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cats and border collies

post #1 of 35
Thread Starter 
has anyone here had both cats and border collies?

we are considering adopting a bordercollie x labrador puppy and want to know how he will react to the cats/ how they will react to him.

i have read up on the breed but the reports i have found are conflicting. as border collies like to have 'work' to do they assign themselves tasks such as rounding up the cats! would the cats mind this?

the puppy will be 8 weeks old and will be taken to obidience classes.

any advice anyone has to offer about dogs/cats or bordercollies would be appreciated.
post #2 of 35
It's not quite a border collie, but growing up we had a Shetland Sheepdog (the smaller border collie) and two cats. On most levels shelties and collies have similar personalities, so I think with cats it would be comparable. Yes, they like to herd. But our sheltie Gypsy only ever herded kids lol. When there were a bunch of kids around she would try to round everyone up, but she never did it with the cats. In fact, Gypsy was best friends with one of our cats Oliver. Gypsy was never aggressive towards either cat, and typically left the older cat alone. Gypsy and Oliver however would run around the house playing, sleep together, and even attempt to eat each other's food together! In my experience this type of dog is great with cats, especially since they're not prey dogs. I've also seen an Australian Shepard (another variation of the breed) with cats and that dog too was completely fine. He never barked or anything at Waffle and just let her sniff him all she wanted. I think having a border collie with your Mav would be totally fine.
post #3 of 35
CONGRATS! We got a border collie/lab mix puppy in late March and had some real reservations about how she'd do with the kitties. Things are going great...but it took a LOT of work and we still work at it. Here's my threads, maybe you can get something form them, just a bit. Post photos! Sandy now has a large custom built dog house in the puppy run, thanks to Eric and she has a large crate in the garage w/radio and snacks. She loves her crate and although crate training took 2 long weeks, she has a huge fluffy cotton sleeping bag in there and we keep it partially covered - it's her favorite place now. Like a womb. My point is that she used to have the run of the house - bad idea. If you wouldn't let your toddler run the house with the kitties, then don't let your puppy. Same approach. We used a combination of baby gate and leash to control her in the house and as soon as she could be crate-trained, we did that. She still sleeps with us on weekend mornings -after the kitties have left the bed and are fed, because that's really important to us to have her sleep with us.
She does "herd" the kitties when she's in the house but she's more playful than anything else and her energy level and vibe are just real different for them. It will be interesting to see her as an adult as the year goes....




oh and BIG P.S.: Make sure the kitties have a room of their own that is a no-dog zone. They need to know they have a quiet, off-limits place to go, no matter what. And lavish attention on them, first. Puppy second.
post #4 of 35
My parents have a border collie x australien cattle dog - she herds everything! - including the cats. Their older cat completely ignores her but when she gets too frisky she sometimes gets a paw on the nose. Their younger cat is a bit odd and never really adjusted to the her when she was a puppy - The dog likes to stalk her alot - never does anything to her and my parents try to stop it when they see it, but its an old cycle now...

Careful integration when puppy is young is the best idea I think and let the dog know that the cats are out of bounds! (although they will most likely do that themselves...) - and make sure they have lots of nice high safe places to feel secure they should be fine.

Notice how the dog and the red cat dont even see one another.. "just give me the tabby one!!"


post #5 of 35
Thread Starter 
we are getting one of the two males. going tomorrow afternoon to pick it up.http://www.geocities.com/kroodini/

as my dad doesnt think things through we have no dog stuff in the house. i'm going to have to go and get it between lectures. whats the best way to integrate the puppy and the cats? Maverick is still very protective of her kitten.

going to go and research puppies on the internet now. need to know what to buy.
post #6 of 35
Originally Posted by maverick_kitten
we are getting one of the two males. going tomorrow afternoon to pick it up.http://www.geocities.com/kroodini/

I love border collies...

sorry, I'm not an expert on cat - dog intro's but I would keep puppy on a leash in front of the kitties until it learns some manners. 8 week old pups dont tend to have much control and when a cat sees this new thing come flying at them its not a good start! And remember they need their own spaces.
Goodluck with the new arrival!!

