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Can Springer Spaniels get along with cats?

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So, can Springer Spaniels get along with cats? Well, I don’t speak spaniel but I have owned three Springer Spaniels and a ginger tomcat called Pilchard and I can tell you it was interesting initially but the Springers, being family pets, loved the cat and the cat loved the dogs – but he was in charge most of the time.

There are steps and precautions that you will need to take if you are introducing a cat into the home of a Springer Spaniel and vise versa. If you take things carefully then Springer Spaniels can get along with cats and they will become good and loyal friends that will play and go on walks together.

Spaniels and Cats

can springer spaniels get along with cats
Bess and Pilchard the cat

I had three English Springer Spaniels – Bess, Twig and Fern, They came into our home as puppies and were all bred, and trained as shooting and beating dogs, regularly worked during the shooting seasons they were a great team.

As shooting dogs, their instinct was to find game, flush it and then retrieve it after it had been shot.

We lived in a semi rural environment, close to moorland, but we were surrounded by other houses, and many of them had cats that used to wander around freely as though they owned the place.

Much to the displeasure of my eldest Springer Spaniel Bess, they would come into her garden, walk past the kennel and drive her nuts.

I recall one day the dogs were running free in the garden, when a cat jumped over the fence and was quickly grabbed by Bess who ‘retrieved’ it to me as I was sat reading.

For several years my spaniels disliked the neighbourhood cats, they would walk along the top of the fencing almost taunting the dogs.

It was almost as though the movie Cats and Dogs had been filmed in my back garden.

Introducing a Springer Spaniel to a Cat

Dogs are creatures of habit and routine and any changes can be tricky for a dog to adapt to, and it is the same for cats.

After a few years we moved to a farmhouse that, we found, had  a barn next door which was overrun with rats. A friend’s mother had a farm not too far away that was being overrun with feral cats, they had captured some kittens that they were giving away. So we ended up with Pilchard, the ginger tomcat, who, it turned out was brilliant at catching and eating rodents.

He was wild, the craziest cat that I have ever encountered and we were bringing him home to a house full of cat hating Springer Spaniels.

On their first meeting, the dogs escaped from their kennel, chased him across the yard and he flew into the barn through a hole in the bottom of the door. I thought that that was the last that I would see of him. 

No chance. The dogs sniffed the hole that he had run through and, his paw appeared, claws extended and he proceeded to whack all three dogs across their muzzles, they ran off whining.

Springer Spaniel chasing cat

Having given the dogs a taste of his claws, as he grew up, Pilchard would wait behind bushes and jump out to attack the Springers whenever he had the chance, leaping out of the bushes and grabbing their tails as they walked past and then quickly whizzing up a nearby tree to escape.

This quickly became a great game for both the dogs and the cat, and the cat always won.

Pilchard goes missing

After a few years we moved home again, about 15 miles away. Having packed everything I got Pilchard into his cat box, and, he escaped, running off into the field surrounding the old house. I spent a fair bit of time trying to catch him and coax him back to no avail.

It took about 5 to 6 visits back to the old house to get him and, while he was missing the dogs were clearly upset.

Then, when he came to his new house, he cleared off again! For a week!

We looked everywhere for him. The dogs were looking, the kids were looking, I was looking, we had the new neighbors out.

Eventually while out on a dog walk, he leapt out of a bush, grabbed my eldest Springer Spaniel Bess by the tail and then just sat there as though nothing had happened while the three dogs almost licked him to death.

Springer Spaniel and Cat Walking

can springer spaniels get along with cats
Twig the Springer spaniel

My Springer Spaniels and my ginger tom Pilchard were great friends. The cat would regularly join us whenever we went dog walking, coming along until he got to the edge of his ‘territory’ and he would just wait for us to come back, whereupon he would make a great fuss of the dogs and the dogs would make a fuss of him.

They were all great pets and good friends.

They are all now buried together in the back garden.

The Reason for this Story?

Springer Spaniels and Cats can get along together. Introduce them to each other carefully, don’t interfere unless physical harm may be about to occur, and let them sort themselves out.

My Springer Spaniels and my cat became great companions and friends, to the extent that the spaniels would find mice and the cat would catch them.

Great partners and great pets and fun.

So, can Springer Spaniels get along with cats? Yes, very much so, and, if you are worried then don’t be, it will be good fun.

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