I have a cat, can I adopt a greyhound?
The answer is Yes – so long as you listen to advice and follow it. If you are not prepared to follow the advice, please consider a different breed of dog. If you don’t follow the advice you may find you train your greyhound to be really interested in the cat (so the opposite of what yuou set out to achieve). And please remember the training takes 3 months and you must be prepared to use a muzzle and a crate.
How do we know which dogs are cat workable?
ALL greyhounds have a genetic prey drive – meaning a desire to chase small furry things. The degree to which they will bother depends on their training – not all greyhounds are born equal like not all humans are born athletes. We can all walk and run but we cannot win a race – we can be trained to run quicker and for longer – but we still don’t all win races.
Most young greyhounds are FAILED racers and therefore can be trained to live with a cat, IF the owners follow the guidance. Until they come into a rescue, Greyhounds are a commodity. So, unless they are injured, they are not released from the racing industry until they have little potential to win.
We cat test the young greyhounds in a home environment and many of these dogs have gone onto live happily with cats.
Can you guarantee the training will work?
The answer to this is no, because we can only test the dog with our cats and our volunteers. What we cannot test for, is the new environment they are going to live in, in particular:
- The owners lack of patience
- The owners unwillingness to follow the rules (3 months of using a crate) and not giving up after a week or so.
- The owner thinking the rules did not apply to them
- The resident cat being nervous or anxious of the dog
Please also remember, 3 months means 3 months – not 3 days because the rules do not apply to me.
What will make it fail?
Do not confuse inquisitiveness with prey drive – your greyhound will more than likely be very yappy and interested in your cat – how you handle the initial few days, especially the early hours, will dictate how successful the training will be. We make it very clear that your dog may lunge at the cat – that is natural behaviour. We make it very clear that the first few days will be very stressful and you may think it won’t work.
If you get anxious and think it will fail – then it will fail – you will pass all your feelings onto the dog who will think there is an issue with the cat.
If you keep your dog and cat separate – so the cat goes upstairs or on top of cupboards – you have just increased the dogs interest in the cat. You are heading towards failure. The animals need to all be together in the same room – using a crate to keep them safe – NEVER keep them separate in the early days.
What if I don’t want to use a crate?
If you put the dog in a crate, put your feet up and watch TV – the dog and cat can hiss, sniff, yap and annoy each other – but you can keep calm because no one can come to any harm. This is natural behaviour and it is the cat and the dog “getting to know” each other. If you intervene – you stop the training working. The minute you keep the dog and cat separate because that it the easier option – it is game over – you have made the decision to make it not work.
You are not training your greyhound to not have a prey drive – he will always have a prey drive. You are training him to live happily with your cat and understand you are all one family. This is why you will never train your dog not to chase a neighbours cat – your lazy sofa hogging greyhound will remember he has a prey drive if the neighbours cat runs past him.
Please remember these important points
- We make it really clear that the first few weeks may be very stressful – sleepless nights – feelings that it won’t work – but it will work – after 2 weeks you are still only 2 weeks into a 12 week training programme – you need to keep going and keep faith.
- If you do not follow the training it amy not work – there is not point in giving up 3 days into a 3 month training programme and saying it won’t work because the greyhound is interested in the cat – of course he is – that is why you agreed to embark on a 3 month training course when you adopted.
- Lots of greyhound can live happily with cats BUT ONLY when the owners follow the guidance and train them. Please read how to do it here. If you are not willing to do this – then please consider another breed of dog.
- It will be all worth it in the end – we don’t want to put you off adopting if you have a cat we just need you to understand that it ay not be easy and you need to be up for the challenge.