Great Pyrenees are renown for their size, their strong-willed personalities and being loyal and attentive to their owners. But how do they respond and behave around cats? Do they tend to get along with them and can an owner keep both pets with relative harmony? I spent some time researching the topic and will be sharing my findings with you here today.
So, are Great Pyrenees good with cats? Great Pyrenees are generally great with cats. With their calm and patient nature, they are one of the recommended breeds to get if you plan on keeping these two animals. These dogs were once livestock guardians, so it’s in their nature to protect the animals in their charge. Owners typically find the best success when Great Pyrenees and cats are brought up together and socialized together from a young age.
Despite weighing up to 54 kg (120 lbs), the Great Pyrenees is a dog breed that has a affectionate and gentle temperament, despite their history of being working dogs.
This also makes them excellent with children; as puppies they are playful, but as adults, they are relatively peaceful and kind, and sympathetic.
This dog breed therefore suits many different households; whether you own a cat, have young children or have both!
That being said, Great Pyrenees are often suspicious of unfamiliar animals. If they are not used to seeing cats and other animals, it has been known for them to chase them.
Ultimately, many factors determine whether a dog will get along with a cat. This includes health, age, the environment, their social skills, and training as well as the nature of the cat.
As you can imagine, how well these dogs get on with cats therefore varies from one dog to another, it’s hard to generalize.
Thankfully, we can look at averages and the reports of several owners who have attempted this arrangement!
So, let us know take a closer look at how these two distinct animals get along together.
We will also cover some practical approaches to introduce a Great Pyrenees to a cat, how to help them get along and how to create the optimal living environments to help facilitate peace and harmony.
Be sure to keep on reading to get all the information you need if you plan on keeping these two together.
Do Great Pyrenees Get Along With Cats?
Most Great Pyrenees get along very well with cats; especially those who have been socialized with and around them from a young age. However, this is not an established standard trait with this breed and there will always be exceptions.
Thankfully, Great Pyrenees were initially bred as livestock guardians (more specifically to guard sheep), and so it’s in their nature to look out for and protect other animals.
If these dogs are raised with cats from an early age, then chances are they will get on quite well. Cats are generally quite laid back, as are Great Pyrs which bodes well for a calm and peaceful environment.
Typically, if cats or other small animals have been members of the family for some time, and the Pyr is later introduced to the home, they are likely to go above and beyond to protect their fellow housemates.
Pyrs are so loving and loyal, and they know when to be on guard and when to be affectionate. As with any breed, introducing a Pyr to a cat must be adequately done for these animals to bond successfully.
Great Pyrenees are gregarious and can often be friendly to a fault.
Some cats hate dogs and will never change their stance on the matter, no matter how well you train your Pyr to behave.
Some kitties will strike against even the most gentle-natured of Pyrs. It depends mostly on hwo they interact, along with the individual character and temperament of the animals.
You don’t want your sweet Pyr to endure the wrath of your cat, and you must ensure the safety of your Great Pyrenees at all times.
Likewise, Great Pyrs are large and heavy dogs. Accidents can and do happen, and this can be dangerous where this kind of weight is involved.
It’s far easier to train your Pyr to behave than your cat, as cats are mainly untrainable. So this should be the focus of your efforts and attention.
Equally, if you ever plan on keeping these two together under the same roof, you will need to consider the environment; where they are kept, how they are fed and the interactions that they have with one another.
Generally, it is advised never to leave a dog and cat unattended; irregardless of the breed, how they have behaved with each other before or how you may think the interaction is likely to go. Its not worth the risk.
In Pyr rescue, this breed is often vetted for cat-friendliness – this is a significant part of the adoption process, and most rescued Pyrs are great with cats.
How To Introduce A Great Pyrenees To A Cat?
If you have resident cats, it is best and advised to introduce a Pyr puppy. While you can, and while it is possible to introduce an adult dog, you have less chance of success, it will be a lot more challenging and a lot more work is going to be involved.
Likewise, puppies are easier to train and older dogs are typically more stubborn. They are more likely to chase after a cat as they will not have had time to become accustomed to them.
Make sure that you teach your puppy some basic commands ahead of time, and ensure that they obey them at all times.
Also, read your cat’s body language and comfort level; you don’t want to force them to interact if either party is stressed.
Keeping them at a distance at first, and being there to intervene comes strongly recommend.
But, before you begin introducing your Pyr to your cats, make sure that you take the following steps:
- Sniffing Of Items – You should allow your cat/cats and your Great Pyr to sniff each other’s toys and bedding before their first face-to-face introduction. This sniff introduction can pique their curiosity until they meet in the flesh. This method is useful in avoiding battles for territory later on.
- Exercise Your Pyr First – Make sure your Pyr gets plenty of exercise and has a meal, to put them in a calmer and more relaxed mood.
- Keep The Distance: Put your Great Pyr on a short leash or in their crate. Cats are jumpy and easily frightened by new things, and they tend to run away. So at the same time you will want to put your cat in a carrier so that they cannot escape. Have plenty of treats on hand to reward your cat for good behavior.
- View From A Distance – Allow your Pyr and cat to see each other from a distance. Pet your dog, and talk to them in a calm voice. Don’t let your dog approach your cat until they are both ready, give them both plenty of treats and praise afterward.
- Correction – If your Pyr tries to seize your cat, correct them using the leash. If they are overly excited, do your best to settle them. If that doesn’t work, cut the meeting short and try again after they have had a chance to calm down. Repeat these visits many times a day, and gradually give your dog more leash as you feel is appropriate.
- Repeat The Interactions – Make sure that you have many consecutive incident-free visits, in which both your animals seem comfortable with each other, before moving onto to the next phase.
