In the left corner, we have a feline—independent, oblivious, and persistent when it comes to having enough food in their dish.

In the right corner, we have a Shiba Inu, a dog that closely matches a cat, can be as stubborn as an ox, and has enough pride to personify the samurai spirit of feudal Japan.

Who will win in this match up?

It’s time to pit Shiba Inu versus cats to see which is the better pet, though you might be surprised with just how evenly matched the Shiba Inu breed is with cats

How Shiba Inu Shiba Inus Resemble Cats

For those who are thinking about whether or not they want a dog or cat for a companion, the Shiba Inu is one of the few breeds that can stand in the gray zone.

There are many characteristics of the breed that are very much canine.

However, to simply dismiss the Shiba Inu as a dog is taking away from the amazing complexity of the breed that continues to mystify new and experienced owners alike.

When considering whether or not you should be getting a Shiba Inu or a cat, here are some points of personality and behavior that are closely similar:

shiba inu vs cat cartoon

My Human Now

Cats are notorious for making their humans less of an owner and more of a slave.

Shiba Inu automatically seek and assume alpha status.

These prideful little foxes are quick to connive their way to the top tier of respect in the household.

If you are not careful, you will wind up answering to them rather your doge coming when you call.

Which brings us to the next point.


Though common canines are pack animals that bad together naturally and need companionship, the Shiba Inu is fine spending time alone.

They have no trouble entertaining themselves when given the right amount of space and toys.

This is highly similar to a cat who can make do alone—as long as they get the appropriate amount of attention, food, and have a clean litter box.

When Seeking Attention & Affection

Some cats absolutely loathe being touched and will swat your attention-seeking fingers away from their fluffy bellies without a second thought, as if you were some kind of pauper trying to touch a noble’s raiment.

Shiba Inus can be the same.

Shibas are by no means a lap dog. Sometimes, they are aloof and detached; and while a Shiba Inu will display behaviors of “touch me, human,” they will interact in terms of their own choosing.

Shiba Inu, even as puppies, may be shy and reserved.

They aren’t like Golden Retrievers who will trample and slobber you with friendliness. Sometimes, just like cats, it takes years for a Shiba Inu to truly open up to their family and friends.

Yet, because of their fierce loyalty, a Shiba Inu can also transform into an aloof stalker of sorts.

They will become your shadow.

And just like a shadow, the connection might seem to fade at times—but rest assured that the shadow is always there.

Sometimes, that shadow will come up from behind to boop you with their nose or paw. Just like a cat.


The Shiba Inu might just be the Maine Coon of the dog world.

Both have fluffy, double-coats that shed. A lot.

The outer coat on a Shiba Inu is straight and stiff, while the undercoat is soft and thick.

Throughout the year, your Shiba Inu will shed moderately and needs constant brushing to make sure that the fur stays healthy.

Then, there is coat blowing season, where you might think your Shibe is going bald.

Grooming & Personal Hygiene

Just like felines, the Shiba Inu breed will spend a large amount of their time cleaning themselves and other dogs that don’t meet their expected level of cleanliness.

Not only do Shiba Inu groom fastidiously, they do it in a very cat like manner.

Paws, bellies, and bottoms are all done in a dainty, prideful manner.

Because of this need to be clean, the Shiba Inu will housebreak themselves almost naturally, exactly like a cat will do when given the proper tools.

Shiba Inu also do not slobber or smell.

When introduced to other dogs at a young age, the grooming might become a social pastime. Just as cats will groom one another, Shiba Inu will do the same.

No Touchy-Touchy

Both cats and Shiba Inu have a quirk in common: when it comes to veterinarian examinations, treatments, nail clipping, and other “stressful” circumstances, they will scream for help.

Cats might howl in distress and take to biting, clawing, and lashing their tails.

Shiba Inu scream. 


They will also bare their teeth, tuck their tails, and turn into total drama kings and queens.

How Shiba Inus and Cats Differ

Now that you know the ways Shiba Inu compare to cats, let’s have a look at the ways these two species differ.

shiba inu vs cat

Guard Dogs

As mentioned earlier, Shiba Inu were bred for the purpose of hunting and protecting. Though they might be small, they have a mighty bark and sharp teeth. These dogs are not afraid of meeting danger and jumping down its throat.

Cat's on the other hand won't guard you the same way. Most cats, that is..

Instead, they hunt on their own terms for their own amusement or hunger.

Occasional Barking

With cats, you can anticipate yowling, purring, grumbling, chirping, crying and more.

After all, cats, even the most silent breeds, can be highly vocal when they are demanding some kind of service.

Conversely, Shiba Inu owners have reported that, while Shiba Inu are not barkless, they are much quieter than other dog breeds.

Rather than copying words like a Husky or barking excitedly when you come home, the Shiba Inu will tap their feet, spin around, and make faces.

However, if something or someone enters their property, they won’t hesitate to sound a very loud alarm.

Energy Level

The Shiba Inu was born to run and hunt tirelessly.

Cats, on the other hand, can be lazy.

Instead of chasing their feather toy, they’d rather just plop down and swat at the toy… or fall asleep. A Shiba Inu will chase the toy or anything that triggers their instinctive hunter.

Unless a Shiba Inu is well trained and on a leash, the instead they start chasing something, they won’t stop until it’s caught. 


Cats aren’t usually thought of as anxious creatures.

Usually, cats can maintain their composure when left alone.

In fact, cats seem to enjoy being alone because they can do whatever they want, such as shred the toilet paper roll or climb on the counter.

Shiba Inus on the other can are homebodies that can be susceptible to separation anxiety.


Sure, cats can be protective of their belongings.

There have even been incidents were cats chase off predators that would have endangered human children or leading their families out of fires.