*I'm sure you found more complete lists, but - bed, blanket, puppy food, bowls, collar? brush, and remember to get at least one chewable toy before tomorrow!!
post #7 of 35
Thread Starter 
thanks. i dont really even like dogs, this is going to be my dad and brothers pet because me and mum have the cats.

but the men in my family tend not to be practicle so i have to think about the practicalities.

i know Maverick is going to hate the puppy she's so protective of the kitten.
post #8 of 35
slitty kittay, those pics remind me so much of my own guys! I've got 2 cats, one dog, and Jake (the dog) only pays attention to Buffy. If he sees Willow, he'll give her a look and then either ignore her or ignore her and pay attention to Buffy. He's learned that he can get a reaction out of Buffy. If Jake so much as walks into the same room as the cats, Willow will just freeze and stare, while Buffy will immediatley puff right up, arch her back, hiss, and "mreowl" at Jake in such a menacing way. So who's Jake gonna pay attention to? You got it.

As to the topic at hand, Jake is an Australian Shepherd X Border Collie cross, so he's got some strong herding instincts. It wasn't until late last year (or early this year, I suddenly forget, lol) that he learned to ignore both the cats. 6 1/2 years of sweating whenever Jake was in the vicinity of the cats while off-leash. He now ignores the cats, because, as we figured out, he's only ever paid attention to the cats because we did. Jake's very willing to please, so if he sees us mad at the cats or trying to scold them, he'll jump right in and be mommy's little helper. If the cats do something bad, we'll just ignore them and continue what we're doing. Jake sees that, so he copies us and ignores them too (though he might keep one eye peeled on them, but his head will be on the floor like he's napping). So now I can trust him enough to let him have free range of the house while off-leash, while the cats are roaming free as well. Heck, I did it once during the night, asleep (my door open because his crate is in my room). I didn't wake up to blood all over the walls, lol, just a guilty dog that decided the couch was a comfy place to sleep . However, we still have issues about getting Jake to ignore the cats while outside. I'm not sure I want to even work on it, because both cats are such escape artists and Jake really helps me a lot when they refuse to get caught (Willow freezes, so I can catch her pretty easily, but Buffy loves to cross onto other neighbour's lawns, so Jake acts as a "wall" when she wants to get by). Of course, I always make him go into lie-down so that I will always have some control over him (and it makes him hesitate when he sees the cats when I'm not around, because part of him is used to lying down when they're around, and he can't quite decide between obeying my training or giving in to guilty pleasure and chasing the cats).

If your Border Collie is the willing-to-please type that reads you quite easily, then you might be able to just ignore the cats and he will too. Of course you gotta train him a bit first. I drilled "No kitty chasing!" into Jake's brain, simply by yelling at him when he chased them or leading him away whenever the cats were around. For extra protection, I've taught Jake that when Buffy makes ANY kind of sound at all (growl, meow, mrowl, hiss), Jake has to back up or go away. If he doesn't back up, he feels like he should be doing something anyways (due to repeatedly enforcing the command), so he'll sit instead. Good enough for me, though if Buffy makes another sound of displeasure, I'll make Jake back up or go away. I want him to have no more than 2 warnings. 1st warning, he HAS to obey Buffy. If she's still not happy, he's gotta do better (if he sat after the 1st warning, he HAS HAS HAS to back up or go away, no ifs, ands, or buts. Buffy's the boss over him [or so I'm trying to teach him, lol])
post #9 of 35
When I first got Sunday and Cairo, we had two German Shepherd puppies as well. We weren't sure how all four would get along together but thought things would be pretty much okay if we got them all as babies at the same time. The results were hysterical! The cats always had control, from day one, and apart from getting licked to death and coming inside all covered in dog spit (ewwww) that was the worst thing that ever happened. We had to keep an eye on the doggies until they were old enough to know not to play rough, but they were really the best of friends after a while - Cairo would sleep in Jerry's paws and rub herself all over him. German Shepherds are not herding dogs but they are guard dogs and if there was ever any perceived danger to the us, the cats, or the property, they were right there in front of us, herding us out of the way and standing guard. Beautiful boys!

