FAQ: Cats and Jack Russells

Will my Jack Russell Terrier get along with my cat?

Cats and Jack Russells

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Will my Jack Russell Terrier get along with my cat?

Cats and Jack Russell TerriersJack Russells are commonly known to harass, injure or kill other small pets, such as cats, birds, rabbits, mice, rats, gerbils, etc... simply due to their strong natural hunting instincts. These instincts have been bred into the JRT for hundreds of years, and what makes them such excellent working dogs in the field.

Raising a Jack Russell puppy with a cat does not guarantee the cat's life-long safety. Don't be lulled into a false sense of security, there is often a "honeymoon" period of sometimes many years before mishaps occur. Please refer to the true-life testimonials below.

If you do decide to co-exist with both a Jack Russell and a cat in the same household there are steps you should take to keep them both safe.

  1. Discourage rough play
  2. Provide more than a few 'high areas' where the cat can jump up to for safety
  3. Never EVER leave them alone, unsupervised (indoors or out). This means separating them via kennels or closed doors every single time you leave the house without fail!

True Life Testimonials

We had a beloved cat who lived peacefully with our three terriers for nine years. The Jacks and cat would occasionally play with each other, and whenever we thought the play was getting a bit too boisterous we'd break it up. We never left them alone together, kenneling two of the dogs and shutting the cat away in a room whenever we left the house.

Then came that fateful day. We were in a rush to get out of the house and both of us thought the other had secured the cat in his 'room'. We arrived home five hours later and the one lone terrier (a trusted housepet) greeted us warmly at the door, acting as if nothing was wrong. What we found was our fat black kitty, dead on the dining room floor, with a broken neck...and signs of a great chase throughout the house. What made this ten times worse is that the cat was our daughter's pet.

Could we blame ourselves for being careless? Absolutely. Could we blame the terrier for killing the cat? Absolutely not. I guess my point is that unless you are 100% vigilant, 100% of the time, this could easily happen to you.


I have a sweet, loving, 16 month old spayed JRT. I also have 2 adult male cats. For the past 13 months my JRT has lived peacefully with my cats. They all were friends and got along great.

When I read posts on this site about JRT's being unpredictable with cats, I laughed and said "Not MY JR! She loves her cat friends!" I also thought everyone who is a Forum assistant was crazy when they told people that JRT's and cats do not work.

I came home today to find one of my male cats in bad shape. He has to large cuts on his head and stomach from where my JRT became aggressive with him. He had to have over 50 stitches and it cost me over $200 in vet bills. My JRT and cat never had any previous problems. They were best friends, and all slept with me every night.

PLEASE LISTEN TO ME! JRT's are hunting animals! If you do not want to go through what I have been through today, PLEASE KEEP YOUR JRT AWAY FROM YOUR CATS! My poor cat is very sore and luckily he survived.

My entire living room (new light green carpet) is covered in his blood, and I think if I hadn't gotten home when I did, I would have found him dead. I know it was my JRT because she had blood over her mouth and paws. My other cat was hiding, terrified, behind the couch, and he didn't come out for over 2 hours.

You don't want to go through what I have gone through. I have left my JRT and cats alone for 13 months, and had NO PREVIOUS PROBLEMS. It is not worth it.