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Golden Retrievers and Cats | 11 Things You Need to Know

Golden Retrievers are known for their good looks. Along with being handsome pooches, their affectionate and gentle nature has made them one of the most popular dog breeds in the world.

Their bubbly personality also means they’re phenomenal companions, and with their easy-to-train nature, they can readily become part of your family. But can Golden Retrievers and cats get along?

When it comes to owning any dog, whether it’s a Golden Retriever or a Rottweiler, half of the concern comes with your kitty. If you’re thinking of buying or adopting a Golden Retriever, considering how your cat will react is crucial.

So before inviting a new doggy into your home or introducing a cat to the family, this guide will shed light on what you can expect. It’ll also give you insights into some tips and tricks for easy transitions and adjustments you can make to a cat and dog household.

golden retriever dog and grey british short hair cat snuggling


11 Need-to-Knows of Owning a Golden Retriever and a Cat

Any new member of the family will take some time to get used to a different environment and an unfamiliar routine. Taking the proper precautions and care in the process is an essential part of being a pet parent.

Nonetheless, the journey is exciting, and you can follow these guidelines to keep your pets safe and happy.

1. Golden Retrievers and Cats Can Live in Harmony

Golden Retrievers are friendly and loving dogs, which is no different when socializing with cats. They’re known to be extremely affectionate beings, which can even be displayed in their actions towards kitties.

Being incredibly gentle, they don’t run the risk of harming your cat with loud barks or dominating them with their physical strength.

Their intelligence also plays a large role in their success with cats. As intuitive dogs, they know when to back off from an aggressive cat and can easily read the room if they’re in trouble.

The American Bobtail cat has been credited with being the most similar cat breed to Golden Retrievers. So if you’re looking for a loyal cat who enjoys going on adventures, these two will make a wonderful pair.

I have a series of articles on how different dog breeds get along with cats: Can Poodles and Cats Get Along?, Labradoodles and Cats, French Bulldogs and Cats, Rottweilers and Cats, Corgis and Cats, Shih Tzus and Cats and German Shepherds and Cats.

3 ginger american bobtail cats
american bobtail cats

2. Give the Two Pets a Chance to Get to Know Each Other

New introductions are made a lot easier when your dog is well-socialized. Socialization can be achieved by bringing your Golden Retriever on adventures with you. They love to be a part of family hikes, trips to the beach, and vacations. When this is done, they’ll slowly learn to become more adaptive.

Socialization is a perk; however, a cat might be a new experience for some dogs. When it comes to introductions, remember to be patient with your pets. It can be overwhelming for both the Golden Retriever and the cat, so try to ensure that you’re at home for the first week of the two species being alone together.

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If cats are new to the environment, it’s good practice to let them settle in a room for about a week. Once they start getting familiar with the environment, you can slowly introduce them to your Golden Retriever.

You can introduce the two through glass doors or when the family is at home to keep an eye on things. If necessary, you can always keep your Retriever on a leash for the first few encounters.

3. Have Plenty of Treats and Toys Around for New Introductions

When the time comes for your Golden Retriever and cat to meet, it’s a good idea to be well-prepared.

As we all know, cats can be a bit finicky when it comes to new faces, especially when those faces have two big ears, a hairy face, and a wet nose.

If your kitty is a fan of catnip, now would be a good idea to bring it out, along with their favorite cat treats. Dog training works well when there is sufficient stimulation to keep the dog focused. A dog treat, chewing toys, and dog puzzles work well to distract your dog as your cat makes its way around the house, taking in all the new and exciting smells.

golden retriever dog with abyssinian cat

4. If You’re Adopting a Dog, It’s Best to Hear About the Dog’s History

While pedigree breeding has allowed us to understand a dog’s breed personality incredibly well, outside factors also play a role in a dog’s behavior.

I know it can be challenging when adopting a dog that may not have owners who you can speak to – but finding out as much information about the dog as possible is essential. Shelters and rescue pages will know more about the dog than you.

Here are some questions you can ask about a dog’s history before bringing them into a home with cats:

  • Has the dog ever lived in a house with cats?
  • Does the dog get along well with other dogs and children?
  • Have they been socialized with cats?
  • Has the dog had any training, and if so, was it challenging?
  • Is the dog territorial about their home?
  • Has the dog’s old age left it grumpy and untrainable?
golden retriever dog on couch with ginger cat in background

5. Clue Yourself Up on the Characteristics of Your Cat’s Breed

Just like different dog breeds have their own distinct nature, so do different breeds of cats. Maine Coons, for example, are known as ‘dogs of the cat world’ due to their strong personalities.

If you have a cat but are dying to get a golden pup, be sure to keep your cat’s personality in mind. If they’re old and stuck in their ways, you’ll need to consider the fact that introductions will take longer, and you might end up with a temporarily angry kitty cat.

As long as you’re patient and follow the right procedures, like slow introductions and the tips mentioned in this post, hopefully, the two will get along in no time.

golden retriever dog and grey british short hair cat ru

6. Training Goes a Long Way

Training is the number one way you can bring your Golden Retriever up to be a polite and well-behaved pooch.

There’s a reason Golden Retrievers are used as service dogs. These happy-go-lucky dogs are always on the lookout for human approval. With the breed naturally being easy to train, you can get a head start by teaching them from puppyhood.

