are Golden Retrievers good with cats

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If you have a Golden Retriever, or if you’re a potential owner, you may have thought about their compatibility with cats.

Congratulations on planning to add another furry member to your family!

They have a friendly temperament that makes them an easy breed to co-exist with other pets at home including cats.

Keep reading this post to find out more about the likable personality of Golden Retrievers that make them a favorite breed to live with cats.

Watch out for our practical tips on how to introduce a resident Goldie to a new cat in your home.

Understanding Golden Retrievers and Cats

Golden Retrievers are known for their lovable personalities and gentleness with kids which makes them a widely popular family pet for many homes.

They have a steadfast loyalty to their human caregivers and high intelligence which makes them an easy breed to train for behavior and command.

Golden Retrievers also have high energy levels which makes them fun-loving and inclined to play most of the time.

Ask any Golden Retriever owner and they will tell you how restless this breed can get when you don’t provide enough daily exercises to expend their energy.

These gun dogs are also not prone to bark excessively. They only bark when it is necessary and they do so without aggression.

Cats on the other hand are known for their territoriality and independent nature. They love their human family even though they may not expressively show it.

Felines can also sleep for up to 16 hours a day depending on their age, health, and activity level.

Golden Retrievers are among the best dogs that get along with cats. Golden Retrievers have lots of favorable traits that make them cat-friendly.

They are friendly, gentle, not aggressive, and calm towards other animals.

On the other side when we compare these two pets, we can see that there are some differences in the nature and personality of Goldens and felines.

A fun-loving Golden Retriever may want to play with a cat but the cat may see that as a potential threat or invasion of privacy.

But when introduced to each other smoothly, these two furry friends can make the best homies within no time.

You can leverage their personalities to complement each other.

5 Factors That Determine Compatibility Between Golden Retrievers and Cats

Pure-bred Golden Retrievers are naturally predisposed to be kind to humans and other animals such as cats.

This is because of their gentle demeanor and naturing nature which makes them easy to form affection with their families.

Despite this inherent trait, several factors may determine the compatibility between your Golden Retriever and a cat at home.

These factors include:

1. The Age of the Golden Retriever

Golden Retriever puppies and young adults are more welcoming to new experiences in their surroundings and can easily accept a cat to be part of their lives.

Younger Goldies are ready to learn new skills, experience adventures, and interact with everyone in the family hence they would love to adventure with felines.

They are also full-on energy which can be utilized to run around and play with kitties all day long and this makes them form closer bonds.

Golden Retrievers puppies
Image Credit: Ayla from Unsplash

As Goldens advance in age, they become reluctant to experience new things and much more docile in their lifestyle.

A senior Goldie may not be ready to play with small animals like cats or even cuddle with them during sleep. They would prefer a quiet space with the peace of mind to relax.

It’s also preferable to introduce a kitten to a Golden Retriever than doing so with a senior cat. The older the cats get, the less playful they become.

2. Previous experience with cats

If your Golden Retriever has had a previous negative experience with cats, you may need to go slowly on introducing them again.

Remember that Golden Retrievers are incredibly smart hence they cannot easily forget their previous good and bad moments.

This could be a previous altercation with cats in the animal shelter or the past paw fights with the neighbor’s cats when they were young.

Such experiences will make your Goldie have a negative view of cats and they may continually view them as a source of pain.

It may take you some time to retrain your lovely Golden from this experience and take the introduction much slower when planning to add a feline to your home.

On the bright side, if your Golden Retriever has had positive interactions with cats before, then they will be much more willing to welcome them at home.

A good example is if the Goldie was raised with playful kittens and they shared lots of fun moments during their early phase in life.

3. The health of the dog

The physical and mental health of your Golden Retriever may determine if they can be well-placed to live with cats in the same household.

Goldens with painful chronic conditions may not be willing to tolerate other animals and they can easily display hostile behavior towards newcomer felines.

An innocent cat may unknowingly step on a Goldie’s aching joints and the dog may growl, bark, or bite the cat due to the pain incurred.

