Belgian Malinois are the breed of dogs that you want to have around your children and pets without worrying too much about accidents or things getting out of hand. They are kind and considerate dogs with a good temperament and a friendly disposition. They do get along fine with the others in the house. But what about cats?
Belgian Malinois can live harmoniously with cats through early and ongoing socialization. Socializing teaches the dogs to control their herding instincts around cats. While territorial breeds may view cats as rivals, the friendly Malinois sees them as potential companions. With supervision and training, the Malinois can accommodate the aloof cat temperament.
While it takes effort to override their natural impulses, Belgian Malinois can learn to share your home with cats peacefully.
- Belgian Malinois and Their Relationship With Cats
- Creating the Best Living Situation for a Belgian Malinois and Cat
- Importance of Socializing Your Belgian Malinois
- Belgian Malinois and Their Prey Drive
- Can Belgian Malinois and Cats Learn to Get Along?
- Understanding Individual Personalities
- How to Introduce Your Belgian Malinois to a Cat?
- How to Help A Cat Get Along With a Belgian Malinois?
- 7 Shared Activities for Belgian Malinois and Cats
- Belgian Malinois and Other Small Animals
Belgian Malinois and Their Relationship With Cats
To say that the relationship between Belgian Malinois and cats is complicated is an understatement. While for the most part, they would get along well, with the slight complication, things can get out of hand. To be fair, it’s usually the cat who’s to blame for the way things go. The Belgian Malinois are usually peaceful and like to have things easy. When they play, it’s for fun. They share toys and don’t mind letting others have fun.
But cats are a little different. They’re lazy, sleep a lot, and when they wake up, they have a bad mood or they might be hungry. Either way, they just are itching for a fight. Now the friendly Belgian Malinois doesn’t suspect a thing. He’s going about minding his own business when he crosses the cat’s path. All hell breaks loose.
The tension between the two pets can be toned down a lot if you know how to create the best living situation for those two animals to coexist and even become best friends. So who would you go about doing that? The next section covers this question.
Creating the Best Living Situation for a Belgian Malinois and Cat
First things first. Don’t create any opportunity no matter how small, for a fight to break out. Even a tiny skirmish can have serious consequences down the line. While the Belgian Malinois is a forgiving animal and doesn’t hold a grudge, the car is the exact opposite. It will plot its revenge and things can go downhill from there quickly.
So always keep their food and drinking bowls separate. Don’t give the cat a chance to get antsy and start a fight over the smallest of things. The same goes for their beds. You’ll notice that the cat will go and sleep in the dog’s bed. She does that out of spite. So keep their beds in separate rooms if possible.
As for game time, try to do the opposite. Bring them together when it’s time to play games and share toys. This will create a strong bond between the two pets and clear the air of any animosity. Make sure they play together. This wouldn’t be hard for the Belgian Malinois who welcomes all play partners. But the cat might be reluctant to take part. Encourage the cat with treats.
Don’t forget to reward the Belgian Malinois with treats too. Don’t play favorites as this breeds jealousy. Avoid any situation that would make the cat antagonize the dog or vice versa.
Importance of Socializing Your Belgian Malinois
Proper socialization is essential for establishing a harmonious relationship between the two species.
Why Socialization Matters
Without early and ongoing socialization, your Malinois may view the cat as prey due to its strong herding instincts. This could lead to chasing behaviors that stress out the kitty.
Proper training helps the Malinois:
- Curb its desire to chase small, quick animals
- Learn to gently interact with cats
- Accept feline behaviors that seem aloof or unfriendly
- See the cat as a friend rather than an intruder
Socialization teaches your Malinois good manners around cats.
When to Start Socialization
The key is to start socialization early and keep it going continuously.
Follow these tips:
- Begin socialization with cats at 7-8 weeks old
- Take it slow and always supervise
- Use positive reinforcement training
- Increase exposure over many small sessions
For adult dogs:
- Gradually introduce cat using gates/leashes
- Reward calm, polite behavior
- Correct unwanted chasing or roughness
- Be consistent with training
Starting young is ideal, but adult Malinois can learn too with time and effort.
