Written by Dr. Marcelle Landestoy, DVM
The Rottweiler dog breed, once thought to be generally aggressive, is attentive, focused, and loyal to a human master, but what will happen with a cat in the mix?
You need to know if your new cat will get along with your current Rottweiler or vice versa and if they’ll match up.
Rottweilers are good with cats as long as they’re correctly socialized. They usually have no problem adapting to life with a cat. However, it is essential the Rottweiler gets plenty of exercise and knows that the human master is “alpha” within the family’s terrain.
As a veterinary doctor, I will explore in this article the options and possibilities involved when a Rottweiler is introduced to a cat and the other way around.
We’ll also discuss how to create a successful relationship between these animals and signs your pets are not adapting well.
Are Rottweilers Naturally Aggressive or Friendly With Cats?
True to the Rottweiler personality, whether a rottweiler is naturally aggressive or friendly with cats will depend on how they’re raised.
Generally, it’s best to socialize Rotties with other animals from the time they’re very young.
If your dog is raised in a place where there are cats, then it’s a sure bet that they won’t be “naturally” aggressive towards cats in the future.
But if you take a Rottweiler who has never seen a cat and then try to put that relationship together, the result may very well be a hostile attitude.
Cats are small enough to be considered “prey” in the eyes of an unsocialized Rottie, especially if they’re not used to felines.
So it’s a good idea to take lots of care when introducing one to the other.
How Territorial Are Cats?
Territorial behavior in cats most often takes the form of marking space with a urine spray.
This happens especially when confronting a new cat of the same sex. “Interlopers” or other cats in the primary cat’s territory may be met with hissing, stalking, and clawing reactions.
Indeed, science has found cats to be generally more territorial than dogs.
When it comes to a cat’s behavior when confronting dogs, well, that’s a whole new ball game.
Depending on how aware your cat is about their physical limitations, the “Puss in boots” bravado routine may include anything up to a ten-pound (4.54-kg) cat attacking a fifty-pound (22.68-kg) dog and all the fallout that would cause within the household in question.
On the other hand, your cat may accept a new dog’s alpha role without question.
This case is more likely when both the dog and the cat have interacted with others of the species. Experience counts for a lot.
How Territorial Are Rottweilers?
Rottweilers are very territorial. The breed was chosen to serve in both world wars as guard and police dogs because of their territorial nature.
Once a Rottweiler bonds with a master, they will let no harm befall said master.
That’s where a Rottie’s loyalty comes into play. And each dog’s “home turf” is connected to their master’s wishes.
That’s bad news for new domestic animals entering the territory unless adequate socialization has taken place; something familiar is easier to accept.
I’m Already a Cat Parent, and I’m Thinking of Getting a Rottweiler
How To Introduce a New Rottweiler Puppy to My Kitten
Introducing a new rottweiler puppy to your kitten when both animals’ minds are fresh is the most beneficial way to go.
Ideally, this early in the socialization process for both animals, the puppy, and kitten, will consider their introduction to be just another brand new wonder in a world full of new surprises.
How To Introduce a New Rottweiler Puppy to My Adult Cat
When introducing a new rottweiler puppy to your adult cat, the key concept is to convince your cat to give up some of their precious territory to allow the Rottie puppy space to grow.
Fortunately, even when swatted with a claw across the nose, any puppy is likely to keep trying to make friends.
To avoid any serious conflicts, you may want to make the initial introduction across a doggie door.
How To Introduce a New Adult Rottweiler to My Kitten
When introducing a new adult rottweiler to your kitten, the Rottie will want to clarify territorial boundaries with your kitten as soon as possible.
The dog will most likely not see the kitten as a threat, but to be safe, make sure your Rottweiler is leashed when the two animals first meet and even hold the kitten in your arms till everybody has “sniffed each other out.”
How To Introduce a New Adult Rottweiler to My Adult Cat
Introducing a new adult rottweiler to an adult cat represents the most difficult balance to attain.
Just like people, pets can get “set in their ways” and get upset when their routine is interrupted by a new personality.
You may have to keep the dog and cat in separate rooms until they get used to each other’s scents.
Then use the precautions of a leash — even a muzzle — and a cat carrier to finalize the introduction.
I Am Already a Rottweiler Parent, and I’m Thinking of Getting a Cat
How To Introduce a New Kitten to My Rottweiler Puppy
When introducing a new kitten to your rottweiler puppy, it’s a good idea to think about separate beds, like this Basics Warming Bed from Amazon — individual sleeping areas — for each animal, to get them thinking early that they have both their own space and a common area to figure out together.
