Are Golden Retrievers Good With Cats?

Golden Retrievers are usually good with cats as long as they’ve been properly trained, socialised, and exercised. With a Golden Retriever, you have a sweet, loyal, and loving pet. This means their temperament is ideal to co-exist with other animals such as cats.

There are many cases where you’ll see a Golden Retriever and cat cuddled together and best of friends despite the huge size difference between them. However, it will take a long time for them to get to this comfortable stage – you’ll need a lot of patience.

But altogether, the ‘dog vs cat’ mentality that has so many people believing that dogs and cats are enemies is not entirely accurate

Sure, some won’t get along – even if they’ve been introduced in the right way. But most get along just fine! 

Check out this post to learn everything you need to know.

How to Introduce a Golden Retriever to a Cat

When introducing a new pet to the household, it’s important not to overwhelm them right away. Let them settle into their brand-new environment and get used to you before you bring other animals into the mix.

Follow these steps when introducing your Golden Retriever and cat:

  • Firstly, let them hear and smell each other before meeting face to face. Your Golden Retriever has a strong sense of smell and will smell the cat right away. This keeps them safe while letting them understand that there’s another pet in the house.
  • Choose a neutral location. Otherwise, your Golden Retriever could get territorial and become aggressive. A neutral space that doesn’t ‘belong’ to either of them is ideal.
  • Next, let them see each other with a barrier in between them. If there’s no hostility, reward both parties. Discourage any barking, puffing, or jumping toward each other. 
  • The first few face-to-face meetings should be kept short and end on a good note. Gradually increase the time as they’re getting along and get used to each other.
  • Don’t hold either of them in your arms – let them move freely. 
  • Shower them in plenty of treats, praise, and toys to associate it with a positive experience.
  • Watch out for signs of stress. If either become aggressive, are being particularly vocal, or have raised fur on their backs, separate them immediately.

Make sure that you don’t leave your Golden Retriever and cat alone and unsupervised together unless you’re entirely sure that they get on without issue. 

Tips for Having a Golden Retriever and a Cat

If you’re looking for advice on how to have a stress-free house with both a cat and a Golden Retriever as pets, there are a few things you can do:

  • Give them attention equally: Try not to get caught up in the novelty of a new pet, as all your animals will need quality time with you. You can spend individual time with each pet in their safe spaces (e.g. where their beds are).
  • Use leashes: Having both the dog and cat secured on a leash limits their movements and makes it easier to separate them if need be. This is helpful if the Golden Retriever gets over-excited and is in danger of accidentally hurting the cat.
  • Speak calmly: Using an even, controlled tone to speak to both pets will be beneficial in keeping them both calm. If you panic and start shouting, it’ll directly affect them.
  • Keep some things separate: Even once the Golden Retriever and cat have bonded, keep the cat’s litter tray in the cat’s safe space, not in a shared space. Otherwise, the dog might eat the litter, and the cat might go to the toilet somewhere else if they feel threatened in their usual spot.
  • Don’t interfere too much: After you’ve introduced them and they’re comfortable together, let them forge their relationship naturally. Forcing them can cause more harm than good, so you need to be patient at this stage.
  • Exercise your Golden Retriever: Otherwise your Golden will be full of energy – which could lead to destructive behaviour. They should be a little calmer after they’ve exercised.
  • Know your pet: Dogs and cats have massively different care requirements. Make sure that you’re giving each pet the care that they need on an individual basis. 

Select a Good One

If you’re adding a cat to your household where you already have a Golden Retriever (or vice versa), there are a few things you can look for in the new pet to increase the chances of a smooth transition and relationship between the pets.

In your new pet, look for:

  • Pet History: Has the cat lived with a dog before? Or has the Golden Retriever ever been around a cat? The transition will be far smoother if there’s a positive history of experience from one or both ends.
  • Personality: Try to match your pets’ personalities. If your Golden Retriever is extra social and playful, look for a cat with the same qualities. If the cat is more of a loner, they won’t appreciate a Goldie following them around all day.
  • Age: Try to match ages, either by getting a puppy and kitten at the same time, or adopting an older animal if your pet is older too. Otherwise, the energy imbalance will leave the elderly of the two fed up. 

Create a Safe Space 

It’s more important than ever to have somewhere that exclusively belongs to your Golden Retriever, or is just for your cat. Having somewhere like this means your pet has a safe place they can retreat to if necessary. 

Why Golden Retrievers Are Good Companions for Cats

Golden Retrievers are so friendly, they make brilliant companions for us, but also for other animals.

