When looking at the American Bully one of the first things that comes to mind is their strength. These dogs look like American Pitbull Terriers that have been hitting the gym really hard. Leading many to question how the American Bully would do with other animals such as cats.
Do American Bullies get along with cats? As a general rule American Bullies that are properly socialized from an early age can get along great with cats. Despite the American Bully’s imposing looks they are actually gentle giants. Known for being the least aggressive large breed dog alive today.
My American Bully puppy has been introduced to a number of cats already. Both within a household as well as outside during our walks. He showed nothing but curiosity, and a little bit of caution. Never once did he display any aggression, or even a desire to chase. This behavior came quite naturally with little intervention from me.
American Bullies are known for their calmer, more tolerant demeanor. The prey drive instinct in this bully breed is far lower than others such as the Pitbull Terrier or Staffordshire Bull Terrier.
With that being said it is always important to exercise caution when introducing an American Bully to a cat. When bringing home an American Bully to a household that currently has a cat there are some steps you can take to make the introductions as safe and positive as possible.
How To Introduce Your American Bully To A Cat
The first time my American Bully met a cat inside a home was at my girlfriend’s place. She has a 5 year old cat named Millie that also lives with her Pitbull sister Mari. Millie is used to Mari being around, and the two get along just fine. Introducing a puppy she doesn’t know however can be a little scary.
To prepare for this first meeting my girlfriend and I made sure to take all the necessary steps. This would allow for a positive interaction and a safe way for Millie to meet American Bully puppy Chester.
Provide Your Cat With A Safe Space
Before arriving we made sure the cat had a comfortable and safe space to stay. A separate room was set up with her litter box, food, clean water, and comfy sleeping area. We placed a baby gate with a small pet door at the entrance to the room and kept the door shut initially.
This space provided the cat with a comfortable and safe area for her to stay during the first little while of my American Bully being inside the home. The baby gate’s pet door was large enough for her cat to enter and exit, but too small for my puppy to squeeze through. This handy gate will provide an added layer of safety in the later steps. But for now the door to the room remained closed.
Bring Your American Bully Home
Enter Chester. My very enthusiastic American Bully puppy, eager to explore this new place with all the different smells, as well as his best buddy Mari the Pitbull. The initial excitement of entering the home would frighten even the most chill cat. This is why we proactively setup Millie’s safe area in the separate room.
Once the initial excitement had died down my American Bully puppy began to sniff in and around the different areas of the home. This smell was one he was not familiar with and very interested in exploring.
By having the cat in the other room we allowed for my American Bully, as well Millie the cat, to get familiar with each other’s scent. They have still not visually met yet, but this initial introduction is important to familiarize your pets with each other.
Teach Your American Bully To Focus On You
Now that my American Bully is in the home it’s time to teach him to focus on me. The new smell of the cat is very interesting and my job is to make myself more interesting than the smell of the cat. This can be challenging and will require some high value treats and toys at first.
The purpose of this exercise is to train my American Bully to ignore the cat in favor of me. We don’t want him to be obsessing over the cat. When the time comes for visual introductions we want to be able to gain his focus.
For the first hour or so anytime Chester would spend too much time sniffing around the door of the cat’s room I would get his focus on me. His favorite treats and a loud squeaky toy did the trick. With enough repetition this became faster and easy to do. Leaving me confident that a visual introduction could take place.
Allow The Cat And American Bully To Meet
Now that the cat has had some time to get used to the scent of my American Bully, and vice versa, it’s time for a brief visual intro. In a calm manner I led Chester to the doorway of the cat’s safe room, baby gate in place, and opened the door slightly. This was the first introduction to Millie from a visual standpoint.
At first Chester was a little too enthusiastic, so I calmly closed the door, regained his focus on me, and waited a few minutes before opening the door again. After a few repetitions the novelty of the cat was beginning to subside with my American Bully. He had smelled her, and seen her now a few times and the thrill was becoming commonplace.
Millie the cat also seemed less cautious and almost disinterested with the several visual meetings. In a few visits she would slow pass by the baby gate to get a better look and smell. She too was getting more comfortable with my American Bully puppy being present.
Let The Cat Dictate The Interaction With Your Dog
The last step in our introduction was allowing the cat to come and go from her safe area as she pleases. We left the door to her room open, baby gate still in place, and allowed her to come out of the room, and return whenever she desired.
Keeping the gate in place is important. If for whatever reason my American Bully decided to chase, or spooked the cat enough, Millie needed to be able to return to her safe space. The baby gate acts as a barrier for her to retreat when needed.
Allowing the cat to dictate the interaction is important. They need to feel comfortable entering the room with the dog, and leaving when they want. Keeping a leash on your American Bully for the first few interactions is also a good idea to keep control when needed.
When the cat does decide to join you and your American Bully in the same room, keeping your dog’s focus is still something that needs to be used. High value treats were my tool of choice. When Millie the cat decided to come out of her room I was sure Chester was focused on me more than the cat.
This practice allows for a safe interaction. It also helps desensitize your dog to the idea of the cat being in the same room. We are aiming for the cat to feel completely comfortable, and for the dog to be disinterested mostly.
Every dog is different and will react differently around cats. American Bullies are able to get along with cats just fine, but taking the necessary steps to create a safe environment for everyone is important.
These steps can be easy for your American Bully, and they can also take a lot of time. You may have to practice each step several times to get the desired results. Introductions might even take several days, or even weeks before a cat is comfortable being in the same room as your American Bully.
Be patient with this process and don’t rush through the steps. Take each one slowly and progress when everyone is ready. Don’t get discouraged if you need to take a few steps back. Repetition over time will lead you to your end goal eventually.