Human beings often seek the companionship of animals and have been known to develop strong emotional bonds with them over long term interactions. Of all domesticated animals, cats and dogs are known to be the most popular pets. While cat owners and dogs owners can indulge in a never ending debate about which animal makes a better pet, cats and dogs themselves have several similarities and even more dissimilarities.
Once one goes beyond these similarities, cats and dogs are full of differences. To begin with, cats have retractable claws that allows them to stay sharp, while a dog’s claws are not retractable and become blunt over time. The second physical difference between the two pets is that, when light is directly shone at them, a cat’s pupil will dilate and form either an diamond or oval shape. A dogs pupil does not dilate. The sounds that these animals make also greatly differ. A cat meows while a dog barks! While the physical differences between cats and dogs may be limited, their behavior and characteristics vary greatly.
A study conducted by Neidhart and Boyd revealed the experiences of people who had adopted dogs or cats . According to their findings, dogs and cats were almost equally appreciated by their owners. Dogs were found to be better behaved and got along better with human beings as well as other dogs when compared to cats. Similarly, dogs were specially friendly with children. Although dogs and cats are generally well behaved pets, they do sometimes display behavioral problems. The most common behavioral problem with dogs was aggression, while in cats it was inappropriate elimination . However, owners generally did not consider these problems to be important enough to show to a vet .
Dogs can be easily trained to follow basic instructions as well as complex orders, which is why they are also used in police units. Cats, on the other hand, are very difficult to train and rarely follow instructions. However, cats are easy to house train using a litter box, while dogs need to be taken outside regularly as they are difficult to housebreak and need to be cleaned after. In case of overweight pets, cats should not be dieted as their bodies simply do not burn stored fat. When denied food, they instead burn non-fatty tissues that leads to damaging of the liver and starvation. Dogs on the other hand can be easily dieted.
Finally, cats are more independent in nature. They like to wander off on their own and hide when they do not want attention. Dogs, on the other hand, want attention all the time and will follow the owners around the house. Both the animals, however, like being petted and scratched and feel quite comfortable in the lap of their owners.
Borchelt, P. and V. Voith. "Readings in companion animal behavior." Borchelt, P. and V. Voith. Veterinary learning systems . Trenton, 1996. 217-229.
Neidhart, Laura and Renee Boyd. "Companion Animal Adoption Study." JOURNAL OF APPLIED ANIMAL WELFARE SCIENCE 5.3 (2002): 175-192.
O'Farrell, V. "Introduction." O'Farrell. Manual of Canine Behaviour. Gloucester, UK: British Small Animal Veterinary Association, 1992. 11-14.