Five Reasons Why My Cat Thinks He’s a Dog

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Okay, so we’re supposed to be all about dogs.  But dogs are so awesome, some animals want to be just like them, and of course, we have to tell you all about it.  Amber Carlton‘s cat is so much like a dog it’s scary…


My cat Smudge’s history is a mystery. I only know what little information his former owners wrote on his surrender paperwork. Even though they checked both “okay with cats” and “okay with dogs,” I have no idea whether he actually lived with another cat before he was surrendered. But there is no doubt in my mind that he was raised with dogs.

Because, well, I’m pretty sure he thinks he is a dog.

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Why? From the moment he stepped paw into our house, he was totally at ease with our two dogs. Of course, we didn’t just throw him into the middle of the pack. We did introductions in a slow, controlled manner … sniffing through the door, cracking the door, letting them see each other through a baby gate. But we needn’t have worried. Despite being in a new place with dogs he’d never met before, he wasn’t the least bit worried about them.

Okay, sure, maybe it makes sense that a cat raised with dogs wouldn’t be afraid of them. But the weird part was that our dogs just immediately accepted him as one of their own. And even though they lived for years with our other cat Abby before Smudge showed up, they definitely don’t view all cats the same. Even though they’ve never so much as barked at Abby, they will eagerly chase a cat who dares to enter our yard. For a long time, we thought maybe they just saw indoor cats differently than outdoor cats. However, while visiting my sister recently, they blew that theory out of the water when they were a little TOO focused on her indoor cat. Yet when Smudge entered their lives, he somehow automatically became part of their pack.

I wonder sometimes if Smudge is some weird cat-dog hybrid, because with each passing day he seems to display more and more canine tendencies. Things like:

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1.  He enjoys riding in the car

I had heard stories — some might call them legends — of cats who enjoy going for a spin. But I, like many a Bigfoot and Loch Ness skeptic before me, had never truly believed such a thing was possible. After all, I had no hard evidence. Sure, some people post pictures and videos of their car-loving cats, but those could be doctored, right? Then Smudge came into my life and all those preconceived “cats hate cars” notions went out the window. Smudge honestly loves a good car ride. I usually keep him zipped safely up in a carrier, but I’m pretty sure if I allowed him to, he’d stick his head out the window with his tongue flapping in the breeze like the cat-dog he is.

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2.  He wants to be wherever the dogs are

Does Smudge spend time curled up near our other cat Abby? Does he follow her around? No. Because why would a cat-dog spend time with a cat when there are perfectly good dogs to hang out with? I often come home to Smudge sharing a sun puddle with Mayzie or lying on the bed with Ranger. If he’s not near one of the dogs, he’s contentedly asleep in one of their crates. And after dinner, he dutifully follows the dogs downstairs for their after-dinner potty break. I have never once let him just run outside with them but he remains ever optimistic.

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3.  He sits for treats

Smudge, like our dogs, can hear a treat jar opening from any part of the house. As soon as they hear the “clank” of the lid, they all come running. And then in unison, they all sit in a row waiting for something yummy to appear. I’ve even taught Smudge, like our dogs, to “spin” for a treat on command. It’s adorable.

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4.  He loves to have his belly rubbed

Okay, so I’ve had a couple of cats who liked to have their tummies rubbed … for about four seconds. Then the tail twitching starts, and you better stop or you’ll pull back a bloody stump. But having a cat-dog is great because he actually lives for long, drawn-out belly rub sessions. Doesn’t matter what I use. My hand, my foot, a broom, whatever. Smudge, like my dogs, will lie there for as long as I’m willing to keep it up. I’ve even blown raspberries into his tummy. Just try that with a non cat-dog.

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5.  He walks on a leash

Because Smudge was declawed on all four paws by his former owners, the thought of him getting outside scares the crap out of me. But he yearns to go frolic with the dogs and sits by the back door crying when they’re outside without him. What to do? Well, first I bought him his very own cat tent, which he loved even though he couldn’t explore the yard. Then I thought, “Maybe he’d walk on a leash.” So I bought a harness and lo and behold, Smudge is in heaven! Yes, it took him a bit to get used to it, but now he gets to run with the big dogs, just like a cat-dog should.

Your turn: Have you ever had a cat-dog? Tell us about her in the comments.





9 thoughts on “Five Reasons Why My Cat Thinks He’s a Dog”

  1. My former cat-dog, Nadine, would take walks with us and the dogs around the neighborhood, running behind us. She preferred to walk and wouldn’t let us carry her even if she fell behind.

    She once fended off a nuisance dog that was bothering us on a walk, sending him straight back home! Nadine unexpectedly passed away this month and we miss her dearly. The ancient Eqyptians shaved their eyebrows upon the death of a family cat. We understand the grief…thanks for an article that made us laugh and remember our loved one.

  2. My cat (who just so happens to look like this cat) thinks shes “one of the pack” too. I have a chihuahua mix. I watch my sons dog most days, shes a teacup chihuahua, and then there’s my cat Gabby. They are always together. I call them “The odd squad “

  3. My husband and I had a 7 toed cat named, accordingly, ToeToe. He walked on a leash, followed my husband everywhere, and just acted like a dog in general. He definitely didn’t have the grace of a cat. He died of FIP about 6 months after we got him from the shelter. It still makes us sad to this day thinking about him. We agreed there’d never be another cat like Toe Toe

    • I got a blue Russian from a shelter and he also died of FIP at the young age of 6 months. He loved to be taken on walks, loved to get in the shower and roll around while it was running, play fetch, belly rubs and he never hid under a bed or anything when we brought him home for the first time. He just went around sniffing everything and then plopped down in the middle of the floor for a belly rub. I know how hard it is to lose a cat to FIP, especially one with such an amazing personality. Just wanted to let you know I feel for you! Still miss my little guy every day!

  4. My cat-dog, Tiger Cat, also seemed more like a dog than a cat. My house is on a corner lot, so she had the pleasure of being able to see people walking on the sidewalk in front of my house and on the sidewalk beside my house and she would put her front paws on the window sill and literally growl until she could no longer see them. When I would get home from work in the evenings, she would be laying on a window sill in one of the upstairs rooms watching for me to pull up in the driveway–and then when I would open the back door, she would be there waiting for me, just like any good dog would!

  5. I too have “Puppycat”. He is 10 yearsold, and fetches, come when someone whistles, sits on command, shakes hands. He Loves his head scratched as well as his back just above his tail. he knows a head scratch cost a handshake. He shakes hands then hangs his head for the scratch. If I should scratch without a handshake, I tell him he owes me for that headscratch, and out comes the paw. Yell “mailman” and here he comes to “get” him. The” speak” part comes only sometimes. All 5 of my cats will get up and move out of the way if I say “excuse me please”. Spanky is just a dog in cats clothing……

  6. My wife and i have a 1.5 year old female Ocicat. And she is definately more dog than cat. My wife taught her a favorite passtime of playing fetch. She loves to fetch small stuffed mice we throw and will bring it back and drop it on you and wait for you to throw it again. She does it better than any dog i have ever had. And she lets you know when its time to play by bringing the mouse and dropping it in your lap. She also feels the need to chew everything up just like a dog. She chews on paper, boxes, toys, mattress pads, fruit, and anything else that interests her. When the mailman pushes the mail through the front door slot she quickly goes into attack mode on the incoming letters coming through the door. Of course, she still has all her cat traits like standing on her back feet like a meerkat or doing parkour all over the house including bouncing off multiple walls to land 6 steps up the stairs. She is just starting to now to enjoy getting walked on a leash.


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