Jealousy. Dogs and cats

I have a 4 year old medium size, mixed breed dog. My neighbor has a cat. When I stroke the cat, my dog begins to crowd in for attention. He appears upset.

I feed them both. I give the dry dog food in two separate bowls. One for the cat, in another location, and one for the dog. The dog will sit, stare and nose off the cat. He isn’t mean or vicious to the cat. The cat will leave, and then the dog proceeds to eat the cat’s food first. The cat will then begin eating out of the dog’s dish. The dog will then move over to his bowl. This continues until the cat’s dish is empty. Sometimes I believe the dog isn’t really hungry, just doesn’t want to share with the cat. And there is always plenty of food for them both.

Then another neighbor’s dog comes over. My dog is completely willing to share his food with the other dog. But never with the cat.

The cat and my dog get along well. He won’t chase the cat, unless the cat runs, then it is a game.

I am trying to understand the dog’s behavior. Is his jealousy, and not willing to share, learned behavior? I have never reinforced or rewarded his behavior. Or, am I reading too much into this?

I think you’re reading too much into it.

I also hope your neighbor is feeding his cat something other than dog food- cats have different nutritional requirements than dogs, and a cat eating solely dog food will get sick.

You’re anthropomorphizing your dog’s behavior. He’s simply food guarding and that’s instinctive - to keep all the food for himself. He’s keeping what food he knows he can, by taking from the cat who apparently allows it, and giving up food to the other dog who he knows can kick his ass. If he knew he could keep the food from the other dog, he would.

Stop feeding your neighbor’s animals.

It sounds like the dog is jealous.

And you DON’T feed a cat dry dog food. Cats have different protein requirements. I hope you’re not the main feeder of this cat and that the neighbor is giving the cat appropriate food.

Thank you for the replies.

Cat seems to be doing fine. Probably supplements the food with wildlife.

And no, my dog could kick the neighbor’s dog’s ass.

Neighbors don’t have money for their own table, let alone pets.

Dog food can cause urinary tract issues in cats. Perhaps you should feed your dog indoors from now on.

Seeing as you’ve committed to feeding the cat, why not just pick up a bag of cat food for him then?

As far as your dog being able to kick the neighbour’s dog’s ass - maybe, maybe not. Dogs have their own complex social order based on more than just size, which is what you are seeing by your dog deferring to the other dog and sharing food.

Good idea. I will get some cat food and feed him where the dog can’t reach it.

And the neighbor’s dog is a puppy. Maybe my dog has adopted it.