My Dog Was Raised By Cats And Behaves Like One

There are a lot of “bi-species homes” out there, where animal lovers share their lives with a dog, as well as a cat. This is the story of one such home, where the family dog, raised by cats, believes he IS a cat. Welcome to my world. My daughter Laura and I are the proud owner of a rare “breed”: a cat-dog.

Cujo a dog raised by cats

Cujo a dog raised by cats

Cujo Whineybutt was born on March 9, 2012. His mother Darla went into labor after surviving a house fire at our home. Cujo, a Shih-tsu mix, came into the world shortly after 5:30 a.m., and has been with us ever since. Little Cujo has been around dogs since his birth; both his mother, and our 100+ pound boxer Dreyfuss, whom we lost to old age back in September 2012. It’s not that he doesn’t know how a dog is supposed to act. It’s more like his dog behavior has taken second place and hardwired his brain to perform as a cat.

Cujo was already terrifying us by the time he was four months old. Our home is set up for the cats. We have a large cat table with feeders and beds and a disassembled cat tree. The calmer (as well as the not so calm) cats enjoy napping on this table. Cujo had another purpose in mind. He chased the cats across this table. Back and forth, jumping from the table to the ground, over to the trunk under the kitchen bar, then across the bar to the kitchen sink. The cats would jump down, with Cujo close behind them. I cringed with every leap, praying our little cat-dog would be spared a broken leg. I even took out pet insurance on him for awhile. Cujo, being the cat-dog he is, always lands on his feet.

Fast forward two years. Our boy has learned to play fetch. He’s also become a catnip addict, thanks to the many cats he shares his home with. He also plays “referee” with the cats. A lot of people ask how our cats manage to get along. I joke and tell them Cujo breaks up any disagreements. Any cat he believes is about to instigate a fight gets a “jump and bark,” meaning Cujo will jump between the two cats and bark one time. I’m a bit surprised he hasn’t learned to meow.

Cujo sleeps with the cats, curling up with Mandy on the living room couch during the day, or with Renny and Lucky in my bedroom at night. As far as feeding goes, he’ll turn his nose up at doggy treats. Milk bones and Beggin’ Strips hold no desire in the life of a true cat-dog. For his birthday that first year, I spent about $25 on doggy toys. He turned his nose up at all of them. He prefers a small tennis ball that sells for under $1 at Tractor & Supply. Did I mention he also eats catnip and cat treats? He also enjoys a good chase of the laser light, where he tries to climb the front door to catch the red dot.

Hopefully our little guy will continue to amaze us with his cat-like behavior. It’s so much fun watching Cujo wrestle with Brinkley or being licked by Mandy, the house groomer. Nights are spent watching the cats chase him from one end of the house to the other. His main path these days is floor to sofa then over to the other sofa then down to the floor. He climbs and naps on the cat tree in my writing room. Cujo is truly a cat, except in physical appearance. Since the cats don’t go around gazing at themselves in a mirror (except for Furby, who enjoys his reflection), it’s possible they think he’s a cat. A smelly cat at times, but still a cat. Cujo does require a bath at least three times a month, and most likely wonders why the cats aren’t forced to take one as well.

So, do any of you have a cat-dog? Please leave a comment with your story. A photo of you dog being a cat would be even better.


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My Dog Was Raised By Cats And Behaves Like One — 14 Comments

  1. This is the nature-nuture debate come to life. This is not out of a book but it is happening in your home. Our behavior is dictated by genes and early life influences. Cujo is a cat-dog as a result. Nice story.

  2. I have so many photos of Cujo with the cats. It was difficult choosing. Wish you could see him now. He had his 2nd shave of the year. Seems to keep down fleas and we’re nearing triple digits with the temp. He’s an inside dog and it has to be cooler for him. He’s asleep on my side in the bed. He’s a sweet dog and weighs about 17 lbs.

    • While you are nearing triple digit temperatures it’s still so chilly here in the Midwest that I decided against a swim in the Wisconsin River yesterday, even though I really wanted one. Only dogs and humans under four feet have been going in the water. Except the teenage boys jumping into Lake Michigan. Brrr…. It got down into the 40’s overnight. Some mornings Monty doesn’t stay out long. I think he’s too cold now that his winter coat is coming off from sunbathing. The sun feels warm, but we’ve had only a few days where the temperature was actually warm or even hot.

  3. Love the article so great to see something positive, after the many weeks of of reading sad articles. Cute dog, great to see how cat and dogs can get along together wonderful!

  4. lol a nice story today about Cujo and your cats. It reminded me of Rooney who used to come to our ‘café on the wall’ to be fed along with the visiting cats. I’ve never know a dog to jump like a cat onto a wall and sit there. He really did think he was a cat too, he would only eat cat food.

    • What a fab little dog 🙂 my friend shares her home with 2 cats and also the neighbours cats and Jack Russell pop in to say hello. I love Cujo and love seeing him with his feline family

      • We never found out where he came from or what happened to him, he just vanished one day, we could never get hold of him, he could run and jump like a cat. Probably his family moved away.

      • Laura took off the majority of his fur. Then I trimmed around his eyes. He’s something with his favorite ball. He can sniff it out. He has never balls, but he likes the oldest one he has. We can’t trick him into playing with the others.

        It’s already been in the 90 degree range here this month. Going to be another hot one for Tuesday. He’s smart enough to get into the bag with his pigs ear when I bring in a new bag of cat food. He’s addicted to those things.

    • Oh Cujo is gorgeous, my heart doesn’t melt for all dogs as it does for all cats, but he is irresistable!

  5. Aww very cute, I love little dogs. My parents had to get another one as sadly, mum accidentally run there other one over. Was very heartbreaking for them. They live out in the country so things abit hard to see. The photo below is Molly shes 3 months old very tiny.

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