What does this mean?
A greyhound labeled “cat trainable” (CT) has shown a low prey-drive. This means that even if the greyhound shows some interest in small animals in indoor settings, the greyhound has been distractable with a treat and a verbal correction (i.e., “no kitty”) and a mild tug on the leash. For outdoor settings, few greyhounds are disinterested in small animals such as squirrels, feral cats, or other dogs.
Some of our CT greyhounds, have been fostered in homes with cats. Others have simply been tested and observed around small animals, as the foster home doesn’t have cats.
What can I expect of a CT greyhound?
A CT greyhound, even one that has lived in a foster home with a cat, is not trained to live with every single cat in the world. However, the greyhound has demonstrated that he/she is highly likely to be able to live in a home with cats, or other small animals. BUT, the adopter must continue the training we have started.
How do I train my greyhound to live peacefully with my cat?
The greyhound’s muzzle, lead, and crate are going to be your best friends for many months. Intelligent as greyhounds are, it will take some time for the greyhound and cat to get to know each other, and recognize each other as members of the same pack. Your paramount responsibility is preventing any interaction that could be dangerous to the greyhound and cat, and provide the wrong lesson to either.
For the first week or two, keep both the muzzle and the leash on the greyhound.
Why a leash? You can control all interactions with the leash. The leash will also prevent your greyhound from running after the cat. If you can, try to get your cat to be as mellow as possible around the greyhound.
Why a muzzle? The muzzle will ensure that any rough play will not injure your cat. It is an easy and humane way to help equalize the big size difference between them. And the greyhound is used to the muzzle.
Once things are going well (the greyhound and cat ignore each other), continue, for several weeks, to use the muzzle and leash when the greyhound is outside the crate. If the cat does occasionally run, the leash can be used to control the greyhound from chasing the cat. Once the greyhound and cat have been interacting in a fashion you are very comfortable with, you can move on to using just the muzzle. Eventually you can do without the muzzle…..BUT the greyhound should be diligently supervised, or crated when unattended, for the first few months.
The biggest cause for failure? Rushing this process. Remember – this is a lesson that will serve for years to come – give yourself and your greyhound the time to get it right. You cannot go too slowly with a greyhound.
The bottom line
There is no way for anyone to create a foster greyhound that will walk in and adjust perfectly to a home they have never been in, and to people and animals they have only begun to interact with. What Greyhound Welfare can do is start them along a process; this, in itself, is a big help to our adopters.
With careful avoidance of potentially dangerous situations, and encouragement of desirable behavior, our CT greyhounds usually adjust well to living with cats within several months. Although this may seem long, please remember you are building a foundation that will last for many many years to come.