You already know that dogs and cats are different. Their appearances are different, their behavior is different and the way that they interact with us humans is different. But there are more differences than most people are aware of, and a few similarities as well.
Both dogs and cats are Mammals of the Order Carnivora, which means that they are meat-eaters. Dogs are cats are covered in fur and both are domesticated animals that live with humans mostly as pets. Both species give birth to multiple offspring at once and they both need love and attention from people. They both make vocalizations as well, although cats “meow” and dogs “bark.”
There are a lot of differences though as well, not including the basics like the species, appearance and size. Here are ten differences between cats and dogs that will probably surprise you.
- Social Requirements: Dogs are pack animals. They need to be with other dogs (or people) to be truly happy. When dogs hunt, they do it in packs. Many people think that cats are anti-social but that isn’t true. They are social creatures as well, but they do hunt by themselves.
- Housetraining: Housetraining cats isn’t so much a matter of training as it is proving them a place to go to the bathroom. Cats instinctively know how to use a litter box, but dogs have to be housetrained over and over, and some never understand it.
- Count the Teeth: If you opened up your dog’s mouth and counted you would get 42 teeth, including two canines on the top and two on the bottom. Your cat just has 30 teeth.
- Training: Dogs can be trained fairly quickly (of course, it varies with each dog) compared to cats. It is nearly impossible to train a cat. Some experts believe that’s because cats were domesticated much later than dogs, but more importantly, dogs had much to gain over the past 10,000 years by obeying commands given by humans. Cat did not.
- Short-term Memory: Cats have a memory that goes back around 16 hours. Dogs generally can’t remember things much longer than five minutes and will only commit key events to memory.
- Starvation Defenses: Cats have very little in the way of natural defenses against starvation. If they don’t eat, they can get lipidosis and die because their bodies can’t burn stored fat like dogs can.
- Running: Dogs catch their prey by running it down. They work with their pack to tired out the prey and catch it. Cats, on the other hand, sneak up on prey. In other words, dogs are marathon runners and cats are sprinters.
- Climbing Trees: Cats have the ability to climb trees when they are threatened and can jump down from great heights. Dogs are pretty much bound to the ground.
- Dietary Requirements: Dogs and cats are both carnivores, but while dogs can survive on plants if they have no choice, cats will die if they don’t have any meat in their diet.
- Claws: Dogs and cats both have claws. But since dogs walk around with their claws extended, they can get pretty dull. Cats, on the other hand, can retract or extend their claws at will, and are always sharpening them so they stay deadly.