Cats and dogs often don’t get along.
They even have a reputation for being life-long archenemies.
But if you have a pooch who can’t leave your feline friend alone…
Then your dog might be obsessed with your cat.
Now, the million-dollar question is, “Why?”
Read on to discover:
- How to help your dog and cat get along.
- 8 weird reasons why your dog is obsessed with your cat.
- Whether you should be concerned about your dog’s obsession.
- And many more…
Why is my dog obsessed with my cat?
Your dog is obsessed with your cat due to their strong prey drive. Other reasons also include wanting to play or detecting illness. It may also be due to jealousy, boredom, curiosity, or herding instinct.
8 reasons why your dog is obsessed with your cat
#1: Your dog is following their instinct
Does your dog love to chase squirrels or other small furry animals?
If they do, then they may have a strong prey drive.
And this could be the reason why they’re fixated on your cat.
“What do you mean by prey drive?”
This refers to a dog’s instinct to hunt, chase or capture prey. It also involves five different behaviors which are the following:
- Biting to kill.
- Biting to grab.
Since wolves are a dog’s ancestors, it is in their instinct to hunt.
And if your pooch sees your cat as prey, this could trigger them to chase.
Some dog breeds even have higher prey drives.
This mostly includes those who are bred to hunt or herd such as the following:
- Border Collies.
- Australian Shepherds.
If your dog is one of these breeds, it’s best to keep them separated from your cat.
Because if they tend to chase everything that moves, it may lead to problems. Plus, it can be dangerous for the cat.
On a positive note, training your pooch to stop chasing is attainable.
How to teach your dog to be polite to your cat
If your dog behaves inappropriately toward your cat, calmly lead them to a time-out area.
Rewarding them for good behavior. This is also a great way to stop them from obsessing over your feline friend.
You can do it by giving treats whenever your pooch looks away or ignores the cat.
Repeat this process until your dog learns to stay away.
Once this behavior is reinforced, you may allow your cat and dog to be around each other.
To be safe, it will also help to provide your cat with an escape route. Or a safe place that your pooch can’t access.
#2: Your dog wants to play
Sometimes, dogs obsess over cats because they just want to play.
They’re looking for someone to tease and have fun with.
A clear indication that your pooch is inviting your cat to a friendly game is when they do the ”play bow”.
Or when they are continuously pawing on the ground.
When the feeling is mutual, both the cat and the dog will engage in play.
However, it’s still best to stay in the room and pay attention to their body language.
But what happens when a cat doesn’t feel the same? The interaction could escalate into a fight.
Playing is an important way for your cat and dog to socialize. But of course, both pets must be willing to participate.
So, how would you know if they’re playing or fighting?
Check out the table below for warning signs your pets may show before a fight:
|Back arched||Baring of teeth|
|Fur standing up||Low pitch growl|
|Twitching of tail||Tense body posture|
|Ears turning backward||Lips tightly together|
If you notice any of these signs, your cat and dog both need a time-out. So you should separate them immediately.
On a brighter note, there are things you can do to help your cat and dog be good buddies.
Here are simple ways you can do to make your cat and dog get along:
- Plan the introductions carefully.
- Take their personality into account.
- Let your cat and dog sniff each other’s sleeping area.
It’s also advisable not to scold your dog in front of your cat.
Just imagine scolding a child in front of his playmate. Every time they play together. How would the child feel?
He’ll think it’s his playmate’s fault for being reprimanded. And might not play with them again.
Because the scolded child will form negative associations with the other one.
This is somehow the same with your pets. If you scold your dog every time they interact with your cat, they’ll think it’s the cat’s fault.
This will only raise the tension between them.
The best thing to do is reward your pooch every time they behave nicely towards the cat.
This will encourage both pets to have friendly interactions.
Check out also: 9 Weird Reasons Why Your Dog Nibbles On Your Cat + 3 Tips
#3: Your dog is jealous
Do you pay attention to one pet more than the other? If you do, this could lead to jealousy.
And if your cat is given more attention, don’t be surprised when your pooch acts out.
In fact, researchers found that dogs do get jealous.
And this is likely to happen when their humans interact with a possible rival.
Jealousy could result in them obsessing over your cat. They may also do this in order for you to notice them.
You may like the idea of an envious dog. But these jealous behaviors can get out of control and lead to problems.
“How can I know if my dog is jealous?”
Specific signs to watch out for are:
- Pushing the cat.
- Leaving the room.
- Growling or whining.
- Looking at you or the cat.
- Getting in between you and the cat.
So now that you’re sure your dog is jealous, you wonder what you can do.
You can’t talk to your pooch like you would with a jealous partner. Instead, you need to show them.
Here are few things you can do to prevent your dog from getting jealous:
- Create a stable routine for pets.
- Feed your pets in separate rooms.
- Allow your cat and dog to spend time together in a controlled setting.
- Avoid giving attention to one pet more than the other.
You might also want to know: Why does my dog bark when I hug someone?
#4: Your dog is reacting to the sound of your cat
When a cat is around… Can you guess what’s the first thing that catches the attention of a dog?
Are you thinking it’s the sight of the cat? Or the smell? Surprisingly, it’s neither.
One study wanted to find out what exactly catches a dog’s interest in cats.
And they find out that dogs reacted more to a cat’s auditory stimulus.
