Do Poodles Like Cats?

Introducing a new pet into your home is often a nerve-wracking experience for everybody involved. It can be challenging to foster a healthy relationship between pets, especially when they come from different species.

Poodles of all sizes are renowned for their intelligence and their friendly disposition. A Poodle can make a great family pet, even for households with smaller animals. When considering adoption, many people find themselves asking: Do Poodles like cats?

do poodles like cats
Do Poodles like cats?

While every situation is different, Poodles tend to make good companions for cats thanks to their easy-going nature and trainability. This article will discuss how to keep a harmonious home with both cats and Poodles in the mix.

Do Poodles Like Cats?

While every Poodle is different, almost all share similar core traits. Poodles are one of the most intelligent dog breeds, making them highly trainable even for amateur dog owners. They are also active and love to play with other people and pets, including cats.

poodle and cat in a nice house
A Poodles and a cat sitting in a nice house

Poodle History

Humans originally bred Poodles to act as hunting dogs. While some hunting breeds can be dangerous for small pets like cats, Poodles are usually perfectly safe.

Dogs such as Foxhounds and Greyhounds instinctually chase after small animals. People bred these dogs to hunt foxes, and a similarly-sized cat could trigger their deadly instincts. If one of these breeds encounters a cat for the first time, its first reaction will likely be to chase or attack.

Poodles, on the other hand, are duck hunters. While they love to chase birds and poultry, they will generally leave animals such as cats alone. In fact, some Poodles may be scared or nervous when they first encounter a cat.

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Poodle Personality

Most Poodles are intelligent enough to understand and adapt to a cat as part of their pack. Those scared or overexcited are usually trainable enough to teach proper behavior. You can show them how to interact and react to your cat without instigating any fights.

Poodles can be prone to anxiety, so taking things slow when introducing a new pet is vital. If you overwhelm your pup, they may get aggressive. If you notice signs of stress during an introduction, ensure to give your Poodle a small break and plenty of love to avoid any hostility between pets.  

Poodle Size

Many people assume that a smaller dog will make the best companion for their cat. They opt for a toy or miniature pet instead of a Standard Poodle. However, most pet owners find that larger, Standard Poodles are just as good with cats as their smaller counterparts.

Standard Poodles may even be calmer on the whole than the toy or miniature varieties, making them a better choice for cat households. Just keep in mind that a large dog will require more space and more food, and it can be more of a challenge to handle for inexperienced owners.

If you’re not sure how your Poodle feels about cats, try exposing them in a safe, neutral setting outside the home. Doing this will help you gauge how they might react to the addition of a cat to your household.

If You Already Have a Cat

Cats tend to be more territorial than dogs, making it challenging to introduce a new pet. Many cats will react with anger, hostility, and aggression to an unknown dog. They may also have social and spatial boundaries that a dog might not understand.

cat looks straight to owner
A cat looks straight to the owner.

While many cats will react to a new dog with violence, more timid cats may experience stress and fear. A new dog can be frightening for a small cat, especially if it’s a loud or large one. It’s crucial to make cats feel safe and secure when introducing them to a dog such as a Poodle.

If you plan to add a Poodle to a cat household, younger puppies can be easier to train and teach boundaries. However, puppies are also more energetic and louder than older dogs. They may be too much for a shy or nervous cat to handle.  

On the other hand, a dominant cat may bully a new pet if you’re not careful. Cats that react with aggression may swipe, scratch, or even bite a new addition to the household. Be careful to watch for these behaviors, as they can quickly escalate.

Even if you have a standard-sized Poodle, an angry cat can cause some serious damage when left unsupervised.

It’s essential to teach a new Poodle to respect your cat’s boundaries, especially if the cat was there first. From its point of view, a new interloper is trying to take over its territory. With a little bit of patience, understanding, and training, you can ensure that any newcomer doesn’t inadvertently overstep your cat’s bounds.

If You Already Have a Poodle

If you already have a Poodle, adding a cat into the mix can be an exciting adventure for both you and your pup. While it may take some time and effort, most Poodles will gladly accept a new cat into their pack.

white Poodle looks classy
A white Poodle looks classy on a plain background.

Poodles are not nearly as territorial as cats. However, they may still act jealous when contending with a new household member. Your Poodle must know a new household member won’t threaten its position in the family.

If your Poodle is older, it may have more trouble accepting a new family member. While elderly Poodles are still trainable, they are more set in their ways. A major disruption such as adopting a cat is likely to trigger stress and possibly even hostility in your dog.

If you have an older Poodle, you may want to consider adopting a cat with a similar personality. An energetic kitten will likely be too much for your pup and may cause irritation, anxiety, and resentment. Instead, a calm, older cat will make an excellent snuggling companion for an elderly Poodle.

A Poodle isn’t likely to consider your home its territory in the same way that a cat would. However, if you are introducing a new cat to your home, be respectful of your Poodle’s needs. It should still feel safe, comfortable, and secure in your home.

You may even want to include some extra playtime and snuggles in your day to avoid any feelings of jealousy or neglect.

Introducing Cats and Poodles

The best way to ensure a harmonious multi-pet home is a smooth introduction. This first meeting sets the stage for a lifelong relationship between your cat and your Poodle. If all goes well, you can look forward to peace amongst your pack.

Poodle and cat encounter
A face-to-face Poodle and cat encounter inside the house.

Preparing Your Home

Before introducing your pets, you should prepare your home for the meeting. It’s crucial that everyone feels safe and stress-free during this initial introduction.

You should have a space where your cat can hide if it’s feeling scared or overwhelmed. This area can be a closed-off room, a small crate, or a high spot your Poodle can’t reach. If your cat is aggressive, you should also have a safe space where your Poodle can retreat.

While it can be tempting to set up feeding stations close together, this can create competition. If one pet ends up eating the other’s dinner, it may lead to anxiety and resentment. Instead, keep food, water, and even toys separate.

You should also make sure that your cat’s litter box is in an area where your dog will leave it undisturbed.

Introducing Scents

Before introducing pets face-to-face, it can help get them used to each other’s scents. Animals such as cats and dogs rely on scents much more than you or I, and familiarity can make all the difference. Introducing a new smell in a safe and comfortable environment helps your pets to form positive associations with each other before ever meeting.

The best way to show your pet a new animal’s scent is by giving them used belongings. Place toys, pillows, and blankets with a new animal’s scent in your pet’s favorite spot. Before long, they will learn that this is a safe, regular scent to smell in their territory.

Keeping Everybody Separated

Even after introducing animals via scent, you should avoid introducing them in person for a few days to a few weeks. Instead, keep them in separate rooms where they can still hear and smell each other. Eventually, they will get used to the idea of having another animal nearby.

Once your cat and your Poodle seem comfortable with each other, you can try introducing them face-to-face. You may want to set up a baby gate or other see-through barrier for the first meeting just to be safe. Doing this prevents any contact in the event that one pet gets aggressive.

Over time, you can remove the barrier and allow your pets to interact together.

Wrapping Up

Whether you already own a Poodle or want to add one to your home, it’s vital to consider how other pets might react. Before introducing your cat and your Poodle, you may wonder: Do Poodles like cats?

While every Poodle is different, they tend to make a good companion breed for cats. They are intelligent, loyal, and highly trainable. With a careful, well-planned introduction, you can set the stage for a lifelong friendship between your cat and your Poodle.

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