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Do Border Collies Kill Cats? (here’s the truth)

I have many owners asking me about border collies and cats, specifically, would a border collie kill a cat if they had the chance?

Border collies would most likely try to chase and capture a cat if they see one outside. If they were to successfully get hold of the cat, there’s a high chance of them killing it.

Still, I don’t think border collies should be labelled as “cat killers” like I see in some forums online.

The truth is that any dog can get along with a cat if they are raised together.

Below I’ll explain the prey drive of a border collie and whether or not it’s possible these two can get along.

Border Collie Prey Drive

do border collie kill cats

Border collies have a strong prey drive instinct. In fact, this is partly what makes them excellent herders.

Prey drive is an instinctual behavior ingrained into practically all living animals. It’s the natural instinct to survive in wild by capturing and ultimately consuming prey lower in the food chain.

  • All dogs have a prey drive, but it’s more prominent in some breeds. In border collies, it’s fairly high, but not the highest.

There’s something called a predatory sequence, which goes like this:

  • Eye.
  • Orient.
  • Stalk.
  • Chase.
  • Grab/bite.
  • Kill/bite.
  • Dissect.
  • Consume.


In most cases, once a border collie spots a cat, they will immediately watch and stalk it. Inevitably, cats always dart away from dogs, which then triggers the dog to chase.

Once a chase ensues this predatory instinct is extremely strong and most dogs with high prey drives will see it through to the end something doesn’t intervene.

So Would a Border Collie Kill a Cat?

The short answer is most likely, yes. If they begin chasing a cat outside (that they do not know) and manage to capture it, in most cases it will lead to a kill.

Now, if you’re asking about whether a border collie will kill a household pet cat, the story changes a little.

As I’ll explain below, there are many examples of border collies living harmoniously with a cat.

Times a Border Collie Would Not Kill a Cat

Perhaps one of the only exceptions to this volatile relationship is when a border collie is raised with a cat from birth.

If a puppy collie (8 weeks old) is raised around a cat right from when you bring them home, then a harmonious relationship can certainly work out.

Why does this work?

The reason this works is because the collie will see the cat as just another addition to the family that must be respected. In this situation, a cat is no different from another dog or puppy.

Plus, we have the fact that an 8 week old puppy poses much less of a threat to the cat than an adult.

This gives them both time to get to know each other without such an obvious physical threat.

In all other scenarios, if a border collie crosses paths with a cat, something’s gonna go down.

Proof it can work out!

You Have a Border Collie: Should You Get a Cat?

If you have a very young border collie already in your home then yes, owners could get a cat soon and nurture a positive relationship between the two.

However, if the existing border collie is no longer a young puppy then getting a cat is not recommended.

Other situation: If you already have a cat and want to adopt an adult collie, this again would be very hard to make work.

Nothing is impossible of course, and I know of times this has worked out. Though extensive time, caution, and long winded safety measures was necessary.

Extra read: AKC Dogs & Cats

More Border Collie Articles


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