Dog Breeds Dog Training

Are Beagles Good With Cats? – The Guide to Raising Beagles and Cats

A Beagle with a cat.
Written by Richard Jeng

The adage that cats and dogs don’t get along is a long-time myth. In reality, dogs and cats can peacefully live together in the same household. And if you’re the owner of an adorable Beagle, you may be wondering whether he or she will get along with a cat. 

So, are Beagles good with cats? Yes, Beagles are friendly, curious dogs who can form a good relationship with the family cat. But as a pet owner, make sure you introduce your Beagle and cat to each other mindfully and correctly, and you’ll ensure that your Beagle and cat get along effortlessly.

This guide will help you understand why Beagles are good with cats, and what you can do to improve your Beagles and cat’s relationship. It will also explore common concerns that Beagle owners have when introducing a cat to their household. 

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Why Beagles Get Along With Cats

Beagles do shed a lot, but with some grooming, can be maintained.

There are several different reasons why we think Beagles and cats make such excellent companions. Though it may take some time, thanks to the Beagle’s stubbornness, they’ll often get along great with some patience.

Some of the Beagles’ personality traits make them perfect for cats. We look into the qualities of these dogs and why they’re more likely to view cats as friends, and not prey.

Beagles aren’t true hunters

There’s not a single person in the world that would consider a Beagle to be aggressive or hostile. And according to The AKC, Beagles are one of the best dogs to have around cats due to their sweet disposition.

Beagles are extremely friendly and curious dogs, often getting into trouble with their noses. However, they are gentle towards other animals and children. A Beagle will very rarely attack another animal, even while “hunting.”

Many experts suggest avoiding hunting dog breeds with cats. And yes, Beagles were bred to be “hunting companions.” But in reality, they were just tracking dogs that used their incredible noses to find small game.

Beagles also help by flushing out wild game. They’ll go out into the field, and as soon as they spot the animal, they’ll let out a howl. In the hunting world, we call this “beagling.” It may just be the most gentle way of hunting.

Beagle’s pack-dog mentality 

As we discussed, Beagles were bred as hunting dogs and would join hunts in packs. As a result, they’ve evolved to be pack animals who crave the company of other dog colleagues.

Beagles will howl and cry if they feel lonely. So, a cat may be a great companion if you’re out of the house a lot! Cats aren’t dogs, but with the proper socializing, a strong bond between the two animals can happen.

They need consistent creative non-repetitive training and do not do well alone. They are pack animals.

– Darlene Stewart (Beagle Club of America)

If you introduce your Beagle to a cat in the right way, he or she will likely ‘adopt’ the cat as a member of his or her pack. Beagles are protective and playful with members of their pack. Think of them as small guardians for your cat!

Beagles are obedient, most of the time

Beagles can respond well to training, but only if you find the right motivators. In terms of obedience & working intelligence, Beagles have generally scored low. But it doesn’t mean they’re dumb or disobedient dogs.

These dogs don’t “work” for the sake of working like the Border Collie. Instead, they tend to follow their noses and inquisitive personalities.

But as long as you find their motivators, training your Beagle to get along with a cat will be fairly quick and easy. For example, you can offer your Beagle their favorite treats, toys or play time as positive reinforcement! 

Introducing Beagles to Cats

If you’ve decided to welcome a cat into your home, there are several things you should do to help your cat and Beagle get comfortable with each other. After all, the key to making the relationship work is in the initial introduction.

Remember not to leave your Beagle and cat unsupervised until you’re absolutely sure that they have become “friends.” Never try to rush the situation, otherwise you may be putting both your dog and cat at risk.

You should introduce them slowly. The cats will tend to stay high out of reach and they will soon teach the pup how to behave.

– Lunasca (Beagle Owner)

Don’t be tempted to immediately put your Beagle and cat in the same room. Keep them in separate rooms until you have followed the steps outlined below. And if you have other ideas that worked for you, let us know in the comments section below!

1. Introduce them to each other’s scents

Since Beagles have evolved as hunting and tracking dogs, they have a very keen sense of smell. Similarly, cats also have a very strong sense of smell.

