border collies lying on sofa with bengal cat

While some pet owners prefer dogs over cats or vice versa, many people enjoy the company of both animals. In this case, finding a dog breed that gets along well with cats is essential if you want them to coexist. With proper training and socialization, the Border Collie is an energetic and friendly choice for families with cats and children.

There can be issues with introducing your Border Collie to your cat, though, especially if your cat gets irritated by your Collie’s herding instinct. To make the new arrival easier to accept, it’s important to understand why Border Collies chase cats and how to train them to stop.

What Is a Border Collie?

border collie dog lying on grass outdoor
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Out of all the dog breeds in the herding group, the Border Collie is considered one of the best dogs around. First introduced on the border of Scotland and England, they were bred specifically with herding in mind.

Their intelligence, agility, ability to follow commands, and fierce loyalty give them an edge over many other herding breeds. These days, Border Collies are also used for agility and obedience competitions, along with doing police work, being part of search and rescue, and being service dogs.

While Border Collies are used in competitions, many breed fanatics, especially shepherds, wanted to preserve the herding prowess of the breed. They introduced the Rough Collie as a show dog instead, so the Border Collie can be bred for their skills rather than their appearance.

Why Do Border Collies Chase Cats?

One of the biggest issues that owners of Border Collies face is the dog’s herding instinct. With their original purpose being to help shepherds keep their sheep under control, the Border Collie is renowned for herding everything from balloons to cats and sometimes even children.

Overall, the Border Collie is loyal and affectionate with their family, which includes children and other pets, and they’re not an aggressive breed. However, their instincts can get them into trouble, especially when their feline friend takes offense at their determination to herd them into a corner or stop them from running off.

Fortunately, one of the best qualities about the Border Collie is their trainability. With dedication on your part, you can train your Border Collie to not chase your cat, and both animals can coexist happily.

How to Introduce a Border Collie to Your Cat

border collie dog and walking on a path leaving the cat behind
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When it comes to training, it’s always best to start on the right foot. The first introduction between your cat and your new dog can easily set the tone of their relationship. No matter how old your dog or cat is when you introduce them, ensuring that they get along should always be your first step.

It’s important to introduce your pets slowly and give them plenty of time to adjust to each other’s presence.

Positive Reinforcement

Border Collies are well-known for their intelligence and trainability. Their ability to quickly understand what you want from them is further helped with plenty of positive reinforcement, and your cat can benefit from this approach too.

Whenever your pets meet or smell each other, reward them when they show little or no reaction to the other. This will teach them that their new furry companion isn’t something to get worked up over. Be careful not to yell if things go a little haywire, as you can make the situation worse and teach both pets to be wary of each other.


Introducing the scent of your new family member can be done long before you bring them home. By letting both your cat and Border Collie familiarize themselves with the new scent, they’ll slowly learn to accept the other before they’ve even met. This can help make the introduction smoother.

Their reaction to the other’s scent is also a good indicator of when you can introduce the new arrival. When they stop reacting to the strange smell is a good indication of when it’s safe for them to meet in person.

Use a Barrier

For safety, it’s always best to have a barrier between pets that are meeting for the first time. This keeps you and your pets out of harm’s reach and gives them plenty of space to move if they feel threatened. For older animals in particular, this approach can make the adjustment simpler.

Start with a closed door, with your cat and your Border Collie on opposite sides. Having a friend to help will make reassuring both animals easier. You can use a baby gate too. Use positive reinforcement to teach both pets that the other animal is a good thing instead of something to be scared of.

When both animals are comfortable with the other’s presence, you can remove the gate. Keeping your Border Collie on a leash will also help you remove them from the room if either animal freaks out or your Collie tries to chase your cat.

How to Teach a Border Collie Not to Chase Your Cat

border collie dog and tabby cat walking on a path
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Once the initial introduction is out of the way, training your Border Collie not to chase your cat is the next step and should be done as soon as possible. Not only will this help your pets coexist, but it’ll also help prevent them from developing unwanted habits that you’ll have to train out of them later.

Using a leash while working with your Border Collie will allow you to keep control of your dog even if they fail to control their instincts.


Despite their intelligence, Border Collies will get confused if you give them too many conflicting commands. Focus on the behavior that you want to reinforce, such as not reacting when your cat is in the room, and avoid confusing them by praising hyperactivity or other unwanted behavior. Even if your dog’s herding tendencies are adorable, you want to focus on praising restraint.


Dogs focus on things that they find interesting. Any dog will be understandably curious about a new friend, and if the cat is the most interesting thing in the room, getting your Collie’s attention can be a challenge.

Their favorite toy or a special treat can help you convince your dog to ignore your cat. Playing with your dog or giving them something to chew on serves two purposes: It’ll help teach them that the cat isn’t nearly as interesting as you are, and it rewards them for ignoring their instincts to chase.


Many new dog owners forget how effective simple obedience commands can be, especially when you’re teaching your dog how to react in new situations. Sit, stay, leave, and recall commands are all essential when it comes to training your Border Collie to behave properly.

Once you remove the leash, these commands will be the only thing stopping your dog from chasing your cat. Your Collie must respond to your directions even while distracted.

These commands also make a good starting point for tricks that you want your Collie to learn in the future, whether you want to go into agility or obedience.

Positive Reinforcement

Border Collies are people pleasers and love to know when you’re proud of them. You can reinforce good behavior with a game of fetch or tug or by using treats that you’ll slowly wean them off of. Praise and plenty of affection are also good ways to reinforce the behavior that you like.

The more you praise wanted behavior, the faster your Border Collie will learn.


Bringing a new puppy home for the first time is always exciting. While you can introduce an older dog to your cat, puppies have certain benefits over older dogs. They allow you to start from scratch, and the younger your dog is, the easier it is to teach them not to chase your cat or herd your children.

Presenting them with various situations will keep their minds active and allow them to be less easily distracted when you need their attention. Socializing them in other places and with different people and pets will also teach them how to behave properly.


Border Collies might be difficult to keep up with due to their boundless energy, but their affectionate natures make them great family pets. Their herding instincts can make cats in multi-pet households wary of them, but with proper training, you can teach your Border Collie to leave their feline friends alone.

Featured Image Credit: Pixabay