This could injure the kitty in the process and set the ground for a hostile relationship between the two pets.

If your Golden Retriever is suffering from any of these common health problems, we recommend that you ask your vet if and how they can live with cats.

4. Socialization

A Golden Retriever who has been well-socialized from a young age will be more much open to new experiences and ready to make more friends including felines.

The best way to keep your Goldie highly sociable is by taking them to the park regularly for walks and tagging them along in your outdoor activities.

A dog that has been socialized to different surroundings, lots of people, and many kinds of animals will associate new adventures with fun since they’ve experienced it in the past.

5. Previous training

Well-trained Golden Retrievers are most likely to display good behavior when interacting with cats for the first time.

Such dogs are well-mannered and they are less likely to display aggression when dealing with new people or pets at home.

It would also be much easier to introduce a well-trained dog to a cat compared to those that have not been trained at all.

With such dogs, you can be confident to give them commands and recall them from potentially dangerous situations when the cat feels threatened.

A well-trained Golden Retriever will also be open to accepting other pets in their spaces since they display less territorial behavior.

Introducing Golden Retrievers and Cats

Introducing dogs and cats can be a challenging task especially if they have not positively interacted with each other in the past.

It is most likely going to be a fun and rewarding experience if you get the process right. A successful introduction should always be slow, supervised, and progressive.

Do not rush any step and never force your furry family to become friends at your own pace.

Here is our practical guideline that you can adopt to introduce your resident Golden Retriever to a newcomer cat:

Step 1: Catify your home

Before bringing the new cat from the adoption center, you need to furnish your home to become cat-friendly.

This will help the feline to settle in their new space faster and provide them with enough accessories to feel at home.

Catifying your home doesn’t have to be expensive. You can make a great impact by getting the basics right and providing a safe space for your new feline to find pleasure.

You should start by creating a vertical space for the cat and providing them with leveled platforms to perch higher.

are Golden Retrievers good with cats
Image credit: Musiol from Pexels

Cats have a natural instinct to climb which enables them to observe their territory from an elevated position. They used this trick in the wild to avoid predators by climbing high on trees.

A vertical territory such as a furnished cat tree will also provide your new cat with a safe platform to retreat when they feel threatened during the introduction process.

The other items that you need to get for your feline friend are interactive toys, food bowls, cat treats, litter boxes, and a cozy place to sleep with enough bedding.

Step 2: Swap scents

When bringing the new cat home, you should not let them meet with the Golden Retriever immediately. By this time, you need to have a safe space for keeping your dog without giving them free access to the cat’s space.

You can then start by swapping the scents of the two pets by using toys, clothe pieces or bedding. Get a plush toy and rub it on your Golden Retriever and allow them to play with it for a few minutes until it soaks up the dog’s scent.

Take the toy and give it to your cat to sniff and play with. This will inform the new feline that there is a dog within the house.

The cat might be reluctant to play with the toy during the first few trials and you should not force them into playing.

You can just drop the toy in their space and leave them to interact with it at their own pace.

After a short while, take a different plush toy and rub it on your cat to soak in the scent. Take the toy to your Golden Retriever to sniff and play with. This will help them to acclimatize to the new scent and discover a potential guest in the house.

During the third day, you can swap the bedding. Take the dog’s bedding and place them in your cat’s room and the cat’s bedding in your dog’s room.

Cat sleeping
Image credit: Hanaoka from Unsplash

Leave it overnight and let the pets get used to each other’s smell without feeling pressured. Let the two pets interact with each other’s smell until when they seem comfortable.

Step 3: Greeting each other

After about a week or so, both the Goldie and the cat would have gotten used to each other’s scent even though they have not physically met before.

This will build curiosity in both animals making them eager to know the other furry member in the family hence this is the best time for them to say ‘hi’.

For this step, you are going to allow the pets to see each other without coming closer. Leash your Golden Retriever and take them to the living room.

Make sure the dog sits by your side during this entire session.

Ask another member of the family to bring the cat to the living room and place them on the floor or couch without restraint.

