We often say that our kids fight like ‘cats and dogs’ and this is because both cats and dogs have a reputation for not getting along (just like our daughters 90% of the time!). This is because dogs in the wild see cats as prey, whereas cats see dogs as a threat. But is it possible for a Cavapoo to get along with a cat?
Do Cavapoos like cats? Cavapoos are good with cats providing you introduce and socialize them at an early age. Although Cavapoos do not have a high prey drive or a strong impulse to chase, they do compete with cats when it comes to food, territory and human attention.
This is of course a sweeping statement, as all dogs (regardless of whether they are the same breed type), have different temperaments. And whilst one Cavapoo may learn to get along and live in harmony with a cat, another may not be able to resist the temptation to chase smaller animals – especially if they have not been socialized together from a young age.
If you are thinking of introducing your Cavapoo to a cat, and are worried about fur flying between the two, then take a look at our useful steps on how to make the meeting as seamless as possible for both pets.
Can a Cavapoo live with a cat?
Cavapoos make great family dogs, but do they make good cat companions? You can never be sure that your cat and dog are going to like one other, but you can improve the chances of living in a chase free house.
As long as your Cavapoo meets your cat whilst they are still a puppy, then they should learn over time to interact peacefully.
After all, how dogs and cats get along, has a lot to do with which one is brought into the home first. If your family already has a cat living in the house, then from the moment your dog enters your kitty’s domain, they have to learn how to respect the cat. Cats are a lot less precious about their space and are incredibly independent, so are more likely to get up and leave if they feel threatened.
If the family dog lives in the home first, then it is likely that your Cavapoo will intimidate the cat as a way of being territorial.
Regardless of who came first, training and socialization can make a big difference. Especially as Cavapoos generally get along well with almost any animal. They are a very loving breed of dog that enjoys being around everyone, whether human or animal, and are highly intelligent and easy to train.
Cats can also provide some form of company for your canine companion and can even help ease separation anxiety, especially when your Cavapoo is left alone.
So teaching your Cavapoo how to live with a cat is totally achievable.
Do Cavapoos chase cats?
Both the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and the Poodle are renowned for being cat-friendly breeds of dog. They both have easy going, relatively reserved, yet playful natures which can make them excellent companions for cats.
As a Cavapoo is a cross between a Charles Spaniel and Poodle (usually a Miniature or Toy), their small stature is less likely to scare a cat than larger breeds of dog. They also have a low prey drive, so are more concerned with chasing smaller animals such as birds or mice.
That said, if a Cavapoo does chase a cat, it is usually because they want to play. As youngsters, Cavapoo puppies love nothing more than pouncing on one another, so your dog may just perceive your cat as another playmate or toy.
Your cat, however, is likely to view your Cavapoo as a threat and may want to run away. This movement can trigger another instinct in your dog – which is the need to chase after them.
It is really important to stop your Cavapoo chasing cats as soon as you see this behaviour between your own pets. If you have young children in the house, then why not get them to play with your puppy instead and make sure that your have plenty of toys lying around for your Cavapoo to enjoy. After all, a dog that has plenty of physical and mental stimulation, is less likely to be bothered by a cat.
How to introduce a Cavapoo to a cat
We do not own a cat, but there are plenty that prowl around our area. In fact some are so brazen that they will stroll straight past the glass door, making direct eye contact with our Cavapoo, safe in the knowledge that there is a barrier between them.
Growing up however, we always had cats and dogs together and whilst they were never the best of friends, it was not unusual to find them curled up together fast asleep in front of the fire. This is because my parents always ensured that they were introduced slowly so that both cat and dog felt at ease in its others company.
Here I will share with you what I learnt in a step by step guide to introducing your Cavapoo to a cat:-
(1) Meet somewhere neutral first
Even if your Cavapoo has lived with a cat before, you should not just assume that it will get along with another. It really depends on the age, temperament and activity level of both pets at the time.
In order to test the waters it is really important that you introduce the animals outside of the house. The dog or cat who already lives in the house won’t like the new animal intruding on its territory, so they need to meet on neutral territory.
This could be a quick walk outside on a loose lead so that your Cavapoo and cat can view one another safely. You should watch the dog’s body language as well as the cat’s, to see if there is any tension.
Ideally you want to see a relaxed cat that is not raising their back, has their ears pinned back or is hissing around the dog. Tail swishing is another sign that your cat is displeased with the situation. A cat is rarely a threat to a dog, but some cats may be on the offensive when meeting dogs.
Likewise you want your dog to appear calm around the cat. Ideally you want your Cavapoo to be interested but not fixated on the cat. If you dog attempts to stare your cat out, has stiff body language, barks or whines or is too distracted to obey your orders, then your dog needs more time before allowing them to share each others space.
(2) Ensure there is a barrier for desensitization
One way to reduce your dog’s reaction to your cat is to desensitize them, ensuring that they are exposed to one another regularly.
If you can, you should place your cat in a separate room to your Cavapoo, but where they are able to view one another. If your dog is already crated, then placing them in here for a short period of time can also prove useful.
This is also a good time to carry out some ‘scent swapping’. To do this, you will need to stroke each pet without washing your hands to mix scents between the two.
Hopefully, through this process of slowly letting your dog and cat get accustomed to each others presence, will eventually desensitize your dog into losing interest in your cat.
(2) Supervise contact
When it comes to the time where you feel confident enough to remove the barrier between your two pets, we would strongly advise that you do this whilst supervising the situation.
Ideally you want to make sure that your Cavapoo is calm, that they have had plenty of playtime already and when they are feeling tired out.
You should also make sure that your cat has a place where it can escape should it feel the need to. This could be someplace high that your Cavapoo can not reach.
