Pitbulls and Cats: Can They Get Along?

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A long-standing argument between animal lovers is whether dogs or cats are better. Many animal lovers are hands-down dog-people, others are dedicated cat-owners. But what happens when you love both? It is a common depiction in the media to pin cats and dogs against each other. Consider the common phrase, “they fight like cats and dogs”. It is likely you have heard that phrase before, but when you actually think about it, you might question the validity of it.

To add an extra layer on top of the dogs vs. cats situation, let’s throw in a pitbull as the dog in consideration. Pitbulls are typically portrayed in the media and traditionally thought of as strong and scary dogs. This is most certainly not the case, typically they are as loving as any other dog. Pitbull and cat best friends are possible!

Pitbulls vs. Cats 

Let’s start with a basic comparison and contrast between pitbull characteristics versus cat characteristics.

Pitbulls Cats
  • Emotionally Complex
  • Affectionate
  • High-Energy
  • Good apartment animals
  • Sweat a lot
  • High jump and leapers
  • Friendly 
  • Selective Socialization
  • Intelligent
  • Love meeting new people 
  • Sleep Often (sometimes on your chest 
  • Affectionate
  • Low energy
  • Good apartment animals
  • High jump and leapers
  • Friendly, sometimes shy
  • Selective Socialization
  • Intelligent
  • Sly
  • Sometimes shy around new people
  • Enjoy alone time

After reviewing a few of the characteristics between pitbulls and cats it is evident that they have a few similarities as well as a few opposite traits, such as low energy vs high energy. This does not necessarily mean they will not get along perfectly, but it is something to keep in mind. 

Can They Get Along?

So the ultimate question is, “Can a pitbull and cat become best friends?”. There is no simple answer but based upon our research we have seen evidence that pitbulls and cats can become best friends in a safe and monitored environment. Pitbulls are typically well-natured when raised in proper circumstances and they are often open to meeting new animals, including cats.

Cats are often a bit timider to the idea of befriending a dog, considering the often apparent size difference and hunter vs. hunted dynamic. The best scenario would be to train your pitbull to be well-mannered and open to introductions of all sorts of animals. 

Once your pitbull has been introduced to different animals in a monitored environment and all has gone well, you can consider adopting a kitten. A kitten is recommended because they will grow up around the dog and consider the dog part of their immediate family. You could additionally try to adopt a cat from a shelter that has already lived with dogs and enjoyed it. 

You could alternatively introduce a puppy to an established cat in your family following the same steps above.

Consider Before Introducing a Pitbull and a Cat

  • Ensure your adult pitbull is well-mannered before introducing them to a kitten or adopted cat.

OR

  • Ensure your adult cat is well-mannered before introducing them to a puppy or adopted dog. 
  • Consider the first pet’s personality, would they do well with another animal? Think critically and use your common sense.
  • Enforce strict boundaries
  • Be consistent when enforcing boundaries
  • Your animals typically want to make their owners happy, so if another pet makes the owner happy, the pets will typically work it out. 
  • If you are noticing that the animals are being aggressive, snippy, or showing any signs of erratic behavior, separate them immediately. It would be better to give one of them to another family than have them hurt or kill each other.

Pitbull and Cat Best Friend Chances Increase With Training

If you have made it this far, it is likely that you have accessed your dog and cat situation and you have decided to give the introduction a try. In order to make the shared living situation work, you need to give your pitbull and cat proper and cohesive training. Training is important to set boundaries and ensure a successful and peaceful living situation. 

Follow these steps for proper pitbull and cat training:

Consider Your Animals’ Personalities

Many people think that certain breeds of dogs and cats get along better than others, this is not the case. It is most likely that dogs and cats can get along because of their specific temperaments and personalities. Access the situation; Does your dog have high or low energy? Many pitbulls tend to have high energy. Does your cat like other animals? Some cats don’t like other animals and they just want to sleep and be left alone.

And then there are the opposite cases where a dog will be raised by a cat and start to show cat-like behavior. Anything is possible! If you have decided that your dog and cat will match personality-wise then you can move on to the next step.

Train Your Dog First

Dogs tend to have impulses that they cannot control initially. To be able to safely introduce your pitbull to a cat you need to train your dog to control their impulses. Start by introducing a toy or treat that they really want and teach them to stay. Once you introduce them to the cat you can simply tell them to stay and they will know exactly what to do. You can ease them in by next introducing them to a cat toy or something that smells like their future friend and telling them to stay. It is important to ease them into the process. 

