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Are Westies Good With Cats? Key Steps To Compatability

Are Westies good with cats? Westies vary in their tolerance towards cats, but early socialization and training help. If introduced when young, most Westies will get along well with cats and overcome their strong prey drive. Westies are sociable dogs and can be very tolerant of cats, more so than other dogs. 

My Westie is great with cats, but of course, their compatibility also depends on individual temperament. Westies have a terrier’s instinct to chase small animals, including cats, which can make them less suitable for households with timid or easily stressed cats. However, with proper training, early exposure, and supervision, many Westies adapt to living harmoniously with cats.

Are Westies good with cats?


Westies are energetic and intelligent dogs that make great companions. But you may also be a cat lover and want a pet cat too.  You’ll want to know if Westies get along with cats.

In this article, we’ll explore whether Westies are good with cats and whether they can live peacefully together. 

Do Westies Get Along With Cats?

Westies are good with cats under specific conditions:

  • both animals are familiar with each other
  • the Westie is trained properly to behave well around cats
  • both animals feel comfortable around dogs and cats in general

To further improve the likelihood of a successful relationship, both animals should be raised together at a younger age.

It’s important to consider the personalities and backgrounds of the specific pets involved and introduce them gradually to ensure a positive and safe coexistence. 

Fortunately, there are actionable steps you can take to enhance the chances that your Westie will get along with cats. With careful preparation, you will not need to worry about your Westie putting your cat in danger or vice versa. Read more to learn what you can do to establish a peaceful home for your pets. 

Are Westies Good With Cats? 

Like many other dogs, Westies are not naturally good with cats, but they can be given enough time and patience. Since Westies instinctually like to pursue small rodents and prey, this can be problematic at times when Westies and cats are together. This is especially true if a Westie comes across an unfamiliar, smaller cat and is not accustomed to the company of cats. 

That is why you need to take certain measures to avoid some of the pitfalls commonly associated with cats and dogs. Overcoming the prey drive of a Westie is another obstacle you will have to face when trying to introduce a Westie to a cat. But don’t worry; there are solutions to these challenges. 

Here are some steps you can take to promote a healthy relationship between your Westie and cats: 

  • Raise Westies and cats together
  • Use a leash
  • Establish territory 
  • Train your Westie with psychology

In many cases, you will not need to do all of these things to build a strong bond between Westies and cats. For example, if you were only to raise a Westie and a cat together at a young age, it would be very likely that your Westie would get along with your cat. However, if you are unable to introduce a Westie and a cat early in their lives, then you can go through the other steps to achieve the same result. 

Raise Westies and Cats Together 

If you want Westies and cats to get along, the earlier you introduce them to each other, the better. The easiest way to accomplish this is by raising Westies and cats together at a young age. This option is not available to everyone but is one of the best ways to build a bond between them. 

By introducing Westies to cats early, Westies treat cats less like prey and more like potential companions. This familiarity between both animals builds confidence and trust, which can eventually develop into an amicable relationship.

Since Westies have a strong prey drive, most of the time, they only chase fearful cats that run away when approached by dogs. If a cat is calm and collected around a Westie, it drastically reduces the likelihood that the Westie will try to pursue the cat like a prey animal. 

Use a Leash

For Westies and cats that are introduced to each other later in life, a leash is necessary for your Westie when starting out.

Westie on a leash with a cat

This is an effective way for Westies and cats to test their boundaries safely. Since both animals will be unaccustomed to the other’s presence, you will need to give them time to test the waters. 

In the beginning, your Westie will need to be put on a leash to stop potential conflict and allow the Westie to carefully get to know your cat. Inevitably, this will require your supervision as the owner to hold on to the leash and observe how the Westie and cat react to each other. 

If you notice fear or hostility between your Westie and cat, you will need to be patient and give your pets more time to get comfortable; obvious signs of hostility include hissing and barking. On the other hand, if you do not sense any hostility between your Westie and cat, you should take note of that and consider the next step. 

Establish Territory

Dogs and cats are territorial animals, so dividing up specific areas for Westies and cats is important, especially when both animals are still getting familiar with each other. The easiest way to do this is by fencing off areas in your home where the Westie and cat can be around each other without jeopardizing their safety. 

Later on, once a Westie and cat are comfortable enough, you can start removing some of the fencing and other boundaries between both animals. However, make sure to place your cat’s litter box somewhere that is inaccessible to the Westie, as the Westie can tamper with the litter box and may ingest the fecal matter inside. Well, what can I say? Stuff happens; Westies are Westies!

Train Your Westie With Psychology

B.F. Skinner contributed much to the world of behavioral psychology by experimenting with rats. From his experiments, the concept of positive reinforcement emerged: the idea that you can reinforce specific behaviors by rewarding the behavior with a positive stimulus. This concept is useful when training your Westie to get along with cats since you can incentivize good behavior.  

Here is what positive reinforcement looks like when training a Westie to get along with cats: 

  • Carefully monitor the behavior of your Westie when around a cat 
  • Give your Westie a dog treat when he is acting calm and friendly towards a cat
  • Please do not give your Westie a dog treat when he is not behaving properly around cats
  • Repeat this process until your Westie can behave well around cats 

As you can see, a positive stimulus like a dog treat effectively teaches Westies to behave around cats. The most important thing is to be consistent and always reward Westies for good behavior around cats. The opposite of this is also true, so do not reward your Westie for bad behavior. Keep in mind that you can use positive reinforcement on all dogs to instill a specific behavior. 

When your Westie is not barking or hostile towards cats but is instead friendly and curious around cats, then you should reward them with a treat. This will build an association between the good behavior the Westie engages in and the dog treat that follows that desired behavior. With enough repetition and encounters with cats, Westies will automatically adjust their behavior and learn how to socialize with cats. 

If you need some ideas for dog treats you can use, then consider these dog treats on Amazon. These treats are highly reviewed. The next time your Westie encounters a cat, make sure to have some delicious dog treats ready to go so you can adequately reward him for his excellent behavior.


So, are Westies good with cats? Yes—but only if you are willing to put the time and effort to teach your Westie how to socialize with cats. The earlier you can introduce Westies to cats, the better, and if you can raise your Westie alongside cats, that is even better. 

Westies are vibrant and intelligent dogs with a friendly personality, which are all helpful characteristics when it comes to getting along with cats. Positive reinforcement is one of the best psychological tools you can use to spur positive developments between Westies and cats. With enough training, Westies will not only be your best pal but perhaps your cat’s best pal too. Good luck!

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