You love your pets but sometimes they don’t get along no matter how much you may want them to. If you’re wondering how your Golden Retriever is going to do with your new cat, take a look below to get familiar with the connection between pooch and feline, how to make the most out of their first meet, and how to prepare your Golden Retriever for his new feline friend.
All in all, Golden Retrievers are good with cats. Since Goldens are well-known for being calm, good-natured and simply enjoyable dogs, it shouldn’t be a total surprise that they can be good companions for cats. Their relationship can range from tolerance to neutral to besties, however. Individual personalities aside, you’ll want to make sure that you know what behaviors to expect on both sides, how to introduce one to the other, and how to make sure your Golden makes a good impression on your cat.
Will my Golden chase the cat?
Unlike some of the most hunt-and-find dogs, Golden Retrievers shouldn’t chase your cat. If you do see him chasing your cat around the home, it’s most likely due to them playing some sort of game. Since both pets tend to be playful and energetic, they make great playmates! However, you’ll want to make sure that any chasing you see between pooch and kitty is, indeed, friendly. A huge part of making sure they are always playful and not aggressive towards each other comes from a controlled introduction and training for your Golden Retriever (stay tuned).
As a responsible pet parent, it is your job to prioritize the safety of both of your pets, after all! Therefore, you have a key role to play in both of these aspects of building the relationship between doggo and kitty.
How to Properly Introduce a Golden Retriever to a Cat
The way that you introduce your Golden Retriever to your cat is going to be an important baseline for how well they get along in most cases. Whether you’ve had both for a while and they’ve been kept separate, or you’ve brought home a new addition, here are the general steps to follow when making the introductions.
Let everyone settle in
The actual face to face meeting itself shouldn’t happen right away. Everyone needs some time to settle into the new smells and situations. Realistically speaking, cats and dogs both have a much stronger sense of smell than humans, and already are well aware of the fact that there is a new animal in the house. Let the stress of the move sink in before you try to throw them in the same space.
The easiest way to do this is to bar the cat into a separate bedroom and keep the door firmly closed. For best results, put their food and water by the door. Since your Golden will be sniffing at the door to check out the new animal, your cat will associate his food (good) with your Golden and the good feeling will transfer over faster and easier!
Do a controlled meet
When both are calm and seem to be unaffected by the dog sniffing around at the cat’s door, you can try doing a controlled meet. At this point, the cat should have had the run of the house a bit so that he/she knows his way around (though the dog should still be kept at a distance and separate while this is happening).
Allow the kitty to explore the house on his own and then you can slowly bring in the Golden Retriever. Keep him on a leash and give him the command to sit, stay, remain calm and whatever else you can use to keep his attention and help both animals adjust to their first meet. If your kitty is still scared, he’ll run to his room and you can try it again the next day. Keep doing this until your cat seems calm and curious about your laid back Golden Retriever.
Allow nose to nose contact
Next, you can allow nose to nose contact. In this case, you’ll want your pooch to lie down (with you giving him the commands to stay calm). Your curious kitty will wander over and cautiously sniff at him. Allow him to come closer on his own (don’t force anything to happen) and when he’s ready, he’ll touch his nose to your Golden’s nose. Golden Retrievers, very intuitive and smart, will know to stay still and allow the cat to be in charge.
This is their first real meet and you’ll want to keep it up for as long as your cat decides that he wants to do so. Keep doing it until your cat simply wanders up to your controlled pooch and rubs up against him. It’ll feel like he’s saying: “Hey, buddy! I’m so glad you’re here!”. This is how you know that you are ready for the next step.
This next step would be doing the same thing, but allowing your Golden Retriever to wander freely. You still may want to keep him on a lead just to be extra cautious, but let him wander and see how your cat reacts. You’ll find, especially if you’ve done the other steps correctly, that there will be minimal stress or negative reaction.
