Goldendoodles have become trendy hybrids for families that want a loyal, playful dog that isn’t going to be too much of a handful. Children find them cute and will form incredible bonds with them from puppyhood up to adulthood. But, what about your pet cat? Is it OK to bring a Goldendoodle into a family home that already has a cat?
Are Goldendoodles good with cats? Goldendoodles can be very good with cats and other small animals in the home. The reason is that not only are they friendly animals that love to play, but they inherit a low prey drive. This all means that they are more likely to shadow a cat as a friend than chase it with a desire to harm it.
What Is A Prey Drive?
The term prey drive comes from the instinct that many dogs have to chase after potential prey. This stems from wolves’ hunting instincts and other wild dogs where any small animal was a possible meal. While pet dogs don’t need to chase after animals to satisfy their hunger, there is still an inclination in some breeds to go after those animals.
Breeds that were ratters or used to hunt rabbits may even do so after many generations of companionship.
Prey Drive of Golden Retrievers and Poodles
Thankfully, neither the Golden Retriever nor the Poodle has that prey drive. The Golden Retriever can be one of the most laid-back and friendly dogs, which may pass down to this hybrid offspring. Both parent breeds were used in the world of hunting, but they never chased down live prey.
Instead, they would wait for the command to go and fetch the quarry of a shoot. Pet Goldendoodles are brilliant at fetch and listening to those commands.
This means that your Goldendoodle is more likely going to want to play with your cat. Cats aren’t potential prey to a Goldendoodle.
Instead, they are a potential friend.
The desire of a Goldendoodle to get along with everyone in their pack means that they are more likely to engage in games and get closer to the cat. In some households, this can lead to cats and Goldendoodles curling up together in harmony.
But, no new Goldendoodle owner should expect this perfect scenario.
What About Other Animals in The Home Other Than Cats?
The concern over a Goldendoodle’s prey drive and pet cats is common as many families will have a pet cat already at home before getting their puppy.
It is also important to remember that this low prey drive should make these dogs suitable for life with other small animals. With the right training and encouragement of calm interactions, you could even have a lizard in the home or a rabbit run outside with no adverse consequences.
Training And Experiences
However, this behavior can depend on your dog’s training and experiences.
No Goldendoodle should be expected to behave correctly with cats from day one. Puppies, in particular, may struggle with their enthusiasm and spatial awareness around cats. They need to slowly learn where the boundaries are and how to play gently.
It helps to supervise interactions between the pup and cat for a while to see how they behave. This will give a good idea of when the dog steps over the line and when the cat starts to get annoyed. With time and positive reinforcement, you can teach your puppy to interact appropriately.
Socialization training is essential for any puppy, and this has to extend to other animals, not just people. Dogs must understand how to behave when they are in strangers’ presence in public and any guests that come to the house.
This means staying calm, no barking or biting, and respecting the individual’s space.
The same goes for any dogs that come to the home or that they meet in public. Dog owners don’t always think to add cats to the list when training them, leading to the following issues.
Rescue dogs without any exposure to cats may not yet know how to behave.
The sooner that Goldendoodles have socialization training and how to behave with cats and other animals, the better for all concerned. This is easier when you raise a puppy in your own home and can train them over time.
The problem comes when you rescue an adult Goldendoodle from a shelter. These dogs may not have the skills to deal with the cat when they get them home. They may never have encountered one before. Training an adult rescue Goldendoodle these skills is much more difficult.
Goldendoodles may want to be your cat’s best friend. But what does your cat think?
It is too easy for new dog owners to focus on their puppy’s needs and potential behavior problems and ignore the other side of the issue. There is every chance that your dog will love your cat, but the cat might not share the same level of affection.
Cats have varying tolerance levels when it comes to other animals and their actions. A dog that is too playful or gets into the cat’s space too much is a problem for the cat.
You may have a good idea of how your cat will interact with a new puppy based on their personality. Some cats are very gentle and affectionate with their owners and the rest of the family. If you have a sweet cat that likes to cuddle, they may soon learn that a Goldendoodle is a great companion to have.
But then there are the cats that are much more independent and are not so keen on sharing their toys or space with anyone else. A playful puppy or rescue dog could be too much to handle, and these grumpier cats may not be as inclined to get along.
Is There Any Chance of Cat Versus Dog Aggression?
There is always a possibility as certain situations could allow tempers to flare. It is more likely that it will be the cat that lashes out first. You might find that they snap when a dog gets in their face or gets too rough with them. They may hiss and swipe a paw.
Many Goldendoodles will retreat with their tail between their legs, but a few might swipe back. When this happens, separate the animal and correct them appropriately. Show the dog that they won’t continue to play if they can’t play gently. Also, make sure that there is no injury from the cat.
Take things slowly when introducing your dog and cat.
This is why it is so essential to understand both animals’ needs and plan the introduction carefully. The last thing you want to do is have a playful puppy suddenly bound into the room while your cat is taking a nap. They won’t appreciate being startled and may see the intrusion as a threat.
It could then take a long time for the cat to warm to the dog. Instead, go for a gradual approach, perhaps behind a dog gate, where they can sniff each other and say hello. That way, if the cat isn’t impressed and walks off, the dog isn’t chasing after them.
Give your cat space from your dog when it needs it.
Another thing that you can do to help your cat in these situations is to ensure that they still have their own space. It helps to move their beds and scratching posts out of the way of mouthing pups. Enclosed litter boxes in a safe space will also allow for a little privacy.
Furthermore, this could discourage your Goldendoodle from eating any of the cat feces or litter. This is a common trait that you need to prevent early on in their development.
Also, remember that relationships between Goldendoodles and cats can change with time.
The focus here has been on the potential for a blossoming friendship between cats and Goldendoodles and how to make that happen. However, please don’t assume that two animals that get along brilliantly will maintain the same relationship all through their lives. Either animal may grow tired of the other as they get older.
Adult Goldendoodles may be more inclined to please their owners than play with anyone that will let them. Older cats could also become a little grumpier and touchy about the dog getting too close.
In short, with the right training and socialization, you should find that your Goldendoodle gets on very well with your cat and other small animals. It pays to take your time with the introductions so that both animals allow the bonding process to evolve. This can take longer with some cats than others, and you may even see friendships grow apart as dogs get older.
Either way, be patient, watch out for signs of distress, and encourage harmony when it occurs.
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