Can Whippets Get Along With Cats?

can whippets get along with cats

It can be quite a handful being a dog owner, but even more so if you own a cat too. This pair will certainly keep you on your toes, after all, it’s common knowledge that cats and dogs aren’t exactly the best of friends.

But why is that? Well, dogs have an instinct to chase small prey such as cats, and cats don’t enjoy being chased by a much larger animal.

The pair often lock heads and fight, and it doesn’t help that dogs love to wind up cats by barking and threatening cats. But what about whippets? These dogs wouldn’t hurt a fly? Never mind a cat?

Well, there’s more to be said on this subject. Which is why in this post we’re going to answer, can whippets get along with cats?

To help you decide whether it’s a smart idea bringing a cat into your home if you’re a whippet owner.

Let’s get to it…

Whippets And Cats Can Get Along

Now before you dismiss the idea of owning both a whippet and a cat, the first thing you should know is that this pair can get along.

In fact, I’ve experienced this friendship myself. My partner once found a cat that had been tied to a lamppost whilst driving home from work a couple of years ago, we assume the owner had enough of the poor cat and abandoned it.

So she brought it in her car and into our family home with her whilst we waited for the RSPCA (Royal Society For The Prevention Of Cruelty To Animals).

If I’m honest, I was terrified, I didn’t think bringing a cat into a house with two whippets was the brightest idea, but my partner was adamant that our dogs would be just fine and so brought the cat in.

can whippets get along with cats?
Image: Michael Mangold

At first, there was tension in the air, but within a couple of hours the tension lifted, and our whippets were just fine with having a cat in their home.

Naturally, they were curious and on guard, but as a whole, the dogs weren’t too bothered by a cat being in our home.

However, this isn’t to be said for all whippets, and I really do believe it’s because of how highly trained and obedient our dogs are, but it just goes to show that whippets and cats can certainly live together and that not all hope is lost for this friendship. 

How To Introduce Your Whippet To A Cat

There are a couple of things you need to know about introducing your whippet to a cat, as this pair instinctively don’t enjoy each other’s company which can be a recipe for disaster in many cases.

The first thing that it needs to be a slow and gradual process, as we’ve mentioned dogs and cats really don’t like each other – so it’s going to take some time for them to get used to being around one another.

You should introduce your whippet to a cat in a slow and controlled environment, having your dog on a leash so that he’s very calm and relaxed.

You should ensure your home is peaceful and calm whilst introducing this pair, you don’t want to have lots of noise or distractions which could cause problems.

Another great idea when introducing your whippet to a cat is to ensure that the cat has its own space.

This could be an area of your home which is sectioned off so your cat can go and relax, just like a crate for a dog.

This space is personal for your pets, it allows them to go there and feel safe and secure, away from any other pets in the home.

Being patient is the key here, it can take anywhere from between one and six weeks for this pair to get used to one another.

I know I mentioned above that my whippets got used to a cat very quickly, but I believe this is rare and it’s usually a much longer process.

Being patient with both animals is important, they’re living with one another now and need to understand each other’s boundaries, which will naturally take time. 

A Whippets Prey Drive

If you’re a regular reader here at WhippetCentral then you’ll have heard me talk a lot about a whippet prey-drive.

This is essentially the build-in drive that a whippet has to chase prey, which is why they do so well as racing and working dogs.

This prey-drive is incredibly strong, and it’s very hard to train out of a whippet as it’s hardwired into them from the day they were born.

These dogs will chase just about any prey animal that is small and running away from them, which is why it’s super important to be aware of how strong your whippets prey drive is before bringing a cat into your home.

The stronger your dog’s prey-drive the longer it’s going to take for your pet to get used to having a cat at home, that’s not to say it’s not possible for them to live together at all – just it will take more time than a whippet that doesn’t have this strong instinct.

Signs Your Whippet May Not Be Suited To Living With A Cat

Not all whippets are suited to living with a cat, which is fair enough given that the two are sworn enemies that have a hardwired hatred for one another.

Here are some signs to look out for which may suggest your whippet isn’t suited to living with a cat: 

Aggression

If you’ve got a whippet that shows a lot of aggression towards other dogs, then bringing a cat into your home is not a good idea.

Whippets are rarely aggressive, but they are out there – if you’ve got an aggressive whippet then keeping him under control via a leash, and ensuring he never gets close to a cat is very important as this could be disastrous.

High prey-drive

As we’ve mentioned above, it’s important to pay close attention to your whippet prey drive.

If it’s exceptionally strong, meaning he chases just about everything that’s moving, then it’s not a good idea to bring a cat into your home.

Untrained

If your whippet doesn’t pay much attention to you and rather does what he pleases, then a cat isn’t a good idea.

Some whippets can be much harder to train than others, it’s important that if you’re introducing a cat into your home that you whippet is highly trained and listens to your every command.

This is essential, you should never bring a cat into a home with an untrained whippet. 

Old Whippets

It’s usually much easier to introduce a cat into a home with a whippet if your dog is young.

This is because your dog is more impressionable and can learn to live with a cat quickly and even become friends. If your whippet is older, chances are he has lived most of his life chasing and not enjoying the company of cats, so it may not be wise to introduce a cat to your whippet if he’s quite old. 

Unpredictable

If your whippet is unpredictable, then he won’t be suitable to live with a cat.

You need to be 100 percent confident that your whippet can live with a cat before you even think about introducing the pair.

If your whippet is quite unpredictable and you find that he exhibits strange mood swing behaviour, then keep him far away from prey animals such as rabbits and cats. 

What To Do If Your Whippet And Cat Don’t Get Along

Like any new relationship, it can take a while for the pair to start to get along and accept each other as part of the family.

The first thing you should do is give your pets time to adjust to the big change, there’s now another pet sharing the same space which can be quite daunting for most animals.

can whippets get along with cats?
Image: roy saunby

If you find that your whippet and cat aren’t getting along, then you should try to separate the pair as much as possible whilst at home.

Only allow the pair to meet and interact whilst you’re supervising and both animals are under complete control, as well as being in a calm, relaxed setting.

Using a crate to your advantage is a great way to help the pair’s relationship, crate your whippet whilst allowing your cat to roam for short periods, this will allow your whippet to see that the cat is no threat and simply living in the same space as your whippet.

You under no circumstances should leave the pair alone, and always ensure you’re present whilst the two have any interactions whatsoever.

The most important thing to note is that this relationship can work, whippets and cats can live together but it just takes time.

Whippets have a very relaxed and calming personality, they can get along with just about any animal if introduced correctly and given enough time to adapt to the change. 

Final Thoughts

So can whippets get along with cats? Yes, absolutely. This is an unlikely pair that can become quite good friends, especially if introduced from a young age.

Whippets are very social dogs that enjoy interaction with other pets, although they have a high prey drive and should be closely monitored whilst interacting with any animals that could be seen as prey, there’s a strong chance that your whippet and cat will become friends.

As long as you’re present and monitoring the situation all of the time, there should be no reason why the pair can’t be friends, apart from the signs I’ve mentioned above.

If you’ve got an unpredictable or aggressive whippet, then please don’t let him near a cat or other prey animals, this could be a disaster and is not worth the risk.

Personally, I don’t recommend bringing a cat into a home where there are whippets, it’s safer to keep these animals separate and not worth risking anything that could be dangerous.

Hopefully, you’ve enjoyed this post and now know a thing or two about whippets interacting with cats and have learned that this unlikely partnership is possible.

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