Are French Bulldogs good with cats? While Frenchies hails from a bull-baiting past, this breed is actually one of the friendliest Bulldog breeds. They get along with everyone, including cats and other pets. It’s no wonder why French Bulldogs are AKC’s #2 most popular dog breed of 2020.
In this post, I will discuss why Frenchies are good pairings with cats and how you can introduce them to felines.
Are French Bulldogs good with cats?
French Bulldogs are known for their affectionate and friendly disposition. In fact, this breed is popular among apartment dwellers and first-time dog owners. They are so famous that it’s impossible not to see a few in New York City alone.
However, since dogs are painted as arch-nemesis of cats, many wonder if Frenchies are onboard this stereotype. But as a Frenchie owner, I’m living proof that this breed is one of the most adaptive dogs you can ever find.
Below, I listed some of my reasons why Frenchies are good with cats, as well as potential problems that you may face.
Reasons why French Bulldogs are great with cats
🐶Frenchies are one of the friendliest dogs
French Bulldogs are outgoing canines who love to meet everyone. With proper training, these dogs will have little to no trace of aggression. In fact, they are so friendly they can tolerate kids, and they can be raised around toddlers.
With this, introducing a cat to a French Bulldog will be much easier compared to other breeds.
🐶Frenchies are small dogs.
With a maximum weight of 28 lbs. and a height of 12 inches, Frenchies are almost the size of a Maine Coon. Since cats and Frenchies have a narrow size disparity, the risk of injury on the cat’s part is low. This is added peace of mind on your end as the pet owner.
Moreover, Frenchies love roughhousing, but the good news is that their size won’t be a big threat to a cat. Still, training is necessary to achieve this.
🐶Frenchies love companionship
As a breed prone to separation anxiety, there’s no wonder that French Bulldogs can make use of a cat’s companionship. A cat will be a big help if you’re busy and always away from home. And since both cats and Frenchies thrive in apartment living, they are a smart pairing for city dwellers.
🐶Frenchies are quiet dogs.
While some French Bulldogs have the affinity to vocalize, most Frenchies are quiet dogs. This means they are unlikely to annoy a cat. For you to achieve this, you must provide your French Bulldog with enough mental stimulation.
🐶Frenchies have a low prey drive.
French Bulldogs are far from guard dogs and hunters. They prefer cozying on the couch or staring by the window while you’re away. And since they have a low prey drive, you can trust them around cats, even kittens.
🐶Frenchies are snuggle bugs.
French Bulldogs are affectionate dogs, so they love cuddling with their owners and other pets in the house. Once both your Frenchie and cat acclimated with each other, don’t be surprised to see them curled up beside each other.
Potential issues when raising Frenchies with cats
While French Bulldogs seem to be a perfect match with cats, you might still face a few issues along the way. Here are some that I personally encountered while raising a Frenchie with a feline:
🐾Frenchies are stubborn
While there are exceptions to this behavior, Frenchies tend to display stubborn behavior. This may get in the way of training them to get along with a cat. You have to practice extra patience to help your dog adjust to the new addition to the family.
🐾Frenchies are jealous dogs.
French Bulldogs that are used to being the only ‘babies’ of the house can get jealous and whiny once you bring home a cat. It’s important to shower your Frenchie more attention so that it will associate the feline with a positive experience. Otherwise, you’ll have a sulky dog that will start to exhibit negative behavior to catch your attention.
🐾Frenchies may try to show dominance.
Some of my friends noticed that their Frenchies would try to show dominance to their cats. This can be in the form of barking, trying to nip the feline, and other bullying behavior. Nevertheless, this can be curbed if you prepare your Frenchie even before the arrival of the cat.
🐾Frenchies can be partners in crime.
French Bulldogs can be accomplices to your cat’s evil pursuits, especially if it’s food motivated. You can’t expect your Frenchie to stop your cat from entering the food container. After all, Frenchies suck as guard dogs.