Finally don’t be alarmed if your cat shows some defensive behavior towards your Cavapoo, such as swiping and hissing if your dog gets too close. This is totally normal behavior.
(3) Praise both pets for good behavior
Make sure that you have some tasty treats at the ready in order to reward both pets for being calm and relaxed together. Cavapoos are people pleasers so if they are getting positive praise, then they will want to keep reinforcing the same behavior.
Food is also a good distraction when it comes to dogs, especially if they get overexcited or start barking in the presence of a nervous cat.
Most cats will spend time sussing out situations before deciding how they should act. It’s therefore important that you give them the time and space to do this and reward them for their courage if they want to explore further.
As things progress in the right direction, you can allow the cat and dog to interact more freely, but until you are sure they have become good friends, it is a good idea to keep your dog on some type of ‘houseline’ or leash to prevent any chasing.
(4) Give pets individual attention
Just like children, it can be hard for our dogs to watch other pets vying for our attention. Whilst cats are a lot more independent and are less likely to get as attached to their owners, dogs are incredibly loyal and form strong bonds with their families.
Therefore if you are introducing a new pet to your family, you should make sure that your Cavapoo still gets plenty of cuddles and reassurances – after all they are top dog!
Likewise if you are bringing a dog into a cats established home, it is never going to be ‘pawfect’ and your feline friend may feel threatened. Make sure that they too get lots of extra strokes and some one on one time to play with you.
Remember – A dog’s interaction with a cat can change depending on the environment. Just because your Cavapoo is OK with the cat inside the house, doesn’t mean that they’ll exhibit that same behavior outdoors. So remember to always be aware of your pets body language when in each others company – especially in new situations!
Introducing kittens and puppies
The younger we are, the more fearless we seem. And the same applies for Cavapoo puppies and kittens.
If you are introducing a kitten to a dog, you need to bear in mind that these small bundles of fur may not show any fear towards your dog. Instead they may want to run and play around them. Although Cavapoos do not have a strong prey drive, they may be over excited by a kitten’s movements and unintentionally cause them harm through chasing or pawing them too hard.
Likewise when it comes to putting adult cats and puppies together there is a chance that your excited Cavapoo may want to play hide and seek with your cat. Until your puppy is old enough to have more self-control or has had some training, you will need to manage their interactions to ensure your dog doesn’t take a batting on the nose or receive a swipe at their floppy ears.
What dog breeds are good with cats?
There are some breeds of dogs that are known to get on well with cats and actually relish some feline company.
These friendly dogs tend to have low to moderate energy levels so often befriend cats, as they don’t startle or stress them with outbursts of activity. But it is those breeds that are people pleasers and are easy to train that get along best with cats, as they can be taught to coexist nicely.
Dogs that are generally sociable and happy to make friends with anyone tend to do best with cats. These dog breeds include:
- Basset Hound
- Bichon Frise
- Cavalier King Charles Spaniels
- Golden Retriever
What dog breeds are not good with cats?
If you are both a cat and a dog person, then you should probably familiarize yourself with this list before bringing both into your home.
Below we have outlined the worst dog breeds for cats due to their hunting temperament, overabundance of energy or skittish behavior. These dog breeds include:
- Alaskan Malamute
- Border Collie
- Rhodesian Ridgeback
- Siberian Husky
- Terriers (Airedale, Jack Rusell and Yorkshire)
Are Cavapoos aggressive?
All dog owners frequently wonder if a dog breed is aggressive before making a decision on a specific type.
While there are some dog breeds that are aggressive, most breeds are generally well-behaved. Dog aggression is usually not a genetic trait or breed-specific; aggression comes from inadequate socializing and training, as well as stress, and fear of unusual situations.
Cavapoos are not considered to be aggressive dogs as they are a cross between the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and the Poodle, both of which are renowned for being friendly breeds.
Cavapoos might only show signs of aggression when they are scared, threatened or anxious about something. But this isn’t to say that a Cavapoo will never show any signs of aggression. All dogs can be provoked or are susceptible to moments of fear or territorial dominance.
Our Cavapoo Rosie has never shown any signs of aggression but will growl if you fuss at her whilst she is eating. This is totally understandable and for that reason, we now shut the door, so that she can enjoy mealtimes in peace.
For more information on the possible cause of aggression in Cavapoos, please see our informative guide.
Are Cavapoos good with other dogs?
From the videos of her first few weeks to watching her grow from a tiny timid puppy, our Cavapoo has always been shy when it came to socializing with other dogs. It didn’t help that Rosie was a lockdown puppy so never got to meet with other dogs right from the start, instead having to wait until more recently.
Rosie has always been great around young children and adults, but when it came to dogs, especially big ones that would bound over to her, she would always retreat into herself or hide behind our legs. Other doodle breeds or dogs that looked similar to her always made great playmates, however, larger Labradors or great Golden Retrievers were always watched with caution.
That was until she started going to doggy daycare! Here she was introduced to a variety of different breeds of dogs from French Bulldogs to Border Collies, and she has even made a best friend Teddy, the Toy Poodle.
I can honestly say that because our Cavapoo was introduced to other dogs in a calm and slow manner she has learnt to overcome her confidence issues and now regularly romps around will her doggy friends.
It’s important to remember that whilst Cavapoos typically get along with other dogs because they are friendly by nature, you need to take into account the individual temperament of your dog and not necessarily the breed.
Whilst it is true that most cats never seem to have much time for dogs (staring at them in distain and stalking away), dogs are just as happy to chase them.
That’s not to say that if you have a cat that you can’t have a Cavapoo or vice versa. Cavapoos can become friends with a cat, or at the very least part of each others extended family, but it does take a bit of work and patience on both pet sides and some careful observation from the owners.