If you have an Akita and are planning to bring in a cat or vice versa, you have to consider whether this cat is safe with your dog.
So, are Akitas Good With Cats?
The truth is that some Akitas do well with cats and some don’t. Akitas who are socialized and trained well can get along with cats, especially if they’re introduced to them in puppyhood. Akitas have a strong prey drive and can be unpredictable so to be safe, never leave your cat and Akita alone.
Let’s check out some of these conditions that will help you make your decision.
Typical Akita Temperament
From the outside, Akitas are a beautiful breed with an air of dignity around them. They are very clean and are mostly on the quiet side.
Rarely, do you hear them bark. However, their personality is what one would call complex.
Physically, they are one of the most powerful Japanese dog breeds, with hunting in their blood. They also tend to be wary around others and are quite protective of their owner.
Unless they are trained and made to socialize with people at an early age, their guarding instincts tend to get out of control.
The training itself can be a hard task to take upon. Akitas have a primitive way of thinking compared to other breeds, and while this behavior can be curved, there is always a need for some amount of caution.
From the perspective of an owner, you will find that you will have a hard time reading their facial expressions and their posture, as they are naturally more reserved.
Akitas also have a working, independent mind. Some of them are more dominant than others and will want you to prove yourself before they listen to you.
Their aggressive nature means one can’t live with other dogs of the same gender in a room alone.
There have also been instances where they have fought each other despite being the opposite gender.
They can coexist with other animals peacefully for a long time, and the one day, out of the blue, a minor disagreement might make them attack their long term friend.
Akitas are quite possessive in nature too, so if the animal they are living with tries to take their food or any other belongings away, it can cause discord.
Cats and any other small animal always face some level of threat from this breed.
In fact, it is better if you raise an Akita alone.
However, if they are given the right training, even the most temperamental of them can be controlled.
Living With An Akita
As we have mentioned, Akitas are a predatory breed.
Their first reaction to seeing a cat is to attack them. Even when you raise them together, they still view cats and other small animals as prey to some extent.
There have been instances where Akitas have attacked felines they have been friends with their entire life, while there are Akitas who live in harmony with cats, to the point of becoming best friends.
Even when you see your cat and Akita get along, keep a watchful eye.
If you aren’t home to supervise them, keep them from a distance from each other.
Let’s dig deeper…
How to Introduce an Akita to a resident cat:
First, before introducing an Akita to a resident cat, the organization you are adopting from, ask them whether they have a good track record with cats. After that, you can try the steps below:
- The first safety measure you should take is to make sure the Akita is on a leash.
- Make them face each other and observe the reaction your cat has to the Akita, and vice versa.
- If the cat doesn’t appear defensive or look threatened, and if the Akita isn’t somehow trying to fight their way out of the leash, you are in the clear. (These two might just become lifelong friends.)
- Don’t relax just yet, though. Give them both a few days or weeks to get used to each other.
- In that amount of time, keep the Akita away from the cat if you aren’t home and if you are home, keep the dog on a leash while around the cat. (This allows you to observe their reaction to each other while making sure the dog won’t be able to hurt the cat.)
- In case the Akita decides to chase the cat around, you will have total control. You can even take this opportunity to train the Akita and get it into their head that they should not chase the cat. (Keep on observing them until you are sure they won’t harm each other.)
Introducing a cat to a resident Akita:
Compared to introducing an Akita to a resident cat, the cautions for introducing one to a resident Akita needs to be way different.
Akitas are a possessive breed and they won’t take kindly to a new animal, especially a small one which they immediately think of as prey trying to take their home. Try this introduction:
- Try putting the cat in a different room and getting them accustomed to the climate and feel of the house. (The more comfortable they are, the less likely they are to run around the house and act in a way that triggers the hunting instinct of the Akita.)
- Keep the Akita on a leash and hold the cat close to you, now let them sniff each other.
- If you aren’t home, it is better if they are not in the general vicinity of each other.
- Cats can be aggressive too and might try to attack your dog, in which case, an Akita is sure to fight back. Alternatively, they might form a close relationship quite quickly.
Ultimately, the result will really depend on the temperament of both the Akita and the cat.
Raising an Akita puppy and a kitten into adulthood
Instead of training an adult American Akita and an adult cat, it is much easier to train them both when they are a puppy and a kitten.
When training, your main method should be the praise and reward method. Below are some good tips to follow:
- During the training period, keep the puppy on a leash.
- Let the puppy and kitten sniff each other. The more they grow used to each other’s scent, the less likely they are to react unfavorably to each other.
- Establish boundaries for both of them, a line of what they are allowed to do to each other or not. (A kitten harmlessly trying to take away food or toy from an Akita might result in a scuffle, so be very careful.)
- When the Akita reacts unfavorably, you can tug on the leash to assert dominance. (This way, the puppy knows what is rewarded and what is not.)
- If the puppy tries to attack the kitten, use the reward system to make it clear, it will be frowned upon.
- Do not tease your puppy either and make sure they understand they can’t tease you too, (or they will think of you as a potentially weak owner and try to walk all over you.)
- Introduce the puppy to different people outside of you and the kitten. Naturally, they are wary of strangers. When you expose them to friendly people, they will understand that not everyone is a threat, and it will make their demeanor more relaxed in general.
Akita Vs. Cat: The (Possible) Disputes
By nature, cats and Akitas aren’t meant to be friends. If an Akita sees a cat when they are outside, 90 percent of the time it will take off after it.
Which is why you should always keep the Akita on a leash.
Sometimes, the resident Akita and the cat get in a fight over the silliest thing.
You guessed it…
1. Conflict Over Food
Your Akita will want a separate bowl, food, water, and space where they can have their meal.
During this period, if they see a cat sniffing around this time, even when they are friends, the Akita might get agitated. Keep the cat in a separate room when your dog is eating.
Dogs tend to chase cats in general.
A chase between your cat and Akita might be friendly, but if the cat reacts aggressively, like trying to scratch or bite the dog, the Akitas hunting instincts will be triggered.
It makes it important that you do not take your eyes off them while they are playing.
Is An Akita For You?
If you are looking for a dog that is dignified, silent, independent and doesn’t require much care, then yes, the Akita is for you.
If you are not ready to deal with the cons of an Akita puppy, like their aggression and wariness towards strangers, and their headstrong ways, then no, the Akita is not for you.
If you have trained a dog before, you will do well with an Akita.
A first time dog owner will have a hard time handling this particular breed.
The answer to your question on whether Akitas are good with cats is this-
it depends on the cat and the Akita.
The only deciding factor here is how they react to each other.
Nature, though, has made them sworn enemies.
If you want a breed that will get along with a cat, then please read our post about dog breeds that are good with cats.
They are the go-to choices.