Use these methods to promote positive experiences:
- Feed and reward treats near each other
- Go on walks side by side
- Play interactive games together
- Let them sniff noses (if kitty allows)
- Associate each other’s scents with rewards
Avoid forcing interactions. And never punish undesirable behavior aggressively. This will only make your Malinois more reactive. Patience and positivity are key!
Signs It’s Working
When your Belgian Malinois demonstrates these cat-friendly behaviors, socialization is paying off:
- Ignoring or politely investigating the cat
- Remaining calm in proximity
- Backing off when the cat hisses or swats
- Playing gently and taking turns chasing
- Cuddling or sitting near each other
Proper socialization takes work, but the payoff is a household where your Belgian Malinois and cats can coexist in perfect harmony.
Belgian Malinois and Their Prey Drive
The Belgian Malinois is an energetic working dog originally bred to be an alert herder. This means they have an innate prey drive – the instinct to chase and hunt smaller moving objects.
Understanding Prey Drive
For the Malinois, prey drive manifests in:
- Intense focus and staring at cats
- Stalking behaviors
- Chasing after cats suddenly
- Mouthing or biting at cats
This is all normal dog behavior. But it risks harming cats who don’t appreciate being chased!
Prey drive stems from the dog’s ancestry and does not mean aggression. With effort, it can be controlled.
Managing Their Prey Instincts
While the Malinois has a high prey drive, there are ways to manage it:
- Early socialization: Get them used to cats as puppies
- Training: Use commands like “Leave it” and “Settle”
- Exercise: A tired Malinois is less likely to chase
- Reinforce calm behavior: Reward them for ignoring cats
- Supervision: Until trust is built, don’t leave them alone
With time and consistency, you can temper their instincts and build healthy relationships.
Prey Drive vs. Aggression
Prey drive is not the same as aggression or territorialness. Signs of true aggression include:
- Growling, snarling, or barking
- Lunging and attempting to bite cats
- Guarding food/toys from cats
- Seeking out and intimidating cats
True aggression requires professional help. But prey drive can be handled with effort.
Use these tips to discourage chasing:
- Practice “Look at me” to redirect attention
- Work on impulse control by waiting before meals/exits
- Do obedience training to stimulate their minds
- Set up puzzles and games to burn energy
- Keep cats in a safe spot during high-energy play
With diligent training, you can reduce reactive chasing and harmonize their relationship.
Prey drive can challenge Malinois and cats living together. But early socializing, training, and managing the Malinois as a puppy and teen can lead to peaceful coexistence. This hard work results in a bonded dog-and-cat family.
Can Belgian Malinois and Cats Learn to Get Along?
The question should be can you help the Belgian Malinois and the cat get along? On their own, even the easiest going Belgian Malinois can find it hard to find common grounds with the cat in the house. Cats as we all know act like royalty with everyone around them including the humans are their servants. In a situation like this, you need to interfere and be the referee.
While the cat needs to learn that the Belgian Malinois is a part of the household with all the rights that the cat has, the dog needs to learn to leave the cat alone when it’s not in the mood to play. This might take some adjustment. As a sociable and friendly dog, the Belgian Malinois assumes that everyone is up for play and fun just like him. So that’s a point of contention right there. And you need to work on it.
With practice and after being scolded a few times by the cat, the Belgian Malinois will get to understand that there are times when he should leave the cat be. Of course the sooner the dog comes to this realization the better for everyone involved. So don’t leave the dog alone a lot. It gets lonely and needs company. If the cat is the only company available that could be bad news for both of them.
Understanding Individual Personalities
While the Belgian Malinois as a breed tends to have a high prey drive, each dog has its personality. Similarly, cats have varied temperaments. By understanding these individual differences, you can better manage their relationship.
Get to Know Your Malinois
Some Malinois will be more driven by prey instinct than others based on:
- Upbringing – Early socialization makes a big impact
- Lines – Some bloodlines are more energetic than others
- Drive – Independent workers vs. Velcro dogs
- Age – Puppies and adolescents are the most energetic
- Sex – Males may have a higher prey drive
Observe your dog’s specific behaviors and drives. This will help you cater training and structure to suit their needs.
Understand Your Cat
Cats also have unique personalities that determine how they’ll respond to dogs:
- Confidence – Shy cats get overwhelmed more easily
- Age – Kittens and older cats need more protection
- History – Previous trauma can cause fear of dogs
- Breed – Some breeds are more dog-social than others
Know your cat’s comfort levels and avoid forcing interactions that cause excessive stress.