Provide A Special Cat Territory

Once your dog has been properly trained the next step is to give your cat a protected space and territory of their own. The dog will not be allowed in this space, make sure they are trained to not go in or near it. The cat needs this space to feel safe and they can use it for shelter if the dog is being too much for them. 

Cats love to climb, an easy way to provide a special cat sanctuary that the dog cannot get to, is by setting it up, up high! You can install shelves, or use cat trees to give your felines a quick escape and relaxation area. You can also use baby gates and small fences to keep the dog out.

In addition to this space, ensure your cat has their litter box in a safe space away from the dog. You want your cat to feel like they can do their “business” in peace, without the pitbull bothering them.

Provide Your Dog With Plenty Of Exercise

One of the best ways to keep your pitbull from bothering your cat is to provide them with a lot of exercise. It is good to give your pet exercise regardless of having another animal in the house. Dogs love to go on walks, hikes, and fun adventures. If you’re planning on housing a pitbull and a cat together, ensure you have enough time to give your pup the active life they need and deserve.

Using this time will also provide the dog with special moments with just them and their owner, without the cat being a distraction. You can additionally use this time to train them against their common urges. Teach your dog how properly walk on a leash and don’t allow them to lunge at other animals or strangers. Practicing with the owner will provide the pitbull with good habits they will use around the cat.

Allow Both Pets To Follow Their Noses

One of the most important steps to introducing a dog and a cat is to let them get used to each other’s scent. Provide each animal with a plush item that has the other’s scent on it before introducing them. Give them a few days with this item before their first meeting. 

Once they meet they will hopefully be used to each other’s scent which will reduce territorial behavior. 

Plan The Meeting

After you have followed the initial steps, you are ready to plan the meeting! The best way to do this is during each pet’s meal time. Allow them to eat their scheduled meals in different rooms of the house, next to each other but with the door closed. This way they can smell each other but not see each other. Do this for several weeks, they will be conditioned to enjoy their scent because it means mealtime. Once you have done this several times, introduce them together while they eat side-by-side in the same room.

Once they have accomplished this without bothering each other you should be okay to allow them to live together. It is important to keep the dog on a leash or in another room until they are 100% accustomed to living with each other. 

Give Them Separate Spaces

Remember that space you set up for your cat? Set up a space like that for your dog as well and make sure to keep all of their belongings separate. They need their own space so that they don’t fight over their toys, treats, or space. 

Once you have introduced them using the eating method, feed them in separate parts of the house. You don’t want them to share the same food, it can make them sick or allow territorial issues to occur between the pitbull and cat. 

Keep a close eye on the cat’s territory and the dogs and ensure they do not mix. It is your job as an owner to provide each pet an incredibly safe space.

Consider Introducing Your Cat And Dog

Consider raising your pitbull and cat together as best friends. If you have followed the steps above and you feel confident this is something you can successfully achieve, go for it. One of the main decisions as an owner will be to decide if you have enough time to devote to the separate training between the two animals.

If you don’t feel like you have time but you still would like your pitbull and cat to live together, you could consider hiring help. You could hire a personal trainer for your dog as well as a dog walker. This would help take some stress off of you and leave your time free to play with your pets.

Pitbulls and cats are typically willing to please their owners. If you are following the training steps and giving these pets a safe environment there is no reason that your pitbull and cat won’t be best friends.

 Pitbull and Cat Best Friends

Now it should be clear, pitbulls and cats can form a healthy and happy family combination with the help and commitment from their owner. Pitbulls and cat best friends are common, but you should always be cautious when introducing them, as you should be with any other pet. Your animals cannot always understand exactly what you’re saying but they do understand proper training techniques. Utilize these techniques to your advantage to provide a safe and healthy introduction. 

We wish you luck in your journey with your pitbull and cat best friends. Please consider leaving a comment if this article helped you, or if you have suggestions on how to improve. Would you like to see another combination of animals that can coexist in your household? Let us know below!

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Sources

https://pethelpful.com/dogs/Pit-Bulls-and-Cats

https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/516438/8-tricks-help-your-cat-and-dog-get-along

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