“Dogs will give you unconditional love until the day they die. Cats will make you pay for every mistake you've ever made since the day you were born.” (Oliver Gaspirtz, A Treasury of Pet Humor)
Have you ever been asked if you are a dog person or a cat person? Perhaps you are both? Apart from obvious differences in personality, there are other remarkable differences between dogs and cats which we would like to share with you. If you are considering introducing a new kitty to a dog filled home (or vice versa) you might want to understand some important dynamics first.
Major differences between dogs and cats
- Health systems - Just like humans, both cats and dogs experience the odd sneeze and sniffle however, it seems that your dog is more likely to develop arthritis and joint issues later in life than your cat. Cats are generally more cautious and even though they have been blessed with 9 lives, it doesn’t mean that they don’t get any health issues. It is said that cats tend to develop more issues related to their bowel, respiratory and immune health with the more serious being feline leukaemia and diabetes.
- Food choices – Dogs are scavengers and are able to survive on both meat and plant based diets. If dogs were only fed plant based they could still survive but not necessarily thrive, while cats on the other hand are obligate carnivores which means that they are unable to survive on purely plant based diets. Cats are unable to taste sweetness, unlike dogs that can, so are far less likely to climb into that secret stash of chocolate keeping in mind that chocolate is bad for dogs but even more toxic for cats!
- Cooling off – Dogs will pant to cool themselves while cats rely on other cooling methods like the pads on their feet and sweat glands in their noses acting as natural coolants. If you see a cat panting, more than likely it’s experiencing something completely different than being overheated. It may be a sign of pain, stress or a cardiovascular problem. Cats generally do not over exert themselves to the point of overheating as well. It is probably safe to say that they are much more in tune with their bodies at handling heat than dogs are.
- Social spaces – Dogs are pack animals and have evolved with humans by their side making them more prone to be social butterflies. They are more inclined to instinctively take an order from you than a cat would. Cats are very independent and are natural hunters. This is why when a cat brings you a bird or mouse it is usually their way of giving you a gift.
- Play time – We mentioned earlier that dogs are scavengers and cats are more the hunting type. This filters down in their play routines as well. Dogs would much prefer to scavenger around looking for a ball in the dirt and a cat would much prefer chasing after a delicate feather or play mouse.
- Praise and attention – Dogs tend to have an inborn sense of their relationship to their favourite human and readily express human-like emotions like happiness, sadness, joy and guilt! Cats, however, already know that they are beautiful and clever and require much less praise. This doesn’t mean that you should never show your cat love and affection! Cats do love the odd pet, this is why they purr, but it is often on their own accord and when they feel like receiving it.
- Finally, some say that the most important difference between dogs and cats is that dogs have owners, while cats have slaves! What do YOU think?
On the whole, all pets, no matter how independent they might appear to be, need healthy balanced regular meals, healthy treats every now and again, attention, love and care! We hope we have helped you learn some very interesting facts about the differences between cats and dogs. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact us.