Let the kitty explore the environment and observe the double-coated canine to their liking. It is not uncommon for a feline to get scared and run into hiding during this period.

Just let them be! It’s okay for them to get scared of big dogs and more especially in a new household. But most importantly is that they have now seen each other.

Step 4: Close interaction

Once your cat roams freely in the living room with the dog’s presence, you can now take the introduction step a notch higher.

Find a common ground where you will have the two pets interact with each other by close supervision. The ground should be open to give the new feline room to get comfortable.

First off, you can exercise your Golden Retriever for a few minutes to expend their high energy levels. You shouldn’t let a restless Golden meet with the cat during the introduction phase.

After working out your Goldie, you will then take them to the common ground which could be the yard or the living room with doors open. But this time, you may or may not restrain them with a leash depending on how excitable the dog is.

Bring your new cat to the common area and allow the Golden Retriever to come towards you while supervised.

Your Golden will notice how calm and relaxed you are with the cat and they will appreciate the feline as part of the family.

Give room for the two pets to interact naturally without forcing them to play together or sniff each other.

Once the pets seem comfortable being around each other, you can make the meeting interactive by providing them with plush toys for engagement.

During the actual meeting and interaction phases of this process, you can use positive reinforcement techniques to make it better.

Reward your cat for showing interest in interacting with the resident Goldie and reward the dog for being calm and welcoming.

Pet and cuddle your two pets when interacting closely to spring their friendship and display your satisfaction when they play together.

Common Challenges and How to Handle Them

You can expect to experience some hurdles when introducing cats to dogs even in a controlled environment.

But with proper preparation and handling, you can manage these challenges and work out a smooth process to introduce the two pets.

The first problem you are likely to deal with is the fearful nature of cats, especially when in a new environment.

Cat hiding
Image credit: Chris from Unsplash

The new kitty may go into hiding for a long period when seeing the canine for the first time. You can handle this challenge by comforting your cat and providing them with safe spaces to retreat when they feel threatened.

Your dog may also get a little confused & nervous when they come across the new feline’s accessories in the house.

Catifying the home may change the overall outlook of your living room and this could be a little overwhelming for your Golden Retriever.

Make sure to furnish the house with the cat’s accessories some weeks prior before bringing the newcomer home.

Territorial behavior from the cat is also a common problem that could frustrate the Golden Retriever during the introduction process.

Dogs are naturally curious and they may go around exploring and playing with the cat’s items and this might frustrate the new feline.

Make sure to train the dog on their space within the house and what is off-limit for them.

Benefits of Owning a Golden Retriever and a Cat

The fun-loving and nurturing disposition of Golden Retrievers is best displayed when they have a feline friend in the house.

After introducing the two pets successfully, you will soon realize how fulfilling it can be to own a Golden Retriever and a cat.

Goldens are high-energy dogs who need consistent positive outlets to channel their built-up energies, and your cat will provide that.

The two can now engage in endless games while stimulating each other mentally and physically which relieves you from playing with the dog daily.

Ask any pet parent who owns a Golden Retriever and a cat and they will tell you the highly valuable companionship they get from these pets.

This helps in stress reduction and having ready companions to tag to your outdoor adventures.


Golden Retrievers are excellent breeds to have with cats. They have a generally friendly personality which makes them a favorite breed to live with felines.

You should always consider the compatibility of the dog with cats before planning on having them in the same household.

Remember to introduce the two pets slowly and in a supervised environment. Rushing them might do more harm than good and never force the pets to stay in a single room during this process.

With proper introduction, handling, and training, you will have your two furry friends living together and becoming the best of friends in no time. 

Written By

Laura is the founder of Furs'n'Paws. She is a also a pet writer and expert with more than 20 years of experience of working with dogs and cats. She developed a very strong love for animals at a young age. Her passion led her to establish a thriving pet sitting and dog walking business in Dubai. As an expert in pet training, behavior, and nutrition, Laura is committed to helping pet owners and pet lovers by offering high-quality information on a wide range of topics.

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