If you’re thinking about getting a buddy for your French Bulldog, but are leery about bringing another dog into the house, then one question has probably crossed your mind. Are French Bulldogs good with cats?
Yes, actually. French Bulldogs are small and super-friendly canines and this makes them less threatening to cats than larger, gruffer breeds of dog. With careful introduction, they can even become the best of friends, and it’s one of the most adorable things that you’ve ever seen!
Today we’re going to tell you a little more about introducing your Frenchie to felines so that you know what to expect, how you can speed things along, and also what to do if introductions get a little ‘scratchy’. Let’s discuss creating a friendship with your two furry best friends!
Are French Bulldogs Good With Cats? Introducing your French Bulldog to your cat
When you are introducing your French Bulldog to your cat, it’s a good idea to keep your doggy in the crate for that first introduction. This way, your dog can’t rush at the kitty, which is likely to cause issues no matter what intent is behind it.
Let your cat see the dog and vice versa, and take a position somewhere nearby to watch. The important thing is that we don’t force the issue. Your cat may come up to the crate to sniff at it or the dog in time, but if they don’t, that’s okay as well.
Let them get used to the sight of each other and the scents in the room and after a few minutes, if nothing dramatic occurs, you can open the crate, but make sure that you have control of the dog to prevent rushing again.
If your cat stills seem comfortable, then now is the time to let them ‘meet’ officially while supervised. Expect a little tension, but with the natural friendliness of your Bulldog and the cat’s innate curiosity, if they don’t immediately go after each other then you are off to a good start.
Creating ‘safe zones’ is a good idea
Before you let the cat and dog interact without the crate, it’s recommended that you create one or more ‘safe zones’ for your cat. French Bulldogs can get excited and overly friendly and this can be misinterpreted if your cat is frightened – especially if they have nowhere to go!
The easiest way to set up a sanctuary is with ‘baby barrier’ gates. These are plastic gates that fit in doorways and installing one or two of these will give your cat an ‘escape option’ when they need to get away from the dog. While they might not even use it, you want to have this option available for your cat.
French Bulldogs and kitties can quickly become the best of friends, but it will be a very slow process if your cat cannot get away from your dog’s interest and attention. By adding some baby barriers then your cat can get a break and you should also consider moving the cat’s food up high where the dog can’t get it.
This will help to prevent any misunderstandings should your Frenchie decide that the kitties food looks tasty!
Help – my Frenchie still chases the cat!
French Bulldogs love to play and so a little bit of chasing is to be expected. That said, if you don’t have any barriers in the house to help your kitty escape, you are going to want to have a backup plan to help ensure that your Bulldog doesn’t stress out the cat.
The easiest way to do this is by teaching some commands to your Frenchie. That way, when your dog won’t leave the cat alone, you can tell them to ‘sit’ or distract them with a little game of ‘fetch’. Be sure to give your dog treats when they leave the cat alone and — your dog will make the connection.
A kitty tower is another option that you can use and it works much the same way as the baby barriers will. A cat tower provides your cat with a place to go and since they have multiple levels above the ground, your French Bulldog will not be able to chase them.
Keep in mind that your cat running away doesn’t mean that they hate the dog… they could just be feeling overwhelmed, as cats are creatures of habit and very sensitive to changes at home. As long as you give your cat a place to hide, however, then you’ll be surprised how quickly they start getting along!
French Bulldogs, Cats, and preventing ‘food theft’
If you want to be able to place both the cat and dog food on the floor, then you might consider a microchip feeder for your cat, your French Bulldog, or simply for both!
A microchip feeder works by closing a lid over the food and this lid stays closed unless the cat or dog, with a provided microchip dangling from their collar, approaches close enough for the feeder to sense them. This is a great way to keep the cat and dog from waging a war over each other’s food!
Keep in mind, both animals have the potential to bully the other or simply to steal their food as a way to show dominance – either way, a microchip feeder puts a quick and easy stop to this. These feeders are also quite useful for providing a specialized diet, in case of allergies or overweight pets.
Just be sure to keep the feeders filled and the automatic feeders will work their magic, so that food competitions won’t be something that you will need to worry about!
Obedience training can help things along
We mentioned briefly that obedience training can help when introducing a French Bulldog to a cat and we just wanted to expand on this a little. Obedience training is going to be a definite advantage when it comes to introductions, mostly because your French Bulldog might not know the right way to say ‘hello’.
This can result in barking or chasing the cat, and while your Frenchie means well and is trying to say ‘let’s play’, the cat might not necessarily get that message.
Make sure that your dog knows at least the ‘sit’ command so that you can tell your dog to ‘sit’ when you introduce them to the cat and have a good chance of being listened to. First impressions make a big difference, after all, and if your Frenchie sits obediently with the cat nearby then this is an excellent start.
Make sure as well that both the cat and dog are getting treats while they are getting along. This helps to discourage jealousy, as both will be getting them, and also shows them that getting along is in everyone’s best interests!
Cat scratches and infection
Cat scratches are a definite possibility in the early phase of introductions, so you should make sure that you are well-prepared in advance. A diluted antiseptic can and should be used to clean the wound, after which you can apply a dab of antibiotic cream, and this should help to prevent any infection.
Watch the wound, but in most cases, it should heal very quickly. In the event that you see some swelling or if the scratch looks like it might need stitches, then you should get the vet involved right away.
In most cases, your cat might swipe at the dog, but usually, it’s going to be a ‘slap’ rather than a genuine attempt to harm the dog.
Ultimately, it will depend on your cat – some cats might scratch on purposes, while others might simply not be in the practice of retracting their claws – but either way, if a swat from the cat involves claws then you want to be prepared.
Be patient – friendships take time
The biggest component of a budding friendship between cats and dogs is always going to be time. Cats love their personal schedules, so they get stressed whenever something in the house changes, so they’ll need to get used to the Bulldog.
Your dog is going to be excited about meeting the cat, but they might also be nervous as well or unsure about the right way to say ‘hello’. Communication issues are completely normal, so just make sure that all interactions are supervised. Before you know it, they’ll be fast friends, but you need to be patient with the process.
In summary: Frenchies+Kitties=Friends!
It is going to take a little work, but rest assured that French Bulldogs and cats can get along like gangbusters. Make sure to use a crate to help with initial introductions and obedience training should be used to keep your Frenchie from getting too excited.
Add in some safe spots for the cat and a little protection for the food by it’s placement or through microchip feeders and let your pets interact with careful supervision. With a little luck and love, they’ll soon be the very best of friends!