Can English Bulldogs and Cats be Friends? How to Introduce Them

Written by Dr. Marcelle Landestoy, DVM

cat and englihs bulldog

Are you an English Bulldog owner and thinking of getting a cat? Or are you a cat owner who wants to adopt an English Bulldog?

Both cats and English bulldogs are lovely pets, but do they get along with each other? 

English Bulldogs can be good with cats, as they’re generally amiable dogs. Every circumstance is unique and entirely dependent on the dog and cat in question. Your pets’ personalities and habits will determine if your pets will become friends or stay mortal enemies. 

This article will provide all the information you need to determine if you should introduce a cat to your English Bulldog or vice versa.

As a veterinary doctor, I’ll talk about the typical personalities of cats and English Bulldogs, some tips on introducing the two, and signs that your pets aren’t getting along. 

Are English Bulldogs Naturally Aggressive or Friendly Toward Cats?

angry english bulldog with angry cat

In general, English Bulldogs have an amiable disposition and are laid back and easygoing.

They’re well known for getting along with other pets and are frequently ranked among the best breeds to introduce to cats. 

You should only be concerned if your English Bulldog has an aggressive or hostile personality.

Though most English Bulldogs are friendly, every dog has a unique personality based on genetics and upbringing. 

If your dog frequently shows aggression to other animals, you should reconsider bringing a cat into your home. 

How Territorial Are Cats?

Introducing an English Bulldog to the cat you’ve had for years is much more complicated than introducing a new cat to your beloved English Bulldog.

While English Bulldogs are relaxed, social creatures, cats are usually territorial and solitary. 

If you’ve only had one cat up to this point, they may have a hard time sharing their home with anyone.

Even a friendly or sweet cat can have problems with a new dog in the house. 

How Territorial Are English Bulldogs?

English Bulldogs are laid back, easygoing, and rarely territorial. They’re social dogs that want to be friendly with everyone. 

As mentioned before, every dog is unique. If your dog has shown territorial tendencies to animals or strange humans, you should think hard before bringing in a cat. 

I Am Already an English Bulldog Parent, and I’m Thinking of Getting a Cat

Having a cat come into your home when an English Bulldog already lives there might be easier than the other way around.

Let’s take a look at how to introduce these two future pals.

How To Introduce a New Kitten to My English Bulldog Puppy

kitten

Once you adopt your kitten, you should isolate them in a room for the first few weeks.

New kittens need to be in a smaller space so they can adjust to their new surroundings easier.

During this period, have your English Bulldog puppy come near the door, catch their scent, and adapt to the new pet. 

Once your kitten is ready to explore the house, you should put your puppy in their cage for the first meeting. 

Puppies usually have far more energy than kittens, which can scare your kitten off.

Keeping your puppy in their cage at first will prevent your puppy from hurting or scaring your kitten (whether on accident or purpose). 

How To Introduce a New Kitten to My Adult English Bulldog

Before adopting a kitten, you should introduce your dog to cats through other means.

For example, you can point out stray cats to them from a safe distance to see their reaction. 

A creative way to introduce your English Bulldog to kittens is by showing them kittens on YouTube videos. 

When you first bring your kitten home, have your English Bulldog smell the area where you’re temporarily keeping the cat.

Once you let your kitten explore your home, put your English Bulldog in a cage for the first few meetings, which will keep your kitten safe in case your Bulldog shows any aggression. 

How To Introduce a New Adult Cat to My English Bulldog Puppy

Just as introducing a puppy to a new kitten, you should put your English Bulldog puppy in a cage when introducing them to a new adult cat.

Cats aren’t nearly as energetic as puppies and may become threatened or aggressive when around such a playful pup.

If your cat responds positively to your new puppy, you can bring them out to interact with your cat.

How To Introduce a New Adult Cat to My Adult English Bulldog

As mentioned before, introducing your dog to cats through local strays or YouTube is a great start.

Unlike new kittens, adult cats don’t need to be isolated in a room upon arrival.

You can have your two pets meet right away, but make sure your dog is in a cage at first, just in case they don’t get along. 

I Am Already a Cat Parent, and I’m Thinking of Getting an English Bulldog

As mentioned earlier, if you already have a cat and want to bring an English Bulldog into your home, you might have a more challenging time with that since they’re more territorial.

Here’s how to safely introduce a new dog to your cat.

How To Introduce a New English Bulldog Puppy to My Kitten

If your kitten is still confined to a specific room, have your new puppy sniff their scent outside the door.

