With just over half of US households owning a dog and over 40% owning a cat, an important question for Golden Retriever owners is what cat breeds are most suitable for the household.
In short, different cat breeds have different temperaments. Whilst any individual cat can defy trends some breeds are known to be more dog friendly, thus increasing your compatibility chances if you already own a golden retriever. Cat traits to look out for are tolerance, patience, sociability, loyalty and those with a family friendly nature.
Breeds such as the American shorthair, the Tokinese, the Birman, and the Norwegian Forest cat are all good choices, but perhaps the best would be the ever popular Maine Coon. Golden retrievers are energetic and playful and Maine Coons respond well to this.
What's in this Guide?
- So How Do Golden Retrievers Act Around Cats
- It’s Lucky You Have a Golden Retriever
- Are Golden Retrievers Good With Cats
- Golden Retriever Puppies With Cats
- What Qualities Should a Cat Breed Have For a Golden Retriever
- A Primer On Dog and Cat Compatibility
- Will a Golden Retriever Hurt the Cat?
- So What Are The Best Cat Breeds For a Golden Retriever
- How To Introduce The Cat To Your Golden Retriever
- What If You Are a First Time Owner?
- So What Might The Worst Cat Breeds For a Golden Retriever Be?
So How Do Golden Retrievers Act Around Cats
Watching almost any cartoon and you could be forgiven for thinking that dogs and cats are naturally aggressive towards one another. The reality is somewhat different, as many households possess both cats and dogs.
While avoiding the hunting dog breeds might be a good idea with cats, the golden retriever, by contrast, has a personality well adapted to having other companions about.
Being a social, kind and friendly breed of dog they will happily consider cats as part of the family. While young puppies may be ‘eager terrors’ and a bit too playful, as they calm down the engagement with a cat will be friendly and good-natured.
Golden retrievers are naturally curious and protective of family members, of which it will consider any prospective cat apart, so eventually after a period of getting to know each other, they could well end up playing together, depending upon the cat breed.
They have a tendency to play or annoy, depending upon your point of view, anything that is smaller than them and cats fit the bill nicely. A lot of the interaction between your new pets will be initiated by the golden retriever.
It’s Lucky You Have a Golden Retriever
According to both Purina and Vetstreet, along with Canine Cottages the Golden Retriever is consistently voted one of the very best breeds of dog for prospective cat owners. Even PetHelpful says the same thing
So, if you have a golden retriever and wish to introduce a cat to the household, then you are starting from a great position.
Golden retrievers, by nature, are one of the best-mannered dog breeds in existence. They are not as good at hunting as some, nor are they natural watchful protectors, but what they do possess in abundance is the ability to be friendly and playful. Golden retrievers love a family.
They will consider them such as well and are very capable of looking distraught and disgusted when they feel ostracized. Those sad and mopy eyes serve a useful purpose on you, by making you feel like Attila the hun when you make them feel bad.
Golden retrievers have a boundless good-natured energy ad the term ‘not a bad bone in their body’ seems to be a term that many golden retriever owners are familiar with.
It makes a great deal of sense to pick a cat with reciprocal tendencies.
Are Golden Retrievers Good With Cats
In general, yes, they are but depends upon what age they are.
A golden retriever will happily accept a new friend to the household without complaint. As long as they are comfortable with you being happy with the situation then most cats will receive a warm welcome. A bit too warm if enthusiasm is anything to go by.
Older golden retrievers calm a lot down from the infinite energy of a puppy, and once they have accepted cats as present in the household they will quite happily share bed space or couch time with them.
Just don’t fuss the cat too much and make your golden retriever too jealous. I’m sure it will let you know by making its presence felt.
Being friendly and affectionate by nature, anything within the sphere of the golden retriever should be treated affectionately. Anything that moves with its own legs will be treated as a member of the family.
It is not uncommon for golden retriever owners to report that the cat and dog sleep together for protection. As partnerships go, they could quite easily become the best of friends.
