German Shepherds and cats are often seen in encounters by their owners. But how about killing; do German Shepherds really kill the cats? Here’s everything you need to know.
Do German Shepherds Kill Cats?
The short and simple answer is Yes, GSDs can kill cats! But it literally depends on the German Shepherds, which means how the GSDs were raised and socialized with other pets. Because some GSDs are pretty softer-tempered with other pets while some are aggressive with pets as well as their owners.
It is a pretty short answer, and there is much more to say, obviously.
Let’s dig deep into it to see all those interesting facts about German Shepherds and Cats!
Why do German Shepherds kill cats?
There is no “WHY” because every dog has natural prey drive, the instinctive urge of dogs to chase, capture, and kill cats.
German Shepherds will often attack and kill cats to eliminate competition within their territories. Plus, German Shepherds also find killing cats and other small animals good fun and practice to hone their hunting skills.
Therefore, it’s pretty natural for German Shepherds to kill cats as all dogs want to eradicate cats.
Although GSDs view cats as prey, this kind of behavior is referred to as predatory aggression or hunting skills.
This killing instinct is still prominent in many dog breeds, especially those used for hunting.
Since naturally cats and dogs are mortal enemies in nature, that’s German Shepherds generally kill a domesticated or any smaller sized feral cat and subspecies available.
Dogs can also kill large animals such as coyotes because some dog breeds are large and have a strong body frame to kill coyotes if they see them in their territory.
Basically, larger animals feast upon smaller animals since that is how nature works in general.
So in nature, any permutation & combination is possible, and German Shepherds and any dog breeds can kill another animal whenever the need arises.
How Aggressive Are German Shepherds Towards Cats?
German Shepherds are naturally very stable dogs plus intelligent and adaptable as well if you socialized them with cats. But still, about 13% out of 100 owners found that GSDs are pretty aggressive toward cats and other pets if GSDs aren’t well socialized with them.
And that’s why less (or none) socializing with cats is the biggest reason for german shepherds to show aggression toward them.
However, German shepherds will generally only show aggression when they see cats in their territory or with their owner ― as German Shepherds bond very closely with their person and are very territorial by nature as well.
Hence it is the german shepherd’s instinct to protect you and your place. As far as the GSDs know, they’re doing their job.
And they don’t like when they see their owner surrounded by other animals.
Of course, sometimes, that aggression toward cats is clearly known as jealousy by “expert GSD handlers” because German Shepherds are more likely to show jealousy than many other dog breeds.
Do German Shepherds Eat Cats After Killing Them?
No’ German Shepherd and other pet dogs do have prey drive, but they don’t eat cats and other prey unless they are hungry enough and are not well trained not to devour the prey. On the other hand, stray dogs have a strong prey drive means they chase, hunt, and kill cats from the urge to eat them.
Pet dogs are a very great example of prey drive without eating it.
Because 99.9% of pet dogs are probably well fed at home, so wouldn’t need to eat the cat and other small rodents at all.
Although, the instinct to Chase, Kill and Eat prey isn’t just only one instinct. It’s actually three, and they are separate as well.
As most of the pet dogs enjoy all three acts independently, so they are their own reward.
They will chase a great many more things than they will kill, and kill more things than they will eat (due to other predators thieving from them, and so on).
Eating is not the driving motivation for pet dogs behind chasing or killing. And this is not only exclusive to dogs; it is a trait found in all predators, including cats.
Can German Shepherds Live With Cats
Absolutely Yes, German Shepherds can live with cats without a doubt, but it’s only possible when GSDs are well socialized with cats at a young age because adult German Shepherds aren’t good with cats, as they surely go after them. Plus, it’s also a troublesome and time-consuming process to train adult GSDs to live with cats.
Adult German shepherds are way more intelligent, loyal dogs than younger ones, with powerful natural herding instincts and prey drive.
These traits can make adult GSD somewhat undesirable as a companion to a cat, whom they might view as worth chasing.
We always had dogs/cats together. A few years ago, we brought home a tiny kitten and my 5- year old German Shepherd seriously wanted to kill that kitten.
It took me about 5 to 6 months to change my GSD mind. So if you desire to make it work with adult GSD – it will take a lot of effort.
So be prepared for that!
On the other hand, young German Shepherds are very easy to train to live with cats, and they are not dangerous for cats even if the cat is also just a kitten.
Because at a young age, about 12 weeks to 4 months, GSDs don’t have aggressive killing instincts to kill other pets like cats.
Are Male Or Female German Shepherds Better With Cats
Generally, female German Shepherds are way better suited with cats than male GSDs because female GSDs tend to be gentler and friendlier companions towards their family pets. On the other hand, males GSDs tend to become more dominant and aggressive toward cats and other pets.
However, female german shepherds can also become pretty aggressive towards family pets when they have a litter of their puppies around.
Plus, female GSDs tend to have a higher tolerance for strangers and other domestic pets.
The girl GSDs is also more apt to be protective and attached to the entire family versus just one person.
Both sexes of the GSDs breed can become possessive, but males tend to show this behavior more easily.
And a study shows that males German Shepherds are more aggressive than female German Shepherds.
Males tend to become more dominant and aggressive, which can increase their protectiveness for their families. They are better suited for protection roles and families without other animals.
Since female german shepherds tend to become less possessive than the male counterparts, they are more suitable for homes with cats.
However, do keep in mind that your GSDs temperament also literally depends on his/her socialization skills with other pets.
How To Train A German Shepherd Not To Go After Cats?
First of all, with young GSDs, things are pretty easy! That means owners can effortlessly train them without the need for expert guidance.
On the other hand, the adult German shepherd isn’t easy to train not to go after cats; as already mentioned above, they require a lot of time and training.
But still, let’s take a quick look into it;
Remove chances for your German Shepherd to go after cats, which you can do by keeping your GSD on a leash when outside. And if he still tries to chase the cat, then use commands like “leave it.” Because this is a general command, that means leave “ANYTHING” in which they are interested.
This basic command is a core to help your German Shepherds understand that cats aren’t something that he can go after.
But this is not fix-all because GSDs have an extreme prey drive.
Keep your GSD on a leash inside the house in a place where he can watch you hanging out with the cat; this will tell him that cats are also family, not a toy to catch.
Once you have done this many times, GSD will learn that you do not wish for him to chase down the cat.
Sometimes German Shepherds eventually learn that cats are off-limit. While sometimes, it takes a month or months.
So be patient, and don’t keep your GSDs always on a leash!
Do German Shepherds Kill Other Animals As Well?
Yes, German Shepherds can kill other animals such as squirrels, rabbits, birds, frogs, and other small rodents, because GSDs have a pretty strong prey drive that urges them to hunt and kill. Even if they go after something and are willing to catch it, they’d probably kill it too.
German Shepherds kill those small animals without hesitation, simply because those animals are prey to them, even if it’s not necessarily a matter of hunger.
Plus, some GSDs can also kill large animals as well, while others will ignore or enjoy them.
But they only kill them when they have the opportunity to kill. However, 87% of pet German Shepherds never have that chance to kill other animals.
In the end, it all depends on socialization and training at a young age because well-trained and perfectly socialized German shepherds are not aggressive at all towards other animals.