Do French Bulldogs get along with cats? While cats and dogs are stereotyped as archenemies, French Bulldogs prove that they can be great buddies with felines. The key here is in introducing the two animals properly so that they will adjust to each other’s presence harmoniously.
In this post, I will talk about raising Frenchies and cats at home together with added tips. As a Frenchie and cat owner, I’ll share my experiences to help guide other pet owners.
Do French Bulldogs get along with cats?
Just like any dog, your Frenchie will have a unique reaction to the presence of a cat. Some will be happy and welcoming, while others will be aloof and even aggressive.
The following factors will affect how well a French Bulldog will accept a new cat:
- Level of socialization. French Bulldogs that have not seen a cat before will likely react negatively when you bring home a kitty.
- Desensitization. Is your French Bulldog tolerant of other cats’ behavior? The way your Frenchie reacts to other cats will give you an idea about how well it will get along if you bring home a feline.
- Gender. While dogs and cats belong to different genera, mixing same-sex animals is more likely to trigger tension. Remember that male cats and male dogs are more territorial than their female counterparts.
- Introduction. The way you introduced your French Bulldog to a cat will impact how well the two will get along. Below, I discussed a few steps you can take to keep the interactions positive.
Characteristics of French Bulldogs that make them good with cats
In general, French Bulldogs are friendlier to cats than other breeds. This is the same reason why they are popular picks for multi-pet households. The following characteristics make Frenchies a good mix with kitties:
✔️French Bulldogs are affectionate.
Far from the bullbaiting past of other Bulldog breeds, Frenchies were bred for companionship. They were ratters and companions to lacemakers before they become domesticated. This makes it easy for Frenchies to accept other pets and humans.
✔️French Bulldogs hate being left alone.
Frenchies are notorious for separation anxiety. They can’t be left alone for long hours, or they will become destructive and noisy. With that, the companionship of a cat might be beneficial for your Frenchie.
✔️French Bulldogs have a manageable prey drive.
One of the major concerns in raising a dog and a cat together is the former’s prey drive. Many pet owners experienced the gruesome consequence of failing to consider their dog’s temperament. Luckily, Frenchies have a manageable prey drive, and they’re not known to chase and nip other pets (except for young pups).
✔️French Bulldogs aren’t very intense dogs.
While Frenchies enjoy nice playtime, they rarely go overboard with roughhousing. This means they are less likely to harm a kitten. Still, proper supervision is necessary, especially if you have a feisty dog or a sassy kitty.
✔️French Bulldogs tend to be couch potatoes.
Due to their sensitivity to heat and exhaustion, French Bulldogs aren’t built for rigorous activities. After a short walk or some playtime, they prefer to lounge at home. You may even find them snuggling with your cat.
How to introduce a cat to your French Bulldog
To make sure that your French Bulldog will adjust well to the presence of a cat, you must perform the following steps:
Step 1. Prepare your Frenchie first
French Bulldogs that are not socialized well can get extremely jealous when another pet is added to the household. With this, you must start with obedience training and socialization even before you bring home a cat. I’ll give this a few months to ensure that your Frenchie is well prepared for the incoming changes at home.
Preparing your French Bulldog will save you from the hassle of breaking pet fights. It will also reduce the stress on your dog’s part.
To make it simple, you can do these tips:
- Set up a meet-and-greet with cat owners and their pets
- Let your Frenchie watch cat videos
- Play cat sounds regularly
- Introduce a cat’s scent
- Consider fostering a cat
- Train your Frenchie for basic obedience commands
- Let your Frenchie be around stray cats while leashed
Step 2. Prepare your home
While prepping your dog, you should also be setting up your home for the arrival of the cat. You need to separate the two animals in the first few weeks. This is to allow the feline to acclimate to its new home and the dog to get used to the scent of the kitty.
To prepare your home, you need to do the following:
- Get a cat crate
- Set up baby gates
- Define cat and dog zones to prevent conflicts
- Purchase separate cat supplies; never let them share
- Set up a quiet room for the feline
- Train your dog not to seek the cat zone
Step 3. Plan the first meeting
Now that your dog and home are ready, it’s time to plan the first meeting between the two animals. Take note that this should happen a few days after bringing the cat home. The goal is for your new kitty to calm down first before exposing it to new stimuli.
During the first meeting, you should keep your French Bulldog leashed. You should also ask someone to hold your dog while you hold the cat.
Aside from that, the two animals should be separated, but with enough distance for them to see each other.
As your dog sees the cat, make sure that you observe its reaction. You can also start feeding both the cat and dog some treats to make the experience positive.
If your dog growls and shows other signs of aggression, you should intervene by calling its name. If your Frenchie stops the adverse reaction, give it a treat right away.
By treating and showing the cat simultaneously, your Frenchie will associate the feline with a positive experience. This is a good start, but please keep the meetings short. It’s best to end the interaction even before one of the pets shows signs of stress.
Step 4. Supervise closer contact
After a few days of seeing each other from a distance, you can start bringing the two animals closer. You can allow your Frenchie to walk toward the cat, but always be in control of the leash. If your Frenchie growls or shows signs of aggression, take it away from the room. Repeat the interaction once both animals are relaxed.