Golden Retriever Puppies With Cats
While golden retrievers are good with cats, at least as adults, the seemingly endless energy of a puppy can sometimes be too much for some cats. You will need a cat breed with the patience of a saint sometimes.
You see, to a golden retriever puppy, a cat is a playmate, and they will spend endless amounts of time sometimes trying to encourage their new four legged friends to engage. Whether the cat likes it or not, it will receive attention.
These constant attempts for play and ‘nose shoveling’ to provoke their new friends into action can be too much for some cats, and they will move to higher ground to escape. The more affronted ones may take a swipe with claws in order to get the pestering to stop.
Which it won’t. So some cats will try to remain out of reach until the puppy calms down a bit. Your household will need some perches for the cats to escape to.
Whilst the puppy is young, most things in life will be incredibly exciting. Your cat, whether new or not is a literal minefield of entertainment from the puppy’s point of view. During the initial stages of introduction, there could well be a lot of yapping, as the puppy tries to get the cat to play, especially if the cat doesn’t engage readily.
What Qualities Should a Cat Breed Have For a Golden Retriever
This is a good question, as much as dogs, cats can have very distinct personalities by breed.
The last thing you want is a cat that is highly independent and naturally aggressive towards other animals. While individual cats can have ill-advised personalities for compatibility, there are several qualities that a cat might want to possess to get on with a golden retriever.
Some things to think about might be;
- Family friendly
Sociability in a cat will be quite important. Cat breeds like the Singapura are known for being bad with strangers and most have been street cats. Your golden retriever will be constantly trying to make friends with the cat, especially early on. You might as well pick a cat breed that has the personality to be social back.
Tolerance will be helpful, especially if you have, or plan to have puppies. Golden retrievers puppies perceive the world in the constant journey to investigate and play with things. A cat will undoubtedly receive attention, whether it wants to or not. The cat is likely to be constantly provoked into action. The cat breed that tolerates this will undoubtedly save your golden retriever from nose scratches.
Patience is a virtue they say. Your cat will certainly need it as the craving for attention might be incessant in the early stages
A naturally family-friendly cat breed is also a plus. Cats that actively engage with house members, rather than treating other entities as things that frequent the same hotel will boost the prospects for a calmer residence.
Loyalty, as well as being a golden retriever trait would ideally be similar for a cat you may want to introduce, as a dog and a cat that are loyal together will become firm friends. They will both come to rely on the abilities of the other to defend the home. Your new cat may well come to appreciate your dog’s ability to scare away other cats.
A Primer On Dog and Cat Compatibility
Cats can be quite good for single dog owners. If you possess just the one golden retriever, then it being a social breed, it will provide welcome companionship if you are not around.
Left to their own devices a cat and a dog within a household will develop their own relationship. A cat that wants to be left alone from unwelcome advances to play will simply jump out of reach and carry on about its day.
Golden retrievers by nature are retrievers, so cats might be worth investigating from their point of view. So advances that are unwelcome, usually result in any cat extracting itself before harm can be done.
A cat will not tolerate anything it doesn’t wish to. It will simply avoid the unpleasant advances if it so chooses, so it’s not something that should be a large concern to you over the long term.
Obviously, it might be a good idea to think about breeds that have a personality most compatible with the ever affectionate golden retriever.
Will a Golden Retriever Hurt the Cat?
There’s a possibility, and it will almost certainly be because of error or over-exuberance. Blessedly, a golden retriever does not come with a hunting desire and is one of the most good-natured dogs that you can own,
You would have to be extraordinarily unlucky for them to physically injure any cat, at least deliberately.
The main dangers come when either the cat or the golden retriever is of a young age when they are both working their way through the world, discovering the limits of tolerance and acceptability.
As discussed, a young puppy can be an affectionate terrier. Careful monitoring, especially in the early stages is advised, in order to gauge how they are getting along. The puppy’s requests to play might not be welcome to a young kitten.
