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Are Pit Bulls Good With Cats?

Chris is a proud pit bull parent whose cat loves its canine companion almost as much as he does.

Are pit bulls and cats compatible pets?

Are pit bulls and cats compatible pets?

Do Pit Bulls and Cats Get Along?

I realize that to some people, discussion of an American Pit Bull Terrier palling around with a kitten might seem unbelievable. These breeds are often stereotyped as killers. Many believe they are prone to display aggression toward cats, other dogs, and even humans. These stereotypes are mostly baseless, however, and often stem from fear and misunderstanding.

In fact, pit bulls and cats can get along quite well. I speak from personal experience when I say that, in the hands of a responsible owner, these dogs can get along just fine with other animals—especially cats.

What to Consider Before Introducing a Pit Bull and a Cat

Historically, these American Terriers have been bred for great temperament, strength, agility, and intelligence. That being said, they are known to be protective of their owners. You need to be responsible to own one, as they require a lot of attention and training.

These dogs are also known for their high energy levels. They can be rambunctious, but can also be surprisingly gentle so long as proper boundaries are set and enforced. Your common sense might tell you that a mid-sized, high-energy animal might be too much for your cat or cats to handle, but this usually is not the case.

Whether you are introducing a puppy or an adult dog into a house with cats or vice versa, you will need to be consistent in enforcing strict boundaries with the pit bull. The good news is that these dogs just want to please their owners and are more than happy to operate within the boundaries that you give them.

Pit Bulls and Cats Can Coexist Happily

Raising pit bulls and cats together is no big deal if you are a responsible dog owner to begin with. Having grown up in a few small country towns, I've owned many popular breeds of dogs and cats simultaneously.

I have never been more impressed by a type of dog and its ability to coexist with its feline companions than I have been with the American Pit Bull Terrier. In my opinion, these dogs are all about pleasing their owners.

A balanced pit bull will be more than capable of getting along with your cats, and not just for your sake. Once appropriate boundaries have been established, most learn to genuinely enjoy the company of your feline family members. Give America's first native dog breed a chance before you rule them out as a new member of your cat-friendly family.

I realize that any discussion about these breeds can be controversial, because of the way the American Pit Bull Terrier (APBT) has been painted by the media. I challenge you to do some research on your own before forming opinions, however. If you know someone who owns a one, talk to them about their experience with the breeds.

Pit Bulls: Bad Breeds or Bad Reputation?

Are pit bulls bad? Some might say asking this question equates to asking whether there is a "bad race." There is no such thing as a "bad breed." In my opinion, the breeds have earned their less-than-favorable reputation because of the following factors.

Why Pit Bulls Have a Bad Rap

  • Irresponsible owners fail to properly train and socialize their pets.
  • Some individuals purposefully obtain them for their size and fierce reputation then train them to act violently. This is dangerous and should not be condoned.
  • Pit bull attacks attract an undue amount of media attention, while attacks by other breeds are rarely covered in the news.

All dogs are different. Some are human-aggressive yet animal-friendly. Some are friendly to cats but aggressive toward other dogs. Others are friendly to just about everyone. Temperament varies more from dog to dog than from breed to breed. Dogs' temperaments are as diverse as those of their human counterparts.

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No dogs should be aggressive toward their own family. Such aggression is usually a sign of psychological problems with the animal and should be handled responsibly.

Like other domesticated dogs, these breeds enjoy people and are capable of forming very close bonds to their handlers or family. When they are given proper care and attention from their owners, they are loving and loyal.

These dogs are also highly intelligent, which makes training them a breeze. The old saying, "You can't teach an old dog new tricks" doesn't apply here. They are capable of learning new commands at any age as long as they received basic training and socialization as puppies. They are even capable of unlearning bad habits taught to them by their owners (e.g., jumping up on people, licking, or begging for food).



Common sense on September 07, 2020:

Hi Chris,

I see you represent yourself something of a journalist. Do you just post propaganda, or do you actually report on useful information?

PIT BULLS kill more cats than ANY OTHER BREED every year. That includes stray cats, house cats, pet cats in homes that pit bulls break into, cats that they share shelters with, the list goes on and on.