When both pets are ready, take your Pyr off the leash and monitor them both very closely. If you see any issues and they don’t mellow with some simple commands, revert to the previous phase for a couple of days.
You can lengthen the time your Pyr spends without the leash, but never leave the animals alone together; you must always be present with them.
Also, consider that your cat will need places that they can jump to escape. So, keep the interactions inside, near furniture or a window, or outside where there is somewhere to climb i.e. a tree.
Again, you may want to consider socializing your Pyr puppy with a kitten rather than an adult cat. These animals tend to take to one another a lot better when they grow up together.
Still, remain vigilant to ensure all interactions go smoothly. Puppies stay puppies for longer than kittens and might be too rambunctious for your composed cat.
Be patient, careful and consistent. You can hope to foster a good relationship, but it may take some patience.
How To Help Great Pyrenees And Cats Get Along
You can help your Great Pyrenees and cat(s) get along with consistent obedience training. This should help your dog learn how to control their natural impulses, and know what behavior is and is not acceptable in your home.
Teaching a number of commands such as “sit”, “down”, “stay”, “heel” and “wait” can all be very useful in keeping your dog away from your cat and vice versa.
If you have a particularly disobedient dog (which is rare in the breed although still possible), you may want to consider getting an expert. A professional dog trainer and animal behavioral specialist are two such examples to consider.
As previously mentioned, you must introduce the two pets together slowly and gradually. Leaving them alone together is not to be expected, nor even advisable – especially in the beginning.
Have reasonable expectations for your pets, they are very different animals, with very different needs, likes and dislikes – they have their own ways of living and what they expect from their owners and in their home. So, do not expect them to get along right away.
Another consideration is that you should try your best to remain calm. Animals are able to sense these things and if either animal do sense trepidation from you, this can affect them and make the atmosphere very tense.
If your Great Pyrenees and cat do not seem to gel, you must accept this and not force it.
Always make sure that both animals are safe and comfortable at all times. While dogs are typically more robust than cats and with the size of a Great Pyr having the potential to cause harm, a cat can be as equally as dangerous with the swing of a paw.
How To Create The Optimum Living Situation For A Great Pyrenees And A Cat
One of the best things you can do when keeping dogs and cats is to optimize the environment for both of them. This means that you’ll need to consider their access around the home, along with where they can and cannot go.
Of the two pets, cats are most at risk if they don’t get along with a dog. For this reason, you should ensure your cat has a safe space to retreat to, that is exclusively for them and off-bounds for your Great Pyrenees.
This will serve as a base camp that they can use to relax and get away if anything is proving too much.
You may need to create protected and safe areas all around the home too, and you may even consider doing the same thing for your dog. This way both pets can navigate their own territory confidently without any hassle from the other pet.
Schedule regular yet distinctive mealtimes for your Pyr and cat – as this will help to prevent any unpleasant encounters at mealtimes.
It’s also a good idea to put their feeding bowls in separate parts of the house; where they will not attempt to eat one another’s food. You can even put your cat’s bowl in a high spot – out of the reach of your dog.
Similarly, cats and dogs can often become very competitive over toys.
Keep a watchful eye on pets toys, and its a good idea to get them their own toys and ensure they are only used exclusively by who they were bought for.
Thankfully, cats are skilled climbers, so make the most of the space in your home.
You can install shelves, or place a cat bed on top of a bookcase, or even get a tall and sturdy cat tree (like this best-seller on Amazon).
This way, your cat can survey their space away from your dog at a safe distance. Cats do like to cross a room without touching the floor, and space up above allows your cat to do this.
Another thing to do is to keep your Great Pyrenees away from your cat’s litter box. Cats like to feel safe when doing their business and having a dog around can prevent them from being able to do so!
Not just that, but dogs sometimes eat cat feces (not nice) and this can result in your Pyr contracting intestinal parasites.
These worms cause many health issues such as diarrhea, vomiting, anemia, and weight loss.
Make sure that litter trays are covered and away from your dog’s reach.
Some owners use and install baby gates around the home, others like to keep doors closed. But this doesn’t guarantee it will keep your Pyr out; they are adept escape artists and will pounce on any opportunity should it arise. Especially if food is involved!
Raising a dog along with a cat (or cats) is a huge undertaking. All pets involved must be comfortable with each other and the environment in which they live.
Thankfully, Great Pyrenees dogs generally get along great with everyone, including cats and even kids. But whether cats get along with Great Pyrs is another matter and a situation you cannot predict.
You can however, do your best to foster a harmonious relationship between the two, and you can also give yourself a higher chance of success with some of the practical suggestions presented to you above.
Just remember, Great Pyrs can accidentally hurt cats – they are very large and strong. Cats can retaliate too, so you do need to be careful with any interaction that these two have.
It is widely recognized that introducing a dog as puppy to cats is the best approach. Better yet would be to introduce a puppy to kittens. This way, they can learn how to conduct themselves around one another. As they grow up they will get used to the company of what is a rather different animal with rather different preferences and lifestyle habits.
Adapting your home to meet the comfort level of both pets is essential when raising cats along with Great Pyrs.
Cats are naturally more reserved and quieter than dogs and are more conscientious of their privacy and ability to escape a stressful situation.
For this reason, your cat needs areas around the home that they can call their own; but then again, so does your dog.
All in all, if you were thinking of owning a Great Pyrenees while still owning a cat(s), or vice versa, you’ll be pleased to learn that it is definitely doable. In fact, this is one of the better breeds of dogs to attempt this household with.
Great Pyrenees typically get along well with other dogs, so long as they have been properly socialized from a young age. Equally, Great Pyrs are unlikely to be aggressive with other dogs and are unlikely to resort to fighting unless they feel it is required.
I am a practiced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site I created to share everything I’ve learned about pet ownership over the years and my extensive research along the way.