An older cat is much more capable of giving off the required signals to a golden retriever to stop, but a young kitten is pretty fragile in the first few months, so again, a careful watch until they are exploring the world on their own seems pretty sensible,
So What Are The Best Cat Breeds For a Golden Retriever
So now we come to the nitty-gritty of the argument. Knowing what is preferential cat qualities is one thing, but selecting the appropriate breeds is quite another.
Firstly, if you have a preference for a certain cat breed then you should go with that, as that is important. However, if you are as yet undecided, then you might want to take a good look at the following breeds, as they are recognized as being very dog-friendly, especially to the ever sociable golden retriever
In no particular order, here are the breeds that over the years of accumulated knowledge have been preferentially selected. Anyone of these breeds should produce a marvelous companion to your golden retriever.
If you were to ask people to name cat breeds, the Siamese would probably be top of the list, as it is one of the best known. Originating from Thailand (then Siam), it then made its way to Victorian England and since it has become adopted in many countries.
The breed has striking features that are very defined, which gives them a ‘chiseled look’ with a lean frame. They have startling blue eyes that give them an alert and inquisitive look
Their personalities are the definition of curiosity, but they are intelligent and know it. They can be a demanding breed but are good with children, other cats, and dogs in general. They are particularly active in general so have the energy should they so choose to entertain a puppy.
They like to know what is going on and are known for opening cupboards and cubby holes, which may well later be explored by your golden retriever. They are likely to compete with your dog for your affection
Expect to pay anywhere around the $500 to $600 for a good quality kitten.
You might imagine, that being named after an extensive region of Russia that this contains some significance, and you’d be right. The Siberian is the national cat of Russia.
Quite rightly then it possesses a very thick double coat with a ruff at the neck, so as to maximize heat retention for cold weather environments. Despite the hardy look, however, they are very gentle with a curious nature.
To the Western hemispheres, this breed has only been around for a few decades in number and in that time they have become firm family favorites to all. Since the fall of the Berlin wall, like their human counterparts, these cats have spread their wings wide
With its imposing size and muscular body, it is often mistaken for the more common Norwegian forest cat and the Maine Coon, both of which are more popular by number.
The coat also produces some heavy shedding come the summer months, but the breed isn’t high maintenance and a gentle nature around the household
Siberians have an adventurous personality and are well suited to households with other cats, children, and dogs. They are known for their playfulness that will sit well with a very eager golden retriever.
Costs for Siberian cats range from $300 to $1200 depending upon pedigree and age, as well as the quality of the seller.
Named after Abysinnia, which is modern-day Ethiopia, this breed of cat is short-haired to deal with heat, also having a very sleek and alert look. The unique-looking coat, makes most of them look like they live in the wild, and the fact that they are not lap cats gives more credence to this.
They are very adventurous and like to move around exploring everything. This breed of cat is always up to something and may prove an interesting companion on that basis to golden retriever owners
Despite their looks, they are actually quite domesticated, as it is thought to be one of the oldest cat breeds, and has had time to ‘settle in’ so to speak.
As you might expect, it is one of the more athletic and nimble cat breeds and is well suited to leaping out of the way of an overly eager puppy. Abysinnians bond well with interactive members of the household, whether that is a dog, children or owners. Other cats are just competition for affection
Oddly it believed to be one of the best cat breeds you can take on a walk if your retriever fancies a walking companion. Be careful though, it’s a prolific climber.
I always think these cats look like they are permanently frowning, but Persians are a very popular cat breed, Definitely high maintenance and if they were human they’d be a princess.
They are particularly calm and unruffled, expecting things to happen for them, and despite some health issues, they are the most popular pedigreed cat of all the breeds.
Sharing a similar disposition to the Ragdoll, they are good lap cats as they like luxuriating around the house. They like cuddling and being stroked and like attention, even if that comes in the form of a puppy. A cat is quite suited to being an ornament, rather than an alert and agile house cat. It almost certainly won’t get rid of rodents, unlike the more naturally born hunter, the Maine Coon,
They are quite quiet as well, not being particularly vocal cats, and will need regular combing to protect knots in the fur. Being of a quiet and content-disposition, this breed is perhaps more suited to those with older golden retrievers, not young ones who may constantly interfere.
