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FAQs - Living with cats
Many breeds of dog
will chase cats, the difference is that greyhounds are more likely to
Lots of owners report
their greyhounds living with cats, chickens, rabbits etc quite happily.
A few dogs may be afraid of the cat. Many dogs can be trained to accept
that cats living in the home are friends, and not dinner. Even if they
accept their own family cats, dogs that are keen to chase are not easily
de-trained from trying to chase small prey when they are out on walks.
It's the owner's responsibility to make sure that the dog isn't let off
the lead if he might endanger another animal.
Greyhounds have been
bred to chase small furry animals, either for racing or coursing. They
are then training to chase. In spite of all this, the most common reason
for a dog to be dropped from training is failure to chase. Lurchers may
have the chasing instinct, and some may have been 'worked' which will
sharpen this drive.
The key thing is to
work with your re-homing group to find the right dog for your home situation.
They will also be able to advice on how to safely introduce the dog and
Here's the word from
some people that have already done it:
- There are lots
of greyhounds that are safe with cats. Depending on where you are, your
nearest greyhound group should be able to help. They will probably know
which of their dogs would suit you and will have 'cat-tested' (safely
for the cat!!!). Also should visit you at home to discuss pros &
cons to help you and the dog get the best start. If they do not have
one, they will probably be able to give you the name of a group that
does. It may mean waiting for a short while - but not always.
- ... with our most
recent hound, it took a lot of work (he was clearly trained with live
prey, and has a very strong prey drive). It's quite do-able, but I'd
read everything I could, first - and also keep your grey muzzled until
you're absolutely sure nothing will happen (cats can show their resentment
at the new intruder in some pretty clever ways...)
- Our retired 6 year
old grey has a strong chasing instinct and gets wildly excited when
he sees an unknown cat on our walks. However we do have a tiny, weedy,
cat of our own and they get on fine (did so within a month). I think
the dog no longer considers her under the category 'cat', just 'other
thing that lives in house'. We did all the usual things on introduction
and we always make sure that the cat has an escape route and a safe
place if the two of them are left alone. But we've never had any problems
to date. My experience is that just about any animals (obviously within
reason) will learn to get on happily with each other with careful initial
management (and 3 weeks is the usual adjustment time). So for anyone
with a cat considering getting a dog, yes get a greyhound - they're
- ... it was important
to get a dog that would not attack the cats, within 24 hours Harry was
only to happy to lay on the floor while the cats used his ribcage as
a springboard to get onto the chair! Harry is a well mannered dog who
has not shown the slightest inclination to chase anything (other than
me up and down the garden)and he is settling in well. The Nottingham
Greyhound Trust have been absolutely fantastic with matching a dog to
my needs and environment, if you have not called your local branch I
strongly suggest you do, the advice is invaluable and I am sure it will
help put your mind at rest.
- Non-chasers are
often very good candidates for cat-testing, and, as a bonus, they are
still young, often with no exclusions to put on the pet insurance, and
often a little more playful and puppyish than older ex-racers. There
are of course also some ex-racers who have very little interest in chasing
real cats, and there are more ex-racers who can be trained not to chase,
at least not to chase the family cats.
- I was assured by
Anne Finch of Greyhounds in Need that her beautiful rescued galgos were
perfectly well behaved with cats. We were apprehensive, however Charlie
(the galgo) proved to be very well mannered - until recently he wouldn't
even eat his food if the cats were in the kitchen and has never tried
to chase them or any that we have seen on our walks. In fact he has
brought peace to their lives, as one of our cats was always bullied
by the other. Now that the smaller one has set up an alliance with the
dog (they sleep in the same basket), there is no more bullying. Incidentally,
he has also demonstrated that he is not interested in chasing chickens,
sheep, lambs, rabbits or squirrels. (Although he loves chasing/playing
with other dogs). If you are considering adopting a greyhound but are
worried about your other pets, I would highly recommend contacting Anne
or others from Greyhounds in Need.
- Be very careful
and if you are really serious about a greyhound try to get one that
will accept cats. Our Elkie came to us and like you we had one very
nervous cat as well as an old cat and a kitten. The nervous cat was
petrified and never took to the dog. The kitten got bowled over and
had to spend 6 weeks in a cage to mend a cracked scapula ! Elkie took
a long time to get used to the cats - even now 18 months later I would
not trust her totally.
- We've got two greys
and are currently fostering a lurcher. All three are fine with both
cats, even the one who is a little strange - he bolts in front of them
as though they're going to murder him, even when he's been curled up
with them five minutes before. Stupid creature.
- We have had Bouncer
for nearly a year now. At first he thought the cat was fair game, but
with time, patience and careful handling, they became firm friends.
- He's always been
much happier with smaller dogs, and accepts a firm 'no' about chasing
cats, except when you're not looking! He does know it's naughty, though,
and in actual fact is scared of cats when they stop and hiss. He even
plays with my mother's ex-feral cat who has taught him who's boss!
- We've got 6 dogs
now, and we're training the new arrival NOT to chase my 5 cats. With
all my other dogs (and hopefully with this one eventually,) I found
a spray of water on the nose deterred them from chasing in the house/garden.
They will chase outside, but only in play, cause if they 'catch' their
prey, they just nudge them as if to say "Go on then, run, so I can chase
you some more"!!
- Just a few months
ago my boyfriend brought a kitten home. this was a big test....an ex-racer/stray
with a small furry thing. His approach was no different, he ran to Oscar
and wanted to play! I tried to calm him down a bit in case Oscar got
squashed! but now they play chase...and it works both ways, Oscar sometimes
chases Ben although I think Ben is usually oblivious to being chased
as Oscar is mainly trying to catch the white tip on Bens tail!!
- I have a spannish
sighthound adopted through GIN and despite the fact that she is not
yet perfect with cats, she has learned that my cat was a huge "NO HUNT"
and she is wonderfull with small dogs.
provided by contributors to the SpeakEasy, and summarised by Jill
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