Cats and dogs don’t usually like each other, but there are exceptions. Due to their friendly and placid nature, golden retrievers and cats like each other.
Cats get along with well-trained golden retrievers. These dogs are intelligent, can be trained to a high standard, and are respectful. They treat cats like members of the ‘pack’. Poorly-trained goldies can chase cats, which cats don’t like. They can also be too playful for cats.
Golden retrievers are one of the best dog breeds to keep with cats. Your behavior and how you train your pets make a big difference. Learn why golden retrievers and cats might fight, and how to introduce them.
Table of Contents:
- 1 Do Cats Get Along with Golden Retrievers?
- 2 Golden Retriever Personality
- 3 Do Golden Retrievers Attack Cats?
- 4 How to Introduce a Golden Retriever to a Cat
Do Cats Get Along with Golden Retrievers?
Cats are aloof animals that can have trouble with new household pets. Cats can have trouble bonding with certain breeds of dogs.
Treat a cat with respect, and it will like you back. The same applies to golden retrievers and cats. If the golden retriever constantly chases the cat, barks at it, and makes it uncomfortable, your cat won’t like it.
But if the dog is respectful of your cat, the cat won’t mind it. Over time, your cat can even become friends with a golden retriever. They may enjoy spending time together, cuddling, and even playing. But this trusting relationship takes time to build between pets of two different species.
Whether your different pets get along depends on how well trained they are, and how long they spend together.
Why Might Cats Dislike Golden Retrievers?
Cats are naturally wary of dogs. The reason is that dogs are a potential threat. Most breeds are bigger than cats, and if a large dog wanted, it could easily kill a cat. So, it makes sense for a cat to be wary of a big dog.
Cats also have different personalities to dogs. While cats can be playful, they aren’t as playful as dogs. Cats spend more time relaxing, while golden retrievers need to be active. These differences in personality can cause fighting, e.g. when a puppy wants to play with a cat that wants to relax.
Also, dogs and cats don’t easily understand each other. A golden retriever can chase a cat, only meaning to play a game. But the cat might not understand that it’s only playing, and be frightened.
Fortunately, these aren’t regular problems because golden retrievers are one of the best dog breeds to keep with cats.
Do Golden Retrievers Like Cats?
Golden retrievers are friendlier dogs than most. They are good family dogs, and get along well with other pets and children. They aren’t an immediate danger to your cat, although this depends on how well trained your dog is, and how friendly your cat is.
Whether your dog will like your cat depends on your behavior. If you treat your cat with kindness, your dog will likely do the same. The main issue with retrievers of all kinds is that they like to chase and fetch.
According to the Golden Retriever Club of America, they were originally bred in Scotland for hunting parties. Dogs of all kinds enjoy chasing animals smaller than them, but retrievers especially so.
This can be an issue if your dog isn’t well trained. But by reinforcing good behavior and keeping your pets apart most of the time, you can avoid this issue. Golden retrievers can be well trained, so if you put in the effort, your dog will get along with your cat.
Golden Retriever Personality
If you want your cat and golden retriever to get on well, you must understand your dog’s breeding history and personality. By doing so, you can curb the worst of your dog’s tendencies so that your cat will be more comfortable.
Golden retrievers were bred as hunting dogs. They were specifically bred to run and get (‘retrieve’) shot birds for hunting parties. While they have been kept as pets for a long time after this, these instincts still remain. As such, most golden retrievers have similar personalities:
- They enjoy playing fetch. This was why they were originally bred
- They can be trained to recognize many different commands. This was needed so that the dog would drop the bird it caught for its owner
- They are playful. Golden retrievers spent all day with their hunting owners, and view retrieving as a game
- They enjoy chasing. This was a core part of a golden retriever’s ‘job’
- They enjoy human company.
What this means is that your dog will likely want to chase your cat, especially if your dog is a puppy. But because golden retrievers can be trained, you can stop this from being an issue.
How Well Do Cats and Goldies Get Along?
Golden retrievers can bond with cats. According to the American Kennel Club, they are known to be friendly and happy. They aren’t skittish, either, so even if your cat doesn’t like your dog at first this shouldn’t be a problem.
Because they’re smart, golden retrievers learn about family dynamics quickly. Your dog will notice how you treat your cat. It will see that you treat it like another member of the ‘pack’, so will learn to do the same over time. Your cat and dog learn how to communicate together.
