Are Golden Retrievers Good With Cats? (Explained)

Dogs and cats are two of the most popular pets in the world, but does that mean you can have both animals in the same household? Dogs certainly have a reputation for not getting along with cats but what about Golden Retrievers? Are Golden Retrievers good with cats?

In general, Golden Retrievers are good with cats. In fact, many Goldens and cats end up becoming good friends. The initial introduction between a Golden Retriever and a cat is the most crucial step for creating a positive, long-lasting relationship between the two species.

Whether you already have a Golden Retriever or a cat, you don’t have to settle for just one pet. But you do have a bit of work to do before you can bring home a second animal. Here’s how you can give your pets the best chance of getting along.

A golden retriever and his cat.

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Golden Retrievers & Cats (Prepare Your Current Pet)

Before you bring home a second pet, you may have to do some work with the pet you already have.

If You Already Have a Golden Retriever

If you already have a Golden Retriever, you should give your dog some socialization training. By having your dog regularly socialize outside the home with other dogs, people and animals, they will become very used to these types of interactions.

Fortunately, Golden Retrievers are pretty social creatures to begin with, but every dog has its own individual personality and it’s possible to have a Golden that wasn’t well socialized when it was young. This situation might require more effort on your part to address.

Ideally, your dog was well socialized as a puppy, if not, better late than never. If this is the case, you’ll want to keep introducing new people and animals to your dog whenever possible. Take your dog on walks regularly and try to choose times and locations where there will be some interaction with other dogs and people. Dog parks are a good place to socialize. Over time your Golden Retriever will become more accepting of new people and other animals.

If You Already Have a Cat

Cats are a little trickier, but if you already have a cat, you can do some socialization training as well. Generally, cats require a quieter, calmer environment but just like dogs, every cat has their own unique personality and some cats are much more social than others. If your cat is personable when you have people over, that’s a good sign as opposed to hiding under the bed until everyone leaves.

Either way, you’ll want to socialize your cat to make sure they can handle new people, places, and animals (dogs in particular). Take your cat to the vet or a pet store so that they can get used to the smell of dogs. Keep your cat in a kennel so that they’re safe and can feel comfortable. Then, you can try introducing your cat to a dog of a friend to see how they do.

While a dog will usually end up accepting the presence of a cat, an uptight cat may never accept a dog and will spend its life hiding out somewhere in the house it feels safe. To avoid this scenario, it’s important to make sure your cat can emotionally handle a dog before you add one to the family.

Choosing The Right New Golden Retriever or Cat

Next, you have to choose the right new Golden Retriever or cat. You should consider your current pet to determine who would be best with them. Here are a few things to look at when it comes to your current pet:

  • You should consider how old your pet is. If your pet is a senior, it may not make sense to get a puppy or kitten because the energy levels will be different. For instance, a young rambunctious Golden Retriever is probably not going to be a good mix with a senior-aged cat.
  • Assessing your current pet’s personality is also important. Even if your pet is older, if they have a young spirit, you may be able to get a younger new pet.
  • You know your current pet best and you’ll need to use your judgment to decide which inter-species sibling will work best for them.

While you may see your dream cat or Golden Retriever at a shelter, you have to consider if the animal will live peacefully with your current pet. Because of that, you should look for animals who have a history of coexisting, this is especially important for adult animals.

If you’re looking for a new animal at a shelter (which I highly recommend by the way), they sometimes have information about the animal from the previous owner indicating whether they have a tolerance for other dogs or cats.

Unfortunately, some dogs are cat chasers and it’ll be difficult to break them of this habit. On the flip side, some cats have had enough bad experiences with dogs that they’ll never give another dog a chance. It’s good to know this ahead of time if at all possible.

If you already have a Golden Retriever, look for a cat who’s comfortable around dogs. And if you already have a cat, look for a gentle, sweet Golden Retriever who won’t run all over your cat. That way, you can improve the chances of your pets being good together.

Golden Retriever and kitten.

Cat & Golden Retriever: The First Meeting

Next, you can introduce your current pet to the pet you’re considering getting. You should introduce the two on neutral territory, such as at a shelter. This is especially important if you already have a Golden Retriever.

Dogs can be territorial, so meeting your new cat at the house can make your dog even more so. Your dog may then harm your cat, and it won’t be a good, safe relationship.

