Can A Whippet Get Along With Cats?

can a whippet get along with cats?

If you’re a whippet owner that’s debating introducing a cat to the family, or maybe you’re a cat owner that’s thinking about a whippet, either way, you’re in the right place.

I’ve owned many whippets over the years and have a good understanding of how they behave around cats, rabbits and other prey animals.

In fact, around five years ago my partner decided to bring home a cat into our house of three whippets, as you can imagine things got a little hectic at first, but after a while, they managed to get along just great.

It’s all about introducing the animals slowly and in a controlled environment, this way you’ll ensure that nobody gets injured and your furry friends can get along with each other.

In this post we are going to answer, can a whippet get along with cats?

To help you better understand the nature of whippets and how to form a friendship that will last a lifetime between these animals.

Let’s get to it…

Why Do Cats And Dogs Not Typically Get Along

Introducing a whippet to a cat can be a little tricky at first; both animals have a natural instinct, which makes them want to fight until blood is drawn, and one retreats.

But it’s got to be more than just instinct, so why do cats and dogs dislike one another?

Well, it goes back many years, before cats and dogs were domesticated animals.

In Britain cats and dogs used to roam the streets looks for scraps of food to survive, so there was a natural competition as to who would win the fight for food.

Dogs are ultimately descendants from wolves and have a natural pack instinct; this means they would naturally back down if they felt their opponent was stronger.

Whilst cats are descendants from lone predators, so once they committed the chance of them backing down was incredibly strong.

If you look at a cats and dogs history, it goes way back to some fierce animals that used to fight for survival, so neither of the two would back down easily, especially for a tasty meal.

This is why cats and dogs typically don’t get along, with them both having these fierce genetics still in them; they are natural sworn enemies with a hatred for one another.  

How To Introduce A Whippet To A Cat

Thankfully in today’s age, cats and dogs are domesticated animals, which don’t need to fight for a scrap of chicken anymore.

Both dogs generally have separated feeding areas and can live together quite nicely in most cases.

The trick to achieving this is to introduce the pair to each other slowly and in a controlled environment.

As mentioned my partner decided to bring home a black cat named Gypsy into our family home of three whippets some years ago, how we managed to control their relationship was introducing them one by one, in a very controlled environment.

Allowing each animal to sniff each other out and keeping our whippets incredibly calm and controlled, I also used a muzzle at the time to ensure that the cat was totally safe.

It takes time to introduce a whippet to a cat, as they are naturally cautious of each other and are always on high alert.

Once you’ve introduced the animals outside, it’s time to move into the house and introduce them in the same room as each other.

You should ensure the whippet is muzzled, and on a tight secure leash, keeping him completely calm and at ease until they completely ignore each other.

They need to get used to each other being around, and after a while of doing this, they’ll start to get used to the idea of one another being in their space.

Both animals can be quite territorial, so this process will take a little while for both animals to get used to the idea, but providing your dog is muzzled and under control, they should get along just fine once introduced correctly.

Being Aware Of A Whippets Instinct

Whilst you’re introducing a whippet to a cat, you should always be mindful of a whippet natural hunting instinct.

These dogs were bred and chase small game such as rabbits and rats, so you’ll need to bear this in mind whilst introducing a cat (another small animal).

Whippets are incredibly fast dogs that can move at lightning-fast speeds, which is why you need to keep him on a leash and under control at all times when around a cat.

can a whippet get along with cats?
Image: andy carter

Whippets typically hunt rabbits, but they’ll chase pretty much anything that’s furry and running until you get him used to the idea of being around a cat.

How Long Does It Take For A Whippet To Get Used To A Cat?

So how long does it take for a whippet to get used to a cat?

This really depends and should be judged on an individual basis.

However, the typical time is around two to three weeks, and in my experience, the whole process took around four weeks before I felt comfortable enough to relax the restrictions on my whippet around the house.

This process really depends on how well you can teach your whippet to behave around cats, it could take you much longer but it’s better to be safe than sorry with this introduction.

Once you see that the pair and unphased by each other, this is when you can start to relax the restrictions, but only under a watchful eye.

Whippets Are Very Sociable Dogs

Once you’ve introduced your whippet to a cat and they are fully comfortable with each other, they can become great friends.

My whippets used to play with our cat whilst we were outside, and they actually became quite scared of our cat.

It was a funny combination as our small black cat (Gypsy) used to run rings around all three of our whippets.

Over time this bond became very strong, with Gypsy even having the confidence to sleep on our whippets, they used to groom each other and really enjoy each other’s company.

Whippets are very sociable dogs, so I think they really enjoyed each other’s company when they got used to the idea.

Be Careful About Leaving A Whippet Alone With A Cat

Introducing a whippet to a cat can be tricky at first, but over time you may be able to leave them alone together when they get used to one another.

However, even once your whippet is fully used to your cat being in and around your home, it’s still not recommended that you leave the pair alone together for long periods.

You’ll need to be fully confident in your whippets and ensure that there is no chance they would ever strike at your cat, this bond and trust can take years to form.

It’s not worth the risk, nobody wants to come home to their cat mauled by their whippet.

can a whippet get along with cats?
Image: andy carter

I didn’t leave my whippets alone with Gypsy for many years, even though Gypsy ruled the roost and had my whippets wrapped around her paw, I still didn’t trust them just in case the worst did happen.

Eventually, I did learn to trust them enough and found that I could leave them alone and nothing would happen, but you need to be absolutely sure before taking this step.

Ensure that your whippet is gentle with smaller animals, and if you’ve got a working whippet then you’ll need to be even more careful with this partnership.

Working whippets are whippets that are used to hunt regularly, so will be more willing to grab your cat if provoked.

Final Thoughts

So can a whippet get along with cats? Absolutely!

However, it’s a long process and needs to done strategically over a couple of weeks, even months.

Cats and dogs aren’t the best of friends in many situations, especially if they’ve never met before.

This is why it’s important to ensure that your whippet is muzzled and on a leash that you have full control over whilst you introduce the pair.

Once you’ve introduced them correctly, you should find that over the next couple of months they start being unphased by one another, and they may even end up being friends over time.

My three whippets learned to respect a cat that my partner brought home over time, although we had to be very careful it ended up being a wonderful bond between three whippets and a cat.

Hopefully, you now have a better understanding of introducing a whippet to a cat and how to do it correctly, and what you can do to make it as smooth as possible.

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