Many greyhounds get along very well with cats and smaller fuzzy animals. The key to forging a good relationship between the two is keeping a few important points in mind. The greyhound is one of the oldest breeds of hunting dogs. For over 5,000 years they have been bred to chase (and kill) smaller prey. Some greyhounds have a much stronger prey drive than others and would not do well in a home with smaller animals, while others seem disinterested or even afraid of the smaller pets and do extremely well. Kindred Spirits “cat tests” all of our greyhounds prior to re-homing and will help you introduce your new greyhound to your existing pets, but it is up to you to give the supervision necessary to create a good bond within the pack.
Initial introductions to cats and smaller pets should take place inside your home with the greyhound leashed and muzzled. If you have multiple other pets the introductions should take place one at a time. Lead the greyhound towards your other pet while closely watching its reaction. Any hint of aggression should be discouraged with a firm NO! When the greyhound turns its head away or walks away from the cat it should be lavishly praised. Let them approach each other again, each time repeating the praise for good behavior and the firm no for any unacceptable behavior. Greyhounds learn quickly and often a good portion of this acclimation process depends on the reactions of the other animal involved. If they run, the greyhound will probably want to give chase and this, of course, should be discouraged. Often cats that hiss, growl or display threatening behaviors will dissuade the greyhound from wanting to approach them at all. Respect this and praise your hound as you lead him away. Remember, if you remain calm and in control throughout this whole exercise your animals are likely to pick up on this and remain calm and less tense as well. Repeat this process until you feel comfortable removing the muzzle from the greyhound and allowing the two to meet face to face. Keep the leash on the greyhound and keep the two separated when you cannot closely supervise interactions until such a time as you are absolutely sure that there will be no problems. It’s ALWAYS better to be safe than sorry.
A few more points to remember…
Just because your greyhound and your cat (or other small furry critter) get along well together in the house, chances are they will NOT get along so well outside! Even the most laid back greyhound will often show a desire to chase and capture a cat outdoors.
Never assume that just because your greyhound gets along fantastically with your cat that the same is going to hold true for the neighbor’s cat or the cat that came along to visit with your mother-in-law.
Greyhound Companions of New Mexico has a wonderful series of articles on greyhound behavior. Their link to Greyhounds and Cats has a lot of added information that may be valuable to new adopters.