Dog Training

Are Golden Retrievers Good With Cats? – The Guide to Raising Goldens With Cats

A guide to raising Golden Retrievers with cats.
Written by Richard Jeng

Most pet owners with a heart for both dogs and cats do not usually bring them home at the same time. The cat may come first and later, the dog. If this is your case, you’ve probably wondered whether your Golden Retriever is going to get along with your cat.

So, are Golden Retrievers good with cats? Yes, Golden Retrievers are good with cats if given the proper obedience training, socialization and exercise. Goldens are a joyful, caring, fun-loving, and friendly breed. They seem to have a soft spot for children and smaller animals, which includes cats.

Many owners of the Golden have seen their favorite pet cuddle with their cat once the two have overcome the probable hostility of their first encounter. The friendly nature of Golden Retrievers should persuade you to go ahead and bring your new pet home.

Keep reading as we explore all there is to know about Goldens and cats. You’ll discover that your decision to own both pets is well-judged.

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Why Golden Retrievers Are Good With Cats

Golden Retrievers shed because they have a double coat.

It’s no secret that Golden Retrievers are generally friendly. These specific characteristics are what make them the perfect pet-mate for your cat.

Goldens are good at cuddling

Even though cats are not the kind of animal that likes being held all the time, they enjoy the friendliness of a warm cuddle. Who better than the friendly Golden, and especially when you, the owner, cannot be there to for your cat?

Best cuddle buds. My golden just passed out on the bed next to me. Love her and she doesnt move even when i drool all over her face through the night.

– Heraclitus33 (Reddit User)

And according to The Spruce Pets, the Golden Retriever is the number one dog breed for cuddling with. As energetic as Goldens can be, they know when to be gentle and docile. It doesn’t matter if you’re human, another dog or a cat.

Goldens are people-pleasers

A Golden Retriever will do anything for its owner. So, if you want him or her to befriend the cat, you need to find a way of making the dog understand that, and it shall be done.

If your Golden understands that you are pleased when he/she is good with the cat, you’ll have an easier time making them friends. A good way to encourage this is by rewarding your Golden every time they cuddle with the cat. 

Golden Retrievers are extremely smart dogs with high adaptive intelligence. They’ll pick up on the owners feelings and emotions toward the cat very quickly. As long as you show your cat affection, they will too.

Goldens are easy to train

Owing to their friendly nature, Golden Retrievers are obedient and easily take directions and commands. They are also among the smartest dog breeds.

In fact, when it comes to obedience & working intelligence, Goldens are the 4th smartest dog breed in the world. This type of intelligence measures the ability of the dog to learn and follow commands.

As such, they will readily interpret the intention and desire of their owner or trainer. If their owner’s desire is understood as befriending the cat, then the Golden will do just that.

Goldens bark less

A dog’s bark will naturally intimidate cats, especially with a deep bark of a large dog. This is not bound to happen if your dog is a Golden Retriever, and it gets even better if we are speaking of a puppy-Golden.

None of my goldens have been barkers, which isn’t to say they don’t bark, they just don’t bark without a good reason.

– Rob J. (Golden Retriever owner)

Your cat will feel more secure around a somewhat silent Golden Retriever. At least, when compared to a howling Husky or herding dogs that need a strong bark, such as Corgis.

But this doesn’t mean Goldens don’t bark at all. It’s just that these dogs won’t bark for fun. And when they do bark, it’s rarely hostile and aggressive barking. Golden Retrievers bark out of happiness more than anything.

They easily befriend other animals

We’ve been saying this all along. Goldens are naturally friendly with humans and other animals, even those that are not of their species.

We’ve heard from many owners that their Golden Retrievers love the cats. However, not all cats will reciprocate back. These dogs are often in denial because they think everyone is friends with them.

The only condition is a proper introduction and good training to become good friends, or at least civil with one another. Then, peace will forever reign in the home.

Will My Golden Chase the Cat?