Recommended cat breeds to pair with French Bulldogs
If you’re still looking for the right feline match for your Frenchie, here are some of the breeds you should consider:
- Ragdoll. Ragdolls got their name from their gesture of going limp when picked up like an actual ragdoll. This breed is also known for its charming and laidback personality that matches Frenchies well. Ragdolls are docile cats, but they also love playtime with their families.
- Maine Coon. Are you afraid that your Frenchie will overpower a cat? If so, you should get a Maine Coon. This is one of the biggest cat breeds known for its adaptable personality. They are independent cats that will provide companionship to your French Bulldog. Despite their large size, they are good with other pets and kids.
- Persian Cat. Persian kitties are both sweet and quiet, so they are unlikely to terrorize a Frenchie. They prefer gentle playtime, and they won’t bother your Frenchie that much. Still, Persian Cats make great family pets, although their play drive is low.
- Japanese Bobtail. This cat breed is one of the oldest in the domesticated kind. While they are great hunters, their energy level matches with a Frenchie. They also have a calm personality that makes them great family pets.
- Norwegian Forest Cat. The Norwegian Forest Cat has a similar size to that of Maine Coon. With this, you won’t worry that your Frenchie may overwhelm the feline. Norwegian Forest Cats are also independent felines that don’t require a lot of attention. They will give your Frenchie companionship without being prone to separation anxiety themselves.
- Russian Blue. Russian Blue Cats are the quintessential house cats. They are home-bodied and have a sweet temper that can put up with the goofiness of a Frenchie. Also, Russian Blues are considered hypoallergenic since they produce low amounts of dander than other breeds.
How to introduce your Frenchie to a cat
Introducing a cat to any dog breed requires work. To ensure that your Frenchie and the feline will have a harmonious relationship, here are my recommended methods:
✔️Prepare your dog before the cat arrives
Even before you bring home the kitty, you must prepare your Frenchie right away. This includes getting your Frenchie to reduced attention.
It will also help a lot to socialize and desensitize your Frenchie to other cats. You can ask cat owner friends if you can set playdates with their felines.
Moreover, it’s crucial to brush up with your Frenchie’s training. Obedience training and other advanced drills will give you control over your dog’s behavior around cats.
Through this, your French Bulldog will find it easier to adjust to a multi-pet household.
✔️Keep them separated
Once the cat is home, it’s important to keep it separated from your French Bulldog. This is to allow the feline to adjust to its new home. Also, it will prevent your Frenchie from experiencing stress because of the newcomer.
Aside from keeping the two pets afar, you should also give them separate belongings. You should never let your Frenchie share its bed, food bowl, leash, and so on with a cat. If you do, it may trigger resource guarding, which is an aggressive reaction. Feeding and grooming should also be done separately.
✔️Introduce them through scents
After a few days, you can start introducing your Frenchie to the scent of the cat. Exchanging their small toys is a convenient way to do this.
You must observe how each of the pets will react to the scent. It’s quite normal to see aversion at first, but both the Frenchie and the cat will acclimate to the scents eventually.
It will help a lot to provide treats while exposing your Frenchie to the scent of the cat. This method will teach your dog that the cat’s scent is synonymous with rewards.
✔️Begin actual meetings
Once both the Frenchie and the cat is relaxed around each other’s scents, you can start face-to-face meetings.
Personally, I did this by installing a baby gate on the door of the room where I kept my cat. After that, I let my Frenchie sniff and check out the cat. This method will let you organize the first meeting without the help of another person. Also, the baby gate will serve as a physical barrier that will stop potential attacks.
Again, you should provide treats during this first meeting to make the encounter positive. You should also keep the interaction short and end it while the dog pets are still in a positive disposition.
If your dog tries to show aggression towards the cat, you should interrupt the behavior by saying a firm “no” or “stop”. When your Frenchie stops the negative reaction, you should give it a reward. But if your doggo ignores your command, you should end the meeting right away.
