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Are Cavalier King Charles Spaniels Good With Cats? Breed Temperament Facts

Kerry-Ann Kerr Profile Picture

By Kerry-Ann Kerr

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels with Cat

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are popular family dogs. They are small, gentle, and affectionate, and they were initially bred as companion dogs, which means they love the company of their families. Cavaliers are also loyal dogs, but how are they with cats?

Cavaliers get along with other animals, including cats. However, there are some things to consider before you go out and get one. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about introducing your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel to a cat.

divider 9The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Cavaliers are considered a newer breed because they didn’t diverge from the King Charles Spaniel (also called the Toy Spaniel) until 1926. Because they are such a close relative of the Spaniel, they are quite similar in temperament and appearance, except they’re smaller, often only weighing 18 pounds.

While they originated in the UK, they have gained in popularity in the United States and are currently the 15th most popular dog breed. These dogs are people-orientated, requiring regular interaction, so they don’t do well being left alone for long periods. They get along with all types of people and dogs and can also be trained to enjoy the company of cats.

Teacup Cavalier King Charles spaniel
Image Credit: Tatyana Pronina, Shutterstock

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels and Cats

The Cavaliers are gentle, adaptable, and socialize well, which is an excellent combination when you have a cat. However, they have a strong prey drive, so sometimes, they may chase after cats. Early socialization and training are vital to make the relationship between your Cavalier and cat work, as this can temper their hunting instincts.

Cavaliers are responsive to positive reinforcement from owners, and we don’t just mean in the form of treats. They love neck rubs, verbal praise, and any interaction they can get from their humans. They also enjoy the company of other animals, so forming a relationship with a cat will also feed some of your Cavalier’s social needs.

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How to Introduce Your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and Cat

There is a stereotype that dogs and cats can’t live together peacefully, and that’s not true. The trick is to be patient and introduce both slowly. You also need to be aware that sometimes pets don’t get along, but it isn’t because of their species. Just like with humans, personalities can clash. However, if you follow these steps, your chances of success increase.

1. Be Prepared First

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Image Credit: Fotyma, Shutterstock

Before bringing your cat into the house, ensure you are prepared for its arrival. Prepare a dog-free sanctuary where your cat can escape when it’s overwhelmed or wants to be alone. This space should include a litter box, water and food bowls, a scratching post, and toys.

2. Keep Pets Separate at First

Keep your pets separate for the first 3 to 4 days. Even if they can’t see one another, they’ll be able to hear and smell each other.

3. Feed Them on Opposite Sides of a Closed Door

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels with Cat
Image Credit: lara-sh, Shutterstock

The idea is for them to associate the other pet with pleasant things like food. With each meal, move the bowls closer to the door until each pet eats calmly next to the door.

4. Basic Commands Are Important

If the new pet is the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, teaching them basic obedience cues like “sit” and “down” before they meet the cat will help.

5. Face-To-Face Meeting

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels with Cat
Image By: Ermolaeva Olga 84, Shutterstock

Choose a common area of your house, but don’t use the room you’ve picked as a sanctuary area. Keep the first sessions calm and short, and have your dog on a leash to allow the cat to come and go as it pleases.

Ask the dog to sit and reward it for calm behavior. If either pet is aggressive, distract and redirect them. Call the dog, reward its attention, toss a toy to lure the cat from the room, and then return the pets to their confinement areas. Repeat these sessions daily.

6. Allow Pets to Be Loose Together

When they appear to be getting along, allow them to inspect each other in the room, but keep the leash on your dog so you can step in if either animal gets over-excited or aggressive. Remember, repeating the previous step is okay if you think you’ve reached this one too soon.

hepper-dog-paw-divider 5Final Thoughts

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are exceptional family pets. Whether introducing a new cat into your family or bringing a Cavalier into a home with a cat, there are ways to make the transition pleasant. While Cavaliers have a high prey drive, they are adaptable and trainable. They are also highly social, which means having other pets in the house is good because they don’t like being alone. Introducing pets to one another can be tricky, but as long as you are patient and take it slow, your chances of success are high.

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Featured Image Credit: Liliya Kulianionak, Shutterstock

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