Design controlled hangouts
Now that your new pets are building the path to a great friendship, you can allow them to hang out together in controlled situations without being fearful. Make sure that both animals have safe spaces that they can go to if they need a bit of space from each other. Sometimes one will try to “dominate” the other. This is normal while they figure out how to share their favorite human!
Don’t leave them alone together until you’re sure
Make sure that you keep all of these steps carefully supervised. Don’t step out to check the laundry or take a phone call. Keep your eye on both animals and make sure that both are getting along well with no signs of distress (hissing, growling, swatting, etc). Don’t leave them alone (in a room, or in your home) until you are absolutely sure that they are good friends.
Always make sure that they each have their own spaces to retreat to, too, just in case they do get into a tussle while you’re away.
Why is the Golden Retriever the one being controlled in a meet?
There are a few reasons why your Golden is the one who is on a leash and being told to stay calm rather than your kitty.
Firstly, Golden Retrievers are very easy-going animals who love their humans and other animals. The leash and the commands to sit, stay and remain calm are more to, well, keep him calm during the meet. Cats are very skittish creatures and will easily spook when some gigantic ball of fur hurdles at him to be besties. It will most likely get your pooch injured and scared and it may hinder your chances of one liking the other. The leash is more to keep him calm and relaxed so that both can meet each other without total and utter chaos.
The other thing is that cats don’t like being held. This can make them feel trapped and caged. If they are the ones in “charge” of the meet (ie: they choose when they approach your pooch), they’ll know that they are safe and can enjoy their new furry companion.
Basically, cats will have a problem being managed during a meet, whereas your happy and relaxed Golden Retriever will not!
How to train my Golden Retriever to get along with the cat
If you want to make sure that the meeting goes as well as possible, particularly if you have a cranky adult cat, you’ll want to really focus on proper training with your Golden Retriever. This training should start young and is not at all limited to the introduction with your cat, but with a comfortable life in general.
Before introducing your pooch to your cat, make sure he understands those basic commands of “sit”, “stay,” “calm down/easy” and more. These are important to remind him that he can’t go hurtling over at this new addition without a care in the world. The commands will remind him to listen to his favorite human and allow the cat to check him out.
Make sure he is attentive
Making sure he actually listens to you is, perhaps, more important than knowing the commands themselves. If your Golden still only listens to you half the time, wait until he knows to listen to your command every single time, no matter what the situation. Since Goldens love to please their humans and are very obedient, this won’t be as hard as you’d think!
Give lots of love to him
As well, make sure that you give him plenty of love and attention before, during and after each meeting with your cat. This reminds your pooch that you still love him and that there doesn’t need to be any territory issues because there’s nothing to fight over!
Some general tips for your Golden Retriever and cats
Golden Retrievers are great companions for cats, even if it takes a while for both to get used to each other. Not only are Golden Retrievers happy to let cats run the house, but they’ll also be more than happy to cuddle up with your kitty (making for some great photos) and enjoy quality time together on your cat’s terms.
Golden Retrievers are very protective of their loved ones, which includes their favorite kitty. If a neighbor’s dog or a neighbor himself starts to attack your kitty, your Golden will stand up and protect him just like he would for his favorite humans! After all, your kitty is part of the pack in your pooch’s eyes.
No matter how friendly your pooch is, or how well the meet goes, remember that your Golden Retriever and cat may not ever be total besties. While a proper meet is important, you can’t force a friendship. Allow them to feel each other out and form their own relationship. What is indifference now may end up being besties in a matter of months.
5 Breeds that’ll get along with cats
Curious about the best companionship possible between doggo and cat? You’ll find that not only are Golden Retrievers great cat companions but so are Boxers, German Shepherds, Cocker Spaniels, Whippets, and Beagles, amongst others. Despite the myth, dogs and cats can be great friends as long as you allow them to figure each other out on their own time!
Golden Retrievers are amazing family dogs, and this includes your family’s cat as well. While proper introduction and training are important to make sure their first meets go well, you can rest assured that your Golden’s easy-going temperament will win over even the crankiest cat — they’re just that loveable!