Don't believe me? Last year two pit bulls killed TWENTY NINE cats at a shelter. TWENTY NINE. There are dozens of stories in the news about pit bulls breaking down doors to people's homes and killing the cats inside, and thousands more where these dogs kill pets they share a home with.

Your reporting is a disgrace, and this is rank information. All of the knuckleheads who choose to believe it are putting helpless animals in harms way.

Shame on you for your misinformation. Anyone who wants a REAL SOURCE should look up stats on pit bull attacks and determine for y;ourself if you want one of these dogs sharing a home with your cat, which it can kill at a moment's notice (and probably will).

Rhonda M Runkles on July 29, 2020:

My bully and at are best friends

ALLISON SHULSON on July 22, 2020:

Have 2 dogs a chihuahua and a pity and 2 cats they all get along wonderfully. The chihuahua is the dominant one. Never worried about them when we go somewhere

Dorothy on July 14, 2020:

My Pitbull loves our cat! The cat plays with him aggressively, and he just allows her to do what she wants. He's never tried to hurt her.

John Russell Baxley on July 13, 2020:

Hey Cathy, If you have never owned a Pitbull you don't have an opinion, because you have no real knowledge of the breed.

Jean on June 24, 2020:

My pitbull loves my cats but my older cat dont like him hes afraid ot the older cat

Cathy on June 24, 2020:

American Pit Bull Terrier Is very dangerous it’s not good with other dogs & cats & people & childrens too.

Mary m on June 21, 2020:

I have pits and 2 are good with cats but the third one is good with my cat but will try and attack a cat outside.

Michelle M on June 18, 2020:

I adopted a 4 week old orphaned kitten in 2018. Not only did my pitbull adore him but I ended up with a kitty that thought he was a mini pibble. He would follow us to the dog park where we live and play with his big "brother".

Sue Mckenny on June 13, 2020:

We have 5 dog's , 2 pitbulls 5 cat's not only do they get along, they sleep together.

Karen on May 30, 2020:

I have had 2 Pitts and 2 cats they are friends and actually play together.

Lynn on May 29, 2020:

I have a 3 yr old chocolate pit named Riley & like some cats & kittens & he loves them all

Jimmy on May 21, 2020:

I have a 75lbs Pit and two cats.. he’s great with them. Even with cats outside when we go for a walk.. he always gets excited to meet them. He won’t harm them at all! Stop with all the negativity about them! They’re good dogs, period. It’s all depends on the owner!

Rachel on May 13, 2020:

We have a 4 year old rescue dog from the pound who loves his sister kitty. We know almost nothing about his background, and he was 2 when we adopted him. We did a DNA test and he is 55% American Pitbull Terrier. He adores cats, but usually gives too much love for their liking.

We knew we had to get him a brother or sister kitty, but had to find one that could handle all of his love. We found a shelter kitty who has 3 months old and she was just as curious of him. She is now 10 months old and they love each other! He would never hurt her, he has accepted her as family, and wants to protect her. They had some figuring out to do at first. He thought her purring was growling at first and he would run away from his 5lb sister. Now they'll chase each other and play, but mostly she attacks him. Jumps out and scares him, or jumps and attacks his face (no claws of course) and he just wags his tail or ignores her.

Wilma on May 09, 2020:

I have a 10 lb cat that terrorizes my 60 lb pit but she loves her kitty.

Amber on November 25, 2019:

We have had our Pittie for 2 years and just recently found a kitten with broken legs and rescued it. The kitten is only two months old.

Our pittie has been on the farm around chickens, ducks, goats, lamb, horses, cows... the list goes on. Never has had any problems with them. BUT when we introduced the kitty in the kitty kennel our pittie licks his chops like its a snack! Any tips on getting them aquatinted? Our pittie is well trained and we have been doing short, controlled interactions. Our great dane and the kitten are best friends already. I know things take time, but I would appreciate tips! Thanks!

