Rottweilers are an extremely popular pet dog today. In fact, many people who love Rotties don’t realize this dog breed is ranked eighth out of nearly 200 purebred dogs in terms of popularity!
But cats are very popular too. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), after dogs, cats are the most popular pet choice.
What does this mean for you if you have a cat and want to get a Rottweiler? It means it is important to consider if your cat and your Rottweiler will get along. That is exactly what we are going to discuss in this article.
Are Rottweilers Good with Cats?
It is hard to generalize about whether Rottweilers are good with cats. Rottweilers have a very strong prey drive and chase instinct. Cats are small and quick.
So whether or not your Rottweiler gets along with your cat will depend largely on two factors: the temperament and personality of each animal and your efforts to positively introduce and socialize them to one another.
This can take time and patience. It is very important not to just throw the two animals together and hope they will figure out how to get along!
Watch This Cat Give a Rottweiler Love Kneads
This amazing YouTube video has nearly one million views – and for good reason.
In the video, you can watch a very brave cat sitting on the back of a Rottweiler dog giving the dog the feline version of a massage!
This surely isn’t something you see every day. And it doesn’t represent the typical concerns of mixing Rottweilers and cats.
The Risk of Adding a Rottweiler to a Family with Felines
As Vetstreet points out, when you combine a Rottweiler and a pet cat, you have a 50/50 chance of the two animals getting along.
This also means you have a 50/50 chance of the two animals not getting along!
You will notice that the American Kennel Club’s list of dogs that are good with cats does not include the Rottweiler.
Rottweilers are categorized by the AKC as belonging to the working dog group, which is a group that generally gets on well with cats. But actually, Rottweilers got their start as herding dogs – a group that the AKC states do not get on well with cats.
So the risk you take whenever you add a cat to a family that includes a Rottweiler – or vice versa – is that there is at least a 50 percent chance the two animals will clash and even potentially be a danger to each other.
Consider the Traits of Your Cat and Your Rottweiler
If you have your heart set on adding a Rottweiler to your family, and your family already includes one or more felines, there are some steps you can take to reduce the risk of a poor match.
Evaluate each animal individually
The age, size, and breed of feline can also impact how the two animals relate and interact. In other words, each animal has its own individual history and temperament to consider.
For example, a larger breed cat with a confident personality like a Maine Coon might be able to hold its own, especially if the Rottweiler in question is still a puppy.
This YouTube video shows a confident Bengal cat asserting its position with a full-grown Rottweiler who is very patient with the cat.
But other cat breeds, especially climbing-averse cat breeds and miniature breeds, may not fare so well. These cats can look like small prey animals to a rambunctious Rottweiler. The dog may not mean to cause harm but it can and does happen.
Another important thing to consider is the background and history of each animal. For instance, if your cat has had past trauma with being chased or attacked by a dog, it may mean that no amount of positive socialization can overcome that.
So you really just want to think through everything you know about your cat and your Rottweiler to see what obstacles might already exist to them becoming friends.
Introduce each animal to the other slowly and carefully over time
It can really help if the Rottweiler is a puppy when your dog and cat first meet. This way, the Rottweiler meets the cat at a time when they are still smaller in size and less likely to cause serious harm.
The Rottweiler will grow up never knowing life without a cat in the family. This can also pave the way for adding more family felines later and having your dog already be receptive to a cat’s company.
When you socialize the Rottweiler to the cat in such a way that your new dog associates the cat’s presence with good things such as treats and pats, there is also a much better chance you can avoid either animal coming to any harm.
Do a neutral location meet and greet before you make a commitment
Where the option exists, you may want to consider doing a meet and greet with each animal in a neutral location before you commit to adding another animal to your family.
You can see whether the Rottweiler instinctively lunges for the cat or whether the two animals seem favorably disposed towards each other.
Just like people don’t always “just get along,” two animals may or may not end up being the best of friends. When it happens it is wonderful. And when it fails to happen the results can be heartbreaking.
Expert Tips to Help Your Rottweiler Get Along With Your Cat
As Mental Floss points out, canines and felines are wired very differently based on their wild pasts.
Cats tend to be less likely to congregate in groups and more likely to be solitary and independent. Dogs are more likely to enjoy being in groups while defending “their” territory from other animals, regardless of species.
So you are working with two different species with very different wild behaviors and habitats.
This doesn’t mean you can’t still do a lot to help your cat and your Rottie get along, however!
Get your Rottweiler ready to meet your cat
One of the hands-down best ways to get a high chase/high prey drive dog like a Rottweiler ready to meet a cat is to train them to remain calm when these impulses get triggered.
You want your Rottweiler to stay in place when your cat streaks across the floor or leaps down from the countertop. Once your dog demonstrates mastery of this, it is safer to introduce a cat into your family.
Let your cat establish their hiding and retreat spots first
No matter how well the first meeting goes, you want your cat to already know where the safe spots are that your Rottweiler can’t follow.
Give your cat some time to establish their turf inside your home and be sure to provide cat trees and other “safe zones” where your dog cannot reach the cat.
Use food to socialize the two animals
Rottweilers tend to be quite food-driven, as Southern States Rescue Rottweilers charity points out. This can readily cause obesity if not kept in check.
But for the purposes of socializing two unfamiliar animals from different species, food can be a very handy “let’s be friends” training tool!
A word of caution, however – be sure to keep the two animals’ food, treats, toys, and personal bedding safely separated and apart. This way, you avoid any food or treat aggression from developing with either animal.
Remember that both dogs and cats socialize with the scent
Dogs and cats both have a very keen sense of smell – far keener than that of humans. It is perfectly fine to let the two new animals sniff each other as long as you have your Rottweiler safely leashed during the interaction.
You may even want to let your Rottie smell something from your cat’s bedding and do the same for your cat before the two animals meet face to face for the first time. This way, they may already have the scent logged in their “smells database” as familiar and safe.
What If Your Rottweiler and Your Cat Just Can’t Get Along?
Any time you add a new animal to your family – regardless of the animal’s species – there is always the chance the two simply will not be able to get along.
If this happens to you, there is still one more thing you can try before facing a possible relinquishment. You can try working with a professional animal behaviorist to socialize the two animals together.
Sometimes a professional K-9 trainer may have new creative ideas you wouldn’t have thought of that can make all the difference to fostering peace in your multi-species family.