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Are they good with cats?

Updated: Dec 24, 2022

While writing personality profiles on dogs there are always those 3 big questions:

  1. "Are they good with other dogs?"

  2. "Are they good with children?"

  3. "Are they good with cats?"

I think most people understand that, even if a dog gets along with the majority of other dogs, the answer is really; it depends on the situation and the other dogs.

How does the other dog interact with dogs? Where are they being introduced? Is there a resource involved? Are they on or off leash? What else is happening in the environment? How are both dogs feeling?

The same applies to children. How old are the children? What is the environment like? How do the children interact with dogs? For some reason though, I don't think most people understand that cats are the same way.

At Doggedly we always do our best to expose our dogs to at least one cat prior to adoption. During this "cat test" we observe the dog's behavior in order the aid in placing them in an appropriate home.

If the dog is calm, and able to sniff or interact with the cat and hang out in the same room as the cat - we consider the dog appropriate to place in a home with cats.

If the dog is barking, lunging, growling, or aggressively obsessing over the cat - we consider the dog a potential danger to cats, and therefor will not place them in a home with them. But are they good with cats? It depends.

In reality, considering both of the scenarios above, a dog may be able to safely live with cats under the right circumstances. Alternatively they have the potential to harm or even kill a cat under the wrong circumstances.

Behavior depends on environment. Every individual dog and cat is different. Health, life stressors, age and situation all affect interactions. It depends just as much on the cat's personality as it does the dog's. It depends on how much time, care, and consideration the adoptive home puts in to the initial integration and introduction. It depends on the dog's genetic make-up, early life exposures and overall personality.

Has the cat ever met a dog before? How old is the cat? What does the cat do when they see the dog? Are there multiple cats?