Are Jack Russells Good With Cats

Are Jack Russell Terriers Good With Cats?

Cute and funny videos on the internet show us that cats and dogs don’t always fight. However, some dog breeds may be better at getting along with a cat than others.

If you are wondering whether Jack Russells are good with cats this article will break down the nuisances to that question.

Are Jack Russells Terriers Good With Cats?

Yes, Jack Russells can get along with cats, however, this works best when they are introduced at a young age. When a Jack Russell is socialized and trained to live with a cat from a young age, they can coexist easier and more peacefully.

On the other hand, bringing a new kitten home to an older Jack Russell may or may not work depending on the individual temperament of your dog and the cat.

Ways To Tell That Your Jack Russell Will Be Good With A Cat

There are a few things you can look for to get a glimpse at whether your Jack Russell Terrier is likely to be good with a cat.

Age Of The Jack Russell

Although age isn’t the only determining factor, puppies generally have an easier time accepting new surroundings and learning to live with other types of animals, including cats.

Elderly dogs can go either way. Although they may not have as much energy as in their younger years to terrorize a cat, they are also used to a certain life and may not be fond of a lot of change which includes a new feline family member.

Current Reactions And Drives

If you already have the Jack Russell, watch how they react to other animals, especially cats.

For example, determine whether the dog shows more curiosity than aggression if it sees a cat walking outside the window.

Try arranging a meeting between your dog and a cat if a friend has one and they’re willing. Your Jack Russell’s reaction will indicate what you’re up against. Remember to keep your dog leashed during this trial meeting.

Experiences With Cats

Your dog’s previous experience with cats can also influence whether or not they will be accepting of a cat sibling.

If your dog has had a bad experience with a cat previously, they may bring that negative experience into a relationship with a new cat.

Similarly, if the cat you are adopting has had bad experiences with dogs, they may act more aggressively toward your Jack Russel which will also make a harmonious relationship difficult.

Why Some Jack Russell’s And Cats May Not Get Along

Traditionally bred for their strong natural hunting instincts, Jack Russell Terriers have no problem taking down smaller animals. Known to grab prey like rabbits, mice, rats, and gerbils, even cats are not out of their reach.

Since Jack Russels are inclined to chase an animal that runs away due to their high hunting drive, a Jack Russell may not hesitate to pursue a running cat. As it is in cat nature to run away from a threat, they can quickly become an object of your Jack Russell’s attention.

The experiences and personality of the cat will also heavily play into whether they will get along with your Jack Russell. Some cats are more laid back and accepting of living with a dog, whereas others become more territorial and aggressive.

Assess the personality of your cat or the cat you are adopting and assess the personality of your Jack Russell before welcoming any cat into your home.

Safely Introducing Your Jack Russell To A Cat for The First

A proper introduction is super important if you have decided to have a Jack Russell and a cat in the same home. Make a plan for your intended introduction and stick to it.

Keep two things in mind as you start the process:

First, it might take several weeks for them to get along. Second, it’s best to introduce them while they’re both young and still learning.

Step 1

Prepare separate rooms of the home for each pet to call their own. However, give each of them plenty of time outside the room to get used to each other’s scent and leave their scent behind in common areas.

Step 2

Attempt a meal together with a barrier in place. Start with feeding them on opposite sides of a closed door. This will allow them to smell each other as they eat which will help them build a level of trust and comfort.

Once they start to get more comfortable with each other, you can replace the door with a baby gate or another smaller divider where your dog and cat can see each other while they eat.

Step 3

Make sure your dog knows some basic commands such as sit, stay, down, and leave it.

Your dog knowing how to have restraint and respect your commands will help them understand that they should listen to you around the cat as well.

Step 4

Once at least three days have passed, give them a brief introduction. Do this in short spurts of about 5 minutes or less initially.

You want to keep their interactions positive and the longer they are around each other there are more opportunities for something negative to taint the introduction.

Watch how they react to one another while keeping your Jack Russell on a leash. Separate them either around 5 minutes or if one of the pets shows signs of aggression or excessive stress.

Step 5

Even if the two seem to get along and do well together outside their rooms, keep them in their separate spaces initially when unsupervised.

Have face-to-face meetings daily, slowly increasing the time if all is going well.

Don’t forget to praise and provide treats when the two show signs of comfort in each other’s presence.

Step 6

After at least a week of successful face-to-face interactions, you can start to let them loose together in the house. Remember that you should always be supervising them while they are loose together initially.

If you see any negative reactions from either pet, immediately separate them and go back to Step 2.

Some cats and dogs will get through this phase quickly and easily while others will need many weeks to get comfortable with one another before they can be loose in the house together safely and unsupervised.

Throughout the entire process, never punish either animal in a negative manner such as yelling, spraying with water, or hitting. Any negative experiences surrounding their introduction can cause the cat and Jack Russell to associate one another with those negative things and make it more difficult to get comfortable with each other.


A Jack Russell and a cat can definitely get along and live harmoniously. However, depending on the personalities and experiences of the cat and Jack Russell this process can be either extremely easy or more of a challenge.

Training your dog, introducing them properly, and keeping their initial interactions positive go a long way to helping a Jack Russell and a cat be at least tolerant of each other for their life together.

You may even get lucky and they will even become good friends!