‘Guard Cat’ – a term that doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue. Indeed, the word ‘guard’ is usually reserved for our canine friends.
More protective than most cats and often far more intimidating, dogs tend to be the go-to choice for both domestic and personal security.
Yet, certain feline breeds can be just as loyal and protective as dogs including Maine Coons, Siamese, Bengals and Burmese.
But should these or any other feline breeds for that matter actually be thought of as guard cats?
Can Cats Be Guard Cats?
The answer to this question depends entirely on what you mean by ‘guard’.
If you’re planning on using a cat to guard your house then you’ll probably want to think again.
After all, a cat isn’t going to project the kind of menace one might expect of, say, a Doberman Pinscher or Alsatian.
They lack the size and aggression typically associated with dogs like this.
So it follows that potential burglars aren’t going to be put off by a cat lounging on a porch.
In respect of domestic security, a robust alarm system coupled with a guard dog is going to be a much better option.
This notwithstanding, there are some breeds that possess certain characteristics that can make them more alert and protective than others.
As we shall see later on, these breeds display loyalty, attentiveness and heightened awareness of their surroundings.
This can help to provide a sense of security to their owners.
Do Cats Ever Defend Their Owners?
Cats sometimes display defensive behaviors when they perceive their owners to be in danger or under threat.
Bear in mind that cats are not naturally inclined to protect their owners in the same way that some dog breeds do.
Yet the bonds with their human family and their individual personalities can play a significant role in their reactions to perceived threats.
There have been reports of cats protecting their owners by attacking other pets and intruders.
They’ve even been known to alert owners to danger.
In terms of ‘guarding’ behavior though, much will depend on your cat’s upbringing and environment.
How Do You Know if Your Cat is Protecting You?
A friend or family-member staggering across the living room smashing into furniture and flailing wildly with your cat clinging to their head – that’s a pretty good sign.
However, more common indicators that your cat is protecting you include:
Body Language – A cat that is being protective might display a stiff, alert posture with ears pointing forward and tail held straight. Their eyes may be focused on the perceived threat, and they might arch their back or puff up their fur to make themselves appear larger.
Vocalization – Cats can be quite vocal when they sense something is wrong. They may growl, hiss or yowl to alert you or intimidate the perceived threat.
Positioning – A protective cat might position itself between you and the potential threat or place itself in a strategic location to monitor the situation.
Aggressive Behavior – In some cases, a cat may display aggressive behavior, such as swatting, biting, or attacking the perceived threat to defend their owner.
Alertness – If your cat is unusually alert and focused on specific sounds or movements, they might be sensing potential danger and trying to protect you.
Following You – A protective cat might follow you around more closely than usual, particularly when they sense something is off or if you’re in an unfamiliar environment.
What is the Toughest Domestic Cat?
Determining the ‘toughest’ domestic cat is of course subjective.
But when it comes to physical strength, resilience and athleticism, the Savannah cat stands out as one of the most robust domestic cats.
The Savannah cat is a hybrid breed created by crossing a domestic cat with a wild African cat known as a serval.
This unique combination results in a striking appearance and a strong, muscular build.
Savannah cats are known for their exceptional agility, jumping abilities and high energy levels.
They often form strong bonds with their human families and can be quite protective.
But despite their wild lineage, Savannah cats can be socialized and make good pets for experienced cat owners who are able to provide the appropriate environment and care.
It’s important to note that toughness does not necessarily equate to aggression – not all Savannah cats (or other cats considered tough) will display this trait.
Loyal and Protective Cat Breeds
We now take a look at some of the most loyal and protective cat breeds that can offer owners a sense of security and companionship.
Maine Coons tend to be large in stature, intelligent and gentle in their temperament.
They often form strong bonds with their families and are very loyal.
Additionally, Maine Coons are curious and alert, which theoretically makes them more aware of their surroundings and possible threat.
Renowned for their distinctive coats and elegant appearance, Siamese cats are also famous for their loud and elaborate vocalizations.
Siamese cats are protective and usually form deep connections with their owners, often choosing a favourite.
They’re also highly intelligent with an acute sense of their environment.
Such attentiveness and alertness can make Siamese seem like good guard cats.
This exotic breed is a cross between an Asian leopard cat and a domestic cat.
This unique hybridization gives them a distinctive, wild appearance and a highly energetic personality.
Bengals are known for their loyalty and they are not afraid to assert their presence when faced with a threat.
Their agility and athleticism make them excellent at monitoring their surroundings.
Your typical Burmese cat has a sociable and affectionate nature. They are devoted to their human companions and thrive on interaction and attention.
Like the other breeds mentioned here, they’re intelligent and curious, not to mention rather vocal.
Their loyalty means they’re a great companion for any owner seeking a sense of security.
Originating from the Lake Van region in Turkey, the Turkish Van is a rare and ancient breed with a strong and muscular build.
Graced with energy and playfulness, Turkish Vans are very loyal and can be quite protective when they sense a threat.
They’re regarded as excellent watch-cats given their intelligence and keen senses which means they’re always on the lookout for potential dangers.
We should reiterate that no cat breed can replace the guarding capabilities of certain dog breeds.
In fact, it’s very important remember that, while some cats may exhibit protective behaviors, they are not reliable protectors in the same way that guard dogs are.
Cats are primarily companion animals and their main function is not to provide protection.
If you are looking for a pet to protect your home and family, it’s advisable to consider a dog breed with natural guarding instincts.
With that said, the protective cats mentioned above offer a unique combination of loyalty, intelligence and instinct that can make them valuable companions for any owner.