Persians are not quick to anger and get along well with other household members
Persian cats will be in the range of $500 to $700 for a pedigreed animal from a good seller. They are quite sought after as a breed.
If you have ever perused youtube and seen the videos of cats letting birds sit on their nose, I’d hazard a guess that the cat breed may have been a ragdoll
Never has a cat breed been more aptly named. The overriding characteristic of this breed is their unbelievably docile temperament. These cats are as good-natured as a cat breed gets.
Defining the term ‘gentle giant’, the breed often comes with stunning blue eyes to compliment the coat. They get along with anything, even things you might think of as natural prey. Your hamster may be safe alone with this breed.
Despite being considered a large cat they are remarkably relaxed, and picking them up gives you an inkling how the breed got its name. They will fit into almost any household and are remarkably tolerant of intrusions.
Many ragdolls attend shows as they are quite docile while their owners dress them up. They never seem too perturbed about it and are quite affable if you fancy taking them on a walk.
They are quite devoted to their owners, and aren’t particularly demanding, although the long coat will require some maintenance to keep them clean and knot-free.
Ragdolls can be quite expensive if you want a good purebred from a quality seller. They can start around $800 and people have been known to buy them for up to $2000. A cheap Ragdoll will still be around $400.
The American Shorthair
This is an extremely well known and versatile breed. It also has a temperament suited to dog owners. It closely resembles its cousin, the domestic shorthair.
The American shorthair is an extremely relaxed breed, perhaps not as much as the ragdoll, but it is unruffled by domestic life in general.
They are very sociable and house friendly, as well as curious. They have a huge variety of colors and patterns to come in and are easy to maintain. They are highly adaptable and live quite long compared to a lot of other breeds.
Pretty low maintenance might be a good way to describe this breed and are good for busy people. While a pedigree American shorthair can be between the $500 to $700 range, they can be found both much higher and lower from private sellers.
The Birman has been around the US for around 60 years now, but being similar to the Siamese, it comes from Burma (modern-day Myanmar) from where its name derives.
They have very soft, almost silky fur and adore affection. Striking cats to look at, especially as they seem to have piercing blue eyes to accompany the coat. They do seem to like playing and are very affectionate when attention is on them.
Despite the elegance, they have a strong muscular body and is a medium size for a cat. They are quite calm as a breed and aren’t prone to fits of madness, and are highly tolerant of dogs and children
They are relatively low maintenance, not requiring regular combing, and will happily play with toys given to them, maybe even a dog’s tail. This is generally a healthy cat, but this breed is known for needing tooth care, so you may have to make sure it gets its teeth cleaned regularly.
They are an intelligent cat, and due to their looks are very popular with owners, possibly as they always seem to come with white feet
Birmans, for a registered kitten from a decent seller, they are just above average in cost, perhaps around $700 to $800.
Norwegian Forest Cat
With a name like that, you might reasonably guess where this breed originates, and you’d be right. Coming from the dense forests of snow-covered Norway, you might also guess as to these cats’ characteristics. And you’d be right again.
The Norwegian forest cat is a breed of large build, and perhaps the very definition of the word ‘cat’. Alert and highly robust they are built for hardy environments.
Perhaps surprisingly though, considering its ancestry, this cat is an extremely gentle cat, with a friendly disposition and a good nature. They are very sociable and are good with people and other animals.
As you might surmise, they are the official cat of Norway and have a very similar look, temperament, and personality to the Maine Coon, to which they may actually be related
They are a good balance of independence, tolerant, intelligent with cat-like instincts. They like climbing and playing, as well as interacting with those it considers family. As long as they aren’t mistreated, they will get along with anyone, including strangers.
They do shed prolifically, as befits a cat with that much hair for warmth, so regular combing may be necessary.
They are well suited to either an outdoor or indoor life, so they are considered adaptable. They very much like humans.
A Norwegian forest cat, for a pedigree from a decent breeder, will be upwards of $800.