Some of the qualities that make them good choices to get along with cats are that they’re:

  • Cuddly: Goldens are notorious for being a warm, comforting friend. They’ll happily cuddle close and stay there for hours. This can provide comfort to your cat if you’re not home.
  • Eager to please: Most Golden Retrievers are desperate to make their owner happy. If you want your dog and cat to be friends, your Golden will try their best to make it happen. You can help by rewarding them for good behaviour like if they cuddle.
  • Intelligent: Golden Retrievers are intelligent animals (the 4th smartest dog breed) so they’ll understand your emotions towards the cat and copy the best they can. For example, if you’re affectionate to the cat, they will try to be too.
  • Easy to train: The fact that Goldens can be trained so easily means that you can have control over the situation and get them to sit or go to bed by saying one word – which is almost impossible with cats.
  • Quiet: In general, Golden Retrievers don’t howl or bark as much as other breeds. When they bark, it’s usually out of excitement rather than aggression – which will make the cat feel safer.
  • Naturally friendly: Almost every Golden Retriever I’ve met assumes that any person and animal (no matter what species) is a new friend. With the right introduction and training, they won’t think twice about befriending a cat.
  • Gentle: Goldens make great family pets – they can be playful while remembering to be careful if they’re around small children or smaller animals (like cats).

Warning Signs That Your Golden Retriever and Cat Aren’t Getting On

In an ideal world, the two pets will become fast friends and you’ll never look back, but sometimes it doesn’t work out that way.

It takes time for a bond to form, and things can get unpleasant in the meantime. If you notice any of these signs, separate them and after they’ve cooled off, try to introduce them from the start again.

Signs your Golden Retriever doesn’t like your cat:

  • They’re barking or whining.
  • They’re fighting and lunging to get closer to the cat.
  • They’re obsessed with the cat (like predator and prey).
  • They’re snarling.

Signs your cat doesn’t like your Golden Retriever:

  • They’re yowling, hissing, or spitting.
  • Their ears are straight back.
  • Their tail is angrily swinging forward and back.

When you’re introducing your Golden Retriever and cat, make sure you aren’t distracted. You’ll need to pay close attention to watch out for signs that the introduction isn’t going well. This means not taking phone calls, turning your back, or watching TV at the same time.

Reasons Why Golden Retrievers Might Be Aggressive to Cats

Though Golden Retrievers aren’t known to be aggressive, there are some situations where your Golden Retriever might act aggressively toward your cat. These can be the root of why the two aren’t getting along. But, luckily, there are preventative measures that you can take.

Your Golden Retriever might be aggressive to your cat because:

  • Lack of exposure and socialisation: A puppy who wasn’t socialised with other people and animals won’t understand how to act around cats. They’ll be worried about an attack and won’t know how to control their bites when they play. 
  • Dominance: A Golden Retriever who feels as though their dominance is being contested might square up to the cat. 
  • Territorial behaviour: If your Golden Retriever is protective over their territory, they might act aggressively towards any pet they perceive to be challenging them.
  • Over-excitement: Be aware that an over-excited Golden Retriever might get carried away playing. This can look like growling or biting and be perceived as aggressive.

To avoid aggressive behaviour from your Golden Retriever, make sure that they’re socialised and trained to be friendly to other animals. If they’re aggressive and you don’t know what to do, consider consulting a professional dog trainer.

You might need to postpone bringing a new cat home until your Golden Retriever’s behaviour has improved.

Related Questions

Why Is My Golden Retriever Chasing My Cat?

If you see your Golden Retriever chasing your cat, it could be that they’re playing some sort of game. As both species are playful and energetic, they make great playmates. If they’ve bonded and been introduced carefully, chasing shouldn’t be an issue. 

If you notice signs of aggression during chasing, it could be something more serious. Look out for growling, biting, and hissing. You should separate them if they’re actually fighting. 

Golden Retrievers also have a prey drive – the instinct to chase anything smaller than themself based on movement and smell. This shouldn’t be the case if your Golden Retriever is used to your cat.

What Are The Common Mistakes When Introducing a Golden Retriever and Cat?

The top three mistakes people make when introducing their Golden Retriever and cat are rushing things (not letting trust develop naturally), leaving them unsupervised, and not providing somewhere private and safe where each party can retreat if needed. 

Are Golden Retrievers Good With Kids?

Yes, Golden Retrievers are usually good with kids. They’re protective and intelligent dogs that can quickly become a child’s best friend. Check out our full post about this for more (important) details.

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