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Are Golden Retrievers Good With Cats?

Are Golden Retrievers Good With Cats?

The rivalry between dogs and cats has reached mythical proportions in popular culture. Although not quite to the same degree as cats and mice, dogs and cats aren’t generally the best of friends. This isn’t always true, though.

Many Golden Retriever owners have heartwarming stories of how their Golden and family cat cuddle together and even groom each other. Sure, there might first be a settling-in period when introducing a cat into your household. Once they’ve gotten to know each other, though, the friendly and accommodating nature of your Golden Retriever is likely to see cat and dog forming a strong bond.


What Influences How Well My Pets Will Get Along?

After reading the introduction, you may still have reservations about introducing a new feline to your Golden Retriever. Granted, there are a few factors to consider before rushing into things:

The dog’s personality and temperament

A Golden Retriever is more likely to get along with cats than many other dog breeds. Pet owners know that every dog has its own personality and temperament, so you should first gauge your family dog for the individual it is.

Based on their reputation and overall temperament, a Golden Retriever is one of the best dog breeds to introduce to a cat.

How they have been socialized and introduced

Ideally, a Golden Retriever should be socialized properly while still a puppy. Introducing your dog to a new kitten when they’re not used to different dogs or people could mean it’s not quite ready to share its home with a sibling.

If your Golden Retriever is short of social skills and you’re anticipating an addition to your furry family, try to practice socializing. Take it out for more walks or to dog parks, and encourage more interactions with other dogs.

Encourage visiting kids to throw the ball for your dog under supervision. Your Golden will start accepting different people and other animals more readily. When it’s time to introduce your cat and Golden Retriever, you’ll have a better chance of them bonding.

The cat’s personality

As much as you must be aware of your Golden Retriever’s personality, so should you take the cat’s personality into account. Cats are notoriously independent animals and don’t have a reputation for being as social and friendly as Golden Retrievers (or any dogs, for that matter). So, if there’s a problem with introductions, it could very well be from the cat’s side.

You’re not likely to have an instant friendship develop between your cat and Golden Retriever. Friendships generally don’t form overnight, even between well-adjusted humans; this is no different in the Animal Kingdom. There are exceptions, of course, but if you force your pets together, there will be more friction than friendship.

Remember that a new cat will still be growing accustomed to its environment and may not be the most sociable creature in this period. Introducing another “sibling” in the shape of a puppy or adult Golden Retriever could unsettle it. If your new cat is still a kitten, it may adapt more quickly.

The pets’ ages

Age is an important factor when you’re thinking of bringing Golden Retrievers and cats together in a home environment.

You should always consider how old your existing pet is. If you have an older Golden Retriever, a new kitten with a lot of energy may be too much for it to tolerate. Likewise, a Golden Retriever puppy may be too much for a senior cat to handle.

If you’re a first-time pet owner who wants a cat and dog that get along, try to adopt both when they’re young and haven’t “learned” how to be enemies. For example, a Golden Retriever puppy and kitten raised together will get to know each other from the get-go. They’ll grow up side-by-side, playing with one another and likely becoming best friends.

The environment

Your home environment will play an important role in forging a relationship between your dog and cat. When your home is stable and calm, with lots of love and positive reinforcement, it will calm both pets. This means there’s a better chance of harmony between them as well.

As your furry friends get used to co-existing, it’s crucial that you take time out to give them both attention. Assign your kitty a “home within a home,” and make it your cat’s safe space to play with it and lavish it with purr tickles. Your Golden Retriever won’t be interfering (or shouldn’t be) so the kitty will have you all to itself for a while.

Your Golden Retriever should be given equal attention. If you have a yard, spend time training and exercising your best friend in an environment where it’ll thrive. At other times, keep your animals separate and make time to spoil and cuddle your Golden Retriever too.

If you can spend similar amounts of quality time with all your furry friends, they’ll accept the other animal in the home more easily. This will improve the environment for Golden Retrievers and cats alike.


How To Ensure Your Golden Retriever And Cat Get Along

We think it’s safe to say there’ll be some kind of bedding-in period when you initially bring your Golden Retriever and cat together.

As a Golden Retriever owner, you know that it will only be a matter of time before your dog’s loving nature and sparkling personality win over your new pet. Until that time, put the following guidelines into play:

Introduce them slowly

So, with Golden Retrievers good with cats in general, your dog will likely want to make friends with the new pet immediately. The feeling may not be mutual, though! Take time to ease your pets into a mutual understanding and respect for the other’s own space and territory.

Encourage your precious pets toward each other slowly and gradually. You’ll likely find a friendship blossoming between them this way rather than forcing them together from the start. Consider taking the following slow steps to introduce them to each other:

  • Step 1: Keep them separate from the start. Design things so they can pick up each other’s scent and hear their movements, but physically keep them apart. A good idea is to introduce the other’s scent through an item of clothing or cloth. This way, your dog and cat can get familiar with each other without feeling under threat.
  • Step 2: When you think your pets are more familiar with the idea of each other, introduce them to each other visually. Golden Retrievers are naturally playful, so this could be an exciting moment for them. Tone down their reaction by leashing them and keeping their new kitty pet pal in its cage.Any excitable actions and sounds from your pooch should be discouraged with a firm vocal warning. If your Retriever barks, or the pets puff, or jump at each other, say the ‘No’ command to discourage them. If there’s no sign of overt hostility or aggression from either pet, reward their good behaviors with positive reinforcement.If there is any excitability from either animal, cut the session short and repeat it at a later stage.
  • Step 3: When you feel it’s time for the proper physical meeting of your cat and Golden Retriever, let your cat out into the common area. Be sure it has an escape route if it feels threatened, though! Keep your Golden Retriever leashed for the moment, as caution is better than an unhappy alternative.
  • By this stage, most Golden Retrievers would realize there’s nothing to fear from the foreign feline and have learned from your previous stern commands. The primary concern of Golden Retriever owners should be that their cats are comfortable and can escape if necessary.
  • Make sure to praise both your pets and dish out plenty of treats and scratches for their positive reactions during the meeting.
  • Step 4: After introducing them physically and any signs of aggression or unruly excitement have vanished, don’t relax your guard. At this stage, there’s still a degree of uncertainty as your two pets will still be feeling each other out.
  • Be extra watchful at mealtimes, as every dog breed will show an interest in an open bowl of food, and Golden Retrievers are no different. Cats can be quite territorial with their food, especially when it concerns other animals. Some owners choose to feed their Golden Retrievers in different rooms to their cats for this reason.

