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Can Border Collies Live With Cats? And How To Introduce Them

Can Border Collies Live With Cats? And How To Introduce Them

Do you have a cat and want to get a Border Collie or vice versa? Are you wondering if Border Collies can live with cats. Here’s everything you need to know about Border Collies and cats.

Can Border Collies Live With Cats? Yes, Border Collies can live with cats. However, they have an intense desire to chase things that move, including cats, so it’s vital they’re introduced carefully. Once a Border Collie has been trained to accept a cat, they can live happily alongside each other. 

Read on to find out how best to introduce a Border Collie to a cat, how long it takes for them to accept each other, and whether all Border Collies will be happy living alongside a cat.

Never use the advice in this article as a substitute for professional veterinary advice or treatment. I am NOT a Vet, qualified dog trainer or dog behaviourist. This article is based on research, personal opinion and experience of owning dogs over the last 12+ years. 

What Age Should I Introduce My Border Collie To A Cat?

Border Collies tend to get on best with cats when they’ve been introduced to them at an early age.

Puppies are naturally inquisitive and can make friends with cats much more easily than adult dogs can. 

Although Border Collie puppies are still likely to have a natural instinct to chase cats, they can be taught not to. You just need to be clear and consistent with your training from day one. 

Of course, it’s possible to introduce an adult Border Collie to a cat, but it’ll require consistent training, patience and close supervision. 

However, adding a kitten to your family could be more challenging. Extra care would need to be taken so your Border Collie doesn’t accidentally injure them. 

Kittens are really small compared to the size of an adult Border Collie so they could easily get knocked over or scared if they’re chased.

How To Introduce A Border Collie To A Cat

It’s possible to introduce a Border Collie to a cat and vice versa, no matter what their ages and backgrounds are.

However, it’s important not to rush or force this process.

If at any point either one of them seems stressed, you should give the training a break and go back to stage one.

This is how to introduce a Border Collie to a cat:

Create separate Spaces

It’s important that you give both your Border Collie and your cat a separate safe space to live within your home to begin with.

If you have a spare room then your cat could move in there temporarily. Make sure you give them a bed, some water, their food bowl and a litter tray to use.

By doing this, your Border Collie and cat can smell each other but can’t see each other yet, which helps to keep their stress levels low. 

Swap Scents

Before your Border Collie comes home, try to get a toy or blanket from the breeder or dog shelter.

This can be introduced to your cat’s living space and vice versa.

This gives them both the chance to get used to each other’s scents without physically seeing each other.

This should keep their stress levels lower than rushing straight into a face-to-face meeting. 

Border Collie laying next to a cat on a cyan blue background with a speech bubble that says 'Can I live with cats?'
Border Collie Living With A Cat

Use Barriers

To start with, it’s a good idea to use stair gates or baby gates to separate your Border Collie from your cat.

This allows them to see and smell each other but not have physical contact with each other just yet. 

Cats can easily leap over barriers so can get away from your Border Collie and feel protected when they need to be.

This is particularly important in the beginning stage when they’re just getting used to each other.


Put your new Border Collie on a light leash. Then allow them to explore all the rooms in your house (apart from the one the cat is in!). 

Let The Cat Out

Only when the time is right, let your cat out of the spare room. Allow your cat to approach your Border Collie in their own time. 

Don’t let your Border Collie off the leash just yet. Stand really still and let your cat come to them when they’re ready to do so.

Go Slow

If you want your Border Collie and cat to accept each other, it’s vital that you don’t rush this process.

If at any point either one of them seems stressed, go back a step until they feel more comfortable and confident. 

Reward Good Behaviour

If your Border Collie does try to chase or lunge at your cat, distract them with a treat or dog toy.

Border Collies are best trained using positive reinforcement methods.

So, by giving them a tasty treat every time they behave calmly around the cat, they’ll recognise that this is how you want them to behave.

