Why Does My Dog Act Like a Cat? (5 Common Reasons)

Categorized as Why Does My Dog
my dog acts like a cat

You may have noticed that your dog is acting like a cat and started to wonder why.

What’s going on? Is your pup stressed or bored? Are they too hot or cold? Do they need more attention than usual because of recent changes in the household?

Here are some short answers to the question, “Why does my dog act like a cat?” and some possible explanations for feline-like behavior in dogs.

Your dog may show cat-like behaviors because they copy your cat’s behavior, because they belong to the “cat-like” breeds, or because they’re naturally independent. You may also find cat-like behaviors in dogs who don’t like petting or in litter-trained dogs.

Here are the five most common reasons why your dog may act like a cat:

1. Your Dog Share Their Home with

If a dog has grown up with cats in their home, then don’t be surprised if they learn and mimic the behavior of their canine friends. For example, if your dog notices their feline pal clean themselves and thinks that might be a good thing to try.

Your dog may also see certain behaviors get the cat any of the things they want, and so they may decide to copy that behavior in hopes of getting the same result.

2. Some Dog Breeds Are More Cat-Like Than Others

Not all dog breeds are the same. Like Shiba Inu and manchester terrier, some of them have a lot in common with cats because of their need for keeping clean, or because they are a great hunter, or because they simply love to laze around on the sofa all day, just like their canine friend does!

Some dogs also share cat-like physical features. For example, Manchester terriers. They definitely have the size of a cat, and they are also very graceful and athletic.

According to American Kennel Club, when it comes to personality, although Chow Chow isn’t exactly kitten-sized, they share the same desire for cleanliness.

3. Your Dog is Naturally Independent

Some breeds, such as Greyhounds, Basset Hounds, and poodles, are simply more independent than other breeds. Their independence can appear to be cat-like in the eyes of their owners.

These dogs are perfectly content to have a little time to themselves and can entertain themselves with a stuffed toy or chew. It’s worth noting that the more your dog needs you, the less independent they are likely to be.

This trait is also seen in cats: when people first adopt them as kittens, they’re often very dependent on their owner and do not enjoy playing alone (cuddling up to one another does seem like fun, though!). But as soon as they reach adulthood, many of these same cats become content being by themselves for long periods of time.

4. Your Dog Simply Doesn’t Like To Be Touched or Held

Another reason that may make your dog appears to act like a cat is their dislike for being touched or held. For example, dogs like Chow Chow and the Shiba Inu are known for their low tolerance of being touched or held.

5. Your Dog is Litter Trained

It’s possible to litter train small dog breeds, such as Yorkshire Terriers, to use a litter box instead of needing to go outside. This training can be beneficial for people who live in a place where it’s hard to take their dogs outside, if they live in every day, for example, if you live in inclement weather for a significant part of the year.

A notable byproduct of the training is these dogs may appear acting like a cat because of their innate instinct to use the litter box instead of going outside and digging up dirt.

5 Signs Your Dog Is Actually A Cat in Disguise

Dogs and cats are generally thought of as opposites. And even we humans often call ourselves “dog people” or “cat people.” Dog owners will tell you that cats are boring and just sleep all day. On the other side of the coin, cat owners will tell you that dogs are messy and never clean up after themselves.

But I’ve noticed that occasionally my dog acts like a cat, and I have noticed the opposite as well. In fact, now, as both a dog owner and a cat owner, I believe that my dog thinks he is a cat.

Take a look below at some of the telling signs to check if your dog does possess feline behaviors.

1. They Perch On High Surfaces

One sure sign of cat-like behavior if your dog enjoys climbing and perching on high surfaces that allow them to observe their surroundings. One of my dog’s favorite things to do is climb the kitchen cabinet and sit there for hours. Not only observing, but he also likes to bark at people or other dogs in the house.

2. They Like to Chase Small Things That Move Fast

Another sign of cat-like behavior is a dog who likes to chase small things that move fast. For example, my dog loves chasing bugs and pet mice toys on the floor, but he also enjoys any toy with a string or feather attached.

Guess what, my cat does this too!

3. They Can Curl Up Into a Ball and Doze Off Right Away

Does your dog like to sleep like a cat? If they like to curl up into a ball and doze off right away, this is one of the signs. In addition, dogs with cat-like behaviors often enjoy sleeping on high perches or in small, cozy beds rather than big ones.

4. They can be totally quiet and silent, except in the presence of other dogs.

Does your dog act like a cat when it comes to making noise? If they can be totally quiet and silent, except in the presence of other dogs, then pretty telltale.

Most cats tend not to get along with people fairly easily, but not with other cats, which I have found to be true in my experience. Dogs who behave like cats may find themselves in a similar situation.

5. Just Like Cats, Your Dog Likes to Lick You, Purr, and Knead.

Does your dog like to lick your hand or face, purr, or knead against you? All of these things are typical activities that many cats do to show how they love you.

Should You Be Concerned?

Most of the time, it’s perfectly normal for your dog to act like a cat. Certain breeds can make them appear more feline in general. If you have noticed that your dog has always seemed to be behaving more like their canine friends, there’s probably nothing wrong with them.

However, some dogs can get overboard and do things like scratch up your furniture like crazy. If this is happening, it’s time you do something about it before things get out of hand.

How To Stop Your Dog From Acting Like a Cat?

I would recommend taking your dog to the vet for a check-up if they have acted like this for quite some time. If it’s just been happening recently, try some of these tips below and see what works best for you!

We all want our dogs to behave well, and discouraging cat behavior is done by redirecting their behavior to a new activity that you would like your dog to do.

For example, if you see your dog about to jump on the table when there are crumbs nearby, distract them with a toy or stroke their head for a few seconds before removing them from temptation.

Being careful about what rewards or punishments you use will also help eliminate unwanted behaviors in dogs. For example, if your dog has been jumping on people too much, reward them for sitting nicely instead of punishing them for jumping up by scolding them – they’ll learn faster that good behavior gets rewarded more often than bad!


What makes dogs act like cats? It’s most likely that your dog acts like a cat because of the way he was raised. A lot has been said about how animals are influenced by their environment, and this is certainly true for children too.

If you think back to when your own parents were raising you or someone else in your family, did they give any attention to which kid they resembled more closely than others?

Probably not! But just as it’s possible that a child might grow up with certain personality traits due to his upbringing, so can your dog. So don’t be surprised if your dog starts acting more like a cat; there may be a good reason why they do!

Related Questions

1. Why Is My Dog Obsessed with My Cat?

If a dog is obsessed with your cat, it could be due to the dog having a strong prey drive, wanting to play with, or trying to herd your cat.

2. Why Does My Dog Nibble On My Cat?

Dogs nibble on cats as a way of playing with them, grooming them, and sometimes even dominating them. It’s important to discourage this behavior before it gets out of hand.

3. Why Does My Dog Lick My Cat?

Dogs lick cats for many reasons. One of the most common ones is to groom them since it’s something that dogs do to other dogs too. Dogs also lick cats during playtime, or simply because they’re excited to see them.