They’re adorable, they dominate Instagram, and they’re one of the hottest dog breeds of the moment: what else could they be besides French Bulldogs? This small breed has won the hearts of millions of pet owners who just have to have one of these wrinkled smoosh-faced doggos in their homes. But what if you already have a cat? How do French Bulldogs and cats get along?
You don’t want to do anything to displease your kitty to the point they start wagging their tail in frustration, but how can you say no to a cute canine addition to your furry family?
The thing is, you don’t have to! We’re going to discuss everything you need to know about French Bulldogs and how to build a great friendship between them and your cat in this article.
What is a French Bulldog’s Temperament?
Environmental factors and genetics always play a role in personality, but generally speaking, adult Frenchies are a small, loving breed with big bat ears and little love for exercise. This makes them perfect apartment dogs, especially seeing as they aren’t big on barking.
They’re mostly adaptable to any home you provide them with, though. As puppies, they’ll have more energy and want to expend it playing and getting into typical puppy trouble. If you can outlast this period of feisty toddlerhood, you’ll be rewarded with a chill pet that loves to love.
They’re also quite a charismatic breed, making it hard not to fall head over heels for their adorable personality quirks and charming intelligence.
I have a series of articles on how different dog breeds get along with cats: Can Poodles and Cats Get Along?, Shih Tzus and Cats, Labradoodles and Cats, Rottweilers and Cats, Corgis and Cats, Golden Retrievers and Cats and German Shepherds and Cats.
Image by Martin dalsgaard from Pixabay
There are some slight differences between females and males, too. Males are more likely to be playful and assertive, whereas females tend to be more docile and timid. This being said, it’s not impossible to end up with a reclusive, barky, aggressive French Bulldog.
If the dog has a bad upbringing in its formative puppy months, undesirable traits may become part of its adult personality. That’s why puppy socialization is so important. They also tend to have a bit of a stubborn streak which solidifies as they age. If you start young, though, no dog is beyond training.
Can French Bulldogs and Cats Get Along?
Frenchies love to be the center of attention. They want that coveted spot on your lap just like cats sleep by your head. Basically, they’re at their happiest in your company because they’re such devoted pets.
Depending on the personality of your cat, the two may end up feeling competitive over who gets to snuggle in the prime positions on or near their person. If both of them are fairly stubborn, you may have a bit of a trial in training them to get along. The important thing is to never neglect one in favor of the other.
Frenchies can get a little jealous, it’s true — but if you make sure you give your pets equal attention, they shouldn’t feel the need to compete, and your Frenchie will feel comforted. If you take the time to introduce your new pup to your cat the right way, this will help solidify their friendship and make them feel more secure in their relationship with you, too.
Having done this, there’s no reason why they couldn’t be the best furry friends ever.
Image by Mar from Pixabay
How to Introduce French Bulldogs to Cats
The best time to bring in a new pet is when they’re young; even better if the resident pet is also young at the same time. They’re still soft and amenable at this age to new experiences, people, and animals, and are more likely to accept changes than an older pet.
If you already have an older cat, though, it’s not impossible to introduce your new pup — especially if your cat was socialized properly at an early age. It just might take more time for them to come to a mutual understanding. Here are the steps of introduction you should follow for a smooth meeting:
1. Separate Them at First
Delegate a room for your cat and then let your pup roam around the house, getting used to their new environment and all the strange smells and items.
They’ll smell your cat as they cruise through the rooms soaking up everything they come across, so this is a great way for your pup to “meet” your cat for the first time. After this, put your pup in a room and let your cat explore the house and discover the pupper’s new scent.
This way, they’ll begin to get used to the idea of each other before they’re even in the same room. You can keep them separate for a few days at first until they become familiar and comfortable with the smells of each other.
Image by Mar from Pixabay
2. Bring in a Barrier
The next step is letting them see each other so they can finally realize who that smell is coming from. It’s best to do this with a barrier and some distance between them, whether it’s with a puppy playpen or a crate.
It should also be done in short intervals at first — ten minutes is more than enough — and if you feed treats and reinforce good behavior with praise, even better! This is so they can get used to each other’s presence in a gentle, non-threatening way and start to associate each other with positive things.
Cats can be territorial, so this meeting should take place in a neutral room that doesn’t “belong” to either pet. Monitor both their body language and behavior, and remove them if you notice any signs of stress or aggression.
If they do get tense and stressed out, don’t think of it as a bad omen — they can still build a good relationship; it just means it’s off to a slightly rocky start. Give your unsettled pet plenty of comfort, and keep attempting these barrier-distance interactions until they manage to endure it comfortably with as little stress as possible.
3. Remove the Barrier
Once you’re satisfied that they’re fairly used to each other, allow them to get close and get a proper sniff in. But be close at hand at all times, ready to intervene if you notice any unhappiness.
Your cat might start purring and biting, or your pup might display stress signals like yawning or shaking. Either way, simply remove them from close proximity and try again later. Remember to reward their tolerance for each other with praise and treats, and they will grow to accept the other more readily with your encouragement.
Image by Mylene from Pixabay
What Do I Do if They Don’t Get Along?
Sometimes things don’t go the way we want. Perhaps your cat is too old to put up with the energy of a puppy, or maybe your pup is too anxious around your kitty. Even with the best socialization practices and techniques, some throwback genes may make this meeting a tough one.
Don’t despair, though: there are things that can be done to alleviate the situation, and sometimes one of the biggest things is to remain calm and give them the time they need.
- Ensure they have their own spaces where the other doesn’t go. If they each have a piece of territory they can claim as their own, they’ll feel safer because they have a place to retreat to when they feel stressed.
- Don’t try to force them to be close. This is only likely to make them more anxious around each other and provoke aggressive behavior.
- Try to discourage bad behavior if you see it happening. If you notice your pup barking nonstop at your feline friend, remove your floof and reward them only when they’re calm and quiet. If your cat is harassing the pup and taking swipes at them, a timeout is in the cards for your kitty.
- Call in a behaviorist. It doesn’t have to be a last resort, and a good one will help you establish the problem and sort out a solution quickly.
Final Thoughts on French Bulldogs and Cats
Your cat is more likely to be accepting of a doggo that’s smaller than them — or at least similar in size — so Frenchies have got that working in their favor.
But overall, they’re amazing dogs with loving natures, even if they can be a little stubborn, and they’re fit to be a perfect companion to your cat. Just don’t skimp on the introductions.