Whippets, an English breed that looks like a small Greyhound, has gained popularity in the United States as the most popular of the sighthounds. It is the 55th most popular owned dog in the nation.
Are Whippet good with cats? They can be if properly trained and socialized early. However, their instinct as a sighthound is to chase and kill. There have been incidents Whippets killed the family cat.
Even with training and socialization, all interactions between a Whippet and a cat should be supervised. Read further to find out how to socialize and train your Whippet to interact with your cat.
Are Whippets Good With Cats?
Called “the poor man’s Greyhound,” the Whippet is fast, energetic, and prone to chase. They have a “prey drive,” which means they will give chase whenever they see or hear something.
Most experts state a Whippet should never be walked off-leash. It is also likely that they will pull hard on the leash when they see or hear things. Be prepared and always maintain a strong hand on the lead.
Experts also agree that those who have small animals or cats probably shouldn’t own a Whippet. The dog’s prey instinct doesn’t recognize the difference between a squirrel in the woods and the family cat. All they see is prey.
Whippets are good-natured and friendly dogs and don’t have aggressive qualities like other breeds. They do well with other dogs and children. However, it’s not in their nature to socialize with cats or other small animals people may have as pets. This is because of their hunter breeding.
Can Whippets Live With Cats?
Whippets can be trained to live with the family cat, especially if you start socialization and training when they are a puppy. However, the prey instinct will never go away and you can never completely trust a Whippet to be left alone with a cat. All interactions must be supervised.
Most dog experts advise it’s best not to put Whippets with cats. However, Whippets do incredibly well with other dogs and children.
The advice is that those who do choose to own a Whippet and a cat should spend a lot of time training and socializing the dog. Even then, you should never leave your Whippet alone with your cat.
Here are some tips on how to create the best situation for your family cat with a Whippet:
1. Adopt a Whippet that has been around cats already.
A puppy or dog that has been raised with cats is going to stand a better chance of living well with your cat.
There are Whippet adoption groups where the dogs have been in foster care and likely been around cats, other dogs, and children. This is a good place to start to find a Whippet that can be around cats.
2. Adopt a puppy.
A Whippet puppy is going to be easier to socialize and train to be “cat proof” than an older dog who has a deep-rooted prey instinct. Typically, dogs that are raised with another animal are more likely to see that animal as part of their pack.
3. Expose your dog to a variety of sights and sounds.
Exposing your Whippet to all kinds of sights and sounds will help them learn to focus and maintain their independent nature. Failure to do this will lead to a timid dog, which could increase their aggression and prey instinct with your cat.
How to Introduce A Whippet to Your Cat
Introducing your Whippet to a cat isn’t a one-day event. It is a process that takes time and could take longer depending on the personalities of both.
Take precautions before beginning the process. Make sure your cat’s and dog’s nails are trimmed and make sure your Whippet is highly exercised before any introduction.
Also, both pets should have had recent vet checkups to make sure neither is ill.
Understand that the older animal, whether it’s the dog or cat, is going to dominate so you will need to be prepared for some aggressive behavior to establish dominance and take efforts to protect the younger animal.
1. Swapping scents
Animals identify their family through scent. Both dogs and cats will mix scents of their family members, whether human or animal, to create a family scent that identifies their pack or tribe.
You will want to have the animals get used to each other’s scent and swap it to identify each as being members of the family. It’s best to do this without the animals being face to face.
Give the new animal its own space for a few days. Make it a safe space where they feel comfortable. Then swap out toys and blankets with the other animal.
2. Make sure both know basic commands.
Many people don’t think about training a cat but they are perfectly capable of understanding basic commands like a dog. Both animals work best with positive reinforcements and using treats for good performance.
Understanding words like “no,” “wait” and “sit” will have a positive impact on the first meeting of the two. This makes both understanding the commands important.
3. First face-to-face meetings should be restricted.
You can do the first face-to-face meeting with the Whippet leashed but it may be best to do this with your Whippet in a crate where they can see the cat but not whole-heartedly respond.
Crates with metal doors or completely metal crates work well since the two can see and sniff each other but with a boundary. Your cat will feel much more confident in its approach knowing the dog is limited in its response.
After they have a few introductions this way, you can try the leased approach.
Keep all meetings short for now to less than five minutes. The length should grow slightly every time to do it. Also, it’s best to continue with strong exercise for your Whippet before every meeting with the cat. Always allow your cat to leave if it is feeling stressed.
4. Set them loose.
Do this in an open, confined area like a room or a fenced yard. Be sure to have an escape for the cat in any area you choose. Always supervise these types of meetings, especially in the beginning.
Another step you may want to take before letting both completely free is to try a loose interaction with your dog on a long leash.
How to Stop Whippets Chasing Cats?
Even if your Whippet likes the family cat, he still may want to chase other cats or animals that could enter your yard. The “recall and reward” method is a successful option.
Some experts state it is a good idea to begin implementing this method before you introduce your dog to your cat. Then, your Whippet won’t be inclined to be aggressive toward your cat.
This method involves teaching your dog to come to you even with distractions. Use treats for good responses. Once your dog is trained, you can call him back if he starts getting interested in a chase.
Will a Whippet Kill a Cat?
Are Whippits good with cats? Will a Whippet kill a cat? Whippets aren’t in the top 20 lists for either the worst breed of dogs for cats or the best breeds. The noble Greyhound is on the worst breed list and that is worth noting considering the relationship proximity of the Whippet and the Greyhound.
A Whippet is capable of killing a cat, as most dogs are since it is larger, stronger, and has larger teeth than any domestic feline. Whether a Whippet will hurt a cat largely depends on the training the owner gives and the individual dog’s personality as dogs can be vastly different even within a breed.
Whippets are good, energetic, loyal and friendly dogs. They make great family pets as they get along with children and other dogs. They also make excellent watchdogs as they are trained to hear and acknowledge sights and sounds while rarely barking.
Are Whippets good with cats? They aren’t the best dog to have around household cats. Other breeds are far better at associating with cats than the Whippet. However, Whippets can be socialized and trained to deal with cats.
It will take some time and work and, even then, you must always have a sideways eye to make sure they stick to the training when left alone with your cat.