Even if you have a cat, meeting outside your house is ideal. That way, your cat doesn’t feel like a dog is taking over their territory. They can both meet without anyone having a home advantage. You can either hold the cat in your arms, up above the dog, or in a cat kennel. Slowly let them check each other out. It also helps this process if the Golden Retriever has had any excess energy run out of him or her beforehand.

If the meeting doesn’t go well, you can decide if you really want the new pet. Or you can look for another animal and repeat this step. But if things do go well, you can move on to the next step.

Keep a Close Eye on Your Golden Retriever and Kitty Cat

While your current and new pets get to know each other, always supervise them. Be ready to intervene if one attacks or chases the other, even in a playful way. Golden Retrievers are loving dogs but unless they’ve been around cats before they may not know how to interact in a cat-approved fashion and will approach the cat in the typical “in-your-face” dog kind of way. So take things slowly.

You may want to bring another person to the meeting for a second set of eyes. That way, you can make sure someone is always watching the pets when they meet. But don’t be afraid to let your pets sniff each other. That’s how dogs and cats get to know other animals, so some sniffing is okay.

There’s a fine line between sniffing for fun or play and sniffing for intimidation. You can ask someone from the shelter or breeder to help watch, and they can also intervene if there’s an issue.

A kitty cat laying on a golden retriever.

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Keep Golden Retriever and Cat Separate While Getting Used to Each Other

Once you decide which pet to get, take your current pet home. Then, go back and bring your new pet home on a separate trip. While they may be fine together in an open space, the car is a different story.

You have to keep your eyes on the road, and in a car, your animals have to be close together. Even if you have a friend who can tag along, you should give each animal some space before they move in.

See if you can bring home something from the shelter with the new pet’s scent on it. Let your current pet smell the item on the way home and when you get home to get accustomed to the smell.

When you get home, grab something with your current pet’s scent on it. You can use a blanket or a toy. Then, take that when you go to get your new pet, and they can sniff it on the way home.

Give Your Cat & Golden Retriever Private Spots

Before you have both animals at home, prepare a private space for each of them. You can block off entire rooms for each animal, or you can use a corner for each. Both of your pets should have a space they can get to that the other can’t where they can feel safe.

For example, you can put your cat’s litter box, food, and water under a table or behind a baby gate where your Golden can’t reach it. Your Golden Retriever can have their space outside or in another part of your home.

In the early days don’t leave your Golden Retriever and cat home alone together if you have to leave the house. Close one or both into their own space by shutting some doors. This doesn’t have to be long-term, but until you know they’ve gotten used to each other, it’s the safest way to do it.

After a while, you can stop relying on these safe spaces, but they’re essential before your animals get comfortable together. Even so, you should keep a safe spot for your cat’s litter box. That way, they have a secure place to do their business without interference from your dog.

However, you can slowly integrate their food, water, and toys. That way, you don’t have to keep blocking off parts of your home.

Here’s proof that Golden Retrievers and cats can make good friends!

Spend Time Separately With Your Cat and Golden Retriever

As you start to live with your Golden Retriever and kitty cat, spend time with both of them. Go to your cat’s safe space to play with your cat. That way, you won’t have interference from your Golden Retriever.

You should do the same when playing with your dog. Make sure the cat stays out of the area so that you can give your dog your full attention.

Try to give both pets equal attention as much as possible. That way, you can tell both of your pets that they’re equally important to you.

Easiest Way For A Golden Retriever and Cat to Be Friends

The absolute easiest way for a Golden Retriever and a cat to become great friends is to get a puppy and a kitten at the same time! While, of course, this isn’t always possible, it’s the ideal way for the two of them to not only tolerate each other but to actually rely on one another for companionship.

When they grow up together, the friendship comes about naturally. There are no bad habits to break and one doesn’t dominate the other. Plus, it’s just as cute as can be!

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Watch this cat and Golden Retriever meet for the first time. They’re not sure what to make of each other!

Final Thoughts

Golden Retrievers and cats can make excellent pets alone or together, and Golden Retrievers are probably one of the best dog breeds most likely to be good with cats. But before you keep them in the same household, you need to prepare with some socialization training. Do your best to make the first introduction between the two a positive experience for both animals.

Create some safe spots in your home where each animal can have some alone time and get a break from the new addition. In time, your two pets will at the very least tolerate each other and at the most become the best of friends!


Bryan Mullennix

Bryan's a freelance travel photographer and happy dog dad. He currently lives in Las Vegas with his wife, his son, and two dogs Nom Nom & Speck.

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