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It’s hard to imagine two more different animals than a Rottweiler and a cat. Rottweilers are big, slobbery, and bold, while cats are little, clean, and careful. However, these differences don’t mean that your Rottweiler won’t get along well with your cat.
Are Rottweilers good with cats? Rottweilers are good with cats provided they are acclimated properly and the cat has plenty of places to escape to. Rottweiler and cat relationships work best when cats are confident and the Rottweiler does not have an exceptionally high prey drive.
Here’s what you need to know about how Rottweilers do with cats and how you can train your Rottweiler to accept your cat, as well as what to do if your Rottweiler has exceptionally high prey drive. I also included some notes on how Rottweilers get along with other animals.
Why Rottweilers May Do Well With Cats
Proof that cats and Rotties can do very well together:
Rottweilers certainly have plenty of energy when they’re playing or working, but inside they actually tend to be quite calm. The typical Rottweiler prefers to laze around the house, usually sprawled out on a cool floor.
That puts the average Rottweiler on a pretty level playing field with the average cat. Many times, a Rottweiler and cat are both very happy to spend their time indoors laying around and taking it easy, either together or in a separate lounging area.
Loyal to Family
Rottweilers are deeply loyal to their family, and like most dogs, they are generally quite flexible in what sort of animals are included in that family unit. Many Rottweilers can learn that the cat is part of the family and show the same sort of loyalty towards the cat that they do to their human family members. Your Rottweiler may not only get along with your cat, but actively protect them from harm.
Capable of Great Self-Control Through Training
Even if your Rottweiler feels the instinct to chase cats, you may be able to train them to resist that urge. Rottweilers can be trained to have wonderful self-control.
Rottweilers need their self-control to succeed in jobs they’ve done historically, like herding, cart pulling, and protection work. Rottweilers need to be amped up enough to direct angry cattle or frighten an assailant without actually biting. The same self-control can help your Rottweiler resist any negative urges they have towards your cat.
Rottweilers are deeply loving dogs with their families. They tend to be a fairly affectionate breed, always wanting to make physical contact and express affection through behavior like licking. If your Rottweiler also shows this kind of affection towards your cat, they may not just tolerate each other but actually develop a wonderful relationship. It isn’t at all uncommon to see cats and Rottweilers snuggling together, grooming one another, and generally being very affectionate with each other.
Why Rottweilers May Not Do Well With Cats
Rottweilers often weigh over a hundred pounds. Compared to a 10 or 15 lb house cat, this can be a considerable size difference. It may take a fairly confident cat to tolerate even a friendly Rottweiler.
Even an eight-week-old Rottweiler puppy is already typically as big as a house cat. For many cats, a Rottweiler’s size can be an important barrier in developing a co-species friendship.
A Rottweiler’s herding instinct is founded in prey drive, like all herding breeds. When herding, Rottweilers may feel the urge to chase after the flock, but they continuously control their impulses in order to guide and not bite livestock.
Without training, the prey drive at the root of a Rottweiler’s herding instincts can result in aggression. A cat’s tendency to make quick movements and high-pitched sounds can easily trigger a Rottweiler’s prey drive.
Even if your Rottweiler gets along with a cat in an enclosed space or indoors, they may experience prey drive when they encounter your cat outside. Sometimes Rottweilers will recognize the cat they’re chasing when they catch up to it, but not always.
It can be devastating when a Rottweiler and cat that got along well in the house have a negative interaction outside of the house. It’s very important that you acclimate your Rottweiler to your cat both indoors and outdoors and constantly check for signs of prey drive.
Won’t Back Down
Rottweilers are brave, bold dogs that have been bred for centuries to not back down from a fight. While that’s made than a great addition to humanity in many ways (including police work) it doesn’t always help them get along with our feline friends.
Cats often don’t seem to show much common sense when they instigate a fight. Your cat may become annoyed by your Rottweiler, frightened of them, or want to defend their territory and swat at or bite your dog.
Many Rottweilers respond as if reprimanded by a member of the family and back off, but some see this behavior as a fight instigation between equals. Needless to say, if your Rottweiler and your cat get into a fight, the Rottweiler is going to win.
Sometimes the reason that Rottweilers and cats don’t get along simply comes down to the Rottweiler being a troublemaker. Rottweilers that don’t get enough engagement, enrichment, or exercise from their families may turn to the family cat for entertainment. Rottweilers that are behaving mischievously are unlikely to do serious harm to your cat, but they can certainly make life very unpleasant by constantly irritating and chasing your cat.
