golden retriever and british shorthair cat

Golden retrievers are America’s favorite dog breed. They’ve held the spot for years and it’s really not much of a surprise. Why? Because they’re one of the friendliest and lovable dog breeds that you’ll find. Cats, on the other hand, have a reputation for being…let’s say, spicy. But of course, not ALL cats.

Though cats can be cuddly and a lot of fun, they can sometimes develop a bit of a rivalry with the dog that they share a home with. However, your cat and Golden Retriever don’t have to be mortal enemies.

So, if you’re considering bringing a Golden Retriever into your cat-loving home or vice versa, we’re going to set the record straight on how they may interact with one another.

Are Golden Retrievers good with cats? Yes. Golden Retrievers are actually pretty great with cats. Though cats dwarf this particular breed in size, their bubbly personality sort of makes them hard to hate.

Tips For A Great First Meeting

Every cat is different and every retriever is different, but there aren’t any centuries-old vendettas when it comes to retrievers and cats. It does help that retrievers are typically friendlier than many other dog breeds, so you can probably expect your furry friend to smother your cat with love–with caution (depending on your cat’s mood).

However, it’s not a good idea to simply toss the two animals on the living room floor and leave them there for hours on end. A great introduction and slowly easing them into each other’s presence is the best way to break the ice. Here are three ways to help get it done.

Create A Great Space For “The Meet”

Creating an optimal space for their initial meat means setting up a room where they can explore one another without the presence of other animals or a lot of people. In fact, it may also be a good idea to let whichever animal is new to the home explore the room alone for a bit, before introducing it to the other. This will allow it to get comfortable in the new environment beforehand.

Be A Great Moderator

Golden retrievers are very active and happy dogs. Upon seeing the feline, they may immediately start sniffing, circling, and exploring the cat–all with good intentions of course. However, this may be a bit much for your cat. So be sure to stay close by and manage your retriever, pulling it back if you notice signs that your cat is experiencing anxiety.

These signs may include backing up or running away from the retriever, tapping it on the face with its paw (aka “cat-slapping”), or arching its back and hissing at the dog. If you notice any of these behaviors, simply adjourn the meeting and set up another one later. Sometimes it may take your pets a few meetings to become comfortable with one another (and this can include the retriever as well, especially if it’s a puppy or new rescue).

Use A “Meet 4 Treat” Method

What better way to introduce your household pets to one another than through a nice meal? Pets aren’t that unlike humans in that food will always bring them together. Try setting up treats or meals in a single location, and at once.

Be sure to set the snacks or bowls far enough apart so the pets won’t have to touch one another to access them, anywhere from two to four feet would be ideal. This will allow them to see one another for the first time under the comforting umbrella of being fed. This can also work for cuddling sessions as well.

golden retriever dog sharing a bowl with a cat
Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Common Mistakes When Introducing Golden Retrievers to Cats

Setting the right tone for introducing your golden retriever to your cat has a large impact on how well and how soon they become acquainted. You want to set them up for success, so here are a few things not to do when introducing the pets:

Using Chaotic Environments

Create a safe space for each individual pet, not one that’s loud and super busy. And when they’re ready to leave the meeting, take them to that space so they can relax.

Leaving the New Pets Alone Together

Be sure to never do this to your dog or cat. Not only can this be unsafe, but it can cause a lot of anxiety for them, especially if they’re young or a rescue.

Rushing the Process

It’s okay if the first meeting doesn’t go as you expected. Sometimes, two or more meetings may be needed before they’re comfortable with one another.

Wrapping Up

Chances are great that your golden retriever will welcome your cat with open arms. Training and a proper introduction can help to make this process go a lot easier. Don’t forget to be the perfect host and to pay attention to the way the pets interact with one another.

And remember, it doesn’t have to go great the first time. Golden retrievers have been known to wear down even the crankiest cats–so just be patient and let them find their way to getting comfortable with one another.

Featured Image Credit: Chendongshan, Shutterstock