But just because they’re easy to train doesn’t mean you can get lazy with reinforcement. When these dogs aren’t well-trained, their energy can be overwhelming if you live in a smaller home – particularly for your kitty.

golden retrievers and cats

7. You’ll Need to Give Your Golden Retriever Enough Exercise

Although these pups love cuddling up on the couch, they’re also relatively high-energy dogs. No matter what dog breed you go for, you’ll need to ensure that they’re getting in the required amount of exercise – for Golden Retrievers, 20 – 30 minutes a day will suffice.

Because of the dog’s intelligence and active nature, they’ll likely get bored if they don’t receive enough exercise. Boredom can lead to picking on other housemates, like your lounging kitty.

A tired Golden Retriever is a good Golden Retriever. They’re less likely to act impulsively and chase the cat when they’ve had their fun for the day.

golden retriever dog and grey british short hair cat to

8. Dedicate Separate Safe Spaces for Your Cat and Golden Retriever

If you plan to own a Golden Retriever, you’ll need to stay in a relatively large home. Cats, on the other hand, don’t need much space. Regardless of the size of your home, you’ll still need to ensure that each pet has a space to call its own.

Your pet can retreat to a safe space if they feel threatened or uncomfortable. For cats, an open window or bed on a ledge does the trick. Dogs might have a cage, a kennel, or a bed tucked away somewhere in the house.

Your dog and cat’s water and food bowls should also be kept in separate parts of the house. Scratch posts and toys should also be kept apart. This avoids the chances of the two clashing over territory and food.

9. Don’t Hold Your Cat in Stressful Situations

As independent creatures, cats feel safe in their own presence and don’t like being held. In fact, if you pick up your cat when they’re feeling threatened, it can lead to even more stress.

When cats feel threatened, their first action is flight, fight, or freeze. Seeking out higher territory is usually a go-to if they’re trapped within a house.

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You should always give your cat the freedom to roam around at its own will. Providing them with a sense of autonomy means that they can make quick escapes when they’re feeling scared.

With this freedom comes the chance for the two to establish a natural sense of hierarchy. Each pet will need to learn to respect each other and their boundaries.

10. If the Two Don’t Like Each Other, You’ll Know by Their Behaviour

After a couple of weeks or months of interaction, you’ll know whether or not your two pet babies enjoy each other’s company. Luckily, with Golden Retrievers, their affectionate and loveable nature means they’re generally a breeze around cats.

Cats are the ones who tend to be less inclined to interact with your dogs. They much prefer snoozing in the sun and cuddling up next to their humans.

However, both pets should eventually become totally relaxed around one another. Here are some warning signs if the two don’t like each other:

  • Dogs will bark, whine, or strain to get to the cat
  • Dogs remain highly focused on the cat and watch them constantly
  • The dog will snarl when the cat walks past or if they get too close
  • Cats will shake their tails back and forth as an indication of annoyance
  • Cats will hiss, spit, or snarl when the dog is around
  • Cats’ ears will be pinned back
golden retriever dog and grey british short hair cat to

11. Professional Training is Always an Option If the Two Don’t Get Along

If you notice any of the behavior from the points above, it’s important that you address the issues before they become a habit. If you’re having trouble managing the two, don’t be afraid to invest in professional training.

As pet owners, we have the ability to love and care for our cats and dogs, but we often don’t know what to do in times of distress. And it’s nothing to be ashamed about. For the sake of your pets and your well-being, a professional trainer can assess the situation and work out the best solution for you and your fur babies.

FAQs About Cats and Golden Retrievers

Why Are Golden Retrievers Good With Cats?

Having a household that has a Golden Retriever with cats is very possible, especially if the dog has been well trained. This is because your Golden understands that it needs to respect your cat as if they are the leader of the pack.

Which Cat Breeds Are Friendly to Goldens?

As I mentioned above, Maine Coons have ‘doglike’ behaviors, so they are a natural pairing with Golden Retrievers. That said, here are some other suitable cat breeds that will match with your pup:
Golden Retriever and British Shorthair – Patient with puppies, but will remove itself from stressful situations and give your dog the cold shoulder.
Golden Retriever and Siamese Cat – Particularly active with energy to play with dogs and are naturally curious.
Golden Retriever and Ragdoll Cat – Extremely laidback cats, and are less territorial than most cats, perfect for welcoming new pets.

How Long Does It Take for Your Golden and Cat to Get Along?

This all depends on how accepting your kitty is of your new pup. Some pairings will take only days, and in some cases (although rare), they will never get along. That said, it usually takes the two pets around two to three weeks to get acquainted.
In truth, you never know how cats and dogs are going to react to one another. But with these tips and need-to-knows, you’ll be on the right track to giving these two a chance to live together peacefully.

golden retriever dog and grey british short hair cats o

A Happy Life with Golden Retrievers and Kitty Cats

Golden Retrievers are happy pups with loveable, friendly personalities. Notorious for being exceptional family pets, they’re also known to be one of the best dogs for households with cats.

However, it takes responsibility to ensure your two pets feel safe and comfortable in their homes. As a pet parent, it’ll be up to you to take the proper precautions when introducing the two and understanding the personalities of your fur babies.

In truth, you never know how cats and Golden Retrievers are going to react to one another. But with these tips and need-to-knows, you’ll be on the right track to giving these two a chance to live together peacefully.

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