Interesting Differences Between Cats and Dogs

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Cats and dogs are the two most common companion animals in most homes.

Both species walk on all fours.  Both are covered with fur (most of them, anyway).  Both like to sleep on their owner's bed.  Both like treats.

Because of the obvious similarities, there is a tendency for us to think that a cat and a dog are the same thing, other than one meows and the other barks.

In many ways, it is true—cats and dogs do have a lot in common, but while there are many similarities between the two species, there are also quite a few differences between cats and dogs.

So—let's look at a few of the categories in which cats and dogs differ . . .


Cats use basic physics to drink.
See How A Cat Drinks
Dogs simply scoop water
with their tongues
Cats have 30 teeth.
Dogs have 42 teeth.
Not Eating
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 are strict carnivores.  Kitties cannot sustain life without eating meat in some form. Dogs are scavenging carnivores, which means although they are primarily meat-eaters, if necessary they can survive on plant material alone.
Kitties can remember things up to 16 hours later.
A dog's memory is only about five minutes long.
Most cats are difficult to train to respond to commands. Dogs can be trained quickly, some in a matter of minutes, to obey basic commands like ‘come' and ‘sit.'
Most kittens instinctively use a litter box as long as they have easy access to one. Unlike with a kitty, housebreaking a puppy is usually a hands-on, time intensive project.  Some puppies just never are completely house-broken.
Cats are more solitary in comparison to dogs, however cats that are raised together or have lived together for some time often become best friends and show obvious signs of attachment such as sharing beds and playing together. Dogs are very social beings.  They want to be with their pack, wherever their pack may be.
Cats have retractable claws that stay sharp because they are protected.  For more information read the article Claws. Dogs claws are always extended and become blunt from constant contact with the ground when they walk.
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.  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.
Cats in the wild creep up on their prey and catch it by surprise.  They are sprinters, not distance runners. Dogs in the wild catch their prey by running it down.  They are long distance runners, not sprinters.

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