You might have heard of the saying “Like chalk and cheese” or “Like night and day”. This basically that there are two objects which are polar opposites of each other.
In this scenario, we would be referring to staffies and cats.
Many would think of the Staffordshire bull terrier and cats being each other’s nemesis. Given how the strong prey drive of staffies, can they really get along with cats?
Despite the nature of the Staffordshire bull terrier, they can be good with the pet cat provided the staffies have been well trained and socialized. This is something that all dog owners need to do with their pet dogs regardless of dog breed.
In this article, we will take a closer look at how pet owners can ensure that their Staffordshire bull terrier dogs can get along with their cats without any incidents.
What Is A Staffordshire Bull Terrier?
The staff is a medium-size pure breed dog that originates from Staffordshire in the English Midlands hence its name.
This dog breed was originally for bull and bear baiting like the bulldog with its lovable smushed up face.
These dogs were also bred to be used in the cruel sport of dogfighting which has long been banned. As calm and friendly as the modern Staffordshire bull terrier is these days, they still retain some of their genetic traits still remain.
Staffies can grow for about 12-18 months before reaching maturity.
Personality Of The Staffordshire Bull Terrier
There’s no denying that Staffordshire bull terrier dogs look imposing with their stout and muscular build.
But like most things in life, looks can be deceiving.
This dog breed is in fact more loving and sensitive preferring to engage in playtime than being angry at the world.
They are sociable dogs that enjoy being close to their family members. The Staffordshire bull terrier is a house dog and should not be kept outdoors.
Despite their loving nature, they might not get along well with other dogs due to their dogfighting heritage.
Do Staffies Hate Cats?
Truth be told, the word ‘hate’ does not exist in the emotional vocabulary of dogs. It is something that we humans have imposed on them.
Being animals, they operate on instincts and when dogs see a cat, mouse, squirrel or a small critter, it is in their nature to want to give chase.
Staffordshire bull terriers don’t have a private agenda to chase cats all day.
How a dog reacts to people or other animals largely depends on how well it has been trained. I have seen pet dog breeds that are known to be vicious being afraid and dominated by kittens.
How To Introduce Your Staff To Your Pet Cat?
Before you bring your cat or Staffordshire bull terrier back from the local animal shelter or breeder, you will need to ensure that the dog has been well trained and socialized.
A staffy that is still showing any signs of aggression cannot and should not be introduced to a cat.
In this scenario, we will assume that the cat will be the newest addition to the family. The socialization method also works if the dog is new.
Keep Them In Separate Rooms
Do not just let the two pets meet head-on for the first meeting. It will be a disastrous greeting that will be hard to recover from.
Keep your Staffordshire bull terrier and cat in separate rooms for a few days. Make sure that your cat is locked in a room that is self-sufficient. It should have all the essentials like its litter box, scratching post, water and food bowls in there.
One good way to start off the introduction is to place an object with each pet’s scent in the other’s room.
Dogs and cats communicate and recognize each other by smell hence it’s letting them know that they have a new ‘sibling’ in the house.
Both pets should be showing a sense of curiosity when smelling the scent rather than aggression.
Let Your Dog Come Closer
It is still not the right time for a face to face meeting. But you can start letting your dog get more acquainted with your pet by letting it smell the cat through the door.
Your staffy might start to get excited once it smells the cat outside the door. It can start to bark, whine or paw at the door.
It is very important that you keep your dog’s energy level down and its focus on you. This trains the dog to be calm and composed when it is near the cat.
A hyperactive dog will scare a cat and send it hiding and even trigger a hostile response.
Make sure to reward and praise your dog when it behaves calmly.
Once the dog is able to be calm and non-hyper on its own at the door, you can progress to the next phase.
The First Physical Meeting
For this phase, you will want to keep your cat in the carrier and your dog on a loose leash. Let the Staffordshire bull terrier approach the carrier on its own.
Notice how it behaves as it sees and smells the cat.
The moment any pet shows signs of aggression or fear, end the meeting and try again the next day.
The ideal signal to look out for is your cat being relaxed in the carrier with the dog just lying outside the carrier.
The Actual Meet And Greet
After a few days of letting them get to know each other through the safety of the carrier, you can let them meet face to face.
Make sure that your dog is still leashed and there are elevated platforms that your cat can jump on too for safety if it starts to feel threatened.
Always keep a keen eye on initial signs of aggression so that you can nip it in the bud before it gets worse.
There will be a lot of smelling and apprehension from both pets which is normal. Just make sure the dog is always calm around the cat.
Please do not leave them alone for now until you are absolutely sure that they are both totally comfortable with each other. The best sign of acceptance is when your cat is happily licking and grooming your dog like its own.
What Breed Of Dogs Is Best With Cats?
From what I’ve seen, any dog breed can be good with cats and other pets with proper socialization and time. But there are a few best dog breeds that tend to warm up faster and easier to cats.
If you are looking for a dog that is good with cats, you can consider these breeds:
- Golden retrievers
- Border Collies
- Jack Russells
This isn’t an exhaustive list but these dog breeds tend to do better with cats. However, this doesn’t mean that you should skip the above socialization steps during the initial stages.
Are Staffies Good With Kids?
If you have kids at home as well, having a dog that can socialize well with them is a good thing. some dog breeds like the Corgi don’t work well with kids below five years of age.
Fortunately, the Staffordshire bull terrier is great when it comes to kids.
They are affectionate, loving and make great playmates with young children. They are also called ‘nanny dogs’ as they tend to be gentle and protective of young humans.
Another reason why Staffordshire bull terriers are great with kids is due to their similar energy levels. Staffies have high energy levels and can spend a large portion of the day wanting to play.
What other playmate would make a perfect match than a kid with a similar energy level? They will be chasing each other around the house.
Can Staffies Be Aggressive?
Given their rather sordid past of being bred for dog fighting and bull/bear-baiting, they have a reputation for being aggressive dogs.
They can be as aggressive or friendly as other dog breeds depending on how well they have been trained.
Some owners neglect and abuse their dogs which makes them fearful and aggressive.
I have seen Chihuahuas and Sausage dogs that can strike more fear in me than a staffy.
Is A Staffy A Good First Dog?
A staffy can be a good first dog for the right owner. They are active dogs that need a lot of attention and exercise.
They can also be stubborn dogs and require a lot of training to show them who’s the boss.
Just like the Corgi who some consider might not be a good first dog.
If you are someone who wants a laid back dog that doesn’t require much training and walks, Staffordshire bull terriers aren’t suitable for you.
Getting your staffy and cat to be the best of friends isn’t as intimidating as it seems. All you need is time and patience for them to break the ice and get familiar with each other.
Don’t rush the process and it won’t be long before your cat starts bossing your staffy around the house.