If you’re someone who loves bulldogs and cats, you’re probably wondering if these seemingly incompatible creatures can peacefully coexist. Bulldogs may look like a cat’s worst enemy, but the truth is, bulldogs and cats can get along like best friends.
The type of bulldog we’re talking about can make a big difference, though. “Bulldog,” proper, refers to the English Bulldog, aka British Bulldog; but some people might associate the term bulldog with the American Bulldog or French Bulldog.
When we’re talking about bulldogs and cats, what it really comes down to is whether we’re talking about English Bulldogs, American Bulldogs, or French Bulldogs; because some do better with cats than others…
English Bulldogs and Cats
English Bulldogs are the epitome of temperate. They live to please, and nothing seems to bother them. They may look somewhat fierce, but their typically placid personalities contradict their ferocious faces. These laid-back characteristics make English bulldogs an ideal breed for owners with cats, as well as children and other pets.
However, it is important to note that every dog is unique. English Bulldogs usually like cats, but some don’t. If your English Bulldog is aggressive towards your cat, you’ll have to socialize them to get along.
American Bulldogs and Cats
American bulldogs aren’t exactly like their cousins from across the pond. Their natural instinct is to be aggressive towards cats and other animals. However, with proper training they can be socialized to get along with cats.
French Bulldogs and Cats
French Bulldogs fall in the middle of the spectrum when it comes to getting along with cats. There’s about a 50/50 chance they might befriend a cat, or at least tolerate it. The good news is, just like English and American Bulldogs, French Bulldogs that don’t like cats can be socialized to get along with them.
How to Train Your Bulldog to Get Along with Cats
The easiest way to socialize your bulldog to get along with cats is if you start when they’re a puppy. The best time to do this is between 16 and 20 weeks of age. After 20 weeks, socializing a bulldog to other animals becomes much more difficult. That being said, adult bulldogs can still be socialized to get along with cats; it just requires a lot of patience.
Adult bulldogs need to be gradually exposed to cats from a far distance. This kind of training needs to be done with at least two people. One person on one end of the room with the cat, and the other on the other side of the room with the dog.
Start by figuring out the distance at which your dog becomes aggressive towards the cat. Once you have determined this distance, back the animals away from each at least one foot further than the distance at which your dog became aggressive. Gradually decrease the distance again, and if your dog does not react, say something positive and reward them with a treat. If your dog does react, back up and start the exercise over again.
Incrementally decrease the distance between the animals more and more, rewarding your dog each time they get closer to the cat without a negative response. Once the animals can be nearly close enough to touch without a negative response, it’s time to put your cat in a crate, and let your dog check them out.
If your bulldog can be around your cat in a crate without trying to attack them, then you can put a muzzle on your dog, and let them approach the cat outside of the crate. After about a week of doing this exercise, if your dog has not reacted aggressively towards your cat, you can remove the muzzle.
Please note: If your bulldog has ever been aggressive towards your cat, you should not leave them alone together, even after they’ve been socialized. Bulldogs have a tendency to be destructive when left alone.
What if Your Cat Doesn’t Like Your Bulldog?
Even if your bulldog likes your cat, that doesn’t mean the feeling will be mutual. If you get a bulldog puppy and a kitten at the same time, and raise them together, they will probably like each other. On the other hand, if your cat is already an adult when they meet your bulldog, they probably won’t be too interested in playing with them – unless they’ve already been socialized to other dogs.
As long as they’re not terrorizing each other, it’s really not a big deal if your cat doesn’t like your dog. Your cat’s tendency will be to stay away from the dog. Over time, though, your cat will accept your dog’s presence in the house, no longer viewing them as an intruder, and may begin to gradually approach them. This might take several days, or even several weeks, so it’s important to be patient.
Jane Meggitt. The Behavior of an English Bulldog. Retrieved from https://pets.thenest.com/behavior-english-bulldog-5345.html
Brenna Davis. How to Socialize American Bulldogs With Cats. Retrieved from https://pets.thenest.com/socialize-american-bulldogs-cats-4765.html
Dr. Eric Barchas (June 2, 2006). My cat doesn’t like my dog. What can I do? Retrieved from https://www.dogster.com/lifestyle/my-cat-doesnt-like-my-dog-what-can-i-do
Frenchie Lover. Are French Bulldogs Good with Cats? 5 Steps for a Successful Introduction. Retrieved from https://frenchbulldogowner.com/are-french-bulldogs-good-with-cats/