However, the Shiba Inu takes this a step forward into dog territory.

Shiba Inu were bred by samurai to protect their families and hunt small game. Therefore, the Shiba Inu will be unquestionably loyal if they are trained properly.

With early socialization, a Shiba Inu will be able to share their spaces with cats, other dogs, and children. If you don’t do so, well, consider your house their house from now on.

shiba inu puppy vs cute kitten

The Pros and Cons of Owning a Cat

When regarding the bare bones of the debate, a Shiba Inu is a dog with a cat-like personality, and cats can have certain dog-like tricks up their sleeve, like fetching.

However, each species has their own unique benefits that cannot be replaced through action alone.

If you are still unsure about whether a Shiba Inu or cat is better for your lifestyle, have a look at the pros and cons of owning each animal below.

The Pros of Owning a Cat

1. Environmental Impact

For those who are worried about protecting the environment, owning a cat might be better for the environment than a dog. Since dogs eat more than cats, they create a larger carbon footprint.

2. Coping

Cats might be stuck-up creatures, but they can sense the pain of losing a loved one.

Cats can be an incredible social support to their human by refusing to leave your side as you handle with the pain of loss.

Plus, the purr of a cat is thought to have healing properties. The frequency is known to reduce stress and promote a sense of calm.

3. Better for Intellectuals

Since cats require less work and attention than dogs, you will have more time to study, do research, finish your homework, and do any other computer related work you have scheduled.

Dogs, on the other hand, require a lot of physical exercise and attention to thrive in their environment.

And yes, even Shiba Inus.

4. Bye Bye Pests

Obviously, one bonus to have a cat or several is that they will get rid of any pesky rodents and other vermin that might be dwelling around your property.

5. Small Living Spaces

Cats don’t need to go outdoors.

As long as they have space to room indoors and a nice window with a view, a cat can be happy.

Not only is indoor dwelling safer for cats, it extends their lifespan too.

beautiful grey black cat

The Cons of Owning a Cat

1. Litter Boxes

Stinky poo and stinky pee in a litter box in the corner of your room.

Imagine your cat laying a turd in the middle of night, abruptly drawing you from a dream of walking through daisies.

If you are uncomfortable cleaning a litter box, fear getting toxoplasmosis, or don’t have time to train your cat how to poo in the toilet, then don’t get a cat.

2. Claws...Sharp Claws

Sure, dogs have claws and teeth too; but cats are hardwired to use their claws whenever they want to grab something, mark their territory, or protect themselves.

For those who don’t want their furniture, rugs, and skin riddled with scratch marks, cats might not be the best pet for you.

Please never get a cat declawed.

Not only can it physically damage their paws, you also hurt them mentally.

Additionally, you take away their natural defense, so if they ever escape outside and get attacked, they are at a disadvantage.

3. Independence

This can be a good and bad thing. Cats rarely, if ever, listen to the commands of their owners. They will do what they want when they want.

4. Vomit

Cats vomit.


Upset stomachs.

Undigested food.

If your cat goes outside, you will always been in for a constant surprise when it comes to the regurgitated contents of their stomachs. 

Don’t want to deal with cleaning up puke in the morning?

A Shiba Inu might be a better bet.

The Pros and Cons of Owning a Shiba Inu

Aside from the traits that have already been discussed in the above sections, there are additional pros and cons to owning a Shiba Inu that may make the breed, in our biased opinion, slightly more favorable than felines.

1. Cute

With Shibas, the word "cute" doesn't even begin to cut it.

Shiba Inus are so durn adorable that you just want to smoosh them with pets, kisses, and howls of adoration.

2 two month old shiba inu puppy

2. Entertaining

Cats might play, but a Shiba Inu will keep you entertained for hours.

Zoomies and the Shiba 500 are just a couple of events you can anticipate to happen when you have a Shibe.

Furthermore, the facial expressions, reactions, and other quirks of the Shiba Inu make the breed an Easter basket of surprises.

2. Exercise

The benefit of any dog is that you can take them for walks, play with them outside, and generally lead a very active lifestyle. A dog will support your effort to lose weight and is more than happy to be the co-pilot on your journey of life.

3. Mochi-Mochi Cheeks

Cats have peets. Shiba Inu have mochi-mochi cheeks.

No cat is going to let you squeeze and squish their bodies; but a Shiba Inu will.


The Cons of Owning a Shiba Inu

1. Pickiness

You think cats are stubborn? 

Wait until you’re wondering around at 4 o'clock in the morning for a bathroom break.

A Shiba Inu will change their favorite bathroom spots, toys, and other places to lounge without any sign.

They might turn their nose up at food that they scarfed down the day before.

2. Needs a Leash

Shiba Inus will run. And sometimes, without turning around.

You can’t expect to open up the backdoor, let them run around for an hour, and then have them come right back in when playtime is over. 

Shiba Inu can never be let off the leash unless you have a secure fenced in yard.

Even then, you need an impregnable fortress to keep these escape artists contained.

3. Hard to Train

Smarts can be a double-edged sword when it comes to Shiba Inu.

Though they are intelligent and self-sufficient, this actually makes the Shiba Inu difficult to train when it comes to willingness to learning tricks and obedience.

stubborn shiba inu drawing

Final Thoughts

So just how similar are Shiba Inu and cats?

You might think you’ve been outfoxed by a cat in dog’s clothing and vice versa.

The personality traits and habits of a Shiba Inu are indeed very cat-like, but underneath all the independence and floof is a dog that wants to please their master and wag their tail when they are happy.

When it comes time to decide between a Shiba Inu and a cat, it truly comes down to personal preference and the amount of time you can devote to your companion.

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