This is a breed many may not be familiar with, which is a shame. They are breed created by breeding both Siamese and Burmese cats. Not surprisingly, they share many of the same traits.
It’s a cat of medium size that is very cat-like. They are not lazy, actually being quite active and will spend a lot of their time trying to work out what you are doing, and what is going on in the world.
Again, this is another breed that is extremely sociable and loyal. The members of the household are family and will be treated as such. Tolerant with dogs and children alike, they are a good choice for a golden retriever owner.
They are not high maintenance either, requiring just the regular combing to keep them looking pristine.
They do like attention and will be first in the queue if they think it will be given out. As their fur is short and silky, this shouldn’t be too much of a problem. Its hair isn’t prone to tangles.
Not being a well-known cat breed, finding one may be more of an issue, than the popular Maine Coon, and prices vary considerably. But upwards of $500 dollars is considered reasonable from a private seller,
Maine Coon – Editors Choice!
When talking about popular cat breeds, on any list that you care to look at, the Maine Coon comes pretty near the top, if not the very top of most polls. This is for a good reason.
Mr. Crookshanks, the cat in Harry Potter is in fact, a Maine Coon to emphasize that fact.
With it also being the official cat for the State of Maine (surprise, right?), this a large cat, robust and built for the hardy climates with which it came into the US.
Much like the Norwegian forest cat, its personality completely belies its history. It has medium to long hair, a double coat, and tufted feet and ears. Perhaps the very definition of a cat.
They are also known as ‘the dogs of the cat world’, such is their nature, and are perhaps the most ideally suited for those who possess a golden retriever.
Maine Coons are intelligent and are good hunters naturally. Say goodbye to any pesky rodent problems you may have. The very opposite of the more docile Ragdoll when it comes to pests.
Being ‘doglike’ makes the Maine Coon come with a whole host of traits that are ideally suited to dog owners in general. They are loyal, quite vocal, and will follow their humans around the house endlessly.
These are big cats as well, one of the biggest on record, in fact, so be prepared to feel a definite presence on your lap should it choose to snuggle up.
It has a nature that is the epitome of friendliness as well. Extremely loyal, they will always want to know what is going on, as well as having a near-perfect playful nature for any prospective cat owner who already has dogs. They fit right in, very quickly.
Maine Coons are likely to play right back with any dog that is interested, but isn’t aggressive or ill-tempered unless you are a rodent.
Maine Coons are sought after as a cat breed and prices reflect this love affair between the breed and humans. A good breeder will sell them for upwards of $800, and a well sought after breeder commands prices higher than that.
You can get them cheaper by buying them slightly older, or from a local private seller. For more information on Maine coon cats, be sure to check out mainecoonexpert.com
How To Introduce The Cat To Your Golden Retriever
Chances are good if you have never done this before your imagination is running wild.
While puppy to a kitten is probably the trickiest introduction to make, as over-exuberance meets fragility, there are methods of making sure the experience is as disaster-free as possible.
Having chosen a good breed of cat hopefully to introduce to your golden retriever, this process should be easier than it might be
A good prerequisite for introducing a cat is to have some places marked for the cat to escape to. Knowing that they can quickly get to safety is a key part of cat interaction with dogs, especially in the early stages. If they want to run away but are limited in doing so you will give rise to a panicked cat, and this is not ideal as a first reaction
High places or a room where they are comfortable would be ideal, and in the very early stages, it is recommended that you make a ‘safe space’ for the cat and prevent your goldie from interrupting them.
Setting the expectation of patience is also prudent at this point. Expecting them to be the best of friends within an evening might be unrealistic. They might take to each other immediately, it’s certainly possible, but it takes as long as it takes. Be patient and don’t rush anything, it’s likely to backfire.
So after getting the house ready for the introduction, and being prepared for the encounter, there are several stages that seem sensible.
Some Initial Thoughts
Kittens are much easier to do this with, as like children they are completely unaware of dangers. They have no frame of reference. A small kitten will happily wander up to a bulldog. Keep in mind then, that as kittens they are more fragile and a playful bite could cause injury
It may not be a good idea to keep them away from each other for too long. The last thing a new cat wants is to be able to hear and smell a large animal, but not be able to visualize the state of the threat. A glimpse that it’s your friendly golden retriever will help them calm down, especially if you are controlling the situation.
