Cats and goats have a surprising amount in common. Both species are extremely curious, pedantic about their hygiene, and have big personalities. But can cats and goats live together on the same property and get along?
Domestic cats do not pose a threat to goats, and goats do not generally harm cats. The species have been known to live together harmoniously. How well cats and goats get along depends on their individual personalities and at what age they were introduced to each other.
Barn cats commonly curl up for a nap with newborn goats, and goat kids will curiously approach cats wanting to play. Cats and goats get along surprisingly well, especially dairy goats.
However, as a cat and goat owner, one must be aware of the possible risks involved in keeping these animals together. Although extremely rare, goats and cats do share some communicable diseases.
Do Cats Kill Goats?
In the wild, house cats’ larger cousins, bobcats, mountain lions, leopards, and caracals, prey on goats. This is why most people who keep goats bring them into a barn or shed overnight. Young goats and little kids are the most vulnerable to predators, especially bobcats. A mountain lion can decimate an entire herd of goats in one night.
Domestic cats, on the other hand, do not kill goats. Even small kids are not in any danger of falling prey to a house cat. Cats prefer to predate on smaller animals like birds, rabbits, rats, mice, and other rodents.
Goats Get Along Well with Cats
Domestic cats coexist peacefully with goats. Most of the time cats will ignore goats, and goats do not show much interest in cats. However, depending on their personalities, some cats and goats can become unlikely companions and even play together.
One thing that cats and goats have in common is their curiosity. Cats love to sit and watch goats from a higher vantage point. Goats, especially kids, will approach cats without fear to give them a sniff and check them out.
There are countless funny videos online of goat kids playing with cats, and there are even more endearing pictures of cats curled up sleeping next to goats. Goats and cats are both playful, social animals.
Depending on their personalities and ages, goats and cats can live together harmoniously and may even form a close bond of friendship.
Cats Love Dairy Goats
Even though cats should not strictly be given lots of milk because they are lactose intolerant, they go crazy for a warm, creamy saucer of milk. If you start keeping dairy goats, cats will quickly figure out the source of the delicious milky smell and will follow you around while you milk the goats.
Raw goat milk is actually much healthier for cats than cows’ milk because it contains less lactose. Once cats get a taste of goats’ milk, they will hang around the goats and befriend them much more readily.
Cats Can Pose a Threat to Goats
Feral or stray cats can be dangerous to goats because they can carry a range of diseases and internal and external parasites. If feral cats defecate on or near goats’ food, in haybales, or in straw bedding, there is a risk that they may transmit toxoplasmosis to goats.
Toxoplasmosis is caused by a protozoan that birds and rodents carry. When cats feed on these animals, the parasite moves onto the next stage of its life cycle inside its feline host. Cats pass the toxoplasmosis via their stool.
Fresh cat feces are not infectious to other animals, but once the feces have dried, goats and other animals can contract it as they dig through, sniff, or feed on the contaminated hay.
Goats that have contracted toxoplasmosis develop many small cysts in their muscle tissues. If humans eat infected goat’s meat or milk, they can contract the parasite. The awful thing about toxoplasmosis is that the protozoan stays in your body your whole life.
While the risk of goats contracting toxoplasmosis from cats exists, it happens extremely rarely. There are no reported cases online, only warnings. This is probably due to goats being fussy eaters that refuse to eat feed that has been defecated on (even by birds).
Goats Could Transmit Diseases to Cats
Theoretically, it is also possible that goats can transmit diseases to cats, because the species can carry the same pathogens, such as leptospirosis, Salmonella, Campylobacteria, and E. coli.
However, the risk of goats transmitting these pathogens to cats is very low, as both cats and goats are very hygienic creatures.
Animals You Can Keep with Goats
If you do not have enough space to build separate enclosures for all the different animals you want in your yard, you are in luck because goats are generally very easy-going and get along well with other farm animals.
Goats can be kept in a pasture with donkeys, horses, cows, pigs, alpacas, and llamas, provided that there is enough space for the animals to keep to themselves if they want.
Goats can also coexist peacefully with chickens, geese, ducks, and turkeys. However, one must give the birds their own secure space away from the goats, as young, rambunctious kids can try to play with birds and inadvertently injure them.
Sheep will also happily share a pasture or an overnight enclosure with goats. There is, however, one critical thing to remember when keeping goats and sheep together: goats can eat dietary supplements formulated for sheep, but sheep cannot consume mineral formulations designed for goats.
Goat supplements contain copper, and sheep are highly sensitive to this mineral. They easily develop copper toxicity. It is vital that you keep their dietary supplements separate.
Domestic cats generally get along well with goats and do not pose any danger to them, unlike cats’ larger cousins in the wild. Goats are curious, playful animals and newborn goat kids will try to befriend cats because they are similar in body size.
Cats love to hang around dairy goats to maximize their chances of being rewarded with a few squirts of goats’ milk. Goats generally do not mind this, as long as cats do not get too close when kids are drinking from their mother.
Goats are social creatures that can easily be kept in the same pasture as cows, donkeys, horses, pigs, chickens, ducks, turkeys, and geese. Goats can be kept together with sheep, but one must be careful to keep their dietary supplements separate, as goat supplements are toxic to sheep.