Overall, you have to repeat the process daily for a week or two. Then, once you’re confident that both pets have somewhat adjusted to each other, you can proceed to the next step.
✔️Let them mingle off-leash
The next step is removing the baby gate and letting your Frenchie meet the cat up close. However, you should keep close supervision to ensure that no fights will ensue.
Also, if your cat decides to leave the room, you should let the feline do so. You should also stop any efforts of your Frenchie of chasing or going after the kitty.
Introducing playtime while the Frenchie and the cat are together is a good way to form their bond. It will also teach both pets the boundaries they need to observe when roughhousing.
Remember that you should be the one to start and end playtimes. This will put you in the alpha position while teaching your pets that there are consequences to negative behavior.
For example, if your Frenchie tries to bite or chase your cat during playtime, you should end the session right away. By doing this consistently, your French Bulldog will learn that chasing is not tolerated. The same goes for your cat.
How to deal with cat-dog fights
At some point during the introduction, your Frenchie and cat will have brushes with each other. This is mainly rooted in body language confusion. For example, your Frenchie will raise its paw to initiate playtime. However, for cats, this is a form of swatting, which is a sign of aggression and dominance.
If cat-dog fights ensue, here are some of the steps you can follow:
🐾Watch out for warning signs
An aggressive cat will have raised hair, flashing tail, raised back, hissing, and crouching. For dogs, low-range barking and a stiff stance may indicate a looming attack. When you see this on any of your pets, you should distract them by calling their names or ending playtime.
🐾Use the wheelbarrow method.
If a fight occurs, you can use the wheelbarrow method to break the two pets apart. This includes grabbing the animal from its hind legs then turning in circles while you pull them away. By doing this, you’re disorienting your pet to end the fight.
Also, pulling them from behind will prevent redirected attacks. Just know that this requires the help of another person as you need both animals to be pulled away at the same time.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Will a French Bulldog attack a cat?
A: Frenchies aren’t known to be aggressive, so it’s more likely that the cat will be the one to attack the dog. Still, proper training is necessary to ensure that your French Bulldog will not cause your feline any harm. Matching the breed is also necessary to prevent cat-dog fights.
Q: Why does my French Bulldog act like a cat?
A: French Bulldogs tend to copy the habits of cats, which may explain why your pet is exhibiting such behavior. Cats, on the other hand, can also pick up the behavior of canines. This is usually not alarming as long as the behavior isn’t negative.
Q: Will my Frenchie get sick after eating cat food?
A: It’s unavoidable for Frenchies to access cat food when they are raised with felines. It’s not usually a cause of concern since cat food is still edible matter. However, you shouldn’t encourage the behavior as cat food doesn’t have ample nutrients that dogs need.
Q: How long does it take for French Bulldogs to get along with cats?
A: There’s no specific timeline as to how fast a Frenchie can get along with a new pet. It depends on the specific personality of the dog and how you’ll introduce them to the feline. Most of the time, it will range from a few weeks to months. It’s best to give your dog enough time to adjust, especially if it’s been the solo pet for long.
Q: Is it smart to get a cat for a senior French Bulldog?
A: Introducing a cat to a senior Frenchie is possible. However, you should choose a cat breed with a more laid-back temperament. This is to avoid too much stress on your aging doggo, as some cats can be too nippy and yappy.
Q: What to do when a cat attacks your Frenchie?
A: If your cat attacked your Frenchie, the first thing you should do is assess the damage. Minor scratches can be treated at home. However, if your Frenchie suffered from serious injuries, it’s best to bring it to the vet. Don’t forget to discipline your cat as well to prevent future attacks.
Are French Bulldogs good with cats? Yes, this breed is actually a fantastic pairing with felines. Frenchies are docile and adaptive canines that can be raised with other pets. However, proper introduction is necessary to ensure a harmonious household.