Jhenson87 on June 16, 2019:

Hi everyone I’m Justin new to all of this but I need your help for the past year and a half we have had our cat Jack and 2 dogs lily pit papi pit/bull dog living together with us which are my children they play together sleep together all good right well yesterday I let the dogs outside in their dog run which is right off the front porch fairly large area to run and play and jack the cat go outside in their area through a slice in the screen next thing I here is jack high pitch meowing so I look and lily the pit had him by the neck just outside the window it was terrible she did not want to let jack go until I used force/power over her. Papi the pit/bull was just barking But not Involve. now lily is going into heat which has happend in the past with no problems and yes she will be fixed as soon a the cycle is done but I have no idea why!!!!? all this time they are brothers and sister they are my pride and joy my kids which I love very much and this Happens. Jack is alive and resting at home in his own room right now after I rushed him to the vet emergency he does have a medium recovery to go through broken jaw and such. With that being said If you have any ideas or question please ask or let me know what you think. I really don’t want to have to give up my children or pick which stays or goes.

Kristine N on January 28, 2019:

I also want to add that you should never, ever leave a cat alone/ unsupervised with a dog, no matter the breed. This is pet ownership 101.

What a dog perceives as play can easily cause injury or even kill a cat. When we first got our Pitt, she was only allowed around the cats if she was leashed (we bought a leash extension that could go around our waists). Once we were comfortable (after about 3 weeks) , we allowed her off but only when an adult was present in the house. Now, we keep the animals separated while we're at work and then let them loose once we get home. We installed a tall baby gate (Amazon) so the cats and dog can smell and have limited contact with each other during the day, but aren't fully in each other's space. You have to be very cautious about having a mixed-species home. Manage your expectations; The best case scenario you should hope for is that your dog(s) and cat(s) ignore each other.

- My information comes from years spent as a veterinary technician/behavior assistant and from my boss, a DVM for 30+ years.

Kristine N on January 28, 2019:

Former vet tech here. Repeat after me: there is NO SUCH THING as an aggression "gene". Anyone who asserts that a breed is predisposed to fighting/aggression, etc. is ignorant and uneducated. My former boss, Dr. B, a veterinarian for 30 years, has spent countless hours in free clinics and at shelters to show people that fools like "Colin" have no idea what they're talking about and all dog breeds can be aggressive given the right circumstances.

Pitbulls require competent, responsible and experienced owners who are familiar with the breed. Pitties are high-energy and require regular exercise and socialization with both humans and other dogs. So yeah, if you chain your Pit up in your backyard and don't interact with him, he may develop some aggressive tendencies...but I would too in that situation. Also, neuter/spay your dang pets: not only will this reduce the overflow in shelter populations, in most cases of fatal dog attacks, the animal was intact.

To summarize, don't get sucked into the negativity portrayed by the media or folks who have bought into the stereotypes. With the right owner (s), Pitbulls or any derivative of (Staffordshire Terrior, Bully, Bull Terrier, American Bull Dog) make excellent pets.

Cynthia House on November 25, 2018:

Excellent and well written. Thanks for the insight. I am fostering a 2 yr/o male and have 3 young cats I was wondering about. Ive found that ALL breeds can be aggressive without love and a firm, but compassionate hand. Ive already seen how loyal and very eager to please Bud is and want to keep him. Im glad you stated that they can be untrained too.

Colin on May 18, 2018:

I saw a nice imagine of an old woman who was sleeping with her pitbull she loved for years, it ripped her face off in her sleep. I have two cats, and I would never let a pit bull come near it. It's a genetic killer.

Lola Elliott on February 20, 2018:

My pitbull, Rosie, ( now passed away ) was a rescue from the island of St Croix. I found her with a 30' electrical cable growing into her neck.

Judging by her scars my assumption was that she was a bait dog. I kept her and she lived with us for 11 yrs.

She was the sweetest creature I have ever met. Fabulous with my grand babies from infancy up and she fiercely protected everything and all that was part of my rescue and household. From guinea pigs to 10 cats, 2 addl. dogs and 5 parrots, all mine, and to all the dogs that came in and out of our home to be adopted. She was their teacher their protector .

Jen on October 16, 2017:

I had two female cats. 18 months ago my teen daughter and I rescued a 3yr old pit. We were told she wasn't dog, cat, food, toy aggressive. She happened to be everything aggressive but after some work n love not to mention I fostered a pregnant mom cat who had her litter in our house. The aggressive pit picked her two favorites the rest got homes n its been smooth sailing... Well smooth enough anyone know how to keep kittens out of dog food n treats my pits kittens love dog treats n her raw bones that cant be health for a cat.

