Why Does My Cat Act Like a Dog?


Cats aren’t always the aloof, disinterested felines they’re cast as in popular culture. By: ilyessuti

Meet my cat, Boomer.

He’s your typical cat: He spends his days napping, chasing his sister, Lou, and soaking up the sun.

Boomer was adopted about a year and a half ago after what was supposed to be a quick trip to the pet store to get a bag of cat food. Thanks to an adoption event hosted by one of the feline rescues in our area, this trip to purchase cat food ended with a surprising twist — a new kitten.

Boomer Thinks He’s a Dog

Boomer has always been a little different when it comes to typical cat behavior. He’s very attached whereas Lou tends to be more aloof. More often than not, Boomer can be found curled up next me on the couch, snuggled into my side or at the foot of the bed at night or even following us around the house. He’s constantly purring, nuzzling or trying to lick our hands while we pet him.

Late last summer, Boomer’s behavior got a little stranger when he developed an obsession with a string tied to a stick. He reacted much like you would expect a cat to by leaping around the living room with a grace and agility I didn’t know he possessed as he chased the string in circles, up and down the hall and through the kitchen.

Things took a turn, however, when he finally caught his prize. Rather than dropping it to start the whole process over again, Boomer would hold the end of the string in his mouth and pull until he was engaged in a game of tug-of-war.

Once the war was won, he would be so proud of his accomplishments that he would show off by dragging the string and stick all around the house, meowing loudly until someone would play with him again. When he wasn’t playing with the string, he’d be on the lookout for someone willing to play. If someone so much as walked in a 3-foot radius of the string, Boomer would appear out of nowhere and meow until his demands were met.

With his affectionate personality and his new obsession with tug-of-war, Boomer started to remind me of a dog. It got me wondering: Why does he act this way, and do other people have similar experiences with their pets?

Here’s Boomer, the doggiest cat I’ve ever known. By: Petful/Katie Jenison

Cats Who Act Like Dogs

Cartoons and storybooks may have made us believe cats and dogs are mortal enemies, but you may be surprised to find out the 2 species are more alike than you’d think.

Some cat breeds, in particular, are known to exhibit dog-like behaviors. The most common are Maine coons, Abyssinians, Turkish angoras and ragdolls. These are all breeds known to exhibit behaviors, like walking on leashes, playing fetch and showing signs of attachment to their humans.

The environment a cat grew up in can also play a part in their behavior. When a cat lives in a household with a dog for companionship, the 2 species can become close and develop an unlikely friendship. In some cases, though rare, the cat can even become confused about their own species and mimic the behaviors of a dog.

Aside from breed characteristics and the off chance they are confused about their species, one of the most common reasons a cat might act like a dog is because they are hoping to get attention — or, better yet, treats. Anyone who has experienced a cat trying to buddy up to them right around dinnertime knows this to be true.

Check out this cat’s new trick:

Training Your Cat

Cats may be mischievous and a little bit distant, but they’re also intelligent creatures who can be trained to behave certain ways or to learn tricks.

While cats aren’t susceptible to all the same training techniques you’d expect from a dog, one thing you can count on to always work is positive reinforcement using treats. With a little practice and patience, you can have them jumping through hoops or performing in agility events in no time.

The cat-person-versus-dog-person debate is still alive and kicking, but it’s refreshing to know it is possible to get the best of both worlds for those of us who don’t want to pick a side. On one side, cats offer the playful, quirky qualities pet lovers crave. On the other, they offer the independence desired by many. It’s a win-win.

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This article was written by Katie Jenison. Katie is a freelance writer and coffee enthusiast residing in the Midwest. Growing up on a small farm in rural North Dakota, ​Katie developed a love for animals of all shapes and sizes. In her spare time, she can be found curled up with a book and her 2 cats, Boomer and Lou,​ blogging about her freelance experiences and ​spending time with her family.

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