Here's Jerry, Virgil, Cairo and me a couple of years ago in the park across the road from our house...you can just see Cairo off to the left

And here's Jerry and Sunday having a nap and a cuddle together...
post #10 of 35
I forgot to mention that I hope your dad and brother realise that these are VERY active farm lifestyle dogs - the labrador x might help but border collies are very *hot* dogs - not really for a suburban back yard unless you have a marathon runner in the family!...
post #11 of 35
Borders are very active, you need to keep them busy or they will destroy your backyard out of boredom. Best case scenario find someone with a farm with sheep or other herd animals and see if your dog can come and visit and work off the energy. If the dog has the "eye" to herd, he will herd cats, small children, you, chickens, whatever he can. These dogs need to be worked, and active. My hats off to dicknleah she has 3, but she has a big place and they interact with each other and burn off their energy. Also obedience class is a must and agility classes will calm your dog down. Your cats will be one of the things this dog will want to herd.
post #12 of 35
Thread Starter 
my dad had border collies growing up so they know what they are getting themselves in for

my little brother is very, very active. he's sports mad and plays football twice a day. the main reson he wants a dog is to take for walks and to play ball with.

we have big fields and parks (to be taken for walks in) by my house and a large garden so hopefully the dog will be kept occupied.

my mum has insisted on training classes for the puppy thank god.

the woman emailed me today and told me the puppies have been brought up with three cats so they are (potentially) cat safe.

was meant to be getting the puppy today but will have to wait until wednesday. little brother is panicking that the 'best' puppy will be sold by then. the woman said she'll try to put people of buying the boys so we can choose between the two.
post #13 of 35
Originally Posted by maverick_kitten
i have read up on the breed but the reports i have found are conflicting. as border collies like to have 'work' to do they assign themselves tasks such as rounding up the cats! would the cats mind this?

This brings back memories! My (OTB) Jethro was part border collie part lab (and part who knows what). Yes, he used to love to herd the cats. He would stand guard while they slept and drool on them. We clocked him in his guard position for over an hour one time (he didn't move, just stood looking down on them and drooling). The cats would wake up soaking wet but could care less. Stumpy (our alpha cat) absolutely LOVED Jethro and mourned him for years after he crossed. They would play together for hours on end.

The cats won't appreciate their energy while they are young but you should be pleasantly surprised by the need for the dog to serve as protector for your cats as he matures. The key is getting the dog to view protecting the cats as his "job" and all will be well.
post #14 of 35
Thread Starter 
my cats are still kittens, a mother and son at 12weeks and 1year 3 months so they have bags of energy.

should i worry about the puppy playing too rough?

the baby will love the new puppy, he is filled with bold confidence from being so loved and spoilt since birth. he views everyone as a friend. Maverick, the female will hate the dog on sight. she is a very spoilt girl with a mean streak.
post #15 of 35
Be wary of puppies and young kittens. Until the puppy realizes what the cats are, they tend to want to play with them as if they are toys, or worse, littermates. An adult cat can usually hold their own, but a young kitten cannot. Keep a close eye when they are together for a while.
post #16 of 35
Thread Starter 
the puppies here and the cats are very angry.

Maverick doesnt mind it all that much but is very cautious and hisses/growls a bit. the kitten is terrified and wont go near him! he wont even go downstairs if he can hear the puppy. poor baby!

its early days yet but Maverick is doing really well. we are not pushing them together, just supervising and letting her watch him from high vantage points and do whatever she feels comfortable with. they touched noses earlier before Maverick ran away so i'm hopefull they will get on.

will post pics soon!
post #17 of 35
Thread Starter 

post #18 of 35
nicky... seriously? another dog?
post #19 of 35
Thread Starter 
lol no thats THE dog. the one and only dog we're ever going to have. Still not getting on too well with the cats

He really loves them but they wont let him play their games and hiss if he gets too close. he's stopped chasing them but has a bad habit of trying to lick them. he got swiped across the nose for that by Mav.
post #20 of 35
Originally Posted by maverick_kitten
lol no thats THE dog. the one and only dog we're ever going to have. Still not getting on too well with the cats

He really loves them but they wont let him play their games and hiss if he gets too close. he's stopped chasing them but has a bad habit of trying to lick them. he got swiped across the nose for that by Mav.

awww, give it more time.. My cats hated my dog (back n australia) and it took them just over a month to accept him, then they all loved him and he used to growl at other cats who came into our territory
post #21 of 35
Thread Starter 
Mav quite likes him, when he's still. he chased her once and she hasnt forgiven him (he wasnt chasing her per say, he thought it was a game and started running too, he was running alongside her rather than after her. he wasnt barking either and his tail was wagging). Jupiter would scratch his eyes out if he were bigger and not such a wimp!

