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Are Whippets Good With Cats? Facts & FAQ

Jeff Weishaupt

By Jeff Weishaupt

whippet cat

Whippets are extremely affectionate and active dogs that coexist happily with other dogs and like being around children. But do they extend the same friendliness to cats and other animals? Whippets can be good with cats if you train them early on.

Once trained, these dogs can live with a cat under the same roof without any problem. But even then, you should not leave a Whippet alone with your feline since you never know when they might go into chase mode.

Since Whippets are sighthounds, they belong to the category of dogs bred for their quick instincts. Due to this, your Whippet may chase any moving object, such as a cat or any other small animal. Therefore, if you’re planning to bring a cat into your home with a Whippet, you should know a few things beforehand. Our guide covers most of them, so let’s dive in.

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Can Whippets Co-Exist With All Cats?

Whether a Whippet will be good with your cat depends on the feline’s personality and their reaction to the dog. If you already have a Whippet and are planning to get a new cat, consider your dog’s personality before choosing a kitty.

For instance, if your Whippet has a tendency to get aggressive around moving objects, it might be safer not to get a cat at all. Dogs that growl or bark excessively and lunge at objects could be a hazard to a cat.

But if the Whippet has been socialized, you can get them a feline companion that matches their personality. For example, do not get a small kitten or an elderly cat if your dog likes to play rough. Instead, get a playful cat that’s active enough to engage in playtime with your dog.

Similarly, if your Whippet is an elderly dog, get a laid-back cat. A kitty that runs around excessively could overwhelm your Whippet.

black mask whippet
Image Credit: Vera Mandrikova, Shutterstock

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How to Introduce a Whippet to a Cat

Even if your dog is socialized, they need to follow a proper introduction procedure. It will help your Whippet be more welcoming toward the new addition to the family. Here’s the step-by-step method to introduce a cat to your dog.

1.  Select a Location

The first meeting between a cat and a dog will significantly affect their relationship going forward. If you already have a cat at home and plan to get a Whippet, do not take your kitty to the shelter or the breeder’s place. Instead, introduce your cat to the Whippet when you bring them home.

Similarly, do not take your resident dog to a cat rescue or shelter for hygiene reasons. If your dog has had socialization training, you can introduce them to your new pet cat at home.

Otherwise, get them accustomed to being around cats before you choose to adopt a kitty. You can arrange playdates with your friends’ dog-savvy cats or enroll your Whippet in a socialization class.


2.  Separate Both Animals

whippet cat
Image Credit: cynoclub, Shutterstock

Over the next few days, rotate between freedom for both animals. For example, confine your dog to their crate for a few hours, letting the cat explore the house. Then, keep the cat in a separate room while the dog investigates their scent.

It also helps to have a separation barrier to keep both animals separate. However, if your dog barks excessively at the new pet, they might need more time to warm up to the cat. You can hire a professional trainer if you’re not confident about your training skills.

If they behave normally, you can move on to the following step.


3.  Introduce Them on a Leash

Now that both animals have investigated each other’s scent, they will be less skeptical. You can keep them in the same room or space now. The dog should be on a leash. If the cat allows, put them in a harness too.

Keep introducing both animals like this until they calm down. A good sign is that they will use their litter boxes normally. They will also not show any signs of aggression or fear.

Here are some warning signs that your Whippet may be getting aggressive:

  • Complete Focus:If your Whippet focuses consistently on the cat without taking their eyes off the kitty, that’s a warning sign. They may also lunge forward as soon as the cat moves.
  • Growling: Barking, snapping, and growling at a quiet cat also indicates aggression.

4.  Allow Interaction

Blue whippet
Image Credit: JR foto, Shutterstock

Once you’re certain that both animals have learned how to be on their best behavior around each other, the leash can go. Let them interact with each other around the house.

Keep an eye on them when they play together to ensure your Whippet does not hurt the cat. No matter how friendly they seem, do not leave them alone unsupervised.

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How to Train a Whippet Not to Chase Cats

As mentioned, Whippets have a natural instinct to chase moving animals. However, you can train your dog not to chase the cat at home.

Recall training and obedience training can help immensely in this regard. A recall is a must-have if your dog likes to chase moving objects and you’re expecting a new pet.

The purpose of a “reliable recall” is to ensure your dog will come to you on command. Since they aren’t robots, you cannot guarantee your Whippet will obey your recall command every time, but a reliable recall can maximize the instances when your Whippet will come to you.

Teaching your dog to “come” to you will get them to stop the chase. Similarly, you can teach them to “stop.”

When to Keep a Cat Away From a Whippet

Most sighthounds aren’t very obedient, but Whippets are an exception. Even then, there are instances where it would be better not to have a pet cat in the house.

If your Whippet has exhibited aggressive behavior toward a cat before, that’s a red flag. Dogs with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) or anxiety also have a hard time adjusting to a new member in the house.

If your Whippet makes several attempts to attack a cat during the first introduction or initial interactions, they might not be able to adjust well to a new pet.

You have two options in such instances. First, give up the idea of keeping a cat and dog in the same house. Second, hire a professional to train your Whippet and help them adjust to the presence of a cat.

whippet in field
Image Credit: Dora Zett, Shutterstock

When to Socialize a Whippet

You can start socializing your Whippet at 7 to 8 weeks of age. By this time, they would have received their first set of vaccines.

Early socialization can help your pet become a good companion to a cat, other dogs, and your family. You must not force your Whippet into uncomfortable situations where they feel nervous. Instead, introduce them to new environments and animals slowly.

The key is to prevent withdrawal and overstimulation. Let your dog take their time warming up to new people, places, dogs, or other animals.

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Conclusion

Whippets are sociable dogs that do well around children, strangers, and other pets. You can also expect your Whippet to be gentle with a cat, provided they have received early socialization training.

Combine socialization training with obedience and recall training to ensure you can stop your dog before they cause any serious harm. Even if your Whippet is a calm and friendly dog that has welcomed a cat into the house without much trouble, you should not leave the two of them alone.

Always supervise your Whippet around a cat or children. Their natural instinct can trigger their chase response, resulting in someone getting hurt.


Featured Image Credit: cynoclub, Shutterstock

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