Labradors and Cats: What to Know Before You Put Them Together

Some say cats and dogs are born rivals so they can’t be friends ever. There are many homes where cats and dogs live together, who don’t chase each other the whole day. I have a friend who has a Labrador and two cats. How come that these pets can live together, while born rivals. That is why I thought about writing an article about Labradors and Cats and everything there is to know about the subject.

The fact is- dogs chase cats not because they are born rivals, but because of prey drive or excitement due to motion triggers. This trait in dogs come from wolves as they belong to the same canine family. It is a natural instinct they have. Prey drive is essential for an animal who is superior in the food chain for their survival. 

Hunter Breeds and Cats

Most of the hunter dogs will chase a cat naturally due to prey drive and some healthy dogs just for fun; those who hunt for pleasure are more likely to be friends with a cat. 

But even when hunter breeds have been trained to live with cats. They have become excellent friends, like family, with the cats. The dog breeds known for hunting like ‘Akita’ and ‘German shepherd’ can be seen playing with a cat after being trained to live together, so there is nothing like the born rivalry between cats & dogs.

Can Labradors And Cats Be Friends?

Labradors, unlike other gundogs, were used for retrieving rather than chasing or killing prey. 

Naturally, they don’t hold the urge to attack small animals. If a pet Labrador sometimes barks after seeing any unknown cat, it’s because he doesn’t want her to enter his territory. This habit can be easily unlearned with some training and grooming exercises together.

So, yes! Labradors can be friends with Cats. Out of many labs ‘Golden Retriever’ Lab (Labrador) is seen being more friendly with Cats. Well, it doesn’t mean others are not. Any lab can become affectionate with a cat after some training sessions, which is easy to be done at home. 

Friendly dog and cat resting over green grass background

After being socialized and establishing a bond, you will often see them snuggling, licking, and even teasing each other by love. One friendly warning is, when they will play together, they can mess up your living room settings. Sometimes labs chasing a cat can try to hold her by mouth while playing gently. 

They generally do share a beautiful and unique bond after being trained. Labradors are a very tolerant dog, and he may allow cats even to eat together and also let her play with his toys. 

Labs are very fun-loving; he is known for having pleasuring human intelligence. During playing games, labs generally tease and chase his roommate feline, but they don’t hurt deliberately. The interaction will also be dependent on the nature of the cat to some extent, but labs are generally friendly with a cat after well socialized.

How to Introduce a Labrador Into a Home With Cats?

The introduction of a Labrador with a cat is going to be very important for upcoming training sessions. 

During the introduction, you will get to know about the things you have to work on for making a relationship between your pets better if your Lab is not socialized with cats earlier. Initially, you may face some difficulty while introducing them to each other. 

On the very first day don’t expect that things will go better; it will take some days to your Lab before accommodating with a new feline. Before introducing with a cat, make sure your dog knows basic etiquettes and follows your commands like sit, stand, etc.
It is also important that he gets enough exercise. If you want to know more about exercising your Labrador and what the best backpack is for him you can check our post about “What is the best Labrador dog backpack?

While introduction never uses worst methods like punishing your dog. These methods may work initially, but in the long run, it can aggravate the behavior of your dog. Way of introduction will depend on the situations like; 

  • whether your dog is a puppy or an adult
  • which one, cat or dog knows you best
  • Whether a cat is an adult, or she is a kitten

How to Introduce a Labrador Puppy to a Cat?

If you have a puppy lab, then introduce him with a cat in a crate or puppy home. Until they are fully known to each other, never leave them alone. 

Labrador puppy introducing himself to a cat

Always introduce your dog with the cat in your very presence. Use a leash to control the puppy if it shows different behavior or aggression. 

If the puppy is too small for a leash, control him by hand, and make sure the adult cat doesn’t show him aggressive temperament. If the dog is behaving aggressively, then control them by command and for doing well, reward them with their favorite food.

How to Introduce an Adult Labrador to a Cat?

An adult lab should follow similar methods. 

If the Labrador is not acclimated to live with the feline, he will try to behave aggressively in this situation hold him by leash and command him to sit calmly. Follow this process of confronting Lab with a cat often, until you have not found them being comfortable with each other in your presence. 

