cat = dog?
May 13, 2015 6:21 PM   Subscribe

My cat acts like a dog. Is it possible that he was raised by dogs?

My cat, Rocky (file photo) is a strange beast. He is always waiting for me at the door when I come home, absolutely without fail. He wags his low-slung tail from side to when he is curious or excited. He frequently emits an odd, bark-like sound. He climbs on top of any stranger who comes over, many of whom remark on his gregarious and overall doglike nature.

I know nothing of his origins. We got him from an old friend that moved to another state, who got him from an ex-boyfriend. Before that is a mystery, although legend has it that he was a "warehouse cat" at some point in his life.

Is it possible that he was somehow adopted or befriended by a dog in his formative years? Has this event ever been documented? Are cats just weird?

Here is another picture of him.
posted by theodolite to Pets & Animals (31 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
That's the special breed called "Dogcat". It's more like an ethnicity than a breed. But yeah, the Dogcat is a known mutation in the Cat phylum.
posted by janey47 at 6:29 PM on May 13, 2015 [9 favorites]

My cat Banana is just like that and has been with us since he was three months old in a dog-free household. I think it's just a myth perpetuated by cat-haters that cats don't act like this. There are some aloof ones, for sure, but most of mine have been closer to this type than the standoffish stereotype.
posted by something something at 6:29 PM on May 13, 2015 [19 favorites]

That's just how some cats roll.
posted by DarlingBri at 6:31 PM on May 13, 2015 [5 favorites]

Nah, but my cat is a Bengal/Savannah cat blend and she is so like a dog that even her farts are dog like. (TMI? TMI...) Your handsome boy could be a blend too.
posted by Hermione Granger at 6:34 PM on May 13, 2015 [3 favorites]

My boy cat is like this. He runs to greet people and demands to be petted. He makes people feel special because cats don't usually do that. He never met a stranger. I tell people he's a dog trapped in a cat's body.

I got him from his foster parents, and his bio said he loved dogs. I've had him 13 years. But he met a dog in that time and wasn't interested. He owns his Dogcatness!
posted by jgirl at 6:34 PM on May 13, 2015

My girl cat also acts like this. She does like dogs a lot, though.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 6:40 PM on May 13, 2015

In Nekoatsume there's a cat whose personality, according to Google Translate, is "blue dog" (or maybe "pickled ginger" if I just isolate the end characters). This game seems like a pretty credible source of cat knowledge, so I think this is probably a pretty well documented phenomenon. I'm with janey47: Dogcat.
posted by phunniemee at 6:42 PM on May 13, 2015 [3 favorites]

I think it's well within the range of normal cat behavior. Cats aren't dog opposites, though they often get characterized that way in pop culture. It's a total myth that all cats are standoffish, as is the idea that cats only move their tails from side to side when they're upset. (Look up cat tail meanings on Google for various visual guides. :))
posted by wintersweet at 6:42 PM on May 13, 2015 [2 favorites]

We literally adopted our cats looking for doglike cats. Our cats do all of this, they're just chill like this.

But they're also totally weird. Which is awesome.
posted by arnicae at 7:01 PM on May 13, 2015

Ah the dogcat. It can happen. I had a friend who brought two calico kittens into a household of GSPs. The boy cat would run around with dogs, wag its tail and make a noise which was its best approximation of barking (it was more like “[beep] … [beep]”, which he did not appreciate people finding hilarious) and fling himself at you. The girl cat was much quieter, and spent most of her time eyerolling at her daft brother. She really didn't appreciate him sproinging on top of her when she was trying to snooze, nosiree.
posted by scruss at 7:14 PM on May 13, 2015 [1 favorite]

Dogcat. My little guy may be a distant relative, as he looks and acts similarly. He's a merciless flirt who demands belly rubs from any and all visitors. The belly is 100% not a trap.

