Golden Retriever good breed for a nervous cat?

Hi guys.
Me and the wife are looking into getting a dog. My first dog, ever! (She’s had several growing up.) Problem is, we have a very high-strung cat.
Example: got a new pair of nylon(?) workout pants, recently. The type the make kind of a “whooshy” noise when you walk. Anyway, the noise of my pants scared the cat. Sent her hiding in the closet, per usual.
Yes, pants.
We love the little dickens to death, she was an abused kitty (she’s about 7, now) and we go out of our way to be accommodating. However, we’d really love a dog.

We’ve been doing some homework and it seems that Golden Retrievers might be a good dog for us. Smart, friendly, easily trained, effectionate. Supposedly good with other animals.

What are your takes on Goldens with cats? Would it be better to get a puppy or an older dog with prtevious cat experiance. I’m almost inclined to go puppy, just because I think my cat might find it a litle less threatening.

Or, is there some other (preferably non-toy) dog that is better with cats?

No matter how nice the dog is to the cat, or how “good with cats” it is, it sounds like your cat may freak out. It won’t help if the dog isn’t well behaved (which is a reason, IMHO, not to get a puppy but rather to get an older, well trained dog with experience with cats). I have no comment to make for or against Goldens. The defining factor here may be your cat.

You may have to consider keeping them in seperate parts of the house.

Have you considered using pheromones? There is a product available called “Feliway” which mimics the feline facial pheromone and has recieved good reports from veterinary behaviourists. It is supposed to have a calming effect on cats.

If your cat really is terrified and you can’t stand the thought of not having a dog, it might be appropriate to visit a veterinarian who specialises in animal behaviour, to talk about the possibility of anti-anxiety medication.

Our golden retriever is 8 years old and our cat is 2. The dog has always been non-threatening and didn’t even approach the kitten when we brought him home from the humane society. The kitten was about 2 months old at the time. They’re fine. I know that’s not your situation, but, if you’re going to get a dog, think that a golden would be a good choice.

a neurotic cat will always remain neurotic (kinda like some people I know…but this thread isnt about my boss, it’s about your cat)

I once knew a cat that spent half her life underneath the bedspread. Whenever anybody came to visit at her house, she “hid” by climbing up the bed, underneath the decorative blanket spread on top, and making a huge lump in the middle of the bed (she ,presumably thought that she was invisible–after all , she couldnt see us.)

So whatever dog you get, the cat probably wont be friendly to it. But it ought to be illegal to have any dog that isnt gentle and loving, which most Golden Retreivers-and Labradors- are known to be.

Agree that any dog at all might be ( probably will be ) an issue. But retreivers, especially Golden’s, while sweet and not usually prone to attacking smaller animals ( especially if raised as a puppy around them ), are very boisterous and might get on a nervous cat’s last nerve.

A quieter indoor dog like a Scottish Deerhound might be a slightly safer bet in that respect. But again, any dog sounds like it might be a problem at some level to the extent that the difference might be negligible.

  • Tamerlane

One potential problem is that if the cat is threatened by this new member of the household, she may start peeing all over the place in protest. This is not a good thing, and can be almost impossible to stop once it gets going ( because the rugs continue to smell like pee(to the cat) no matter how much you try and clean them, leading the cat to think “litter box”).

chappachula my Aunt has a cat that does the same thing. I lived with her for almost a year and that cat never got used to me.

Back to the OP. seriousart I am one of the last people who would ever push one of the latest fad breeds, and if you do look for one of these dogs, don’t get one from a pet store, make sure you get lots of references on the breeder, but have you looked at Golden Doodles? They are a cross of Standard Poodle and Golden Retriever. I got 3 5 month olds into my dog rescue last year, and I loved them. They are such cute dogs, low to no shedding, from what I have heard the breed tends to be low key in the house (these pups sure were). I have talked to a few dedicated breeders, who do hip and eye checks on the parents, so they are out there (and of course there are breeders out there who are just out to make a quick buck, but that’s the same with every breed). Not to say your cat will like one any better than say a Golden, but I think if I was going to go out an buy a dog, that is what I would get.

Any puppy will be active and will be bouncy, regardless of the breed. Look into an adult dog, possibly from a rescue group, who is laid back and ok with cats (i.e. ignores them completely).

Otherwise, your cat will have a nervous breakdown.

Sounds like the cat could have one regardless of what you bring home… :wink:


I agree, the cat will probably always be nervous. However, if you want a good, quiet dog, consider adopting an adult Greyhound that’s been “cat-tested” (i.e. is laid back with cats). They sleep a lot, don’t bark, and just want to be petted when they’re awake.

I’d say that the right golden might be a good choice, but you do have to know exactly who to go to. Rescue might be a good choice, as they’d have older, trained dogs and they’ll know which ones might be good with cats. Breeders also may have adult dogs who are retired from their show career, but they’ve decided not to use them in their breeding program and instead place them in a pet home.

My parents have a golden who is a total couch potato. I mean, this dog’s mission in life is to ensure that the carpet doesn’t get up and run away. He spends all his time sprawled out, keeping it pinned down, just in case. He’s a marshmallow dog. He’s wall-to-wall carpeting. A dog-shaped puddle, if you will. He loves cats, kittens, and puppies. There were many times when one of the consant string of abandoned kittens who moved through our house (dad’s a vet, they were always getting left in our yard or found in the street in front of our house, etc) would be bouncing up and down on his head, or attacking his ears, and he would heave this great sigh, look very pleased, and move his head so it would look like his ears were fighting back or something.

Okay, so we had these friends of the family, who were in love with our dog and decided they wanted one just like him for their kids, who were small at the time. But no one explained to them the difference between field-bred goldens and bench goldens. So they went and got a golden and brought her home, and she was all over the place. Dog couldn’t stand still for two consecutive seconds. I’ve seen her literally bounce off the walls. She cannot be in the house for any length of time, because she tears around, knocking stuff over, just a complete hyperactive spaz. In short, a working-bred field dog who doesn’t get enough excercise or training.

So be sure you know what you’re looking for, and be very clear with the breeders you talk to and rescue groups that you’re looking for a mellow type bench golden.

I can’t say for a nervous cat in particular, but the cat I had before, I had her since she was weaned, and when she was about 3 years old we brought home a boxer/lab mix puppy.

We kinda worried about it, for a minute, until we realized she was ten times faster then him, and had no reservations about teaching him such.

He would stumble over to her, tongue drouling, feet stamping, tail wagging, easily ten times her size, (she never got over 6 pounds) and she would back up, arch, and her paws became invisible flurry, aimed at him.

He learned, quickly, “uh, that black thing, hmmmm… never mind”

When they got older, or should I say, when he got older, they slept together, in a pile.

we have a very mild-mannered old golden and a much younger cat. THe dog is very gentle and in fact runs away when the cat is playful. However, she’s much bigger than the cat and if she gets too excited she can frighten him. Our Golden was quite rambunctious as a puppy, but all young dogs are to some degree. The cat we now have isn’t nervous, but when the dog was a puppy, we had a very, very shy cat and they got along well. The cat was older and had been in the house for a while and this may have helped. The dog was gentle and the cat kind of bossed her around, even though she (the cat) was shy around us.

I can say for sure that our golden is the most gentle dog I have ever known.

Even though most golden retrievers are good with other animals, remember they are individuals and have their own personalities.

The reason I state this is because I used to work for a Humane Society and one of the other workers adopted a golden retreiver and had to bring it back because it grabbed one of her cats by the leg and tossed it across the room.