If you already have a cat at home and are considering adopting a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, you might wonder if the breed tends to get along well with cats. Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are just about the perfect dogs! They’re sweet, loyal, calm, and exceedingly gentle. Most do well around children and other pets.
They’re not known for being terribly territorial. Most don’t require special care, just a bit of daily grooming to keep their silky coats looking sharp, along with regular nail and dental care. Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are a toy breed. Most weigh less than 18 pounds, and few reach more than 13 inches at the shoulders. They were bred in the 17th century as royal companion animals and have an average lifespan of 12 to 15 years. Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are known for being fantastic with cats!
Do Cavalier King Charles Spaniels Have Strong Prey Drives?
They do, particularly when off-leash. These active dogs will happily dart after squirrels and other small mammals during off-leash encounters. While some may occasionally chase cats, the dogs have a reputation as being incredibly feline friendly and more inclined to befriend a new feline family member than to pester or stalk them.
Why Are Cavalier King Charles Spaniels So Good With Cats?
Not all Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are good with cats. Whether any two animals get along often has more to do with their personalities and how they were introduced to each other. But Cavalier King Charles Spaniels have a well-earned reputation as some of the sweetest dogs you’ll ever meet. It’s like these dogs have one goal in life, spreading joy and love.
They enjoy people, even ones they’ve never met before, and they react to new situations with openness and curiosity. The breed is laid-back and happiest when snuggling up to a beloved companion. Cats like to nap, often spending upwards of 15 hours a day asleep. Cavalier King Charles Spaniels enjoy curling up next to their favorite people and cats. Don’t be surprised if you find your Spaniel and cat happily curled up together!
Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are great with cats for the same reasons they’re good with kids—they’re just generally sweet, good-natured animals.
How Should I Introduce a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel to My Cat?
Prepare a safe place that your cat can retreat to when overwhelmed by contact with the dog. Cats who live in homes with dogs need safe rooms no matter how well they get along with canine housemates. Create a space the dog doesn’t have access to where your cat can go when they need some alone time. Include a litter box as well as food and water bowls. Provide a nice comfortable bed for the cat to nap on as well as a high perch for your cat to retreat to. Not giving a cat a safe place to retreat often leads to defensive aggression toward other pets.
Get a nice temporary room together for your dog. It’s where they’ll be spending most of the time for the first few days after first coming home. Feed the animals at the same time, just on opposite sides of a door or barrier or some sort, to get them to associate the other pet with something good, food.
Make sure your dog responds to basic commands like “Quiet” and “Sit.” Introduce the two animals in neutral territory and allow them to spend 10 or 15 minutes around each other while under close supervision. Keep your dog on the leash at first to ensure you can quickly step in before any unpleasantries get out of hand. Avoid introducing the two pets until your dog consistently responds to basic commands to prevent an overly excited dog from scaring your cat.
Gradually extend the time the animals spend around each other once they no longer become fearful or aggressive in the other’s presence. Never force a scared or nervous pet to stay in a distress-causing situation. Leave the room for short periods after the two can be consistently around each other without engaging in hostilities.
Eventually, your pets may become fast friends who thoroughly enjoy each other’s company. Many cats develop deep bonds with their canine housemates and vice versa. Keep an eye out for bad behavior during meal times, as even the sweetest cats and dogs have been known to become food bullies sometimes.
Are There Other Dog Breeds That Do Well With Cats?
Absolutely. Golden and Labrador retrievers are two medium-large breeds that get along well with cats. Basset hounds, bulldogs, and collies typically enjoy feline company. Papillons, pugs, and beagles are small and medium-small breeds with cat-friendly reputations.
Relatively large dogs with strong prey drives, such as rottweilers and Irish wolfhounds, can be problematic when it comes to cats. Keep in mind that only some cats can adapt to the presence of another pet. Cats are highly territorial after they reach adulthood. And any adult cat who has never shared a home may struggle to accept the presence of a dog. The addition of a new pet is a significant trigger of feline anxiety.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are sweet, adorable lap dogs. They were initially bred during the 17th century as royal companions, and today’s Spaniels still have the same gentle, loyal personalities as their ancestors. With big brown eyes, floppy ears, and long coats, these dogs look like adorable little Spaniels. But the breed’s sweet, even-tempered nature makes these animals so popular as therapy and service dogs.
Their gentle protectiveness is also why they get along so well with cats. While you’ll still need to introduce your new dog to your cat slowly so they have plenty of time to become accustomed to one another, chances are your cat will be cuddling up to your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel in no time.
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Featured Image Credit: Ermolaeva Olga 84, Shutterstock