(Also, the gas. Oh my stars and garters, the gas.)
posted by Orange Dinosaur Slide at 7:39 PM on May 13, 2015 [1 favorite]

One of my cats is rather doglike, although I'm unsure of her early family life. I've trained her to do several simple but cute tricks, which I hear is comparatively easy to do with doglike cats.

We probably have fewer doglike cats because cats aren't usually selectively bred.
posted by Soliloquy at 7:45 PM on May 13, 2015

My guy is a dogcat. He waits by the door, wags his tail when he's super excited, and plays fetch. And he was raised in a "crowding" situation (read: cat hoarder) so I'm pretty sure it's not a dog-related thing.
posted by clone boulevard at 7:46 PM on May 13, 2015

A recent mefi post called out that cats are not just predators, but prey. So they have to be circumspect.

My theory is that dogcats have bred out this fear.

My cat is terrified the vacuum cleaner is out to eat her. My dogcat thinks it's a scary monster that will eventually go away if you stay still. He isn't fearless, but he doesn't carry it around with him like my sweet fraidy cat.
posted by politikitty at 7:53 PM on May 13, 2015

Here is my dogcat in his natural environment. When he's not whining to go outside, he's greeting us at the door, climbing over everyone, making lots of noise, begging for scraps at the table, etc. So it's definitely a thing.

Agree with the above that it's one part personality of the cat you have (we picked him out of the litter because he literally jumped out of the cage at me), and one part inaccurate perceptions about cats.
posted by damayanti at 8:07 PM on May 13, 2015 [1 favorite]

And old roommate's cat behaved like that with me. She'd be waiting at the door when I got home, bound excitedly down the hall to my bedroom and wait--tail wagging!--for me to open it so she could bounce upon the bed and me, lick my face, and generally be a dogcat. To my knowledge, she had never seen a dog in her life.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:00 PM on May 13, 2015 [1 favorite]

I'm with wintersweet and something something.
Really tired of canines being the reference point.
posted by captivepredator at 10:49 PM on May 13, 2015

dogcat: dormaalocyon latouri
posted by aniola at 10:49 PM on May 13, 2015

Cats have many types of personalities. The ASPCA has an interesting guide to several types. There's even a test you can download elsewere on the site if you're as geekily inclined as I.
posted by Jandoe at 11:32 PM on May 13, 2015 [1 favorite]

Dude your cat acts like a cat. A really good cat.

I had three burmese cross's and they were similar. The boy-cat even walked on a leash. So great taking him round the neighbourhood and seeing people do a double take when they realised he wasn't a small black dog after all.
posted by shelleycat at 11:39 PM on May 13, 2015 [1 favorite]

A long, long time ago when I was dirt poor and a recent college graduate, I moved myself and my black cat, Dink, into a shared house in Allston MA. I got a job at WGBH and I'd walk every day a few miles to the station and home again.

Every night around 6pm, I'd head down the block and when I was about 5 houses away from my own, Dink would come TEARING out of the yard, run down the sidewalk, and flop in front of my onto her back. She'd roll back and forth, singing and chirping a very happy sound, and would serpentine between my legs as we walked together back to the house. That cat truly went out of her way to be doglike with me, so I renamed her, "Dink-Dink, The Cat Who Knows her Mommy."

I was amazed that Dink was obviously the smartest and most unusual cat in the world. She always knew when I was coming and would run to greet me so affectionately. I told friends and when they walked home with me, they too would say, "Wow, Kinetic! She IS the smartest, most dog-like cat ever! She must sit on the porch all day, waiting for you to come home! She DOES run out to greet you! That cat is a super-genius!"

Many years later at dinner with friends and their new friend who had moved from London, I discovered he lived only a few blocks away from my place. Being new to the area, he asked me to explain where in Allston I was.

As I started to explain, "It's a right off Eldridge," he exclaimed:


Turned out that Dink use to flop herself on the ground for EVERYONE who walked by, not just me. I renamed her, "Dink The Slut."

