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Are Border Collies Good With Cats? Instincts, Energy & Sociability Explained

Brooke Billingsley

By Brooke Billingsley

a border collie dog and a kitten on a couch at home

Border Collies are one of the most popular dog breeds because of their extreme intelligence and high trainability. Because of their popularity, it’s not uncommon for people with Border Collies to bring home a cat as well, and vice versa. Is the Border Collie a good breed for homes with cats, though? Typically, they are a good breed for living with cats, but as always there is a catch.

Here’s everything you need to know if you’re considering having a Border Collie and a cat live together.

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Are Border Collies Good With Cats?

Border Collies are typically considered to be good dogs for having around cats. When it comes down to it, though, the temperament and socialization of each individual dog will have a large bearing on how the dog is with cats. Socialization, slow introductions, and supervision are necessary for helping a Border Collie and a cat live together in harmony.

Temperament-wise, Border Collies are often great dogs to have around other animals. They are herding dogs, so they are bred to have jobs around livestock, like sheep and goats. They can and will herd just about anything, though. Because of their propensity for spending time around other animals without harming them, most Border Collies are tolerant of cats.

They are high-energy dogs, and cats are often more than happy to match the energy level of the Border Collie. Kittens and young cats tend to be especially fond of Border Collies, and as long as socialization and introductions have been made, Border Collies and cats will likely get along well.

Male Border Collie
Photo Credit: BIGANDT.COM, Shutterstock

The Herding Instinct

Border Collies have an extremely strong instinct to herd. In working dogs, this is a highly desirable trait. In pet dogs, this can lead to inappropriate herding. This type of behavior can extend to everything from cats to kids to vehicles. Herding will often involve nipping at the ankles and heels of something, so you may spot your Border Collie nipping at your cat’s legs and chasing them.

While this is instinctual behavior, it’s highly inappropriate. Behavior modification training is necessary to stop herding behaviors toward other pets in the home. If left unchecked, it can lead to extreme stress and a sense of being unsafe for the cat.

Border Collie Energy Levels

Due to their high energy, Border Collies are often well-matched to young and active cats. However, it’s important to not rely on your cat to entertain your Border Collie. Even with a high-energy kitty, they may not be able to keep up with the Border Collie.

These dogs need a job and lots of exercise, and they likely need far more entertainment and exercise than your cat will be willing to give to them. You also have a responsibility to both pets to provide enrichment and exercise every day.

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In Conclusion

Border Collies are often good dogs to have in a home with a cat. They do require supervision to prevent bad behavior, though, and many Border Collies need behavior modification training to keep them from taking out their instinctual desire to herd on other pets in the home.

Exercise and enrichment are essential parts of keeping your Border Collie happy, as well as making them less likely to act out. Provide your Border Collie with exercise and play every day, and never rely on your cat as the sole provider of entertainment for your dog.

Featured Photo Credit: xkunclova, Shutterstock

Brooke Billingsley

Authored by

Brooke Billingsley spent nine years as a veterinary assistant before becoming a human nurse in 2013. She resides in Arkansas with her boyfriend of five years. She loves all animals and currently shares a home with three dogs, two cats, five fish, and two snails. She has a soft spot for special needs animals and has a three-legged senior dog and an internet famous cat with acromegaly and cerebellar hypoplasia. Fish keeping...Read more

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