This is just the PRH way of helping you acclimate your dog and cat. You may find more tips on other websites and that's great, we just ask that you use your best judgment and good old fashion common sense when introducing your Greyhound to cats, dogs and other critters. When in doubt, pick up the phone and call or email us.
Cats and Critters and The "Test"
Every dog that comes through Project Racing Home is cat tested. What does "cat tested" mean? Well I suppose an explanation may be in order here, so here goes it. Greyhound adoption groups use various methods. Our method is to take the resident cat and the Greyhound, who is muzzled and on a short leash, into a safe neutral territory. This requires two people, one to hold the cat and be its protector and the other to hold the dog.
While one person sits down holding the cat and talking to the cat, the Greyhound is allowed to notice the cat. A dog with a high prey drive (desire to chase) will crouch down into a stalking position and focus single-mindedly on the cat. An attempt will be made to draw the dog's attention away from the cat. A high prey driven dog will not be drawn from his focus on the cat. If the dog appears over eager or exceptionally curious about the cat, its safe to say he is not going to do well with cats. The cat is never let out of the arms of the helper when we have a high prey driven dog.
A dog who can reside with cats behaves quite differently. Upon seeing the cat the dog may wag his tail, approach cautiously and sniff, ignore the cat or show some interest but is easily drawn away. Some greyhounds are even fearful of cats, and step away from cat entirely. In either case, no harm comes to the cats or the dogs. Occasionally the testing is not clear-cut. That is why all dogs are given repeated tests.
PRH does the best possible job of evaluating cat-comfortable dogs. Our method is a good one, but is not fool-proof. There are no guarantees. A word of caution. All adopters with cats are advised to follow special procedures and use caution when introducing their greyhound to a cat. The Greyhound should be wearing a muzzle during introductions. During the first couple days there needs to be a moderator in the room. If no one is present and the dog is not crated then you must use the muzzle to safe guard any unforeseen incidents from occurring. Greyhound - cat introductions should be done gradually and with great care. Failure to follow these special guidelines can result in tragic consequences for your cat or maybe even your dog. If done right, it is possible for greyhounds to share a home with cats. Outside cats are not advised when owning a Greyhound. Changing the dynamics of the circumstance, the outside cat is not safe in the yard with the Greyhound. Inside the house you set a controlled environment.
One thing must be made absolutely certain, most any dog will chase a cat, just like a cat will chase a mouse. It's the nature of the circle of life and just how things are. No matter what type of dog you bring into a cats castle, they will instinctively chase the cat and dependant on your cat, she may attack the dog! It is up to you, the owner and ruler of the castle to make for sure that rules are followed.
Here are some rules and how you can some situations...
RULE #1 OK, so we have to sniff behinds! Cats and dogs should be introduced in a confined neutral territory. The bathroom works best as no one really ever claims that as "their" turf, it's small and you can close the door. Muzzle your Greyhound, take the cat or dog into the bathroom with the Greyhound and allow them to sniff each other. The cat will probably be scared, its only natural for that to occur unless she is well versed in "dog". This allows both animals to meet each other and see what the other looks like. They may not be friends right away so just expect them to "observe" each other for the first week or more.
RULE #2 Cats are not squeaky toys and should not be treated as such. Do not allow your greyhound to chase the cat even in play. No doubt if you have a playful cat at some point the cat will initiate play by bopping the dog on the head and running! While this is cute behavior, its not necessarily the best behavior for the Greyhound. When you see the dog chasing the cat, use your firm deep chested all mighty "NO" and say cat..."NO CAT". You do not need to yell...just bark as if your the big dog! The dog will know what they did was not acceptable and the behavior should cease as the Greyhound wants nothing more than to please you. This rule also applies to small dogs. We would not want a Greyhound to step on the small dog and injure them. Supervised play and no outside alone together with out a muzzle until you are certain the dogs will get along. Even then, the muzzle is still your friend and may save a life. Please be sure to read the "Muzzle" page for help and reasons for using the muzzle.
RULE #3 The cat shall have a sanctuary of her own. In other words, the cat needs to have hiding places. This is just normal cat behavior but it is also vital to your cat accepting the dog. You will find that your cat will sit and watch the dog from its secret hiding place. She is figuring out what that big, long legged thing you just brought in the house is! This is easily established by the use of baby gates! If you can partition the house off or give the cat its own special room, you create a safe haven for the kitty! Your cat will be grateful.
RULE #4 The cat shall get extra treats and lots of "rubbies"! Do not get angry at your cat if she is mean towards your new dog. Again this is just the cats way of initiating the dog into the home, unless of course she attacks the dog like a rabid wolf, then we got a seriously upset kitty on our hands. Do not force your cat to come to you for its lovins you should go to them and let them know they are still the cat of the castle.
RULE #5 The cat needs to respect the dog. Unless you have an attack cat, this should not be a problem. But, if you allow your cat to hunt and stalk the dog then it needs to be stopped immediately.