This photo of Reba with her kitty friend reminded us that we were thinking of discussing our cat policy here a week or so ago.
Recently, we received a frustrated email from someone who wanted to apply for one of our foster dogs. She wanted a chance to adopt the Frenchie in question even though she had a cat and the biography said, "No cats." Upon reading the entire bio, the prospective applicant learned that the foster had not lived with cats, and had no history of abusing or chasing cats, and yet we had barred homes with cats without any evidence that our foster would hurt one! Why? she asked. That's silly! she said.
This is what we told her, and we thought it would be a good idea to explain our reasoning here, too. Bulldog breeds have a wide variety of temperaments and personalities. However, as a group, bulldogs have a strong prey drive, a tenacious and determined approach to getting what they want, and the anatomical means to do terrific damage if they become engaged in a fight or battle.
Many of you may have seen the photo of the Bull Terrier who had a run-in with a porcupine?This Bull Terrier, who lived to fight another day, was obviously deterred neither by pain nor by the formidable natural defenses of a far more well-equipped foe than the most feral felis domesticus.
Those of us who have known and loved bulldogs, be they English, French, Bull Terrier, American Pit Bull Terrier, Bullmastiff or others, have all heard of perfectly sweet, well-behaved bullies who seemed to be very easy going dogs, but who one day caught and dispatched a neighborhood kitty or even, horrifyingly, a kitty in their own home. A few years ago, to our shock, one of our fosters killed a kitty in her foster home.
We are not implying that other breeds don't also chase and kill cats. Some terriers, for example, have a reputation of being cat killers. We are also not saying that dog-savvy kitties can't successfully co-exist with frogdogs. Here's a photo of a Japanese Frenchie who was recently tapped to be a surrogate mom to a tiger cub!
Even given that only a small number of Frenchies may present a danger to cats, we developed the policy of not placing a dog in a home with kitties without affirmative evidence that the dog can cohabit peaceably with a cat. We will not risk the life of our adopters' cats on the chance that an untested dog will be ok with kitties.
But why not allow the kitty and the dog to meet and see if they get along?
you may ask. Why not introduce the dog to a kitty in the foster home and see what happens?
Here's our thinking on those questions: if the dog and cat get along in a one-time meeting it is no guarantee that the two will get along later. Moreover, the dog will doubtless be on a lead and in strange surroundings and may not give a reliable response. A true reading of the dog's ability to get along might come only after weeks of living together. And if they don't get along? Will the Frenchie be returned or will the kitty be rehomed or, heaven forfend, will the kitty be maimed or killed?
In the second instance, what kind of person would offer their cat as a test kitty for FBRN to use? How could we countenance any such experiment? Who would pay the vet bills in the event we could find a "disposable" kitty and could bring ourselves to make the experiment and then the experiment failed?
Ironically, given the uncertainties of housing a bull breed and a small, fast-moving animal together, many of our volunteers have both Frenchies and a cat or two.
We like cats. We like frogs. Because we like them, we will not endanger the life of a kitty on the chance that an untested dog will like them, too. We simply don't want to risk it.
We know this is a disappointment to many applicants. However, we do get Frenchies who like cats and get along well with them. Ethel, in the photo above, for instance, is clearly at home with cats. Reba is available for adoption to a home with a cat and so is Bobo, a newly available Frenchie on the website who also likes kitties. They aren't common, but cat-friendly Frenchies aren't rare, either.
Keep an eye on the website, and look for the occasional frog like Reba who is willing to lie down with a tiny lion. Then write a fabulous application and submit it! You may win the kitty-safe frog of your dreams, and you, your cat and your Frenchie can live happily ever after together.
We like kitties! On toast points, with chopped egg and onion! jokes
The Frog Princess