Are Jack Russells Good With Cats?

By John Martin - February 1, 2022

Jack Russell with cat

Jack Russells are not immediately good with cats and can even be a bit cautious or aggressive towards them. It is, however, possible to make Jack Russells get along with cats through a few methods.

You can go through some potential challenges as well as these methods below.

Potential Challenges

Jack Russells might not immediately or naturally get along with cats due to the following challenges or reasons.


Since Jack Russells were initially bred for hunting foxes as well as other smaller animals, their prey drive and alertness can be a part of their temperament, even today.

This can cause them to view cats as a threat or even prey, leading them to display aggression towards them, leading to biting and chasing.

Additionally, if there were issues in their breeding process itself or if they have a traumatic past, then they might not immediately get along with cats.


Jack Russells are quite hyper and active in terms of their temperament, while also being extremely affectionate and playful. Additionally, they are also quite cautious, alert and territorial, which can end up making them possessive.

These traits might contradict your cat’s own personality and defensiveness. It is possible that they might draw back from fear of seeing your dog’s hyperactivity.

Further, since Jack Russells can get possessive, they might also develop their own caution against other animals, making it difficult for them to get along.

If you also do not provide sufficient attention to your Jack Russell, then this can make them even more possessive and aggressive against cats, viewing them as a threat.

Aggressive Behavior

Since Jack Russells tend to be quite hyperactive, this can sometimes turn into aggression, especially if you do not train them properly or provide them with enough care, attention, exercise and mental stimulation.

This can bore them quite easily, causing them to look for their own ways to keep themselves interested. This can then result in them disturbing and harming your cats, especially since they might view them as prey or threats.

It is, therefore, important to manage their behavior to prevent them from becoming stubborn and aggressive.

Age Difference

If your Jack Russell is already well established in your home or old enough, introducing a new and young cat may not work out too well for anyone involved.

They might become cautious of them, causing them to act out and become hostile, especially if you suddenly start giving more attention to the new cat.

Ideally, it can help if your Jack Russell and your cat are both young when you introduce them. Even more helpful is if your Jack Russell is a puppy even if your cat is older.

Essentially, a younger Jack Russell can be easier to train and socialize, giving them enough time and space to get used to the cat.

Lack of Socialization

Jack Russells and, in fact, most pets, require proper socialization from a young age so that they can become familiar and comfortable with the people and other pets around them.

It is essential to introduce your Jack Russell to your cat from a young age while also making it a gradual process. If your Jack Russell does not receive this kind of socialization, they are bound to be fearful towards and defensive against others for the rest of their lives.

This can then create issues later on.

How to Make Jack Russells Get Along With Cats

You can make Jack Russells get along with cats through the following methods and steps.

Proper Training and Socialization

You must provide proper training as well as socialization to your Jack Russells so that they can listen and respond to you properly. This is also a good way to desensitize them against different kinds of stimuli so that they can learn to feel comfortable in their surroundings.

Make the process of introducing your dog to your cat gradually so that they can eventually become more and more comfortable and friendly with them.

You should also introduce them to other people and animals so that your dog is not caught too off-guard when you bring your cat into the equation.

Start at a Young Age

It is better to train and socialize your Jack Russell as early as possible. This is because younger dogs are more willing and quick to learn and more adaptable.

Introducing your cat and dog at a young age can also give them enough time to get used to the other. Even if your dog is young while your cat is older, your dog will be able to get accustomed to the cat more easily.

They will also be more likely to obey your commands and learn to respond appropriately while also retaining this training for a long time with regular reinforcement.

Use a Leash

Whenever you want to introduce your Jack Russell to your cat or keep them in each other’s presence for some time, it can help to use a leash on both of them so that you can control them easily.

This can prevent them from chasing after each other or trying to display aggression in any form.

Once they start getting more comfortable around each other, you can slowly start taking the leash off for gradually increasing intervals until you no longer need it.

Stay Calm

It is important for you to remain calm and patient throughout the process since your Jack Russell (as well as your cat) will notice shifts in your mood quite quickly.

Losing your calm can then end up making them more anxious as well, causing them to act out. This can be counterproductive to them getting along.

Thus, you should proceed with care and calmness while bringing them together. Give them both some time to get used to being around each other and encourage them positively in your own way so that they can gradually become friendlier.

Watch Over Them

Importantly, whenever you put your Jack Russell in the same space as the cat, you should stay there with them so that you can keep an eye over them.

This can help you ensure that they do not start fighting or displaying any kind of aggression.

For Jack Russells in particular, their hyperactivity and curiosity might cause them to bundle up to the cat, which might end up scaring your cat off.

In case either of the two get too hyper or nervous or excited, then it might be best to keep them apart and try the process out some other time.

Give Them Space

You should give your Jack Russell and your cat some space since this is likely to be a long process. Even if they are in the same room, you should leave them to their own devices so that they can feel comfortable.

It can help to keep some toys or puzzles for your Jack Terrier in the same room so that they can find something to go back to for a break.

You should also keep them apart in case things do not quite work out at any point. Do not force them to be in the same room as this might make things worse.

Doing things gradually and patiently will be much more fruitful than hastening the process.

Provide Stimulation and Exercise

You should provide regular stimulation and exercise to your Jack Russell so that you can keep them healthy and happy. This will also allow them to release their energy so that they do not end up bothering your cat when they get bored and restless.

This is also a good way to manage their aggression while also making them more willing to be around your cat. You can also try combining the stimulation and exercise times of your cat and dog so that they can bond.

Give Them Attention

You should provide equal amounts of attention to your Jack Russell and your cat so that neither of them feels neglected.

In particular, Jack Russells are likely to get bored, restless, fearful, stubborn and aggressive if you do not care for them properly.

Giving them enough attention, feeding them well and being affectionate and playful with them will make them feel more secure with you and with cats.

The Final Word

To sum up, Jack Russells can be good with cats only if you provide training and socialization from a young age while also giving enough care and attention to them to make them feel safe.

These measures can also help you overcome the potential challenges that you might face.