If men are from Mars and women are from Venus, then cats are definitely from a different planet to dogs. Just like men and women don’t always understand each other, yet get along in other ways, so too, cats and dogs can co-exist. Sometimes the ‘friendship’ will be peaceful, sometimes volatile and, then, there will be instances when they are best friends.
Besides the obvious differences in their looks and genetic makeup, let’s take a look at what makes them so different.
- Cats don’t like exercise. They prefer to lie curled up somewhere, sleeping, for most of the day. If they do get up, it might be for a bite to eat after a good stretch. Dogs, on the other hand, are much more active and rather sleep at night when their people are asleep as well.
- Dogs love playing fetch, but this is usually too much of an effort for cats. They might give you ‘catitude’ and expect you to fetch it yourself.
- Cats have such unique personalities and are true individuals. They do as they please, if they please, and when it pleases them. Dogs are people-pleasers and will do just about anything to keep their owners happy.
- Cats are crepuscular, meaning they are most active at dusk and dawn. Some cats are more nocturnal and are up all night. No wonder they sleep during the day.
- Cats don’t respond to displays of affection like dogs do. Give a dog a good scratch on the back, pat the area between the ears, or go all ‘gaga’ in a high-pitched voice, and they will show you how happy they are. Cats, however, might not reciprocate and might even turn their backs on you and hurry away.
- Our feline friends seem to bear grudges for a longer period, whereas dogs forgive and forget much more easily and more quickly. Give him a piece of biltong and your dog will forget that he spent the entire day waiting for you. He’s just so happy to see you. Your cat, on the other hand, might grab the biltong and disappear, until she decides it is time to forgive and forget.
- Fight or flight? That’s hardly a choice for a cat. Most cats will choose the flee option and get away from the dangerous situation as quickly as possible. They climb trees, sometimes right to the top, from where they can survey their immediate surroundings. They love being ‘on top of the world’. Dogs will often rather stay and fight, mainly due to their natural instinct to protect their pack.
- Being solitary animals, cats love small places where they can hide, like boxes. They can play hide-and-seek for hours. While a dog would most probably give the box one look and then fetch his favourite toy to play with.
- Cats are natural hunters – another probable reason that they climb trees. They are designed to hunt small rodents and birds, and that is exactly what they want to do. Some dog breeds are also bred to be hunters, but dogs can’t climb trees, as they don’t have retractable claws.
- Small, but frequent meals are what cats need. They’ll eat a little bit here and a little bit there, whereas dogs finish a meal in one go.
- Dogs need some fruit and vegetables, as well as protein, in their diets, and their palates enable them to taste sweetness, too. But cats need only protein as their main source of food, and they can’t taste sweetness at all.
- Housetraining cats is much easier and quicker than it is with dogs. That is due to their natural instinct to dig a small hole and then bury the waste afterwards. It takes more dedication and patience to train dogs to do their business outside.
- Both animals need their loving owners’ care and attention, good-quality food and fresh water every day. They also need their owners to take care of their health.
- Both cats and dogs can be won over with their favourite treats. Cats maybe a little snobbish about it but, ultimately, the treat always wins.
- A big similarity between the two species is their ability to hide pain. This is due to their natural instinct not to show pain and weakness to keep predators at bay.
Love, love, love
Whether you like cats or dogs, or both, these animals have another thing in common – they entertain us and are our companions. We owe it to them to be responsible pet owners and take proper care of them.