In fact, domestic cats have twice as many smell receptors as humans. Plus, research has shown that they’re much better at separating smells than dogs (tracking cats, anyone?).

So, you should familiarize each animal with the other’s scent. First, you’ll want to rub a cloth or towel over each animal and then place the towels in the other animal’s living space.

My beagle, Stevie, loves cats! I think mostly because they smell really interesting. But because she always goes in nose first, cats mostly don’t love her back!

– DragonLass (Beagle Owner)

If possible, tuck the towel into the place where your Beagle and cat likes to sleep. As they smell the scent of the other pet while they sleep, they’ll grow more familiar and ultimately, comfortable with their scent. 

2. Feed them together, on opposite sides of a door

When you first start feeding both your Beagle and cat, put their food down against opposite sides of a closed door. This will again allow them to smell each other and share an eating experience without feeling threatened. 

It’s never a good idea to feed both the dog and cat together from the start. Despite being relatively docile in the home, either animal can be food aggressive when the meals arrive.

Plus, you really don’t want your Beagle eating too much of your cat’s food. Dogs naturally are intrigued by the cat’s food, and vice versa. However, both animals require different nutrients in their diets.

3. Hold meetings in a neutral territory 

After about a week of acclimatizing your animals to each other’s scents, allow them to meet in a neutral space. Depending on which pet came first, they’ll almost always view the home as their territory. This is especially true with cats.

Keep your Beagle on a leash and feed him a treat or two to calm him down. Then, allow your cat into the room. Keep the door open for the cat to leave if he or she feels insecure. In this step, the key is to give your cat an escape route.

Don’t bring your Beagle close to the cat; allow the cat to come up to the Beagle if he or she feels safe enough. Call out to your cat and give positive verbal cues and reinforcement. If it doesn’t work out, try again next time.

Also make sure you praise the cats too, the cats need to know the puppy won’t take away from them.

– Lunasca (Beagle Owner)

Keep these visits short and have them three to four times a day. Doing this will allow both animals to get used to each other without feeling threatened or overwhelmed. 

If your Beagle seems to be getting extremely excited or even aggressive, ask him or her to sit and stay. Reward your Beagle with a treat every time he listens. This will reinforce the idea that he or she should stay calm around the cat

Before introducing a cat to your household, make sure your Beagle has gone through some obedience training and that you’ve practiced the commands often. It will help allow you to keep control of the situation. 

4. Feed your pets in the same room 

After a few days or weeks of face to face meetings (use your best judgment here), start placing your pets’ food bowls on opposite ends of the same room.

Make sure you feed their meals at the same time and allow them to eat simultaneously. This will encourage the pack mentality.

Similar to training two dogs, feeding one pet before the other can signal that the other pet is “superior,” which may not bode well for the other. However, you can still place down the meal of the dominant animal.

5. Leave them alone for short periods 

Finally, when you feel like your cat and Beagle have become sufficiently comfortable with one another, allow them to be in a room unsupervised for a short period of time.

Check in every ten to fifteen minutes the first few times you do this. Always make sure your cat has an ‘escape route’ – this will typically be an accessible area that is high enough to be unreachable for the Beagle.

Pets, especially the Beagle, may act differently when you’re not there. So the only way to know is to actually let them think they’re alone without “parent supervision.”

Of course, there are ways to supervise without actually being there. I would recommend a pet-camera such as the Furbo Dog Camera.

Remember that there’s no specific timeline about when you should take each of these steps. Be alert to the behavior and moods of both your Beagle and cat, and don’t be afraid of moving slowly or even backwards. 

Be sure to continuously show your Beagle and your cat equal amounts of attention – don’t make them feel like a newcomer is taking away all of the love! They must understand that they should be friends, and not competitors.

Concerns: Beagles and Cats

Will Beagles chase cats? 

Since Beagles are pack dogs used for tracking and flushing, they may have the instinct to chase other animals. Your Beagle may chase your cat, but if they are friendly with each other, it will be as a part of a game and not an attack. 

However, if you have a small cat and a large Beagle, he may unintentionally hurt your cat. Regardless of fun play or aggression, you should discourage your Beagle from chasing your cat with stern training.

