Image by Madison from Pixabay
Whenever multiple-pet home situations arise, the predominant question is: will the dog get along with the cat? In the case of the hybrid labradoodle breed, the questions are relatively easy to answer. They can indeed get along, and no specific breed-related issues should prevent that. However, knowing a few things about the dogs and their background is worth knowing.
Let’s take a quick look at the combo of the goldendoodle and cats and how they get along (and why they might not).
Are Goldendoodles Good With Cats?
Do dogs hate cats? No, not really, but some guidelines apply to all dogs: they should be introduced to cats as early as possible when they are puppies. Pups are more likely to see new animals as playmates and friends. They will become used to being around and are less likely to react negatively when introduced to others.
Although this is a good start, it is no guarantee that issues won’t arise from here on out. All animals are individuals. Even those with an uneventful history might be triggered by bad experiences, leading to a new, aggressive, or defensive attitude.
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, Shih Tzus and Cats, Corgis and Cats, Golden Retrievers and Cats, Poodles and Cats and German Shepherds and Cats.
Image by Brooke from Pixabay
Let’s talk briefly about Goldendoodles. They are a crossbreed between a Golden Retriever and a Poodle. The breed gained popularity in the 1990s, partly in response to the growing fad of Labradoodle ownership (Labrador/Poodle crossbreeds).
Goldendoodles were generally bred as smaller than their Golden retriever halves but with the same gentle personality. They now come in three sizes, as per the Poodle parent breed. Their coats are closer to that of a Poodle, inheriting their soft, silky, and near-hypoallergenic coats.
There are some things to keep in mind regarding personality and instinct.
Cats tend to be defensive when they encounter animal strangers. They are likely first to consider the newcomer as a threat. As a result, they may either seek to escape or become aggressive if they feel their territory is being violated. Matters could worsen after that, especially if the dog reacts aggressively.
Image by JackieLou DL from Pixabay
Cat owners know that when their cats are home, they are usually relaxed. A dog’s energy can be a lot more energetic and frenetic. This could upset a cat, especially if the dog is new to the environment.
Puppies can be energetic, too, but at least cats can escape them more easily. An older dog may annoy a cat by chasing them (even in play), and Goldendoodles are generally happy, energetic, playful dogs, which may not sit well with your cat.
In that sense, the “mood” of a home is important to cultivate through socialization and provision of ample separate space; but more on that later.
A Note on Prey Drives
A prey drive is an instinct in some animals to chase and hunt smaller creatures. It is inherited from an animal’s genetic past. The prey drive is stronger in some dogs and many cats due to the breed’s history.
Golden Retrievers and Poodles were originally used as hunting dogs. That may have raised some concern initially with cat owners, who feared that their prey instincts might get the better of a domestic situation.
Although Golden Retrievers were used in hunting, they were technically not used as hunting dogs. The name says it all: they were sent to retrieve it once the bird had been shot. Their mouths are softer so as not to cause damage, and they have a very friendly, amenable personality.
The Goldendoodle mostly inherits the personality of the Retriever, thankfully. While Poodles were slightly more inclined to chase as a breed, this trait shows itself less often in Goldendoodles, which have a low prey drive by comparison.
Image by Wokandapix from Pixabay
Possible Problem Situations
The common wisdom suggests that if a bad situation arises between a cat and a Goldendoodle, chances are the cat started it. That does sound very unfair to say at the outset, but consider the following:
As mentioned, cats can get somewhat defensive in situations where they feel uncomfortable. One day they may run away. An hour later, they may choose to stand and fight with claws and teeth.
All the dog needs to do is lean in for a smell or a curious closer look. Young puppies are especially curious. A dog is more likely to react to your commands to calm down or come away, whereas your cat will make up its own mind.
Setting Up The Best Case Scenario
Ideally, cats and dogs should be adopted together as kittens and puppies. Being introduced young allows them to engage with each other non-aggressively and at play, creating a stronger bond.
Sadly, we can’t always create ideal situations, and sometimes we will have to introduce them to each other and the home later in life and at separate times. In these cases, follow some basic guidelines:
Image by Lionheart84 from Pixabay
- Introduce them gradually. Make sure to keep them in separate spaces for as long as they need to become used to each other’s presence without direct contact.
- Having both in a pet carrier for the first few introductions is a good idea — progress by letting them see and smell each other.
- Provide escape routes for your cat, whether high cat trees or exits.
- Keep a very close eye on their interactions for a few months. Look for hotspots or flashpoints, like feeding zones and times. Split them up (establish separate feeding areas, for example) when you note these.
Interested in learning more about Goldendoodles? Check out these articles on Goldendoodles Good and Bad, The Mini Goldendoodle, Goldendoodle or Labradoodle, Mini Goldendoodle vs Goldendoodle and How to groom a Goldendoodle.
Final Thoughts on the Goldendoodle and Cats
Above all, remember that all animals are individuals. While most will fall into a describable pattern, there is a chance that two animals won’t get along.
That said, there is no reason why properly socialized dogs and cats cannot get along well. Consider things carefully and objectively if you decide to bring both into your home.