A lot of people are both dog and cat lovers. They want both animals as pets but are not sure of the possibility of their cohabitation.
If you belong to this class of people, it is necessary to learn more about both animals and find out if they can be your pets at the same time.
So do German Shepherds (GSD) get along with cats? Yes, they do, but it depends on several factors.
It depends on a lot of factors and how much knowledge you have. It also depends on how much you are willing to work to make it possible.
The Possibility of German Shepherds Getting Along With Cats
German Shepherds can get along just fine with cats. Both animals might also not be able to coexist naturally without you matchmaking.
German Shepherds are typically defensive and protective. They naturally have predatory instincts.
They may ignore the cat, run after it for fun, relate well with it, or be downright aggressive.
They can be unpredictable, but all should be fine if you invest time in training and teaching them to be accommodating.
On the other hand, cats are timid and insecure in the presence of a dog as big as the German Shepherd.
They don’t know what to expect or how to act. This can lead to time running away to a hidden and safe spot.
This is a counterproductive move as it might encourage the German Shepherd to chase after them, disrupting the whole point of getting to know each other.
Despite this natural fight-or-flight response, there is still a high chance of them getting along. You can still achieve your desire to live together with both pets.
How to Make the Coexistence Work
Just like the ability of humans to adapt to certain situations and, over time, get along, animals can achieve that too.
There is no one size fits approach to a German Shepherd-Cat relationship.
There are, however, valuable tips that can help your German Shepherd get along with your cats. They include:
The first step towards creating a good relationship between both animals is first training them individually and separately.
Train Your Cats
While you are looking at how your dog will get along with your cat, do not make the mistake of focusing more on the German Shepherd.
Why is that? Well, the truth is that the cats are the primary determinant of whether the coexistence will work or not.
Cats are more sensitive. They are not big on emotions and can be hard to figure out. Take time to understand how best they express their feelings.
Use this knowledge to train and work with them. They are an essential part of the relationship.
Train Your German Shepherd
A German Shepherd sees a furry moving ball, and the only thing they are interested in is chasing the cute ball, scaring them away, or biting them.
It’s all a territory thing. As with all hunting breeds, territory is not something they take lightly. They have to guard their territory against foreign parties.
To make the relationship work, you must have total control of your pet. The dog must be able to listen to commands.
Simple commands to teach your German Shepherd include: sit, stay, and stop. With this in place, you are getting closer to having your dream pets living peacefully together.
You are already setting your goal up for futility if you suddenly bring the two pets together.
Just like many blind dates, the result may not be savory. If the cat is with a family or has a shelter, don’t be in a hurry to bring it home.
Contact and introduction between the two animals require time and patience.
Introduction of Scent
Like most animals, dogs and cats are sensitive to smell. It’s one of their vital biological characteristics.
This is a sort of contact but an indirect form of contact. How do you go about this?
There are different ways to introduce scent to both animals; you can decide how best you understand them.
You can use a fresh piece of cloth to achieve this. Gently run the fabric on your dog to collect its scent on the material.
To make this stress-free, you can as well get it to play with it. Do the same for the cat and then exchange the cloth.
Both animals gain contact with each other via their scents. You can use this to gauge their reaction to each other.
The German Shepherd may react violently to the strange scent, be merely curious, or ignore it altogether. This is a good indicator for the next step.
You can keep doing this for a while so that the scent will not be so foreign to both animals anymore, and they can get used to it.
Contact From a Distance
Don’t go straight to a direct introduction; that may not turn out well.
Allow them to get used to each other gradually. The keyword being “gradual.”
You can do something fun with both of them in the vicinity. For example, you can go to the park and allow them to do fun things with a sort of barrier between them.
A low fence or a glass barricade can serve as the barrier. You can also do other activities such as feeding them in an ample space or separate rooms with a door as a barrier.
To maximize this stage, let them associate their ability to stay quietly in the same vicinity with good things.
You can give extra treats to your dog, pat him/her. Actively communicate that they get extra appreciation and attention when they are behaving well.
Caress the cat and feed it extra if they are calm and friendly. Both animals are smart enough to know what is going on and will most likely want to get extra treats.
This is a face-to-face introduction between the animals. The success of the steps above is determinate in this stage.
They can recognize each other’s scents, they have seen each other from afar, and now they are in the same space without any barrier. So, what next?
Well, it is advisable to keep still, taking things slow. Study the cat more in this stage. Are they nervous, defensive, or scared to death?
One way of ensuring this works is by making the cat as comfortable as possible. Do this by creating small hiding spaces that the cat will feel safe in.
Study your German Shepherd too. Are they cool with the presence of the cat? Or are they acting territorial or preparing to charge at the cat?
You can put a leash on your dog and put the cat in a crate to prevent physical contact. They can get used to each other for some time.
This is the final step. It is introducing the pets to each other without any restraint or barrier.
Any sign of distress from the cat or hostility emanating from the dog means they are not ready to meet.
And honestly, it’s a gradual process. Take your time and give them enough space. After some time, with patience and consistency, your two favorites will have a peaceful relationship.
Do not force the relationship. The best way and the only way of getting your GSD and cat to get along is making the process as natural as possible.
Do not force them or punish them when they do not get along. They will resent each other for it.
They have their unique personalities and behavior and will adapt at their own pace.
Not Getting Along?
It is normal to encounter problems. Both animals are unpredictable as they come. As mentioned earlier, patience and time are critical.
These two simple factors can go a long way in getting them to like each other. They may not be best buddies cuddling together, or they may be.
At least, they should be comfortable enough to live in the same place. c
If you encountered problems during the first introduction, plan another. You can spice it up and make it more fun.
You can even do more research on both animals for more insight to be helpful during the following introduction.
But in some cases, they may not just get along. You may have tried everything, and it’s not making things better. Then, you should stop.
You must know where to draw the line. It’s no use for both animals to be agitated or stressed out when they are together.
If they can not live together, you can still have fun with your favorite pets separately. One of them can stay with a loved one or any other viable option.
To Wrap Up
Animals naturally adapt. In most cases, and after investing time introducing them to each other, your favorite pets can live happily together with you.
German Shepherd and cats do get along well. It may require an intentional and exhaustive approach, but it’s a strong possibility, and it’s worth it.
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