So yeah, cats do this.
posted by kinetic at 2:50 AM on May 14, 2015 [22 favorites]

Both of my cats do that. One also wanders around with a toy in his mouth, howling. They play fetch. They greet. They have several noises. They are lap cats and leaning cats and taking your spot in bed cats. They follow us around the apartment. They nudge us to pet them instead of petting that stupid iPad all the time.

They are just really great, happy cats.
posted by heatherann at 5:20 AM on May 14, 2015 [2 favorites]

Normal and awesome cat personality.
posted by matildaben at 7:11 AM on May 14, 2015 [1 favorite]

My boy cat totally acts like that. He's more like a dog than half the dogs I've met.
posted by holborne at 8:00 AM on May 14, 2015

Why is it called "Dogcat" and not "Catdog" which makes FAR more sense to me.

My stinky-butt cat Crocket is the same. Waits for me on the stairs until I get home - but I'm sure this is only because I am the human-who-gives-food.

He also HATES dogs.

And he licks water from taps and eats shoe-laces and stuff.

So he's actually nothing like a dog at all......
posted by JenThePro at 8:35 AM on May 14, 2015 [2 favorites]

One of our cats is a slightly mongeralized Maine Coon. He is very dog-like. He'll fetch, jump in the shower, come when he's called, etc. He's only seen dogs from a window. That's just the way some cats roll.
posted by the christopher hundreds at 9:06 AM on May 14, 2015 [1 favorite]

To address the question about your kitty being raised by dogs: It's unlikely, but certainly not impossible. Our younger cat arrived at the humane society from a neglectful home filled with several dogs and just one cat. He fetches, waits by doors, leaves stuffed bones by food dishes/water dishes/litter boxes/pillows in what seems to be an attempt at communication, jumps on any laps that present themselves, and is respectfully fearful of our elderly cat-like cat.

He also seems to have a grasp of many languages, including cat, husky, squirrel, and bird, as well as a strange (and very, very plentiful) Siamese/human pidgin that's developed since I've taken to "conversing" with him on a regular basis.
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 9:23 AM on May 14, 2015

I've had a couple of dogcats. They're the best. I had one dogcat named Max who learned and followed commands and I have another currently who plays fetch. Cats are a varied as humans in personality and quirks. Nice work getting chosen by a dogcat. You're lucky.
posted by dchrssyr at 1:24 PM on May 14, 2015

My Mother had a Burmese which would follow her as she did the rounds on a farm, feeding the horses, walking the fence line etc. Liked long walks etc.
Unlike my mother's dogs.

Occasionally went tearing off after rabbits, and actually caught one at least once.
posted by Elysum at 7:30 PM on May 14, 2015

Even if there are plenty of other seats on the couch available, he must have the seat that was immediately previously occupied by a hairless monkey. When you return to reclaim your seat and say wtf to him, he gets that Look of Cat Righteous Indignation (you know the look) and acts greatly offended that you are usurping his seat, as if he hadn't stolen it to begin with.

I have a Tuxedo cat, Mikko, who not only does this, but he sits in front of people, staring at them and chirping until you get off what he has determined is HIS spot on the sofa. He keeps squawking and chirping until you move over, then he jumps up and snuggles into the few inches he's been given.

It doesn't matter where anyone sits, Mikko gets right in front of you and yells at you to move and make room for his fat butt.
posted by kinetic at 3:11 AM on May 18, 2015

Ha, my brown tabby boy does a lot of the same things. Follows me around, greets me when I come home, and so on. I don't know if he was raised with dogs (we met him at age 2), but he doesn't like dogs. Except for black labs, which he is convinced have been put on this earth to be his bitches (spent time with the in-laws' puppy who is a wuss). However, my tux girl does a lot of the same things, except moodier and louder. I vote SRS CAT BUSINESS.
posted by dust.wind.dude at 3:25 PM on May 18, 2015

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