Three Cat Breeds That Act Like Dogs

November 5, 2013

By Linda Cole

Cats are well known for their independent nature that borders on a stubborn refusal to do anything which might please their owner. The famous quote by Mary Bly, “Dogs come when they’re called; cats take a message and get back to you later,” was aptly spoken. But not all cat breeds fit that quote. There are a few dog-like breeds that have even been known to play “fetch” with their owner.

This usually tailless feline is an ancient breed originating from the Isle of Man, an island in the Irish Sea between Ireland and Great Britain. The breed was named after the Gaelic language (Manx) that was spoken on the island. How these tailless cats found their way to the island remains a mystery. Most likely, a cat aboard one of the many ships that docked at the island found her way to shore.

The rare gene responsible for the tailless Manx is caused by a mutation that took place hundreds of years ago. Kittens were born without the vertebrae normal cats with long tails have. Since the felines were isolated on the island, tailless cats became common because the mutated gene is dominant. Some Manx cats can have a full tail, however, and it’s possible to have a litter of Manx kittens with varying tail lengths or no tail at all.

This breed loves to play hide-and-seek and fetch, and will come on a voice or whistle command. She’s intelligent and loyal to her family. With powerful hindquarters, the Manx has plenty of power for running, accelerating, making quick turns and jumping. This breed is dog-like in her devotion to those she loves, with a desire to play and follow you around the house.

A Manx is also a good watch cat, and will protect the family from any danger, whether it’s real or not. She’s protective of her territory and will defend it against an intruder, regardless of size. This is a cat that responds well to training and can learn commands, especially with some tasty motivation like CANIDAE Pure Taste treats. Like some dogs, the Manx enjoys playing in water, and can be trained to walk on a leash.

If you’re looking for a lap cat who will be happy curling up next to you on the couch, the Abyssinian, or Aby, may not be a good choice. This is a breed that likes to move around exploring her world, and if you don’t find her on the floor, you might want to check areas higher up.

Her ticked coat may resemble that of a small African wildcat, but this breed is completely domesticated and very devoted to her owner. The most likely region where this breed originated from is the coastal area along the Indian Ocean and areas in Southeast Asia. Like the Manx, this breed is highly trainable, enjoys playing in water, and is willing to learn commands and tricks. She’s very social, sensible and not a risk taker.

Abyssinian cats crave attention, are curious and intelligent, and can be leash trained. They will follow you around the house to see what you’re up to, just in case you need their help. They love to play, and you will often find them carrying toys around in their mouth. Some Abys are more than willing to play fetch with you. This cat breed needs a lot of attention and can become depressed if neglected or left alone for long periods of time.


burmeseIn 1930, U.S. Navy doctor Joseph Thompson brought a single chocolate colored female cat named Wong Mau with him when he returned to the states from Yangon, Myanmar (formally known as Rangoon, Burma). Back home, Dr. Thompson began a breeding program cross breeding Wong Mau with seal-point Siamese.

This breed has many of the same dog-like traits as the Manx and Abyssinian. They are sociable, love to cuddle, form close bonds with their owner and are by natur, gentle, playful, outgoing and talkative. Very intelligent, this breed has also been described as being thoughtful. You will most likely find her sitting and waiting patiently like a dog while you prepare her favorite CANIDAE meal.

Burmese are devoted to their owners and tend to be dependent on them. If you leave for an extended stay away from home, it’s best to make sure you have someone your Burmese knows to stop in and check in on her, which is a good policy to follow for any cat regardless of their breed.

Top photo (Manx) by Dan Lang
Middle photo (Abyssinian) by Naotake Murayama
Bottom photo (Burmese) by Robert Couse-Baker

Read more articles by Linda Cole

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