Are Jack Russell Terriers Good With Cats?

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Although both dogs and cats are canines, you might need to keep both as pets since none can substitute the other. However, before you own a Jack Russell Terrier, you will want to know whether it will relate well with your cat. So, are Jack Russell Terriers good with cats?

Are Jack Russell Terriers Good With Cats? 

A Jack Russell Terrier can be good with cats as long as you socialize it with cats while it’s still a puppy. Usually, the territorial and hunting instincts can make an adult Jack Russell Terrier hostile towards cats. Even when the dog is not aggressive, the high energy levels of Jack Russell Terriers can make them chase cats, especially when cats play or make unexpected moves.  

Keep in mind that some cats can provoke Jack Russell Terriers, making their protective instincts kick in and become aggressive. The personality traits, lifestyle, and environmental factors can also affect how a Jack Russell Terrier socializes with a cat.

A Jack Russell Terrier with leash on his body

However, the age of the pets is the primary determinant of how long it will take them to socialize and become friends. The following are some age combinations that impact the extent to which these pets can trust each other, interact or play together.  

A Jack Russell Terrier Puppy and a Kitten 

The best and most effective way of socializing a JRT and a cat is socializing them when they are still young. Since both JRTs and cats can develop protective and territorial behaviors, allowing them to grow up together helps them learn how to share the same space. 

Considering that both puppies and kittens are playful, there are higher chances that they will play together and not even notice the difference between them. However, you should keep in mind that these are two distinct pets when it comes to grooming and feeding.

An Adult Cat and a Jack Russell Terrier Puppy

When you introduce a Jack Russell Terrier puppy to an adult cat, the puppy might be interested in the cat as it might not notice the difference between them, but the cat might show some resistance. 

Although an adult cat might be proud, it can’t be excessively aggressive or hostile towards the puppy, so you can expect them to start making contact after several days.

Cute Jack Russell Terrier lying on the grass

An Adult Jack Russell Terrier and a Kitten

An adult Jack Russell Terrier is energetic, protective, and territorial. That means introducing a kitten to an adult Jack Russell Terrier can be risky, especially if the kitten provokes it. Therefore, it is advisable to socialize them step-by-step with the dog on a leash until they become good friends.

An Adult Cat and an Adult Jack Russell Terrier

Usually, this is the most challenging age combination for the socialization of Jack Russell Terriers and cats as both dogs and cats are protective, territorial, and understand their differences. The best way to socialize an adult Jack Russell Terrier  and an adult cat is to put them in a completely new environment. 

Typically, this reduces the territorial and protective behavior as every pet is new to the surrounding, so they will both adapt to the new environment as they interact and socialize. 

Important Tips When Socializing a Jack Russell Terrier With a Cat 

Since Jack Russell Terriers are energetic and hostile toward cats, a lack of proper socialization might lead to fights and severe injuries to cats. The following tips can help you socialize the Jack Russell Terrier with a cat regardless of age.

  • Keep the dog on a leash to prevent face-to-face confrontations for the first several days when the dog is most aggressive. 
  • Feed them on opposite sides of a transparent barrier to help them develop tolerance without fights 
  • Since JRTs have a strong sense of smell, wipe your cat with a towel and place it near the dog. Typically, this will help the dog get accustomed to the cat’s scent. 
  • Keep them separate until you’re confident they have become good friends to prevent fights and possible injuries. 
  • When you allow them to meet for the first time, keep an eye on them and be quick to separate them if you notice any of them is starting to get excited. 
Serious faced Jack Russell Terrier in nature

Related Questions 

Why Is My Jack Russell Terrier Chasing Cats? 

Jack Russell Terriers may chase a cat due to their strong prey drive and hunting instincts even when they are not aggressive. However, you should train the dog to stop the chase once you command it. Typically, this will help you prevent the chase even before it begins.

Can a Jack Russell Terrier Kill My Cat?

Yes, Jack Russell Terriers are energetic and aggressive when provoked and can severely injure or kill a cat. Keep in mind that a cat can hurt a Jack Russell Terrier, depending on the situation. Therefore, it is advisable to ensure the pets trust each other before meeting. 

Final Thoughts

Although Jack Russell Terriers can be aggressive and hostile towards other pets, with the proper training, they can be good with cats. The best way to build trust between these two pets is to socialize them while they’re still young.