Chris on November 20, 2016:

I've had an adult pitbull for a couple years now. Seems like the sweetest dog in most situations. But I wouldn't trust her with a cat. Was walking her today and was curious to allow her to get within a few feet of a cat while on a leash. Seeing her actually licking her chops at the sight of the cat was a bit unnerving. I'm often defending the breed, but I wouldn't trust a pit with a cat.

Heidi on November 06, 2016:

My boyfriend moved in about 4 months ago and after the initial introduction, my 9 yr old kitty and his 4 year old pit bull mix seemed to love each other. They would kiss each other, lay together, the cat even comes on our walks with us. Recently, the dog bit the cat in a situation we didn't see. We thought they were maybe playing and it got too rough. My cat ended up in the emergency room with a puncture in the roof of his mouth. We were so confused, the dog wouldn't intentionally hurt him?!?! After his recovery, they again seemed to be best of friends but last night while they were laying back to back, the dog rolled over and the cat started licking the dogs face, and without any warning she starting attacking him. I'm terrified. We are keeping them separated for now. I can't imagine getting rid of the dog. But having a terrified kitty, or a dead one is worse. I have 11 years experience in the Veterinary field and I am lost. If anyone has any advise please let me know. I love all animals, and understand that pit Bulls (although they get a bad rap) can be amazing pets. But we also know that owning her comes with great responsibility. She is incredibly strong and one chomp could end it for my cat.

Thoughts?!?! We are already lucky to have many friends in the vet field and with be consulting with a behaviorist.

Shannon on October 28, 2016:

I foster animals. I currently have a Pitbull terrier mix who is the sweetest boy ever by the way. In his defense he's never been around cats, my cats have always been around dogs. First day he was here I took him for a walk one of my 3 cats came upstairs and was on her window seat, he saw her grabbed her off the seat and drug her across the floor. Now my cats are scared to death and separated of course I wouldn't risk their safety again. But the particular place I'm fostering for just doesn't understand why I don't leave my cats locked up until The dog gets adopted. Ridiculous. This is their home to, and I was never told he wasn't around cats. If he would get along with my cats I would keep him on a second.

Elena on August 10, 2016:

My wonderful pitbull killed my cat, after it appeared they were getting along just fine. In fact, a very good dog trainer agreed that my cats were not in danger. Very sad Instinct and breed trumps training....

Camille Brown on May 22, 2016:

I have a 3 year old Female Cat and due to health reasons I might be moving in with my daughter. However, my daughter has several dogs including a beautiful 4 year old Blue Razor Pit who is known to kill Cats. I love my cat and don't want to lose her. The dog is so friendly and loving to family. My question is: is it possible to retrain the dog (and cat) to get along peacefully and with the other dogs too. Thank you Camille

Yolanda on October 28, 2015:

We have always had cats, we got our pit baby at 9mos and she was raised around cats. Blue, our dog, earlier this year has killed our two 8yr old cats, one of the cats never liked dogs and the other was cautious about dogs as well.

We thought getting Blue a male dog for fun would balance our family. We at one time had 6 cats and two dog. The male dogs showed signs of no interest in the cats unless Blue did. It's confusing iI know, we have had 2 different male dogs. The first one my husband had put down in the heat of the moment when the first cat was killed. One of many mistakes made that day.

We got a different male and everything was fine for 6mos. Then the dogs cornered the other cat and we lost him.

Blue, BTW, was the only dog scratched up and bleeding at all. Which after a lot of thought and consideration, brought us to the conclusion that she was the responsible party.

Now 2mos later, we had the dogs in the house and she went after our 1yr old female cat. Blue once again was scratched up and bloody all over her head. Luckily the cat only lost a nail.

Our pets are our family, but we can't go through the anymore losses.

We're going nuts trying to figure out what set Blue off, she is now 3. The cats aren't doing anything to provoke the behavior. Do dogs go through a type of puberty or something that would explain the sudden change?

dogmomma on October 15, 2015:

my AmStaff killed my cat after living together for 2 yrs. do Not trust your dog

GAF on December 15, 2014:

I am so sorry to hear that happened. The same thing just happened to my niece. She is absolutely heart-broken. The pitbull she had for 10 months, killed her cat, which she had for 5 years. She is sick. THey had gotten along really well. Until one day. She never thought it would happen.