Your dog will happily spend time sat near and with your cat. In some cases, they can get along well, and even cuddle. Owners report that they can be friendly, and enjoy spending time together.
Do All Cats and Goldies Get on Well Together?
Most golden retrievers are roughly the same. Dog breeds have personalities, which aren’t strictly unique, but which generally apply. Golden retrievers are mostly friendly and gentle dogs, so most of them will get on well with cats. But that doesn’t apply to all of them.
One issue is if you have a cat and a puppy golden retriever. Golden retriever puppies are loud and love to chase things, even more so than adult dogs. While all dogs are like this to an extent, golden retrievers are especially playful.
While this chasing isn’t intended to be threatening, your cat won’t understand that. It will think that the dog is chasing it ‘for real’. This will make your cat grow to dislike your golden retriever because it perceives it as a threat.
It can take a year or two for a cat to warm to a puppy golden retriever. Over time, your dog will calm down, and your cat will get more used to it. There’s little you can do but keep the pair apart as much as possible, because all golden retrievers take time to become calmer pets.
Another issue is if the dog isn’t well trained. A rescue dog might never have lived with cats before, for example. If that’s the case, it may react badly when meeting the cat for the first time. The same applies to a rescue cat that may never have lived with dogs.
The dog also needs to learn by example. A golden retriever that lived with a family with a badly-treated cat may have learned not to respect cats, and to chase them. It can be difficult to overcome what the dog initially learned.
That being said, the majority of golden retrievers get along well with cats.
Do Golden Retrievers Attack Cats?
Golden retrievers are highly unlikely to attack cats. They are most excitable when they’re puppies. While young, the golden retriever’s personality shines through, but it hasn’t yet learned when it’s appropriate to chase. But even then, its instinct is more to play than to attack.
If you train the puppy well, it will grow up to understand not to attack cats. But if your cat encounters a golden retriever that isn’t well trained, and hasn’t ever lived with cats, it could possibly be attacked.
That being said, cats can defend themselves well. Even though dogs are bigger and stronger, a cat’s claws are sharp. No dog likes getting scratched. Scratches like these are enough to deter most attacking dogs.
Do Golden Retrievers Kill Cats?
If a dog’s attack instinct kicks in, then it is possible that it will kill the cat. While cats can defend themselves, golden retrievers are medium to large dogs and can easily overpower a cat. According to the AJHG, dog breeds’ behaviors are at least partly dictated by their genes.
As such, it is possible that a golden retriever could kill a cat. One way could be if the dog bites the cat, and the wounds are severe. Or, if the golden retriever’s hunting instincts overpower it, it could break the cat’s neck.
While physically possible, though, it’s highly unlikely that a friendly golden retriever would kill a cat, even if it isn’t well trained.
How to Introduce a Golden Retriever to a Cat
How well your dog and cat get along can depend on how you introduce them. If your cat has never met a dog before, its instinctive reaction will be negative. Your dog may also have chasing instincts when it first meets a cat, which would be even worse.
So, to get your cat and golden retriever used to each other, follow these easy-to-follow steps below:
Give Both Pets Space
Before introducing your pets to each other, give them their own spaces in your house. Have a room that the cat is allowed in, and the dog isn’t. Vice versa, have a room the dog can stay in but not the cat.
This is vital because each pet needs its own space. It has to feel at home in your home. If your cat doesn’t like your dog, it will need somewhere it can go to get away from it and feel secure. The same applies if your golden retriever doesn’t like your dog.
It may be a good idea to keep this rule in place even once you’ve introduced your pets. But if the pair get along well, there won’t be much of a need.
Introduce Them Gradually
Don’t put your pets in the same room. Introduce them bit by bit so that the two can get used to each other first. There are a few ways of doing this:
- Allow your pets to sniff each other through the door
- Allow one pet to tour the room of the other when the other isn’t around (so it can smell the other pet)
- If you have a baby gate, allow the cat and golden retriever to sniff each other through it
This prevents either pet from freaking out when it meets the other for the first time.
Keep Your Dog on a Leash
When you put your dog and cat in the same room for the first time, manage the situation by keeping your golden retriever on a leash. You can use your dog’s regular leash for this.
The idea is that if your dog reacts badly to your cat, you can quickly pull it away. This will prevent the pair from fighting and making enemies of each other. While this is unlikely to happen, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
If the pair do try to fight, pull your dog away while sternly saying ‘No.’ You can try again another day. Other than that, try to teach by example. Treat both well, train them, and your cat and golden retriever should get along.