Do Cats Act Like Dogs, Or Do Dogs Act Like Cats?

Do some cats act like dogs? Maybe it's dogs who act like cats!
Dear Thomasina...
Is it normal for some cats to act like dogs? My cat meets me at the door, walks with me and loves to play fetch. I'm not complaining, but don't you think he's a bit weird?

Hey, Purrplexed!
Love your name! I don't think cats act like dogs. But dogs do act like some cats. I've often wondered if they get confused and think they're cats because they usually greet their people at the door, come when they're called, like to play fetch and love going for walks just like we do.

Every cat is different, of course. Personally, I think playing fetch is boring and too much work, and I would never do it. But my friend, Ronnie, loves to chase little tinfoil balls and swat them back to his humans. And another cat I know thinks catching treats in midair is just about the most fun thing ever. She doesn't swat them back to her human, though. She eats them after she catches them. Maybe that's not exactly playing fetch, but I've seen dogs do it, too.

Cats Love Their People Just Like Dogs Do

Cats act like dogs, and dogs act like cats, when they show love to their people.
© Budimir Jevtic -

It's a myth that cats are aloof and antisocial.  Well, I guess some of us are. But so are some dogs and some people. 

And I don't think cats act like dogs because they show love to their people. That's behavior both species share.   

So your cat greets you at the door because he's happy to see you. He walks with you because he enjoys your company and likes sharing one of the things he loves most -- being outside -- with his favorite friend. He probably comes when you call his name because he's hoping you have food or treats. As for the playing fetch thing, I don't get it. I guess like my friends, Ronnie and Tink, he thinks it's fun. 


Maybe Some Cats Act Like Dogs, But We're Not Small Dogs With Attitude

Some cats act like dogs, but they're not small dogs with attitude.
I always get a bit annoyed when people say their cats think they're dogs. Instead of saying some cats act like dogs, maybe we should say some dogs act like cats! And while some dogs and cats seem to have many things in common, I know exactly what I am, and it's not a small dog with attitude!

While cats and dogs like many of the same things, we're really very different. Dogs are pack animals and crave the attention and approval of the rest of their pack, especially the pack leader. When dogs live without other dogs, their humans become their pack.

Cats really are solitary hunters. Most of us enjoy living with humans, but we can live without you, too. We're very resourceful and have the most amazing survival skills. So while we appreciate your help, most of us can manage just fine without it if we need to.

When we live with other cats, we have a very loose social structure. Sometimes there's a "head cat" to sort of keep things organized. But that role can change at different times of day and under different circumstances. At our house, Soda becomes the head cat when a cat we don't know comes along. But most of the time, it's hard to tell who, if anyone, is in charge.

Hope this answers your question. I have to get going now. I hear our human calling, and I think we're all going to go for a walk!

The Body Language and Emotions of Cats cat behavior book
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This is our human's favorite
cat behavior book.

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