Get both of them when they are babies

We’ve mentioned that the ideal scenario is to get a Golden Retriever puppy and a kitten together when they’re the same age. We know sometimes it doesn’t work like that, though – many Golden Retriever owners aren’t ready for two pets from the start.

Quite often, they’ll adopt their Golden Retrievers when they fall in love with them in animal shelters.

It’s incredible when you get a puppy and a kitten at the same age. It means they’ll learn together, grow together, and both contribute to the dynamic of the home environment. When this type of mutual growth happens, your pets will likely turn out to be the very best of friends!

Treat them as equals

If you’ve got more than one pet – two Golden Retrievers, for example -it’s extremely important that you don’t show favoritism to either. This may just upset the dynamic between the two. Likewise, you shouldn’t show any favoritism to a cat or a dog or be stricter on one than the other.

Household pets are sensitive creatures and will pick up on any kind of special treatment toward another. If you’re handing out treats or table tidbits, share them equally. If one of your pets is scolded, don’t immediately go and pamper the other. The last thing you want to do is kindle pet jealousy in your home environment!

Use positive reinforcement

Golden Retrievers thrive on positive reinforcement and praise. If you’ve had your pooch for a while before kitty cousin arrives, it’ll know exactly what your tone of voice, scratches, and snacks mean. “Who’s a good boy/girl?” is something all dogs understand.

This knowledge will make the new cat’s adjustment to the home environment easier. Your Golden Retriever will play its part in the welcoming process if it’s praised.

Likewise, your cat shouldn’t be left out. Give the furry purry a scratch behind the ears if it’s doing well acclimatizing, and it’ll settle that much quicker too.

Supervise interactions

Watch closely as your pets start bonding. It won’t always be plain sailing as boundaries are set by both the dog and cat. For this reason, you should be nearby to reinforce these through stern words where necessary and lots of positive guidance when everyone is behaving

Golden Retrievers are an intelligent dog breed, and you won’t get much past a cat, so both have the capacity to learn what’s right in the household. With instinctive natures, they’ll learn from each other – not only from you.

Give them personal space

Cats are big on personal space. Although they’re not quite Greta Garbo, there are times cats just want to be alone. Golden Retrievers aren’t quite as fussy and are often most comfortable around their humans.

Goldens love their beds, though, and these are where they’ll likely spend their alone time. A cat is more likely to enjoy a corner with its litter box, bed, and food bowl in close proximity.

Your dog must be taught that this is the cat’s area. Your Golden might end up quite contentedly sharing his bed with the cat, but it’s probably not going to happen the other way around!

Allow them to move around freely

Pets should have the run of your home and be allowed to mingle with other animals. The only proviso to this is that they’re able to co-exist happily and peacefully. If you’re still seeing friction between your pets, and can’t quite work out why it’s time to ask a professional.


What To Do If They Still Don’t Get Along

There may be a time when it becomes apparent that, despite all your best efforts to build a bond between your Golden Retriever and cat, they’re still fighting like, well, cat and dog. This can be distressing for a pet owner. Besides the absolute last option of parting with one of your beloved pets, it’s time for expert intervention.

Seek professional help

Animal specialists like animal behaviorists study how animals behave and what certain behaviors mean. From this information, they conclude how to change these behaviors if necessary.

There are animal behaviorists that specialize in household pets. If you’ve got to the stage where you’re pulling your hair out, it’s time to introduce your warring pets to an animal behaviorist. If anybody can help the situation, it’ll be one of these experts.

Golden Retrievers are not usually the breed that constantly visits the doctor’s room with behavioral problems. Nothing is beyond the realms of possibility, though. If issues have escalated to an unpleasant point, leave them in the hands of the professionals.



Do Golden Retrievers get on with other pets?

Golden retrievers are sociable and friendly dogs. They’re known for their affectionate natures and tend to get on very well with other pets, including cats. You should introduce a Golden Retriever to other animals slowly and cautiously.

What should you do if your Golden Retriever and cat are not getting along?

If your Golden Retriever and cat aren’t seeing eye-to-eye, separate them and supervise their interactions. They may become more comfortable with each other that way, but you can also consult an animal behaviorist to help.

What is the best way to reward a Golden Retriever?

Golden Retrievers are motivated by praise, affection, and treats, making these some of the best ways to reward them when they interact positively with your kitty. You can find more tips about how to use positive reinforcement on our website.


Final Thoughts

Are Golden Retrievers good with cats? Golden Retriever owners will tell you that their Goldens are good with anybody, whether children, other people, other dogs, or cats. They are a sociable dog breed and generally welcome visitors and new pets to the home.

Are Golden Retrievers aggressive? No. If anything, your Retriever may be a little excitable around a cat. Their ability to be trained means they’ll quickly learn what’s expected of them. You’ll have more chance of introducing a cat into your home as a Golden Retriever owner than with most other breeds.