After being socialized Lab will consider the cat as your part and he will take care of her.

What If You Are Unknown To The Behavior Of Both Cat And Labrador

If you are unknown to the behavior of both cat and Labrador, let them introduce by separating them with bars. Let them smell each other and feel comfortable in the presence of that kind of smell. It is called nose to nose method. You can also exchange their toys for doing so.

What if Your Labrador Had Lived With a Cat Before?

If your Lab had already lived with any other cat, then he won’t show any trouble in his behavior. He will only act a little curious while introduction which is obvious.

Can Labrador Puppies Get Along With Cats?

An adult lab weighs around 80 pounds which is many times greater than even an adult cat. 

A cat generally hesitates to come near adult dogs because of its size. If an adult dog is not well socialized with cats before, he will have problems getting along with the cat.

Labrador puppies look similar in size to an adult cat. So, a puppy is more likely to feel comfortable with a cat. If the puppy grows up playing with cats, he will share a superb bond with his roommate after being an adult. Socializing a puppy to a cat is more comfortable than doing the same with an adult Labrador.

The relation between the Lab and the cat is not only dependent on the Lab. It is also dependent on the nature of the cat. 

If a cat is fragile and shy, it will not tend to play with a puppy. If a cat is bold and confident, she will quickly get along with a dog. A puppy can be trained to live with any cat comfortably. You can rectify the problem of your dog earlier, and you can teach your dog accordingly. 

If your dog is aggressive initially, you can leave him free because he can’t harm any adult cat. The Labrador is a fun-loving breed of dog. Naturally, he is not aggressive. Once your puppy gets along with cats, you will see them doing lots of funny activities together, which can win even the devil’s heart.

Do Labradors chase cats?

Labradors can be seen chasing cats, who enter his territory, which is owners’ home, and unknown to him. 

The roommate cat, labs sometimes chase just for playing. Chasing cats by a Labrador will be caused by various triggers. The trigger can be of any type; it can be a prey trigger, trigger due to motion and trigger of sound.

Prey Trigger

Talking about prey trigger, we already know that labs are called retriever hunting dogs. It means they don’t catch their prey; instead, they fetch the hunted prey for the owner. Like they were used to pull fishing nets for their owner or bring downed pigeons for the owner. So, they have less urge to chasing prey than other breeds.

But they chase unknown cats due to motion trigger. Similarly, as it chases a moving the ball to fetch it. 

Moving cats seem like a small running object for them, so they chase them. The way labs chase a cat is dissimilar to the hunting dogs, who keep their feet silently and run agilely behind the prey. Labs run by barking; it proves he is not intended to kill.

When a labrador reaches near a cat, he does not attack the neck, rather than he will only move near that place and wink their tail rapidly. 

If the cat will not be afraid and retaliate strongly, he will not even go near her. Although he has reached a cat, he is not going to bite her hard, but his size and barking are enough to make any small cat afraid.

The Meow Sound Triggers a Labrador To Chase 

Next reason they chase cats because of the ‘meow’ voice as it triggers them by sound for chasing. 

This trait of chasing and the trigger can be easily controlled by some training. Use the right training methods to control the chasing of a cat by a lab. To stop your Labrador from chasing your cat, socialize him with your cat and initially keep them separately to avoid confrontation.

How to Create The Best Living Space For a Labrador and Cat?

Pets will make your house feel livelier. Having a single pet is okay but with more than one pet, and from different kingdom will give you added responsibilities together with added fun. 

Cat and Dog together on a sofa

What do cats and labradors need for the best living space:

LabradorsCats
Dog ToysCat Toys
Separate feeding potSeparate feeding pot
A crate for a puppy LabradorA litter box 
Proper dog bed for Adult LabradorTeach to go to the litter box
Teach housebreaking Keep the litter box clean
Teach to stay away from the sofa Bring a cat tree if possible.


Your pets must behave nicely to each other. Having a Lab with a Cat is a good idea because labs are friendly, but only friendliness is not enough for having a better living relation between them. You will have to arrange such that their interest can never be the cause of their conflicts. 

Arrange separate toys, separate feeding pot, and keep pets at some distance separating them.

For the puppy labrador, it’s nice to have a crate. For the adult Lab, arrange a proper dog bed, where he can relax calmly. 