They studied the responses of 69 pet dogs to 3 different stimuli:
- The smell of cat urine.
- A realistic-looking cat doll.
- Recordings of cat sounds.
They found that dogs are more responsive to the sounds of cats than to the sight and smell.
In this case, your pooch might be fixated on your cat due to the “meow” and “purr” sounds it makes.
“Can I stop my dog from following my cat?”
If this is a question you have in mind, you’re in luck!
Teach your pooch the “Leave it” command so they ignore your cat.
Here’s the “Leave it” method in 9 easy steps:
- Make sure you have a tasty treat in hand.
- Hold a treat in your hand with your fist closed around it.
- Show your fist to your dog and let him sniff it.
- Say “leave it” and wait until they finish sniffing your fist.
- Don’t respond if your dog tries to nudge or lick your hand.
- Wait for your dog to back off from your hand.
- Once they do, you can now offer the treat.
- Repeat until they consistently move away from the treat when you say “leave it”.
- Continue practicing in short, regular sessions.
#5: Your dog is bored
At times when your dog has nothing to do, they may put all their attention on your cat.
Remember that bored dogs will create their own fun.
They’ll do anything to pass the time. And they’ll do anything to get your attention.
Yes, including obsessing over your cat!
If your dog is sitting around the house all day without any activities, they’re likely to get bored.
And if they’re not exercised enough, they may use all their pent-up energy into pestering your feline friend.
Other signs to recognize when a dog is bored include:
- Running away.
- Excessive licking.
Letting your pooch get bored may not only give you problems but will also make your cat stressed.
“So, how can I keep my dog from being bored?”
The following are things you can do to alleviate boredom.
- Switching up their toys.
- Keeping them socialized.
- Giving plenty of exercise.
- Engaging them in mental stimulation.
- Making mealtime fun with puzzle feeders.
#6: Your dog is curious
Is your cat a new member of the family?
If yes, then your dog might be curious who this odd-looking creature is. And what it’s doing inside the house.
Dogs are naturally curious creatures. If they’re not interested in something, they’ll simply ignore it.
But once they get curious, they’ll be more than eager to find out what the strange thing is.
Many dogs will stare closely at something they’re interested in.
There are times when they could also look like they’re hunting or stalking.
And this could be the reason why they’re fixated on your cat.
It’s pretty simple to tell if your dog is curious by their body language. This includes:
- Tail up.
- Ears up.
- Being alert.
- Tilting their head.
Due to their curiosity, your pooch may also be following your feline friend in order to get to know them.
Seeing dogs and cats living in harmony together is truly a heartwarming sight.
But did you know that there are certain dog breeds that are more likely to get along with cats?
Dog breeds with easygoing personalities and low energy levels usually get along well with cats.
According to AKC, these breeds are:
- Golden Retriever.
- Labrador Retriever.
Introducing a new pet to a resident dog can be a handful.
So if you want your beloved pets to get along, try doing the following:
- Create safe spaces for the cat and dog.
- Keep the pets separated at first.
- Feed them separately.
- Teach your dog basic commands.
- Introduce them to each other (but keep the few sessions brief).
- Repeat face-to-face sessions.
- Once they get along, allow them to be in a room together.
- Continue supervising while still being cautious.
A common misconception about dogs is that they’ll attack all cats on sight.
Or that they won’t be able to live peacefully with cats.
The truth is, they can actually be wonderful friends and have an unbreakable bond. They can ever comfort each other
This video is proof of that:
#7: Your dog is herding your cat
If you notice your dog trying to round up your cat… Or trying to control their movement…
Then your pup is displaying herding behavior.
This may also be the reason why they’re obsessed with your cat.
Is your dog a herding breed? Check below if your pooch is part of the herding club:
- Border Collie.
- Belgian Malinois.
- Australian Shepherd.
- Shetland Sheepdog.
Herding dogs can be sensitive to sound and movement. And we know how cats can sound like and how quickly they can move.
A cat being around may trigger the dog’s instinct to herd. Signs that may indicate that your dog is herding are:
So if your pooch is doing any of these to your cat, they’re just following their instinct.
Although it’s impossible to remove their natural breeding behavior, it’s still manageable.
Here are a few tips you can do to manage your dog’s herding behavior:
- Teach alternative behaviors.
- Introduce obedience training.
- Keep your dog busy with other activities.
- Avoid laughing when they start to push your cat around (Your dog might think it’s a game).
#8: Your dog can sense your cat’s sickness
For us, determining whether our pets are sick can be tricky. But for dogs, it can be easy to know when humans are sick.
And this is all because of their incredible sense of smell.
Not only that, but they can also perceive when a fellow animal is sick.
When your pooch sense illness in your cat, it may not leave it alone.
A dog’s reaction to detecting sickness in a cat varies. It can depend on the type of illness.
Let me give you an example…
If your cat has been suffering from cancer, you may notice your pooch smelling around a certain part of your cat’s body.
They may also spend more time than usual following your sick cat.
Aside from this, there are also other signs your dog has distinguished another pet is sick. This includes:
- Raising the paw.
Once you see your dog doing any of these to your cat, it’s best to consult with your vet.
Even without training, dogs can detect unusual odors that help them identify certain diseases.
Their sense of smell is so incredible that a recent study found that they can also detect COVID-19 in humans.