Shelties are beautiful and sweet dog breeds. Generally, these breeds are playful with exceptional levels of alertness and agility. It has high energy levels and is a strong herder. Shelties are smart and would excel at obedience training. This means training your Sheltie would be relatively fluid. Notably, Shelties have strong barking instincts and thrive best in the sustained company of its owner.
Shelties don’t have a high prey drive. Therefore, you can expect your Sheltie to get along just fine with your cat. If you have a cat-loving family, you will not have problems bringing in a Sheltie. However, it is essential you gradually socialize your Sheltie and your cat to help them build a sustainably amiable relationship. Also, you should ensure you have a social kitty who doesn’t prefer to be left alone.
There is so much you should know about the relationship between a Sheltie and a cat. What can you do to make the acclimatization (to themselves) easier? How can you help your cat get along with the Sheltie? Also, how can you create the best conditions for your Sheltie and cat to coexist peacefully? All these we will be learning in this guide.
Shetland sheepdogs and Their Relationship with Cats
The Sheltie is a peace-loving and gentle dog. It is not one of those breeds that would be chasing your cat around.
Your cat and Sheltie can gradually build a friendly relationship between them so long you are ready to monitor the process and make the rules.
Your Sheltie is disposed to playing with your cat. So long your cat is social and enjoys the company of other animals, your cat and Sheltie can learn to enjoy the company of each other.
Importance of Socializing Your Shetland Sheepdog
Socializing your dog establishes the “playbook” for its behavior. This means you teach it what you approve of and what you condemn.
More importantly, socialization enables your Sheltie to be calm and confident when it is exposed to new people, disruptive sounds, new environments, or even animals.
This way, minor things don’t launch your Sheltie into an overdrive anymore, getting chasing stuff or running away in fear.
How to Make Shetland Sheepdogs Like Cats
Shelties are friendly, but you can yet get your Sheltie to like your cat even more. One of the best means of enabling the Sheltie to get fonder of your cat is preventing them from eating together.
Feeding both pets in different location greatly reduces the possibility of any of them stealing food from each other. Few things trigger rivalry or conflict between pets as when they have to compete for food.
Also, you must deliberately bring your Sheltie and cat together to interact under your guidance. Giving them some one-on-time helps your Sheltie get used to your cat quicker.
Obviously, if you have a Sheltie and cat grow up together from pups and kitten up to adulthood, you can expect them to get fond of themselves naturally.
Your Sheltie will get along with your cat if it has passed through proper obedience training. This way, it readily follows your instructions. Otherwise, it is not wise to hurriedly introduce your cat and your Sheltie as the Sheltie can get overzealous and rush at your cat.
Take note that your Sheltie is a smart dog. Despite being a sweet dog, it would get quickly jealous if it notices that you are showing the cat way more love than you give it. Indeed, you expect such jealousy to offset detest for the cat.
Also, it is fundamental that your home has adequate space for both pets to exist in their own space without frequent invasion.
You can gradually help your Sheltie gets used to the smell of your cat. You can stroke your Sheltie while simultaneously stroking your cat (to relax both pets) while both are in communion.
Desensitization is one great way to achieve this. This process is aimed at slowly reducing the reaction of your Sheltie to your cat, losing keen interest over time.
You can use a baby gate to keep your cat and Sheltie apart while they can still see and sniff each other via the baby gate. In a situation where your Sheltie is getting too stuck or excited about your cat, you can distract it with toys.
We will like to state here that you must never force your Sheltie and cat together. That would be a recipe for disaster. When any of them wants its own space, readily oblige it.
How to Help a Cat Get Along With a Shetland Sheepdog
A well trained Sheltie would easily gel with a cat, so long the cat is willing. Good news is you can help your cat get along better with your Sheltie.
One primary rule is to avoid introducing the Sheltie to your cat when the latter is nervous. Make sure to relax your cat first and get it ready for the introduction.
One way to reduce the zealousness on each other before they meet for the first time is getting your Sheltie and your cat sniffing at each other toys. Certainly, this should be when the other party is kept away from the toys at that time. This ensures that their curiosity has – to a reasonable extent – being satisfied before they get to meet each other physically.
Possibly, your cat would run off in fear or hide when your Sheltie approaches its room. This is only a signal that your cat needs more time.
Over time, it wouldn’t be readily cowering away from your Sheltie anymore. This is normal when it has acclimatized to the sound and smell of your Sheltie. Indeed, now you can bring them together closer.
Get your cat in your arms, probably stroking it to get it more relaxed. You can ask someone else to bring the Sheltie closer into the room.
Now, when bringing your Sheltie into the same room with your cat for the first time, the Sheltie should be on a leash as it can get zealous and chase down your cat.
The Sheltie shouldn’t rush at your cat. That could frighten your cat and get it leaping off in defense. Therefore, the Sheltie must slowly come closer to you and the cat.
They need to be in physical contact with themselves this time. The major concern is that they should get used to their presence.
Remember that your cat may not always be receptive to the Sheltie at the first time. Consequently, make sure to put on long sleeves when you carry it in your arms to protect your arms from its scratches. This is in case it tries to break free from your arms violently.
If they roll well with one other, say there is no hissing and growling, you can reward both of them with some nice treats.
Preparing Your Cat to Live with Your Shetland Sheepdog
If you don’t want to have your cat in your arms when you bring your Sheltie close, you could put your cat in a crate and bring your Sheltie closer to it in a leash.
After the first monitored encounter, you can get your pets separate again. It is not advisable to force them to interact for a long period – especially for the first time. Exhaustion in such scenarios could prompt conflict and quick irritation.
It is up to you to slowly extend the length of subsequent sessions. The idea is to get your Sheltie and cat interacting intermittently to get used to each other.
When you notice that your cat is getting freer and more comfortable in the presence of your Sheltie, you can take let your cat freedom roaming around the room when the Sheltie is in the room. Yet, you must keep your Sheltie on a leash.
For a trained and socialized Sheltie, you can take off the leash some 3-4 weeks later and let them interact freely with each other.
If you choose, you can resort to using pheromones (acquired on the prescription of your vet) to get both the cat and Sheltie more relaxed when they adjust to each other. You can also consult your vet on the use of synthetic hormones during this adaptation phase.
Creating the Best Living Situation for a Shetland Sheepdog and Cat
Now that you have successfully brought your Sheltie and your cat together and gotten each other used to their respective company, you have to create the best living conditions for your cat and Sheltie to peaceably and sociably cohabit.
Your cat and Sheltie mustn’t be left together when you are out. You can trust both that well to get along – especially at the early stages of them getting used to each other.
It is crucial to create a get-away refuge for your cat where it can resort to out of the reach of your Sheltie. This can be its escape route in the case of any aggression from your Sheltie.
If your cat has no way to escape – say it is backed into a corner by your Sheltie – it is instinctive for your cat to attack the Sheltie.
This refuge can be a cat tree that your Sheltie can’t reach or possibly a baby gate situated across the doorway.
If your Sheltie is behaving peaceably around your cat, you can reward your Sheltie with some treats. This way, your Sheltie wouldn’t get overly excited or aggressively when your cat comes into your Sheltie’s room.
Conflicts can also come when they share meals together. Ensure to keep to a routine for feeding your cat and Sheltie. Indeed, they must be fed in different sections of your home.
Also, you must be ready to administer over the toys. Your cat and Sheltie can readily get into a fight over toys.
Shetland Sheepdogs and Other Small Animals
Indeed, your Sheltie doesn’t have a high prey drive, but it enjoys chasing small animals. This habit can be reduced with proper socialization.