Brittney on September 25, 2014:

ehen I met my husband he brought a half pit half boxer into the relationship I brought a kitten into the relationship 4 years ago we got another 8 week old full female pit into the family. The animals for the most part always got along but there was always a sense of fear that the new female pit would hurt the cat. Well yesterday she killed me cat and I am heartbroken to say the least. I am in the mist of a very difficult situation. I have her currently housed at our local shelter on a 10 day hold and I am having the vet go out and test her for anything that may have caused her to snap. I am also having a trainer come out to asses her to see if she can be reentered into my home. I am so hurt and angry and torn. If I don't get her in 10 days they will put her to sleep and I just would not be able to live with myself yet if I let her back in my home I don't think I could ever look at her and love her the same. Does anyone have any advice for me? Please no bashing I am hurting bad enough. I love all my animals like they are my children.

Laurie Decker from New Port Richey, Florida on September 03, 2014:


Darla on December 27, 2013:

I just got a 2 year old Pittbull and my cats Hate him.. How can I make my cats get along with him...

I am afraid if he goes near the cats they will attack him therefore he will attack back... and that would not be good... any advise????

natasha on August 05, 2013:

Hello Ive adopted a year old pit bull and he seemed ok at the shelter with the cats but i've had him 2 weeks now and i am terrified to let him near my cats (3) who aren't raised around dogs. He tries to chase them and he barks at them he's relentless. Any suggestions I will take any!

chris on February 23, 2013:

I just got a pit bull and i have a cat. What do has far getting them to meet and be together

Chris Kross (author) from Dallas, TX on August 17, 2012:

It always helps if you're the one raising the dog, because you will know them better. That being said, our Pitt has been broken of bad habits (that we taught him).

For instance, we thought it would be a good idea to teach him to scratch at the door when he needs to potty. We realized our mistake when he got bigger. lol Now we've retrained him to ring a bell. They're very trainable and re-trainable.

Mindflayer on June 06, 2012:

I am debating adopting a pit bull mix - someone abandoned a puppy, and a good friend found him. My fiancée loves pit bulls since her sister owned one. I love dogs, but I am concerned about introducing a 6 month year old pit bull whose background I do not know into a home with a cat. The breed's predilection to hunt and the rambunctiousness of a young dog is my reason for pause. At the same time, I have had dogs all my life and know most are trainable.

Gail Louise Stevenson from Mason City on December 26, 2011:

Your welcome.

Chris Kross (author) from Dallas, TX on December 26, 2011:

Thanks, Gail! I'm glad you enjoyed them.

Gail Louise Stevenson from Mason City on December 25, 2011:

The dogs are very beautiful in their photos. Great hub, too!

Chris Kross (author) from Dallas, TX on December 25, 2011:

Thanks, Rebecca!

I totally agree, Laura. The bad apples of any dog breed can usually be tracked back to irresponsible and sometimes dangerous owners.

People just need to realize that it's just another dog breed, and one that thrives on the human interaction from it's owners.

They will do whatever you train them to do - good or bad.

Cat R, I know of a Pit right now that can't be around cats. The owner also hates cats. Go figure.

Our Pit, Demo, was brought into a house with 2 adult cats. He loved them from the time he was a puppy, but they are standoffish toward him. He doesn't understand that.

We brought in a new kitten after Demo was fully grown, and he loved it too. He was so excited to see the kitten, but he instinctively knew to be gentle.

Now the kitten is almost fully grown. Demo and the kitten get along great, and I catch them playing from time to time.

All of them (Demo, the 2 adult cats, and the kitten) will nap together in the sunlight.

Rebecca Mealey from Northeastern Georgia, USA on December 25, 2011:

The pictures are soooooo cute! Awesome Hub!

Cat R from North Carolina, U.S. on December 25, 2011:

It truly does depend on their personality and on how we train them. Ginger used to hate cats to the point of chasing them with bad intentions. But since Pitties are a very intelligent breed originally mend to be family pets, they learn quickly and try to please. She now lives in a house full of cats and other critters.

Laura Schneider from Minnesota, USA on December 25, 2011:

Slightly off topic, but... It's too bad that there is such a stigma against "bully breeds" of dogs, when in fact the stigma should be against all irresponsible dog owners, regardless of the breed.

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