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Is an Akita Good With Cats? History, Facts & FAQ

Written by: Nicole Cosgrove

Last Updated on April 11, 2024 by Dogster Team

smiling akita inu lying on a cement floor

Is an Akita Good With Cats? History, Facts & FAQ

The Akita is a Japanese spitz breed that originated in a mountainous region where it was used as a guardian and hunting dog for elk, wild boars, and even bears. These dogs are imposing, protective, and fiercely loyal, which sometimes means they’re not tolerant of other animals—especially small animals like cats.

Is an Akita good with cats? Generally, the Akita is intolerant of strangers and other animals. That’s not to say that Akitas can’t coexist with cats, however.


Akita History

Akitas have been around for centuries. They’re a hardy, independent breed that was kept by samurai for guarding, fighting, and hunting bears and other large game. In the 1600s, Akitas were used for dog fighting and bred with other fighting breeds.

That’s a lot of force, wariness, and prey drive selectively bred over centuries. As a hunter and guard dog, Akitas are naturally suspicious of new people and animals, even if they’re raised alongside them.

Cats are small, agile, flighty animals. Though predators themselves, cats are usually prey for larger animals like wolves, coyotes, and some dogs. It can be extremely challenging for a dog with a high prey drive and independent streak like the Akita to resist the urge to chase and kill a cat.

akita inu dog
Image By: Malen Billoni Ahumada, Pixabay

Can Akitas Get Along With Cats?

Akitas are not a great pairing for a household with cats (or small dogs, for that matter), but that’s not to say they can’t ever coexist with cats. With socialization and training from a young age, it’s possible for an Akita to look at a cat in the home as a member of the family.

There are no guarantees, however. A puppy can be fine with a cat until it reaches adolescence or adulthood. The cat can be fine until the wrong moment when there is a sign of weakness that entices the natural hunter in the Akita.

If you want to keep an Akita and a cat, training is never really finished. You have to reinforce good behaviors and boundaries throughout the Akita’s life, and never take a chance leaving the two together unsupervised.

Another option is to look for Akita-specific rescues to see if any adult Akitas have a proven track record in a home with cats. Some older Akitas mellow out and are less prone to chase and hunt small animals, so they can coexist peacefully.

akita inu dog lying on the floor behind a maine coon cat
Image By: Olezzo, Shutterstock

What About Cats Outside?

If you have feral cats in your neighborhood, you can bet that your Akita will try to chase them. It’s best not to allow your Akita off-leash outside, as they may want to hunt not only neighborhood cats but squirrels, birds, chipmunks, and other small animals.

If you want an Akita, make sure you have a high, secure fence with no space between the boards that could allow cats or other animals to enter. If your neighbors have cats or small dogs, let them know that you have a dog with a strong prey drive, and they should keep their pets out of your yard.



Akitas are wonderful, loyal dogs, but with their hunting history and strong prey drive, they’re usually intolerant of small animals like cats. You can have a peaceful home with an Akita and a cat with proper training and socialization, but it’s important to take precautions to avoid any conflict.

See also:

Featured Image Credit: Olga Aniven, Shutterstock

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