3 Reasons Your Cat Acts Like a Dog, and 8 Canine-like Breeds

If you're lucky enough to have a cat that acts like a dog, this might explain why they are the way they are.

Published May 16, 2023
Pet family portrait

Some behaviors, like playing fetch and enjoying water, are associated with dogs, whereas laying in the sun and knocking things off the counter are definitely more cat-like. But why do some cats act like dogs? We dug up the dirt on these purrplexing dog-like felines and discovered the three reasons why some cats turn to the bark side.

Why Do Some Cats Act Like Dogs?

Is your cat more "grr" than "purr?" There's probably a reason behind it. The way your kitty was raised, as well as their genetics, can play significant roles in the way they act. These are the three main reasons your cat might act like a dog.

1. They Grew Up With Dogs

Growing up in a household with one or more dogs can definitely lead a cat to act like a dog. Cats are most influenced by their parents and littermates between the ages of 3 and 6 months. If their "litter" happens to be dogs instead of cats, they'll pick up their behaviors and habits instead.

Kitten playing with dog on sofa

2. You Reinforced the Behaviors

Whether you're aware of it or not, the way you respond to your pet's behaviors reinforces them. If you laughed and praised your cat for bringing their toy back after you threw it across the room, they learned it was a positive behavior. So that could be why your kitty loves playing fetch.

Fortunately, you can use this to your advantage if you want your cat to pick up dog behaviors like walking on a leash. Use positive reinforcement through treats and verbal praise to leash-train your cat. Baths can work exactly the same way.

3. It's in Their Genes

Finally, some cat breeds naturally share a lot of characteristics with dogs because of their breed. Which cat breeds are most dog-like? These eight breeds all have different qualities, but each one acts way more like a dog than other cat breeds.

Cat playing fetch
  1. Bengal: very playful, athletic, and easy to leash-train
  2. Maine Coon: nearly the size of a small dog and loves to play
  3. Ragdoll: easy to handle and loves to cuddle
  4. Turkish Angora: athletic and absolutely loves water
  5. Siamese: loves attention and follows their owners around
  6. Manx: very trainable and eager to please
  7. Abyssinian: needs a lot of attention and loves playing with toys
  8. Sphynx: loyal, snuggly, and tolerates frequent baths

Are Cats That Act Like Dogs the True "Cat-Dog?"

A lot of people who want the great qualities of a dog, such as the ability to take their pet out in public on a leash, play fetch, and have a companion who doesn't mind being picked up or cuddled, love the idea of a cat-dog. Plus, cats are a lot lower maintenance because they can use a litter box and can therefore be left at home during the day. If you're looking for a cat who acts like a dog, consider one of these breeds to get the best of both worlds.

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3 Reasons Your Cat Acts Like a Dog, and 8 Canine-like Breeds