Repeat the routine

Training a Border Collie to be around a cat is a process. 

There are no guarantees that every Border Collie will accept every cat, so patience is key when they’re being introduced. 

You may have to repeat the first stages several times over several weeks before your Border Collie and cat seem calmer around each other.

Re-direct The Stare

Staring is a natural behaviour for Border Collies. They crouch down and give livestock a hard stare to get them to move where they want them to go.

If the livestock don’t respond to this, a Border Collie may escalate to nipping to move them that way.

If they were to nip at a cat, then it could really hurt them.

By distracting your Border Collie when they’re staring at the cat, this can make it less likely for them to try and nip. 

Don’t Corner The Cat!

Try not to let your cat get pushed into a corner by your Border Collie as this is likely to scare them.

If your cat feels threatened, they’re more likely to hiss and scratch at your Border Collie.

This could cause your Border Collie to act defensively, particularly if they get scratched by the cat! 

Border Collie laying next to a cat on a white background with a speech bubble that says 'Can I live with cats?'
Border Collie Living With A Cat

Exercise Your Border Collie

If your Border Collie’s exercise needs are not being met, then they’re much more likely to want to chase or herd the cat.

Chasing and herding are fun activities for Border Collies, so if they’re bored, they’ll make their own entertainment to keep themselves occupied.

That’s why it’s really important that they’re getting enough physical exercise and mental stimulation during the cat introduction process. 

Remove Barriers

Once you are certain that your Border Collie and cat are feeling comfortable around each other, you can then remove the baby gates and let them both explore the house.

It’s best to keep your Border Collie on a loose leash to begin with to make doubly sure that they’re not going to chase the cat.

Unfortunately, not every Border Collie will learn to accept a cat. 

Remove The Leash

Once it’s clear that your Border Collie isn’t going to try and chase the cat, then you can remove their leash. However, please be cautious!

If at any point your Border Collie looks like they’re about to chase the cat, you should go back a few steps to make sure they really understand what to do. 

Give Them Their Own Space

Even when your Border Collie and cat are used to each other, it’s still important that they each have their own space.

Many cats prefer resting places that are raised up, so they can see everything that’s happening below them. This keeps them away from your Border Collie too if they want a break.

By making sure they each have their own bed and place to eat and drink, then this can help to keep tensions between them lower. 

Don’t Leave Them Alone

Even if your Border Collie and cat are now good friends, it’s still not advisable to leave them alone together.

Both Border Collies and cats can sometimes be unpredictable so put plans in place when you need to leave the house. 

How Long Does It Take To Introduce A Border Collie To A Cat?

Some Border Collies learn to accept a cat within as little as a week, whereas others may take months to feel fully comfortable around them. This will vary greatly depending on the individual pets involved.

It may be the case that your Border Collie learns to simply co-exist with the cat in their home, as opposed to them actually forming close friendships with them.

This isn’t a bad thing, so you shouldn’t push them to interact with each other more if they’re both happy with this arrangement. 

The younger your Border Collie and cat are, the faster they’re likely to be to feel comfortable around each other.

If your Border Collie has never lived with a cat before or vice versa, then this can increase the time their introduction training takes. 

Will My Border Collie Like All Cats?

There’s no way of knowing for sure if your Border Collie will enjoy the company of all cats. After all, they’re all individuals and not everyone can get along!

However, Border Collies are absolutely capable of living alongside cats – some are even good friends with them! 

Although your Border Collie can potentially be friends with a cat and share their home with them, that doesn’t automatically mean they’ll be friendly towards other cats they don’t know.

This is usually more apparent if you’re walking your Border Collie and they see a cat run out in front of them!

So there you have it! Border Collies can be trained to live with cats, but they have a strong desire to chase things that move so introductions need to be very slow and careful. However, once your Border Collie has been trained to accept a cat, they can often live happily alongside each other. Just bear in mind that it doesn’t always work out that way.

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