Have you ever thought about the differences between dogs and cats? After all, both animals have four legs and two ears. How different can they be?
Cat people might be different from dog people, as far as humans go. But the animals themselves are pretty similar, right? Well, you’d be surprised at how different these two species actually are.
Here are 10 things that separate the feline from the canine.
Domestic Animals And Training: Verbal Commands And Potty Training
Pet owners know that owning a cat is a lot different than owning a dog when it comes to training. Here are just a couple of examples.
1. Potty Training
All a cat needs in order to go to the bathroom is a litter box. Instinct takes over and that’s that. A dog, on the other hand, needs a great deal of training in order to make sure they do their business outside.
2. The Way They Respond To Praise
Whether your furry friend is a dog or cat, you probably lavish praise on them on a regular basis. But study the response each pet gives you the next time you do this. More than likely, the cat couldn’t care less. The dog, on the other hand, will eat it up. While it’s possible to train a cat, you’ll be more successful using treats instead of praise.
One possible reason is that dogs and humans have worked together since dogs first evolved from wolves. Dogs are simply more used to responding to humans as a result.1
The Physical Differences Between These Domesticated Carnivores
There are some distinct physical differences between cats and dogs as well. These not only involve the way they are built but also how they eat and more.
3. The Way They Hunt
Long before they became companion animals, wild cats and the ancestor of dogs, the wolf, were Carnivora. They went about finding their prey in different ways. Cat breeds are built to stalk and then pounce — they’re built more for agility.2
Just about every dog breed, on the other hand, is built for endurance over stealth. Dogs hunt by outlasting prey on the run rather than sneaking up on a potential meal.3
4. Health Issues
There are a few medical issues that tend to strike dogs more than cats (and vice versa). For example, dogs are at a higher risk of having to live with problems that affect the skin. They are also more prone to being affected by fleas and ticks than cats.
On the other hand, cats tend to suffer more bowel problems than dogs. Cats are also more prone to food allergies.4,5
5. Dogs Can Go Without Food, But Cats Can’t
A dog can go on a diet for a little while, but if a cat doesn’t eat regularly that can result in problems. Cats can easily develop a problem known as hepatic lipidosis. This is a liver problem that occurs when a cat takes in too few calories. Like dogs, cats can eat some human foods as well. What can cats eat? You may be surprised.
A cat’s liver doesn’t do a very good job of metabolizing fat. If a cat fails to eat, it can result in a low-functioning liver. This can lead to an accumulation of fat in the organ that can lead to serious damage.6
In many cases, overweight cats in an animal shelter will be stressed out and not eat for several days at a time. In this type of situation, a cat may have to be fed through a feeding tube so that he or she will be able to survive.7
Speaking of food, cats should not eat dog food (or vice versa). One reason is that dog food typically doesn’t contain taurine. Cats need this amino acid to live. A puppy’s body produces it naturally, but a cat’s doesn’t.8
Social And Behavioral Differences Between Dogs And Cats
Whatever type of furry friend is your favorite, there’s no denying you’ll find a lot of differences in which dogs and cats behave.
6. Loners Vs. Pack Animals
Cats are more self-sufficient than dogs. They are natural, solitary hunters. They don’t have to function in a pack like dogs do. As a result, cats will tend to seem more standoffish to pet owners than dogs. A dog is a much more social animal. They can’t get enough of pats on the head or belly rubs from their human beings.9
Other Interesting Differences You Might Not Know
7. Cats have sharp, retractable claws that are used for defense and capturing prey. 10 Dogs’ claws don’t retract. They use them more for gripping than anything else.11
8. Dogs can’t jump nearly as well as cats. This goes back to the way they hunt. Cats have to be agile in order to be able to capture prey. Dogs need to have more endurance to outlast their prey.12
9. Dogs have 42 teeth while cats have only 30.13
10. Some medications that are fine for humans – and that have relatively little effect on dogs – are toxic to cats. Cats are especially at risk of suffering reactions to medications. Such medications include pain relievers.14
Celebrate The Differences, But Love Them Equally
If you’re lucky enough to have both dogs and cats in your home, you already enjoy the little things that make them such great companions. Cat owners and dog owners know that a pet — no matter what breed or species, or whether you get them from a shelter, a reputable breeder or anywhere else — is something to be celebrated.
While dogs and cats do have a lot in common, it’s those little differences in personality traits that make them a joy to be around.