Again, the key here is providing rewards. Give separate treats to both the cat and the Frenchie to continue the positive interaction.
Over the days, you can allow both animals to sniff each other. Some cats will lick the other pet right away, which is a sign that it’s comfortable and welcoming.
Step 5. Repeat close contacts
Once your dog and cat acclimated to each other’s presence, keep monitoring their close interaction. It’s important to know whether the animals are roughly playing or already fighting.
The following are the differences between rough play and aggression:
- Playful bites don’t dig into the skin or draw blood
- In rough play, no animals are displaying a stiff-legged stance
- Growling is normal for rough play, but it shouldn’t escalate to a rigid stance
- The cat’s fur isn’t raised during rough play
- Neither the dog nor the cat is frozen or directly staring at each other during rough play.
- There are breaks in between rough play.
Additional tips when introducing your French Bulldog to a cat
Aside from the steps I listed above, you should also keep these points in mind for a smooth-sailing introduction of the cat to your Frenchie:
- Separate them during mealtimes. Even if your Frenchie and the cat seem to be getting along, it’s best to keep them apart while eating. Resource guarding can occur on both pets, which can ruin their good interaction.
- Keep your Frenchie tired. One way to prevent your French Bulldog from pestering the cat is by keeping it tired. Take the doggo for short walks and provide it with lots of playtimes.
- Don’t run favorites. French Bulldogs can grow jealous and resentful toward the cat if you suddenly stopped paying attention. In fact, it will help if you give your Frenchie more attention upon the arrival of the cat. This will teach your dog that something good happens when the kitty is around.
- Don’t reinforce negative behavior. Take note that you should only reward good behavior. Many pet owners are guilty of reinforcing negative behavior by reacting or rewarding the dog with attention.
- Keep the dog leashed. Unless you’re sure that the Frenchie and the cat are on good terms, it’s best to keep the doggo leashed. This will make it easier for you to control the dog in case untoward incidents occur.
- Don’t leave them unsupervised. During the first few weeks, it’s best to continue observing and monitoring your two pets. This is also important if you have a Frenchie puppy and a small kitten. Puppies can be nippy, which will cause harm to the feline.
What cat breeds are suitable for French Bulldogs?
If you’re planning to adopt or purchase a cat, it’s very important to match the breed with your French Bulldog. The following are some of the best breeds to consider raising with your Frenchie:
- American Shorthair Cat. The American Shorthair is an affectionate and gentle feline. They are a family favorite because of their ability to get along with kids and other pets. With proper introduction, an American Shorthair and French Bulldog will be happy buddies at home.
- Birman Cat. The Birman breed is known for its calm and gentle ways. They also love playing fetch and walking on a leash, which can be the perfect companion for your French Bulldog.
- Bombay Cat. The Bombay Cat loves playing with humans and other pets. They are good with dogs and other cats as well. Bombay kitties also love seeking heat, which makes them excellent cuddle buddies.
- Ragdoll Cat. Ragdolls are known for their easy-going attitude, which complements a couch potato French Bulldog. They can be quite talkative but far from annoying when it comes to canines.
- Maine Coon Cat. If you’re worried that your Frenchie may overpower a small cat, a Maine Coon might be a good option. This cat breed is known for its dog-like characteristics and independent personality. Just note that this feline is one of the largest among domesticated cats.
There are more breeds that you can consider raising with your French Bulldog. When in doubt, you can ask around friends and even your dog’s veterinarian for suggestions.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Can French Bulldogs kill a cat?
A: Any dog can kill a cat if the canine isn’t well-socialized and well-trained. Also, it’s important to introduce the feline properly, so your French Bulldog can adjust to the new addition to your family. Nevertheless, French Bulldogs aren’t known to be cat killers.
Q: What dogs are bad for cats?
A: If you own an Afghan Hound, Whippet, Manchester Terrier, Australian Cattle Dog, or Schnauzer, it’s not ideal to get a cat. These canines are known for their nippy and bold temperament that could be harmful to felines. You have better luck introducing a cat to a French Bulldog if you’re keen to bring home one.
Q: How long will a French Bulldog get along with a cat?
A: There’s no formula on how long a canine will acclimate to a feline. It depends on your dog’s socialization, desensitization, and manner of introducing the new pet. Generally, it will take three weeks for a dog to get acquainted with a cat and months for them to form a close bond.
Q: How do I get my dog and cat to stop fighting?
A: If you notice that your French Bulldog is starting tension with the new cat, it’s best to redirect these negative reactions. Obedience training, positive reinforcement, and close supervision are necessary to train your Frenchie out of pestering your poor kitty.
Q: Will my dog ever stop chasing my cat?
A: When a cat runs, most dogs will have a tendency to chase after the feline, much so if the canine has a strong prey drive. This can happen between French Bulldogs and cats, too, so you should always be on the lookout. Training will go a long way if you want your Frenchie to stop going after the cat.
Do French Bulldogs get along with cats? Yes, they do! You just have to be patient in the introduction process to ensure that the two animals will have a harmonious relationship. Remember to take it slow and allow the two pets to approach each other on their own terms. Most of all, always observe and prepare to intervene if need be.