Once your kitten can roam the house, have your new puppy meet your kitten in a cage.

If that first meeting goes well, you can introduce them without a cage.

Make sure to supervise each meeting until you are confident they are friends. 

How To Introduce a New English Bulldog Puppy to My Adult Cat

Adult cats are more stubborn than kittens. You may need to keep your dog in a cage for the first few meetings until your cat adjusts to the new puppy. 

Your cat may also avoid your puppy in the beginning. Puppies have a lot of energy that will send cats running.

Most cats adjust to this energy soon enough and will slowly spend more time with your new puppy. 

Make sure to supervise both of them until you feel comfortable leaving them alone together. 

How To Introduce a New Adult English Bulldog to My Kitten

Introduce your dog while they’re in a cage to ensure that your kitten feels safe during the first meeting.

If that goes well, then you can have them meet outside the cage for subsequent sessions.

Make sure to supervise them until you are confident that they’re becoming friends. 

How To Introduce a New Adult English Bulldog to My Adult Cat

Keeping your new dog in their cage during the meeting will help your adult cat feel safe.

Your cat may run off during the first meeting, as cats are rarely social creatures, so you may need to confine your dog for the first few meetings until your cat adjusts. 

Your cat may avoid your dog for the first few days or weeks.

However, once they become more comfortable in each other’s presence, make sure to supervise them until you are confident that they’ll be friendly with each other when alone. 

Can Cats and English Bulldogs Be Left Alone Together?

bulldog and cat alone

The answer to this question is entirely dependent on their first few weeks together.

Whenever introducing a new pet in the home, it’s best to supervise your pets as much as possible during the first few weeks.

During that period, you’ll get a good sense of whether your pets will be friends, enemies, or neutral with each other. 

If your pets become good friends during this time, it’s probably safe to keep them alone. 

If they’re not friendly with each other or are just neutral, you may need to keep them in separate areas of the house when you’re not home.

Most pets become used to each other over time, so it’s unlikely that this will be a permanent solution. 

How To Facilitate a Successful Friendship

Supervising your pets during the first few weeks is crucial.

During the first few meetings, you‘ll quickly learn whether your English Bulldog and cat will be friends or foes.

Every time one shows friendly or social habits, reward them with a treat or another form of positive reinforcement. 

The best way to help your English Bulldog and cat become friends is by finding ways to include both of them in activities.

Try playing games with them, give both of them toys to play with at the same time, or try cuddling with both of them on the couch.

These actions help reinforce that they’re family members now. 

Signs Your English Bulldog Is Not Adapting Well to Their New Feline Sibling (How To Intervene)

Dogs can either be aggressive or afraid of cats. Signs of aggression will include growling, barking, nipping, and chasing your cat.

However, if your dog is afraid of your cat, they may avoid being in the same room as your cat and hide.

You should pay attention to their body language as well, as dogs who are afraid will whimper, put their tail between their legs, and tense their ears.

They may also eat less to avoid the cat or urinate in the house out of fear. 

If any of these behaviors occur, you may need to separate them for the time being and only bring them together under your supervision. 

Signs Your Cat Is Not Adapting Well to Their New Canine Sibling (How To Intervene)

If your cat is territorial and dislikes your dog, she will hiss at, scratch at, and antagonize your dog.

If your cat is thumping their tail on the ground or flattens their ears, that’s a good sign she’s annoyed by your English Bulldog. 

The most obvious sign that your cat is afraid of your dog is if they’re hiding from them.

When cats are stressed, they curl up and hide in hard-to-find places. 

If any of these signs occur, you may need to seclude your cat in a small area of your home for the time being.

Continue to supervise your pets when they’re together and calm your cat when they’re near your dog. 

BULLDOG SLEEPING

Final Thoughts

English Bulldogs are amiable dogs that get along well with cats. Cats are more likely to be territorial and prefer solitude.

However, the success of introducing your English Bulldog to a new cat (or vice versa) is entirely dependent on your pets’ personalities.

However, a slow, supervised introduction with frequent positive reinforcement will go a long way.  

Sources

  • Bulldog Papa: Are English Bulldogs Good With Cats? 
  • Purina: How to Handle Territorial Aggression In Cats
  • The Bulldog Blog: Are English Bulldogs Good With Cats? Expert Tips For A Successful Introduction
  • Tailchaser Rescue: Getting Started With A New Kitten

Click here to read my one-page English Bulldog parent’s guide

Marcelle Landestoy

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