dog completely or hiss at him. If he decides he wants to chase her, block him and react quickly with a strong NO to get his attention and then get him in a sit or down position. You may have to do this many times for a long period of time, its different with each dog.
Your New Normal Routine
If you have a dog that is used to having full reign of your house, you may want to consider changing that a bit. If you haven’t already, invest in a good dog cage. Dogs need a place to decompress and relax and having their own space allows them to do that.
If you are not home, keep your dog in his cage or in a separate area. Depending on your situation, you may be able to leave the house without crating him or putting him in a different room, however every situation is different. For me, I have to keep my dogs separate so when I leave, one is upstairs and one is behind a baby gate. Again, it just depends on your situation.
I don’t know how your dogs and cats interact with each other however I can tell you about my experiences.
I have 2 Pit Bulls and 4 cats. Click Here to read more about Riley and Brooke.
Riley, who was raised with our cats, is completely fine with small animals. She plays gently with all of the cats and they are not afraid of her at all.
Brooke on the other hand, we have to be careful.
When we adopted Brooke, we were told by her rescuer, Tammy, that she wasn’t so great with small animals in her face. Tammy had dachshunds and wasn’t overly confident that Brooke would not bite one if they got too close to her.
Since we had multiple cats, I took this to heart.
Raised the Same but Totally Different
Brooke loves people but is not a huge fan of other animals, especially small ones. She has a high prey drive, which we learned when she tried to scale our fence going after a squirrel.
When we first brought her home, she went after the cats at different times. She didn’t hurt them however they got too close and she let them know. Thankfully, they learned they shouldn’t do that and have never done it again. Because I am aware of this, I control their interactions.
At this point she knows who they are and has no desire to chase them, but she still gets nervous. I can always tell by the look on her face what is going through her head. When I am letting her outside and she has to walk by a cat in the hallway, she literally grimaces and looks towards me. She needs my leadership and I make sure she has it.
Riley on the other hand, LOVES the cats. When we leave the house, I can leave Riley alone with all 4 of them and know that they will all be fine. She rolls around with them, plays with them, but she is very gentle. She doesn’t growl or even hint that she is in distress.
So, why are they so different?
We don’t know what Brooke’s life was like before we adopted her, maybe she didn’t have cats in the home. Or maybe she was allowed to chase small animals too much. Whatever the reason, I know she has a high prey drive so I stay proactive.
Pit Bulls and Cats- Final Verdict
Pit Bulls and cats can absolutely coexist peacefully however as with any dog, just be aware of what is happening under your roof. I don’t think it matters what breed your dog is because there are poodles who don’t like cats and there are Pit Bulls, like Riley, who do.
So, introduce your Pit Bulls to their new feline friend the right way and take as long as you need doing it. Only you know how well your animals get along. If you aren’t 100% confident that your dog can be left alone with your cat, then don’t do it. There are easy ways to handle this issue.
Just remember, you are the boss. Make sure you know it and that your dogs know it, and you shouldn’t have any problems.
Of course if your dog has hurt your cat and you are not comfortable having them both in the same house, it is best to talk to a professional. If you have to re-home a pet for his own safety, there is nothing wrong with that as long as you find a good home. But hopefully, that won’t need to happen.
As always, If you have any ideas or concerns, please drop me a comment below!