One of the most frequently asked questions at
Greyhound Adoption Service (GAS) is if our greyhounds get along
with cats, small dogs and other pets. In former years, GAS
supported a colony of feral cats that lived on the property. Changes in the area have resulted in the gradual disappearance of the colony.
There are no longer any feral cats in the
area. As a result, GAS looks to
other methods to determine the level of prey drive of
our dogs. Some racing kennels who
send dogs to GAS cat-test their dogs. From a
teaching program at Becker College, we receive several dogs
at the end of each semester who they have
cat-tested. With all of our dogs, during their
photo shoots for the website, their reactions to
the local squirrels, birds, and neighborhood pets are
monitored. The way the dog behaves
indicates their level of prey drive. A dog with a high prey drive will crouch down into a
stalking position and focus single-mindedly on a squirrel or
stare up a tree at a bird. At this stage, an attempt is
made to draw the dog's attention away from the animal. A
high prey drive dog will not be thwarted from his focus on the
animal. Often it takes some effort to pull the dog back
toward the kennel. This determination and focus on the
animal is a sure sign that this dog cannot live with cats, small
dogs or small critters of any kind.
This means any small animal that squeaks and moves rapidly, even
if that animal is caged and not running freely
around your house.
This applies to guinea pigs, hamsters,
birds, etc. It is easy for a dog to knock over and
break open a cage. If you
have these types of animals in your house, to be
completely safe you need to make sure your dog does not have access to them in any way.
A dog who can live with cats or small dogs
behaves quite differently than a dog with high prey drive.
Upon seeing the smaller animal, the dog
may wag its tail, ignore it, approach cautiously and sniff, bow
into a play posture, or show some interest but is easily coaxed
Some greyhounds are even fearful of cats, and
pull away from the direction of the felines.
High prey drive
Afraid of cats
Greyhound Adoption Service does the best possible
job of assessing the level of prey drive of our dogs.
But... there are no guarantees!
Proceed with caution. All adopters
with cats and small dogs are advised to follow special
procedures when introducing them to their greyhounds, and to do
so with the greyhound wearing a muzzle. We are happy to
loan you a muzzle, which can be returned when the introduction
period is over. Greyhound-cat introductions are especially
tricky, and should be done gradually and with great care.
Marilyn will discuss this procedure with you before you take
your greyhound home. Failure to follow these special
guidelines can result in tragic consequences for your
cat. If done right, not only is it possible for
greyhounds to share a home with cats, many greyhounds and cats
have become fast friends.
goal is to place our dogs into their forever homes. That means not only getting along with
the humans. When you come to the
kennel, make sure you discuss your
other pets during your visit so that GAS can provide
you with the best possible guidance to make the
adoption successful for all.
by Deborah Schildkraut