Once they learn to coexist, cats and Golden Retrievers can be inseparable friends. The dog will even protect and defend the feline should a neighbor’s dog charge after the cat.

However, there is a chance your Golden Retriever will chase the cat. Goldens are dogs, and all dogs have traces of the wolf ancestry. When it comes to prey-drive, few animals will top the wild wolf.

If you bring home your Golden Retriever and let him out of his crate while your cat is loose, you might just be looking for trouble. It’s unlikely that the dog will intentionally hurt the cat, but a chase-down is a real possibility.

Plus, chasing the cat is a sign of a Golden Retriever that needs more exercise. Without at least an hour of exercise a day, Goldens can take out their boredom on the family cat.

I have 2 cats and while Kenzie likes to chase them, when she does catch them she is pretty gentle. I keep waiting for them to use their claws on her, but so far they haven’t.

– Jennifer (Golden Retriever owner)

Also, do not forget that Golden Retrievers were bred for hunting roles. While technically the Golden was bred to retrieve game for hunters, they are still capable of instinctively chasing small animals, or their “prey.”

The good news is that there’s not a single aggressive bone in a Golden Retriever. They’re not chasing the cat to kill or harm. Instead, your Golden is probably chasing the cat for fun or entertainment.

As such, creating a friendship between the cat and your Golden is a question of training that involves both pets. With the proper obedience and socialization training, you’ll be able to stop these chases.

Training Golden Retrievers & Cats

Don’t expect to throw your dog and cat together and expect them to be best friends from day one. If you are serious about keeping your cat and Golden in the same house, there are certain training rules you need to follow.

Introduce them when they are both young

Do you know the saying that you bend a tree when it is still young? It’s true with your pets too. If you introduce your Golden and your cat when they are a puppy and a kitten, you have a better chance of creating an inseparable bond.

Training your cat and your Golden to be friends when they are young has a high probability of success because neither has become ‘prejudiced’ about the other.

What this means is that both your cat and your Golden are more likely to like each other if they have not had any unpleasant encounters with other animals.

If you are trying to train an adult Golden Retriever who has had negative experiences with cats to be friendly to your cat, it’s obviously going to be much harder. The same could be said for a cat who has narrowly survived a fierce chase from another dog.

Territorial Cats

It’s even better if you bring the two home at the same time. This way, no pet has “claimed” dominance over the home yet. So, it’s unlikely there will be territorial aggression.

If that’s not possible, it’s better to bring the dog in first. The Golden Retriever is not a very territorial dog breed. However, cats can be very territorial – much more than dogs.

Most of the time, the cat will learn to tolerate others. But in some rarer cases, cats can be especially territorial without budging. They never adapt to living with other pets and never get along with them.

That’s not to say you can’t bring home a Golden Retriever if you’ve had a cat living in the home for a while. It’ll just require more patience and training. Plus, not all cats will react negatively towards other animals.

Introduce your Golden and your cat gradually

Friendships don’t happen overnight. They’re built gradually, even for pets. Forcing the dog and cat to like each other is not going to bring you much success. So, consider introducing your pets in this pattern:

Week 1

Let your cat and Golden Retriever hear and smell each other from far. You could bring a cloth with the smell of one to the other so that they get used to it.

Week 2

Allow the dog and cat to see each other. Ensure that there is a barrier between the two. The cat could be caged and the dog free, but leashed. Notice any attempt to bark, puff, or jump at each other and use the ‘No’ command to discourage them.

If hostility is not manifested from either side, reward with a treat, a hug, or a compliment. Do this daily for the entire week. And if it gets unpleasant for one pet, you can split it up into multiple short sessions.

Week 3

The face-to-face meeting day is here! Ensure your dog is leashed, and the cat has plenty of options to jump or crawl under should Golden decide to unleash the wolf in them. Make the cat feel secure with many escape routes.

