People tend to think that cats and dogs are natural enemies who will always hate each other. The truth is actually far from that: dogs, especially Frenchies and cats can live together in perfect harmony if their parents are willing to put in some patience and hard work. The key in every case is to give your pets plenty of time to get used to each other and never rush them into anything. If you are thinking about adopting a Frenchie or a cat but you are concerned about how you’ll make them like each other, this article is for you!
Do Frenchies and cats get along?
French Bulldogs are known for their amazing temperament and adorable personality, thanks to which they get along with basically anyone from kids to older people, other dogs and even cats! Early socialization is always important, so the best you can do is to get a puppy and a cat who are close in age and will grow up together. If you already have a Frenchie or a cat and are thinking about getting another pet, that can also work of course, it may just take a bit more time to get them used to each other. We have already written a blogpost about introducing your puppy to new family members, now let’s see what steps you should follow to make sure your Frenchie and cat become best friends!
5 steps to socialize your Frenchie with a cat
1. Take things slowly and let them get familiar with each other’s scent
It is always very exciting when you bring a new puppy or kitten home for the first time, and it might be tempting to show them to your existing pet right away to see their reaction. You should know, however, that first impressions are very important with pets as well, so if their introduction doesn’t go according to plan, you might ruin their chances of ever becoming friends. That’s why you should take things slowly, and keep your Frenchie and your cat separated for a couple of days until your new pet gets used to the surroundings and the new environment a bit.
Before their first meeting, it’s a good idea to let them get familiar with each other’s scent. You can do that by letting your puppy or your cat into a room, and then taking him or her elsewhere and bringing your other pet in the same room. Another thing you can do is to let them smell each other’s toys or a blanket they slept on. This way, they can start getting to know each other without actually meeting, and when they finally do, they won’t be complete strangers.
2. Gradually increase their time spent together
When you see that your new furry family member is getting comfortable in your home, it means that it’s time for the big moment! You should keep their first meeting very brief, no longer than a couple of minutes. It’s important that you stay in complete control of the situation, so it’s best to keep your puppy on a leash the whole time, and you let your cat decide how close he or she gets. It is also a good idea to have at least one more person in the room who your pets trust and can intervene if things get out of hand. It may seem convenient to keep one of them, especially your cat in a crate when introducing them to make sure they are both safe. However, your baby will feel cooped up with no chance of escape, so the whole experience will be very stressful for him or her.
From this point onwards, you can let them stay in each other’s company a bit longer every day, always making sure that things are under control. It might take a few days, weeks or even months to get them used to each other, so you’ll need to be very patient and look for the signs. If they are acting friendly, they deserve some petting and praising, even some traits to encourage their behavior; on the other hand, if they are showing some aggression, you should break them up immediately and try some other time.
3. Give them both enough space
Both cats and dogs are very territorial, so they need to have their own spaces in the house where they feel completely safe and can retreat any time. With cats, this is usually a high place like the top of a climbing post, cupboard or a shelf where they can escape from your Frenchie and can observe them from there in peace. Puppies can sometimes be a bit too energetic and intrusive for cats, so it is essential for them to have this option.
Your pets should both learn to respect each other’s territories, which you can ensure by keeping their things in the right place. For example, your Frenchie shouldn’t have access to your cat’s litterbox, you should put that somewhere he or she can’t reach it to prevent eating their poop and potentially contracting some harmful bacteria and parasites. They also both have to have their own comfortable beds to sleep, which is only theirs. Again, you can put your cat’s bed somewhere high where your Frenchie can’t reach it.
4. Feeding times
One thing that binds cats and dogs together is that they are very territorial over their food, so make sure that their feeding bowls are as far from each other as possible. Cats and dogs have completely different needs and habits when it comes to eating. While cats should have access to food all day, dogs need to have their own feeding times. By not letting them reach each other’s bowls, you will not only be able to keep the peace but will also prevent your Frenchie from eating cat food and avoid digestive problems.
5. Rewarding and equal attention
We probably don’t need to emphasize how powerful rewarding is in every training. When you see that one or both of your fur babies are approaching one another in a friendly way, don’t forget to praise them both with some nice words and scratches on the head! It is also a good idea to give them treats and petting at the same time; this way you can avoid jealousy as they’ll know that they are receiving equal treatment.
+1 Training is essential
Dogs are often easier to train than cats, so you should teach your Frenchie from the very beginning to be nice to his or her feline friend. Make sure your puppy learns to listen to you, command words such as “No!”, “Leave it!”, “Stay!” will help a lot when you see your puppy is being too intrusive and is frightening your cat. Read our blogpost about how you can make your Frenchie listen to you by becoming the pack leader.
What to do if things go south?
It can happen that despite your best efforts, your Frenchie and your cat have a falling out. The main thing is that you always remain calm and assertive, and break them up immediately. You should always look for the signs, and when you see that your puppy starts growling or your cat hissing, step in right away and separate them for some time. No matter how friendly they are with each other, it is very important that you never leave them unsupervised to prevent any injuries. Don’t feel discouraged if sometimes it seems like there’s a setback in their relationship: take one or two steps back and try again later. If you’re patient, you’ll see that dogs and cats can indeed become friends!
The article is based on the expert knowledge of the TomKings Puppies team who have been breeding French Bulldogs for 10 years on their farm. All the pictures in the post belong to them and their customers, and show puppies from their breed. Check their available puppies here, or if you have any questions or comments let us know below the article.