Jack Russell Terriers are regarded as hunting dogs, but they are also excellent house dogs. However, potential owners might wonder whether they should bring a Jack Russell into the family while having a cat at home. Or, they might wonder whether a Jack Russell can live with a cat or not?

Some Jack Russells can live with cats, and some can’t. It depends on the character of the individual Jack Russell and how the dog has been trained. Adult Jack Russells either want to play with the cat and get over-excited or chase them aggressively. Most of the Time, they do this for excitement. It is better to socialise them early with cat’s whilst being a puppy. 

A puppy will learn that cats certainly have claws. My two cats used to give them a swipe if they were a little too much. Then jump to the high grounds in the house to avoid them.

Anything is achievable with the proper training. See my story below.

The below photo I posted on Instagram is my two Jack Russells and my two cats all on the bed altogether. The dog at the back, called Pippy, was used to living with cats from an early age and had no problems living with cats. He would often move out of the cat’s way for them to pass.

The Jack Russell at the front was called Honey, and she was not used to cats. When she came to live with me, her excitement because of the cats was extremely high. Honey tried to nudge them with her nose, play chase around the house or jump on their backs. From grasping her character, I knew that she did not want to hurt them. 

With the training I gave her, she eventually settled and calmed down and accepted the cats roaming about the house and that she shouldn’t keep bothering them.

We are all aware of the feud that is meant to exist between cats and dogs. Just because a dog chases a cat doesn’t always mean it wants to hurt the cat. However, it’s best never to take that risk. I will go through some of my training tactics below, but one of them is using a leash at home when introducing cats and Jack Russells together. 

If you have cats and are looking for a dog, there is one breed that is always good with cats. Find out here which breed it is.

A Brief Overview of the Jack Russell Terrier Breed

Jack Russell dogs have a lot of high energy. They love to chase, play and make great companions. Their loyalty to their owners is one of the strongest among the different dog breeds.

Jack Russell’s dogs are from a hunting background. They were trained to chase and hunt down prey but never draw blood. Jack Russells would shake their victims to death instead.

If you want to know more about the personality of Jack Russell Terrier dogs, read my article.

Help An Adult Jack Russell Terrier And Cat Get Along

Follow my recommended advice if you want a Jack Russell and a cat to live in the same house peacefully.


It will help if you avoid too much face-to-face confrontation between a Jack Russell and a cat for the first few days. Let them both know that there is another living animal in the house. They will slowly desensitise to knowing that a cat is within close approximately in these few days. 

Leash Training

When introducing your Jack Russell to the cat, you must use a leash in the house. Using a leash or houseline will ensure your control, avoid any chase scenarios, and help you correct your dog simultaneously.

You and your dog will complete the entire training on the leash.

Whatever command you give your dog to avoid an object, such as “leave it” or “no”,. You will need to say this every time your dog pulls towards the cat on the leash. Keep repeating this in small bursts and re-separating them.

Remember to praise your dog by voice or treats, witnessing any form of calmness or slight ignorance towards the cat.

The ideal scenario would be walking past the cat on the house line, and your dog doesn’t even consider the cat is there. Only then can you let them off the lead.

Timeframe of getting along

It all depends on Jack Russell’s character and your training ability. The time frame could be a few hours, a few days or even a few weeks. In time. your dog will learn to leave the cat alone.

It took me about two weeks to get my cat used to the other cats and not bother them.

Using the Crate

After the excitement has settled down, you can try using a crate this way, your adult dog is safely confined, and we will get to know the cat’s movements and observe what they get up to. Remember to pay plenty of attention to the dog. Never leave the dog out, even if they are in the crate. Drop some treats in and voice praise.

Remaining Patient

It would help if you remained patient. Your dog will pick up on your emotions, such as anxiety or stress, and they may then, in turn, start protecting you rather than listen to your training to try to get along with the cat, or rather desensitise them from the cat.

Leaving The House

If you need to leave your Jack Russell alone at home, confine the dog and cat in separate rooms with toys, food, water, and a bed. It would be best if you did this for quite some time until you are sure they will get along. 

Don’t Give Up

Cats can be a shiny new toy for a dog. Giving it time, keeping up with the above training on the leash, a Jack Russell and a cat can successfully live together in peace.

It’s Not Always The Dog That’s The Problem

Cats are pretty ferocious, and another thing you need to watch out for is that a cat can scratch a puppy or a dog—possibly their eyes. Most dogs will learn to keep away from the cats as they can be pretty scary when they need to. You can’t train the behaviours of a cat, so it’s always best to focus your training on the dog.

Also, you can help the confrontation between the two animal species by providing a safe, high up place for a cat, such as a climbing frame or a shelf of some kind. If the dog gets too close, not through aggression but just moving about the house, the cat can jump their way out instead of taking a swipe.

Can A Jack Russell Kill a Cat?

Theoretically speaking, Yes, a Jack Russell can kill a cat. With their natural hunting instinct, especially if they are presently working dogs. If they are protective of their territory, they can aswell. But if they are disciplined and socialised, they can stay in harmony. Hence, a Jack Russell harming or killing a cat is possible.

If you are thinking of getting a Jack Russell Terrier, here is some advice that will help you make your final decision. Jack Russell Terriers are loyal and devoted dogs who are also very robust.

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