Monitor any aggression and intercede where necessary.
How To Introduce a New Kitten to My Adult Rottweiler
It may be tricky to introduce a new kitten to your adult rottweiler. I won’t sugar-coat it — an adult Rottweiler is going to have a clear idea of their territory and how to “defend” it — even when it comes to going against your wishes as the master.
Your young cat may have to become adept at climbing to high places the dog can’t reach.
Be careful of raised hackles and deep growling and administer discipline where necessary.
How To Introduce a New Adult Cat to My Rottweiler Puppy
Before introducing a new adult cat to your rottweiler puppy, use garments or bedclothes that are filled with the cat’s and dog’s scents to introduce to each other remotely before the in-person “reveal.”
Even taking into account the Rottweiler’s natural stoic protective nature, as a puppy, your dog might be so early in their development that they accept a new “playmate” right off the bat — even one as boring as an adult cat.
How To Introduce a New Adult Cat to My Adult Rottweiler
Be slow and cautious when introducing a new adult cat to your adult rottweiler.
These animals are used to having their way, with no regard for another equally important pet.
It’s a good idea to keep the Rottie in their crate during the introduction process and leashed even after that to keep things from going wrong.
Can Cats and Rottweilers Be Left Alone Together?
You should feel safe leaving your Rottie alone with your cat, if and only if you have already facilitated a successful introduction between the two.
That means they’re comfortable sharing the space of your home, there hasn’t been an incident of violence between them, and they’ve developed an affinity for one another.
You’ll have a feeling for it. All you have to do is trust your judgment, and you’ll know when your pets want to kill each other and when they don’t.
Besides, a Rottweiler is much more likely to have a behavioral problem with another dog of the same gender than they are to resent or intimidate a feline.
How To Facilitate a Successful Friendship
Facilitating a successful friendship is the most critical factor in the eventuality of a Rottweiler getting along with a cat and vice versa.
And really, it’s based on a judgment call you make on a feeling.
Specifically, as the pet owner, you are very well aware of whether your household is filled with love and the spirit of cohabitation or if it’s an atmosphere of strife.
It’s a simple thing to judge whether all members of the small community get along or not.
Signs Your Rottweiler Is Not Adapting Well to Their New Feline Sibling (How To Intervene)
- New chewing or destructive behavior — Give more attention to your Rottie. They feel distracted and want “their old job” back as your sole pet.
- Increased general aggression — This may be masked frustration, and it calls for more and better exercise and further socialization.
- Shows of aggression toward the kitty — To make sure the “shows” don’t become actual violent attacks, practice crating one or both animals overnight.
Signs Your Cat Is Not Adapting Well to Their New Canine Sibling (How To Intervene)
- Disheveled appearance — When cats don’t groom themselves smooth and sleek, it’s a sign they’re suffering from some stress. Try to give your cat more “alone time” to relax and groom.
- Interruption in eating schedule — This is another sure sign of stress. Keep a close watch for a day or two to see if you can identify certain times your dog is stressing your cat and use physical barriers to correct it.
- Lack of desire for affection — Cats can hold a grudge. If your cat senses your attention and love are divided between them and your Rottweiler, they may try to make you pay — a sort of emotional blackmail. A good, regular petting session is in order.
There are some broad truths about new Rottweilers getting along with new cats.
Still, in the end, the unique challenges that your particular pets will give you are too numerous and varying in nature to count or address specifically here.
I hope I’ve given you a good overview and a sense of confidence as you move forward with Fido and Fluffy at home.
The Rottweiler is a solid breed, and I’m sure — in your hands — a successful one.
- Applied Animal Behaviour Science: Behavioural testing based breeding policy reduces the prevalence of fear and aggression related behavior in Rottweilers
- Google Books: Our Best Friend: The Rottweiler
- Google Books: Feline Behavioral Health and Welfare
- Marine Corps University: War Dogs in the Marine Corps
- Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association: Puppy socialization practices of a sample of dog owners from across Canada and the United States
- M / C Journal: Kittens All the Way Down: Cute In Context
- Google Books: Rottweilers
- Veterinary Clinics of North America: Small Animal Practice: Expanding Families: Preparing for and Introducing Dogs and Cats to Infants, Children, and New Pets
- Google Books: Between Pets and People
Veterinary Hospital Director at UCE
Dr. Marcelle is a general veterinarian with a Small Animal Medicine Specialty | Director of the UCE School of Veterinary Medicine | Certified by the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society