Were just taking it really slowly. the trouble is the puppy is very, very active.

I taught him how to shake hands and sit down already so he's quite a smart little thing.
post #22 of 35
Thanks MA. I actually have two Borders and 2 Aussies, same difference though.

With these particular breeds, unless you have something to do with them, herding, agility, flyball ect., I would not have just one. As MA said my dogs interact with eachother and that keeps them very busy. Having just one with no activities to do can spell disaster.

As for the cats, two of my kitties were already here when we started to add dogs to our family. They adjusted okay. My next 3 were babies when we brought them in and the dogs were perfect little mommies and daddys to them. Ashly however, was almost an adult kitty when MA brought her to us. I left her in the guest room for a couple of weeks with a baby gate up. The other cats could go in to visit her but the dogs were only allowed to look. She finally took to living downstairs in my hubbys bathroom and believe you me, that is HER room and she lets the dogs know it if they attempt to go in there.

With all that said it can be done. But remember, your Border needs something to do, constantly. Good luck.
post #23 of 35
Thread Starter 
he's going to be starting an agility class and puppy training as soon as his shots are all done (3 weeks to go!). we have a baby gate too, the cats can get through but the puppy cant.

he is also not allowed upstairs so they have the run of upstairs to themselves (2 floors).

i'm hoping his lab side will make him a little calmer i'm not a big dog fan really and BC's are said to be very 'doggy' from what i've read. He is very sweet though and he seems to like me, he gets very happy when he sees me and likes to sit on my lap.

He managed to find the one cat toy in the whole of downstairs and the garden we missed and swallowed it whole. we rang the vet in a panic and they said to let him pass it out. luckily he threw it up the next day. puppies are hard work and he's not even my dog!
post #24 of 35
Very good. As for eating foreing object all of my dogs except Niki eat everything in sight so I am very familiar with colorful extrements. A warning though, from my experience, BC's don't get out of puppy stage until they are about 3 years old so be prepared for a long, frustrating, yet wonderful experience.

Feel free to PM me if you need any advice or just want to talk on your bad days.
post #25 of 35
Thread Starter 
thanks, i'm bound to take you up on that

is it normally for them to be a bit bitey? and how can i train him out of it?
post #26 of 35
Puppys are natural mouthers especially when teething. Keep a toy near you at all times and when puppy decides to chew on you, replace yourself with the toy. Cody, my Aussie pup was an impossible exception to the rule though. I couldn't stop her to save my life. She eventually grew out of it at about 8 months. It helped putting her through classes as well.They teach the "leave it" command which is a very valuable tool.
post #27 of 35
Thread Starter 
we've started giving him a chilled washcloth to chew to ease his gums if he's teething. he prefers human flesh to toys whatever we try! i dont think my families reactions help, calling him naughty in a laughing voice then playing with him.

its early days yet. hopefully he'll grow out of it.

Maverick is in a sulk as she saw me holding the puppy. she wont be my friend for a good hour until i have bribed her well enough with prawns!
post #28 of 35
Can you get bitter apple spray in the UK? If he is a normal puppy, his attention will soon turn to wood chairs, moulding, wallpaper, etc, etc. If you redirect him away from chewing you, he could hit on things other than his toys.

Went thru the joys of 2 littermate puppies last year. Thank heavens I worked from home most of the year so I could keep an eye out for them. I'm all ears if you need me.
post #29 of 35
Thread Starter 
i think i've seen it in pet shops. so far he only chews people. he has lots of toys but has learnt that humans make interesting noises when you nip them and end up playing with him if he keeps it up.

about to order a puppy care book from amazon.

any ideas about how old he should be when you get him to wear a collar? my parents and brother dont want him to wear one until he starts puppy classes (12 weeks) but i think it would be better if he got used to it first. i put a collar on him and he didnt mind it but my brother threw a tantrum and took it off.
post #30 of 35
I had two border collie crosses growing up (one crossed with german shepherd, the other with australian shepherd) and both were great with the cats (the cats liked to share the dogs' beds) and never attempted to herd them (though one of them did like to try to herd kids). As long as the dog is getting lots of exercise and a proper introduction is made, I think it should be fine.
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