How to Train Your Rottweiler to Get Along With a Cat
- Create cat-only space. Your cat should always have plenty of places to get away from your Rottweiler. Cat trees, small doggie doors, and baby gates can all provide places for your cat to go that your Rottweiler can’t follow.
- Separate and observe. Before your Rottweiler and cat share a space, separate them through a baby gate that your cat can’t jump over and observe them. Look for stiffness and staring from the Rottweiler and signs of anxiety from the cat. If both seem relaxed and natural, you’re going in the right direction.
- Let the cat make the first move. If your Rottweiler and cat seem to be getting along well enough on opposite sides of the baby gate, make a way for your cat to enter into the Rottweiler’s space under its own will. Keep your Rottweiler leashed and allow your cat to enter the space.
- Leash supervision. No matter how well your cat and Rottweiler seem to be getting along, keep your Rottweiler leashed during the beginning stages of the acclimation process. A sudden move from the cat can prompt prey drive in your dog unexpectedly. It’s also important to manage your Rottie’s energy during this stage. Ideally, they’ve had some physical or mental stimulation before they meet the cat. You’ll also want to make sure you’ve got a secure and sturdy collar for your Rottie in case they do get a little too excited.
- Unleashed supervision. If your Rottweiler and cat have been getting along for some time even after your cat has run, jumped, and gone near your Rottweiler, you can try interactions without the leash, but always supervised.
- Co species living. There is always a risk of an altercation between your Rottweiler and cat, so if you want to play it very safe, don’t leave them alone together. However, if they are showing active socialization like playing or being affectionate towards each other, it may be safe to allow them to be alone together. Never leave your Rottweiler and cat alone if all they’ve done is ignore each other.
Can You Get a Cat if Your Rottweiler Has High Prey Drive?
If you know that your Rottweiler has high prey drive because they’re always trying to chase anything that moves, but you’d like to get a cat, you may be wondering whether there is any way that you can make it work.
Even a Rottweiler that has high prey drive can acclimate to being around a cat, but success depends largely on the cat. Cats that are very confident and self-assured and do not run from a Rottweiler may do well even with a Rottweiler with high prey drive.
However, keep in mind that if the cat does run or if they are in a new environment like outside, prey drive may take over. If you’re trying to acclimate your prey-driven Rottweiler to a cat, go even more slowly with the steps and consider your rottweiler for the acclimation process.
Are Rottweilers Good With Other Animals?
As herding dogs, Rottweilers have spent much of their history living closely with livestock. Rottweilers often bond with the livestock they herd and protect, provided the livestock does as they are told.
Most Rottweilers can learn to get along well with goats, cattle, sheep, and other large animals. When it comes to smaller animals like rabbits, chickens, and pet birds, it can be a bit more challenging.
Animals that do not respond socially, like rabbits and chickens, may instigate a strong prey drive response that your Rottweiler might give in to sometime when you’re not watching. Animals that do respond socially to your Rottweiler in the way a cat might, like some household birds, may be able to form a relationship and avoid a Rottweiler’s prey drive.
Whether your Rottweiler will get along with other animals depends on your Rottweiler’s level of prey drive, the behavior of the other animals, and the environment in which you expect them to interact.
Are Rottweilers Good With Other Dogs?
While Rottweilers may have been used for dogfighting in some periods of its history, they were never bred specifically to fight other dogs. On the other hand, this was also never a breed designed to get along particularly well with other dogs.
The average Rottweiler meeting a strange dog would usually be in a situation that they needed to chase it away from livestock or property. If your Rottweiler meets a strange dog, they will likely respond with protection instincts similar to if they met a strange person.
However, when properly acclimated, most Rottweilers get along very well with other dogs in the home. Some Rottweilers tend to have more likelihood of aggression towards dogs of their same gender, so to set yourself up for success, dogs of opposite genders are the best.
Enjoy Your Rottweiler and Cat Relationship
Many people are able to keep Rottweilers and cats together without problems. In fact, Rottweilers often form strong relationships with the cats in their life- and they’re far from the only big breed that can do this. With proper acclimation and training, there’s a good chance that you’ll be able to get your Rottweiler and cat to get along as well.