The cat will need to get the impression it’s welcome in this particular household.
Quite a good suggestion I’ve heard is to feed them on either side of a door at the same time, as long as they can see each other.
Try to get something that smells heavily of your golden retriever to give to the cat, so there isn’t a massive assault on their senses when they first meet. Help introduce some familiarity, If the cat has something that has its scent on, it might be a good idea to do the reverse, and help your dog acclimatize as well.
The Very First Meeting
This should be highly controlled and not rushed. Make sure your golden retriever is as calm as can be and you have control of them. Sometimes a curious cat will come into the room but have your hand on the dog’s collar to prevent your dog bowling up to them and frightening them. The breeds I have recommended so far are very dog-friendly and will be accustomed to dogs, so they may just wander up and say hello.
Perhaps consider picking the cat up and placing it high up, so it can initially observe the dog without fear. Make sure the dog doesn’t jump up and frighten them.
The main danger is your more excitable goldie frightening the cat. If you have control of it, then this limits the chances of a bad initial meeting.
If the cat flees for any reason, let it. Don’t follow and force the meeting. Familiarity will come eventually, but forcing the situation will cause the exact opposite reaction.
Think small and often, rather than one meeting until they get used to each other, Allow familiarity to do its job, and eventually both animals will be comfortable in the presence of each other.
Make Sure You Are Present to Keep Them Calm
Hopefully, the first encounter will go smoothly, but controlling your golden retriever will be a good idea. Don’t allow their playful nature to be misinterpreted by the new cat. Don’t allow them to chase them.
If the cat runs away or backs off, don’t allow them to chase. This will panic the new cat. Personally, I’d keep hold of their collar.
You should always be present until they are comfortable with one another,
What If You Are a First Time Owner?
If you have never been a cat or dog owner before, and wonder what the impact of your decisions might be, the first thing to do is not to worry too much.
Most cats and dogs develop a household relationship that suits them both quite quickly. An overly aggressive dog or cat is avoided by the other party. While not ideal, it’s far from the outright disaster you might imagine it to be.
Cats and dogs have been used to each other for centuries. Cats out patrolling are very familiar with dogs, and vice versa for your dog out on a walk. Lethal cat and dog fights are very uncommon, as cats are very cautious in nature, and can easily get away anyway.
The odds drop even further when they get used to each other, Chance is very good that they will get to be good friends, but even if they don’t, a relationship acceptable to both that is quite manageable will quickly develop.
Your golden retriever will eventually get used to the sound of the catflap and over time, most likely ignore it, rather than cause instant panic trying to get to the back door in a hurry.
So What Might The Worst Cat Breeds For a Golden Retriever Be?
While any individual can be a delight to the household whatever the breed, the reverse almost certainly is true.
However, some breeds have either instincts or breed-specific personalities that are less likely to be dog compatible. For a golden retriever owner, this is important, as your dog will want to play and interact with the cat.
Thus, selecting the right breed is important, as is avoiding other breeds. With the following breeds of cat, you might want to take some extra care in making sure there is acceptance from both animals before proceeding and committing,
The following breeds, you may have to work a little harder to gain acceptance from both animals.
- Egyptian Mau
Owning a golden retriever is a joy (most of the time), and getting a cat to add to the household should bring an extra something to your residence.
The truth is, most cats and dogs should get along, at least superficially, but picking a breed known to like dogs, and even more specifically, golden retriever friendly is a prudent course of action if you are thinking about adding a cat to your dog’s list of friends and playmates.
There are many breeds that naturally dog-friendly, but my pick would be the Maine Coon, although it’s a very personal choice.
Just in case all those Tom and Jerry cartoons have given you the impression that dogs and cats are constantly at loggerheads, here is a good video to provide some idea of what a Maine Coon and your golden retriever might play like;