By Betheny Green
Besides the obvious, there are some fascinating differences between cats and dogs:
- Dogs can be trained quickly, some in a matter of minutes, to obey basic commands like ‘come’ and ‘sit.’ Most cats are difficult if not impossible to train to respond to directives.
- Cats can be housetrained in an instant as long as they have access to a litter box. There’s really no training to it, in fact. It’s instinct. Most dogs take considerably longer to housebreak, and some just never get all the way there. Unlike with Snowball, housebreaking a pup is usually a hands-on, time intensive project.
- Dogs are social beings that want to be with their pack, wherever their pack may be. Cats are solitary and their primary attachment (when forced to choose) is to their territory rather than other two or four-legged animals.
- Dogs have 42 teeth. Cats have 30.
- Cats can jump and climb, giving them more options when they need to hunt for food, or when they feel threatened. Dogs are earthbound, so they need their pack to hunt effectively. And when a threat triggers their fight-or-flight response, they are more likely to react with aggression because their ability to flee from a predator is limited.
- Dogs are scavenging carnivores, which means although they are primarily meat-eaters, if necessary they can survive on plant material alone (remember, surviving is different than thriving).Cats are obligate or strict carnivores. Kitties cannot sustain life without eating meat in some form.
- Dogs in the wild catch their prey by running it down. They are long distance runners, not sprinters. Cats creep up on their prey and catch it by surprise. They are sprinters, not distance runners.
- Cats cannot be fasted and should not be dieted down too quickly. Kitties don’t efficiently burn fat reserves as an energy source. Instead, without food, their bodies break down non-fatty tissues for energy. This can lead to a life-threatening liver condition called hepatic lipidosis. Dogs are much better at using their fat reserves and can tolerate a lack of food for much longer than cats.
- Cats have retractable claws that stay sharp because they are protected inside the toes. Dogs claws are always extended and become blunt from constant contact with the ground when they walk.
- A dog’s memory is only about five minutes long. Kitties can remember up to 16 hours.