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Do Shiba Inus Get Along With Cats? Breed Temperament Exposed

Emma Stenhouse Profile Picture

By Emma Stenhouse

shiba inu and cat

The gorgeous Shiba Inu breed hails from Japan and was originally bred to hunt small game, like birds, but they were also brave enough to take on larger quarry, like boar. If you’ve been hoping to add a Shiba Inu to your family, then you might be wondering how they might get along with your cat. The short answer is that this depends on the personality of both your pets.

Some Shiba Inu can get along well with cats, but their high prey drive does mean that they sometimes can’t resist the opportunity to chase a fast-moving cat.

Let’s look in more detail at exactly what to expect if you’re planning on keeping a Shiba Inu and cats in the same home.

hepper single cat paw divider

Shiba Inu Prey Drive

As a hunting breed, the Shiba Inu has a naturally high prey drive. They often love to chase small wildlife like squirrels or chipmunks. If a cat runs out in front of their path, they may want to chase that too!

This means cat owners need to be careful if they’re hoping to keep a Shiba Inu in the same house. Cats that stand their ground and don’t run away from a Shiba Inu may be respected and eventually ignored, but more nervous cats that turn tail and run may trigger the Shiba Inu’s prey drive, and they will want to give chase.

shiba inu dog running in the field
Image Credit: alektas, Pixabay

Socialization is Key

If you’re expecting a Shiba Inu to live alongside cats in your home, then good socialization is vital. Teaching your dog to respect your cat’s space and not to chase them will help keep your home as peaceful as possible. Consider signing up for training classes to gain specific tips and advice for your dog. Shiba Inu can be stubborn when it comes to training, so you need to be confident and experienced to get the best out of this breed.

Shiba Inu can be possessive around their food and toys, so make sure you always feed them and your cat in separate rooms. You may want to keep your dog’s toys somewhere safe while they’re not using them, especially if your cat has a playful streak and might decide to liberate a toy for themselves! This could cause tension between your dog and cat.

Shiba Inu Puppies

One of the best ways to make sure your Shiba Inu gets along with any cats in the household is to introduce them while your dog is still as young. This way, they’re more likely to accept living alongside a cat. Some Shiba Inus have been known to turn on cats even after they’ve lived with them for many years, so you should always take precautions, such as never leaving your Shiba Inu and cat together unattended.

shiba inu puppy in garden
Image Credit: Ron Pacheco, Pixabay

Make Sure Your Cat Has Somewhere to Retreat

Even if your Shiba Inu and cat do seem to get along well together, make sure that your cat always has somewhere safe to retreat to. This could be a series of high shelves, a section of the house that your dog can’t access, or a dedicated room. Even with these safe zones in place, never leave your Shiba Inu and cat unattended together.

shiba inu dog resting
Image By: Piqsels

hepper single cat paw divider

Conclusion – Shiba Inus Can Get Along with Cats

This breed can live alongside cats, but it’s going to take patience and vigilance from you as an owner. Good socialization is key, as is spending as much time as it takes to introduce your cat and dog to each other. Even if your Shiba Inu and cat do seem to get along well, keep your Shiba Inu on a leash when you’re out on walks, as they may not be able to resist chasing other neighborhood cats. Shiba Inu can be possessive around food, so be careful to feed your cat and dog separately.

Always make sure your cat has plenty of places that they can hide if they feel threatened, and never leave your dog and cat together unattended. The best time to introduce a Shiba Inu to a cat is when they’re both young, but with training, older dogs can also accept living alongside cats, but it won’t happen overnight.

Looking for advice on other dog breed interactions? Try our articles on:

Featured Image Credit: Iness_la_luz, Shutterstock

Emma Stenhouse Profile Picture

Authored by

Emma is a freelance writer, specializing in writing about pets, outdoor pursuits, and the environment. Originally from the UK, she has lived in Costa Rica and New Zealand before moving to a smallholding in Spain with her husband, their 4-year-old daughter, and their dogs, cats, horses, and poultry. When she's not writing, Emma can be found taking her dogs for walks in the rolling fields around their home...and usually, at...Read more

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