Training can take some time. So in the beginning, make sure that your home and yard has plenty of high spots where your cat can hide. These escape routes will immediately end the chasing should you not be there.

What is the best age for introducing cats and Beagles? 

You may wonder whether you should introduce a Beagle puppy to an old cat or a kitten to an old Beagle. It’s best to introduce puppies to kittens. If this isn’t possible, the next best suggestion is to introduce an older Beagles to older cats.

This is because they are more likely to match each other’s energy levels. Older animals can be dangerous to younger ones – for instance; a grown Beagle may hurt a small kitten. 

This isn’t just a recommendation for cats and dogs, but for dogs with other dogs too. We had a difficult time introducing our young Aussie to our much older Corgi. All the Aussie pup wanted to do was play, but the Corgi wasn’t having any of it.

Will my Beagle eat the cat’s litter? 

It’s worth mentioning that dogs are infamous for eating cat litter. Given the curiosity and keen smell of the Beagle, the dog may be even more intrigued by cat litter. And if you have a puppy, they may be in their “exploratory phase.”

Eating cat litter may cause your Beagle some serious digestive issues. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of Beagles out there that eat cat poop and are completely fine.

However, there can be harmful bacteria and parasites in cat litter. Just because your cat doesn’t show any ill signs of having a parasite infection doesn’t mean they don’t have one.

That being said, it’s important to keep your cat’s litter box in a place that’s inaccessible for your Beagle. And if your dog does get to the cat litter, don’t worry. Just keep an eye out for any unusual signs. Go see the vet immediately if there are.

What if the cat was in your home first? 

As mentioned, cats are typically more territorial than dogs, which is why it’s most ideal to introduce a cat to a household with a dog rather than vice versa.

However, if you already have a cat, you can also follow the steps above to bring your dog into the home. At all times, ensure your cat has space to escape to – even if it includes building climbing levels. 

Introducing a Beagle to a household with a cat may take a little longer than the opposite scenario. So, if that’s your case, make sure to approach the training with patience in mind.

Is Your Beagle Good With Cats?

Sometimes very little training is necessary to form this cross-species bond. It depends on the individual dog and cat. So, we decided to survey the Beagle Subreddit and other dog forums to ask real owners this question.

Real Owner Answers

1. Lunasca says Yes:I have 3 cats when I got my 4 month beagle pup and they great on great! Cat’s even play with him. If my pup gets too pushy, a good cuff from a cat makes him calm down.

2. Kmariesweenz says Yes:Cats and beagles should be fine together, its all how you introduce them. Since she is a puppy and will probably be very playful don’t introduce the cats as “toys” or something to chase after.”

3. Iconxreps says Yes: Took a while with our hyper beagle but they’re like best friends now. I don’t know if it was something I did, but they just got used to each other.”

4. Autumnsmom says Yes:My beagle and cat were always fighting/playing. My vet told me if the cat keeps coming back, they’re playing. Even if it looks bad. It’s funny to watch.”

5. Buddythebeagle says Mixed: My female cat will hiss at buddy because he’s scared of her. But my male ginger cat basil is happy to share a food bowl with buddy and they rub noses. Its hilarious. I never intervened and they found their own level of understanding.”

6. Hsiaotei says Yes:We have three beagles and three cats. All the pets get along fine, though one of the cats takes months to adjust to a change where everyone else only takes a few days.”

7. Pascaldreams says Yes:Our cat and beagle are best friends. They sleep with each other and it’s adorable. We brought them in 1 month apart as a young pup and kitten so that may have helped.”

The Perfect Dog for Cats

Whatever the situation, it’s likely that your Beagle and cat will get along. Make sure you’ve been careful while introducing them to each other and remain alert until you are sure that they are going to be friends.

You’ll be rewarded with a beautiful friendship – you may even come home to find your Beagle and cat having a cuddle! If you own a Beagle and cat, let us know your experience in the comments section below.

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About the author

Richard Jeng

Richard has been raising dogs his whole life, including a Poodle, Pomeranian, Corgi and Australian Shepherd. He's always working with animal shelters and dog rescues because of his passion for all dogs. Fun fact: his all time favorite breed is the German Shepherd. Read More.

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