Making It Work
Once you understand both pets, you can create a customized plan:
- Puppies do best with adult, dog-savvy cats
- Timid cats need extra safe zones and escape routes
- High-drive Malinois need more training and exercise
- Older cats may swat or scratch over playful pups
- Confident cats hold their own better with herding
Adapt based on their unique needs and bond at their own pace.
There is no single training method for all. Keep evaluating each pet’s personality. Then tailor your approach to fit their needs. Be flexible and patient. With work, even mismatched pets can become friends. Getting to know them as individuals enables harmonious relations.
How to Introduce Your Belgian Malinois to a Cat?
So what do you need to do to make the first meeting between those two pets go easy and without problems? Much like your first date, you need to be prepared. Treat this with all the seriousness you’d treat a first date or even a school prom. Preparation is the key. And you need to be subtle. Don’t just throw the cat in the dog’s face and hope for the best.
Smell is important for the dog and personality is important for the cat. Make the introductions at a time that they both enjoy. For example at play time. When the cat is engaged with its favorite toy, you can bring in the Belgian Malinois. First impressions count. Introduce the two pets to each other using their names. Offer each pet a treat to make that first experience a pleasant one. Then you can start a game where they all play a part. Hopefully this breaks the ice and starts a long and lasting friendship.
How to Help A Cat Get Along With a Belgian Malinois?
Cats are aloof. There’s no denying that. They look down their noses at dogs and consider them idiots. There’s not much you can do about that. However, with time the royal feline will learn to allow the Belgian Malinois to come close and even share a game of catch or hide and seek with the dog.
The first time you introduce them together, make sure they have a good time. Treats and games are a great way to get them to a good start. Expect to have some frictions along the way. That’s not a serious issue. It’s only when the fights become repeated and they two start to go out of their way to avoid the other, that’s when you know you have a big problem on your hands.
Also remember that cats play the passive aggressive game very well. The cat will choose to sleep in the dog’s bed just to enjoy watching it whimper and sleep on the floor. This doesn’t endear the cat to the Belgian Malinois. So always keep an eye on them and solve any arguments before things get out of hand.
7 Shared Activities for Belgian Malinois and Cats
Once your Belgian Malinois and cat become comfortable companions, try engaging them in activities together. This strengthens their bond and enriches their lives through fun interaction.
1. Take Them Hiking
The Malinois needs plenty of exercise and mental stimulation. Bring the kitty along on hiking adventures using a cat leash and harness. This allows both pets to explore the outdoors together. Reward calm focused walking side-by-side.
2. Do Obedience Training
Include your cat in regular obedience and trick training. Have the Malinois practice commands like “Leave it” and “Settle” with the cat present. Both pets can even learn tricks together like “High Five”.
3. Let Them Play Together
Once the Malinois understand to be gentle, let them play together. Toss toys they can pass back and forth or chase in turns. Laser pointers and feather wands are great interactive toys they’ll both enjoy.
4. Give Them Puzzles
Keep your pets mentally stimulated by feeding them puzzle toys and discs. They can take turns batting the puzzles around to get the treats out. This builds teamwork.
5. Brush Them Together
The Malinois enjoys a good brushing alongside daily grooming for your cat. Reward them with treats for calmly sitting near each other while being brushed. This teaches them to enjoy each other’s company.
6. Do Nosework
Hide treats around the house and teach your pets to sniff them out together. This improves their sense of smell and serves as a fun cooperative game they can play.
7. Nap Near Each Other
There’s nothing cuter than a dog and cat choosing to curl up near each other for a cozy nap. Providing a shared sleeping space allows them to relax in each other’s presence.
The more positive experiences they share, the closer companions they’ll become! Keep things engaging and reward good behavior.
Belgian Malinois and Other Small Animals
While the relationship between the Belgian Malinois and cats are often complicated, things don’t go that far with other small animals. It’s safe to say that cats take the cake when it comes to how difficult they are. So the good news is, you won’t have much trouble from any other pets including small dogs. Just make the preliminary introductions and let the two pets hit if off on their own. Mostly like you won’t have any trouble from either of them.
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