Teach your Lab to housebreak. Arrange a litter for your cats as well as train them to poop in the litter box. Always keep cleaning the litter box. Take care of cleanliness by using a vacuum cleaner as an adult Lab is used to shred twice a year. 

Also, it’s essential to teach your dog, stay away from the sofa so that they can’t destroy it when left at home alone. 

For cats, if possible, then bring a cat tree so that she can sit and relax up there.

 What Will You Require to Keep Your Labrador and Cats Safe?

As a pet owner, it’s your responsibility to take care of your pet. Here we are going to talk about actions you should take to ensure the safety of both pets.

  • As a pet owner, you must know the behavior and character of your pet. Once you observe any little change in their behavior, consult a veteran.
  • You must clean litter boxes and dog crates regularly. To stop any spread of disease.
  • Whenever you notice any cut marks or wound on your pet, rapidly give him first aid and then consult any veteran. These wounds can take great shape, if not treated initially.
  • Keep cleaning the dog’s bed at fixed intervals. And keep your pet room neat and clean.
  • Vaccinate your pets regularly. It’s essential to stop microorganism growth in their bodies.
  • If your pets are having a dandruff problem, add omega3 in their food. Always use certified and separate shampoo for Lab and cat.
  • During summer and winter, treat them accordingly. In winter give them warm clothes whereas in summer safeguard them from any heatstroke.
  • Don’t plant any poisonous plants in your house. As dogs and cats can chew the leaves of these toxic plants sometimes.
  • Cats are very active animals, and to keep her safe, tighten all the heavy hanging objects so they can’t fall over her.
  • Keep your cat safe from predators when she goes out. Stray dogs may attack her.

For your Lab and cat both, keep checking for the growth of the parasite in their fur. Medicate them immediately, if you have found any trace of the parasite, as it can lead to diseases.

What Precautions Should an Owner of Labrador and Cats Take?

For accommodating a Labrador and cat together. The pet owner must take some precautions. Here we are going to talk about some of the general precautions.

  • Give them their favorite treat to appraise their performance regularly. Don’t punish your pets for their mistake, it can cause behavioral problems in your pet.
  • Daily exercise is essential for Labradors, so make sure you are taking your Lab outdoors daily. Let him interact with other dogs and people. Doing exercises will reduce their extra alertness. So, he won’t chase the cat due to a motion trigger.
  • Labradors are a curious breed. Sometimes they go very far in curiosity and forget their way home. Incidents of loss and theft of Labradors are widespread due to this reason. Always keep an eye on your dog.
  • For safety against theft and loss, insert a microchip in your dog for tracking location. Also, write your contact number on the collar.
  • You must be very known to the behavior of your dog, and the dog must know to follow your basic commands.
  • Always provide the cat his own space. The owner of Lab and cat should make a high bed for cats and make sure cats have everything separated. To avoid any conflict of interest.
  • For better accommodation of Lab with cats, the behavior of both the pets is essential. Contact any dog expert for training your pets accordingly.
  • Cats generally have a habit of playing with everything around if you don’t want your cat to touch anything like a photo frame etc. Spray pepper on them.
  • In your cat’s accommodation always allow an escape route. So that if in case your dog tries to attack your cat, she can run outside.

Conclusion

This article concludes many facts about the bonding of a Labrador with a cat when they must live under the same roof. 

From the above topics, it is concluded, Labradors can live under the same roof with a cat and can also share an excellent bond. The friendship between a lab and cat will also depend upon the behavior of the cat. 

A confident and bold cat is more likely to become friends rather than a shy and fragile cat. 

The friendliness is more dependent on the nature and behavior of the dog rather than on the breed. The introduction is a very vital part of the relation between labs and cats. Similar to humans, where the first impression is called the last impression. 

Treat your pet well and use the right methods of introduction. You can also take the assistance of any dog trainer.

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Author: Erwin Borgers

Hi, I’m Erwin. I grew up with two cats, but I always wanted to have a dog. Since my wife and I lived together, we have Mayla. She is a very sweet King Charles Spaniel. Together we spend countless of hours in the forest near our home. We love to walk together and now I want to share what I learned about walking dogs and what I learned about dog gear with you.