Reinforce their efforts to befriend with a treat or compliment and use ‘leave it’ commands when attempts are made to jump on each other.

Week 4

Be vigilant. You will let your guard down when your cat and Golden are already friends. But at this later stage, total vigilance is a must whenever the two are loose and when they are feeding.

Dogs are good at snooping on the cat’s meal. If you cannot supervise the pets, keep them away from each other, either in separate rooms or in their crates.

Reward efforts of getting along and ‘punish’ anti-friendship behavior

Dog and cat training is generally about teaching behavior by rewarding when they follow instructions and punishing when they don’t. We do not need to say this, but hitting and other physical punishment is a complete nay!

Instead, reward expressions of friendship (with treats or by giving a toy they like) and punish (by caging or denying treats and compliments) when the kitten puffs and hisses at the Golden. We call this positive reinforcement and it works best with Golden Retrievers.

On the other hand, it may be a good idea if you want to seek the help of a professional dog trainer. Check this awesome video for extra tips on how to train your Golden to stay away from the cat.

It’s important to always keep in mind that, with a Golden, you always have the upper hand in training them to befriend cats because of their good-breed traits. Don’t be deterred if it takes a while.

Does Your Golden Get Along With Cats?

How to groom a Golden Retriever.

Like humans, all dogs have different personalities. While most Golden Retrievers get along well with cats, it may not be the case for all. The best way to understand the two animals’ relationship is by asking real owners.

So, we surveyed the popular Golden Retriever subreddit, along with other dog forums, for answers to this question. Here’s what the owners had to say:

Real Owner Answers

1. Nesstle6 says Yes:Our golden retriever girl takes good care of our cat. They’ll even cuddle with each other when they take their naps!

2. Flffddy says Yes:Our cat passed away this morning and when I came back from taking him for cremation our golden had placed all his favorite stuffed animals by the spot the cat had been.

3. Sarcuda says Yes: She’s not allowed to be out of her kennel without supervision and I keep a close eye on them. But so far Garnet, our 8 week old Golden has been getting along with our cats perfectly.”

4. Tinynukesum says Yes:We have 2 Goldens and they absolutely love the cat. The problem is the cat hates our dogs. The dogs deny this and can’t seem to understand why anyone wouldn’t like them back.”

5. Tiffany1 says Yes:We have had 3 Goldens in the past 20 years. We’ve also had 2 cats at the same time. Never once did we have any trouble…they were great friends.”

6. Lilliam says Yes:Max is my first golden retriever but so far it seems like there will be no problems with the cat. He is best friends with every living creature he’s ever met.”

7. Danaruns says Yes:I have goldens and cats. I think if you just introduce them properly, they will be fine once the dog realizes the cat is part of the pack, and once the cat realizes the dog thinks the cat is part of the pack even though the cat is a far superior being.

8. Sweetgirl says Yes:The cat was scared, but we followed suggestions for how to make him feel secure. And as soon as he realized the Golden was not a threat, he was fine.”

Cats & Goldens: The Dynamic Duo

Cream colored Golden retrievers have a light off-white.

The friendly personality of Golden Retrievers suppresses their wolf-ancestry prey drive and allow them to become friends with the cat. These dogs were meant to be friends with all pets and humans (especially with children).

Goldens will readily befriend cats if both are introduced to each other when young. Still, it’s always safer to introduce cats and Goldens gradually through a series of socialization training.

Because Golden Retrievers love cuddling, bark less, are easy to train, and readily get along with other animals, choosing one as your pet when you already have a cat is a wise choice.

So as far as dogs and cats go, there are few dog breeds more suitable for a home with a cat. As a matter of fact, there are much worst breeds you could have gone with.

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About the author

Richard Jeng

Richard has been raising dogs his whole life, including a Poodle, Pomeranian, Corgi and Australian Shepherd. He's always working with animal shelters and dog rescues because of his passion for all dogs. Fun fact: his all time favorite breed is the German Shepherd. Read More.

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