French Level 1, Activity 11: Les animaux domestiques / Pets (Face-to-Face)

Did you know that you can access the complete collection of Pathways Project French activities in our new Let’s Chat! French pressbook? View the book here: 

Please Note: Many of our activities were created by upper-division students at Boise State University and serve as a foundation that our community of practice can build upon and refine. While they are polished, we welcome and encourage collaboration from language instructors to help modify grammar, syntax, and content where needed. Kindly contact with any suggestions and we will update the content in a timely manner. 

Pets / Les animaux domestiques


In this activity, students will talk about their pets and how their pets are involved in their family. Students will also describe their pets, or what pet they would like to have.

Semantic Topics

pets, family, animals, home, adjectives, les animaux domestiques, famille, les animaux, maison, adjectif, the structure of a question, la structure d'une question


Dogs, cats, fish, etc.


Pets are often kept in French homes! Cats are more popular to keep than dogs, especially in Paris.


Domestic animals are seen as members of the family in France - domestic animals often live inside with their family and are treated with respect. In some smaller villages, the animals also have practical purposes, cats can be used as "barn cats" used to catch vermin and unwanted pests, and dogs can be used to herd farm animals and protect the house

  • How might the love of domestic animals relate to how animals and the environment in general are valued and respected in French culture?

NCSSFL-ACTFL World-Readiness Standards

  • Standard 1.1: Students engage in conversations or correspondence in French to provide and obtain information, express feelings and emotions, and exchange opinions.
  • Standard 1.2: Students understand and interpret spoken and written French on a variety of topics. 
  • Standard 2.1: Students demonstrate an understanding of the relationship between the practices and perspectives of the cultures of the francophone world.
  • Standard 4.2: Students demonstrate understanding of the concept of culture through comparisons of francophone cultures and their own.

Idaho State Content Standards

  • COMM 1.1: Interact and negotiate meaning (spoken, signed, written conversation) to share information, reactions, feelings, and opinions. 
  • COMM 2.1: Understand, interpret, and analyze what is heard, read, or viewed on a variety of topics.
  • CLTR 1.1: Analyze the cultural practices/patterns of behavior accepted as the societal norm in the target culture.
  • CLTR 1.2: Explain the relationship between cultural practices/behaviors and the perspectives that represent the target culture’s view of the world.
  • COMP 2.1: Identify, describe and compare/contrast products and their use in the target culture with the learner’s culture.

NCSSFL-ACTFL Can-Do Statements

  • I can understand the role of pets in a French family.
  • I can briefly describe my pet and what he/she likes to do.
  • I can recognize cultural expressions used in everyday French.

Materials Needed

  • Pet Cards
  • Google Slide Presentation
  • Worksheet [OPTIONAL USE] Use this interactive worksheet as a supplemental tool for the corresponding Pressbook Conversation Activity. It can be used as a way to keep students engaged, provide a place for them to take notes, and track their learning.

Would you like to make changes to the materials?
Access the template(s) below:

  • Pet Cards (Canva Template, free account required)
  • Worksheet (Canva Template, free account required)


1. Begin by introducing the Can-Dos for today's activity. Watch this short video with your students and then discuss the following questions: 

Pour commencer, nous allons regarder cette courte vidéo et puis discuter quelques questions:

  • Est-ce que vous pensez que les français préfèrent les chats ou les chiens ?
  • Est-ce que vous pensez que les américains préfèrent les chats ou les chiens ?
  • Pensez-vous que le rôle des animaux domestiques aux États-Unis est le même qu'en France ? Comment ? 

Main Activity

1. Lay the laminated pet cards out on the table.

Étalez les cartes d’animaux sur la table.

2. Have each student randomly grab a pet card (this is their imaginary pet for the activity)

Demandez aux étudiants de choisir aléatoirement une carte (il s’agira de leur animal imaginaire pour l’exercice)

3. They are going to tell the rest of the group about their pet.

Ils vont parler de leur animal au reste du groupe.

  • Comment il/elle s'appelle ?
  • Quel âge a-t-il/elle ?
  • Il/elle est comment ?
  • Qu'est-ce qu'il/elle aime faire ?
  • Qu'est-ce que vous faites ensemble ? 

4. They should also practice asking each other questions about their imaginary pets.

Ils doivent également s'entraîner à poser des questions aux autres concernant leur animal imaginaire.

5. After, have them do the same activity but asking about their real pets at home.

Ensuite, faites-leur faire le même exercice en leur demandant de parler de leur animal réel qu’ils ont à la maison.


1. If there is time left, explain some of the different French expressions using cats.

2. After you go through them, have the students think of the different expressions in English that use cats or dogs.

S’il reste du temps, expliquez différentes expressions françaises comprenant le mot chat. Ensuite, demandez-leur de penser à différentes expressions en anglais qui comprennent les mots chat et chien.

3. Go through the slides with the French expressions and have the students try and figure out what they mean. Then explain their translation and meaning.

French Idioms that include cats

-Il n'y a pas un chat

Translation:  There is not a cat (in sight).

Meaning: There is no one (or only a few people, but less than expected).

-Avoir d’autres chats à fouetter

Translation: To have other cats to whip

Meaning: To have bigger fish to fry

-Appeler un chat un chat 

Translation: To call a cat a cat

Meaning: To say things like they are

-Avoir un chat dans la gorge

Translation: To have a cat in the throat

Meaning: To have a sore throat/difficulty speaking

-Donner sa langue au chat

Translation: To give your tongue to the cat

Meaning: To not be able to guess

Cultural Notes

In France the most popular type of domestic animal are cats. Dogs come second, but most French prefer cats as a domestic animal. Cats are often seen in many French films and are frequently referenced in cultural works (film, art, literature, etc.)

End of Activity

  • Can-Do statement check-in... “Where are we?”
  • Read can-do statements and have students evaluate their confidence.
  • Encourage students to be honest in their self-evaluation
  • Pay attention, and try to use feedback for future activities!

NCSSFL-ACTFL Can-Do Statements

  • I can understand the role of pets in a French family.
  • I can briefly describe my pet and what he/she likes to do.
  • I can recognize cultural expressions used in everyday French.

Return to top