“Are you a dog person or a cat person?” We are sure you have heard this question asked once or more. To this question, we respond, “Why would you have to choose when you could experience the sassy cattitude of a cat and the loyalty and warmth of a dog?”
If you already have a kitty and you want to add a cocker spaniel pup to the equation or vice versa, you must be wondering whether this would work. Are cocker spaniels good with cats? In this article, we will tell you all about it and possible ways to make the two get along.
Are cocker spaniels good with cats?
Yes! Cocker spaniels are good with cats, but just like any other dog breed, it all depends on how you introduce your pup to a cat.
How do you tell whether your cocker spaniel can get along with a cat?
Whether your cocker spaniel will get along with a cat depends on a few things. If you are hoping that they get along, your dog’s personality should be the most important thing you evaluate.
Most of the time, dogs getting along with cats has nothing to do with a breed but a dog’s personality. If your dog is the aggressive type, the chances of it getting along with a cat are very slim. If you are adopting your cocker spaniel from an animal shelter, you will need to make inquiries about their past behaviour with other in-house pets.
The way your cocker spaniel is socialised when they are young will also determine how well they get along with cats. If your dog was introduced to a cat whilst they were still a puppy, they will most likely get along.
Ideally, if you plan to have a cat and a dog in your home, you should introduce the puppy to the kitten when these two are still very young. You have the highest chances of success when the two are still young.
How do you introduce your cocker spaniel to a cat?
A dog cat introduction is always a stressful experience, especially to the feline and can also be fatal if not handled correctly. Here is how to go about it.
Take the introduction slowly.
When you bring a puppy or kitten home, you need to introduce them slowly. Do not physically introduce these two right away. When you bring a kitten home, put it in a different room and let the two sniff each other through a closed door. This way, your cocker spaniel knows there is a cat in the house.
You can also help hasten the familiarisation of the two by switching their rooms. You can also stroke either the cat and the go to the cocker spaniel or vice versa and have them sniff the other pet’s scent on you.
Have the pets see each other for the first time
After your cocker spaniel has sniffed the cat around the house, it is time to introduce them face to face, but have a barrier between the two through which they can see each other. A dog gate or a metal crate would be ideal.
How do you know when it’s the right time for the pets to see each other? Dogs are always hyper about cats, especially a cocker spaniel dog that has been bred to hunt and retrieve small animals. When you initially bring your feline home, you will notice how excited and hyper your cocker spaniel gets when they sniff a cat in the house.
After a few days of your cocker spaniel sniffing the cat around, it will be familiar with a cat in the house. You should also exhaust them physically before the introduction. This will reduce their interest in the cat or tone down the hyperactivity. You might need to do the introduction with a barrier a few times until the tension between the two pets has reduced enough for you to remove the barrier.
Remove the barrier and let the pets interact.
For this step, you will need to have your cocker spaniel on a lead. This gives you control over the situation while allowing the pets to interact. Monitor the interaction carefully. Also, keep the first session short. If you realise that the tension is escalating, break up the interaction and separate the pets again. Don’t impose the friendship.
Keep bringing the two together and monitoring their interaction until there is no more tension between the two pets.
How can you help your cocker spaniel get along better?
Create exclusive safe spaces for both pets.
You will need to create safe spaces where both pets can escape to avoid each other’s company when they need to. A cat, for instance, their perfect getaway within the house might be a cat tree where they can perch up high, in sight but out of reach of the dog.
Feed the pets separately.
If you don’t separate the feeding spots, it could be a source of conflict between the two pets. Pets can be very protective of their food and to help prevent the possibility of conflict it is essential to set up food for the two pets at different spots. You could also have different feeding schedules for them.
Get different toys for both pets.
Just like food, toys could be a source of conflict between these pets. Buy each pet different toys.
As we have previously mentioned, an early introduction is one of the surest ways to succeed at a friendship between the two. If you want to have a dog and a cat, consider getting a kitten at the same time you buy a puppy. This way, your puppy is socialised to live with cats from an early age.
Ensure your cocker spaniel gets enough physical exercise
Cocker spaniel dogs are an active dog breed. If they don’t get enough exercise to expel the extra energy, they might play too roughly with the cat or chase them around and this could be stressful for the cat.
Cocker spaniels are good with cats. If you are thinking of having both a cocker spaniel and a cat in your house, the introduction of these two will determine the success of their socialisation. If you could introduce your cocker spaniel to cats whilst it is still a puppy so then you have a greater chance of succeeding.
To help the two get along, you need to keep their feeding separate, provide exclusively safe spaces for the them for when they need some time out. Toys could also be a source of conflict, separate cat and dog toys. Most importantly, consider your cocker spaniel’s personality before you decide to get a cat. When you make the introduction, closely monitor their interaction and remember to take things slowly. If you sense tension at any point, go back to separating the two.