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Weighing Lifestyles of Pets – The Cat and The Dog

People tend to divide themselves either into a dog person or a cat person, due to the radically different lifestyles that these pets provide. It is easy to notice how cats are more suited to a calm and easygoing lifestyle while dogs are for those who are willing to handle an abundance of energy. Though the lifestyles that these pets provide are distinctly different, the aesthetics of each animal are not as opposing as first meets any observers eye. Dogs and cats are consistently the epitome of opposites, when in reality they are very similar with minor dissimilarities, like eye shape. Cats and dogs share their multitude of furs, colors, breeds, and many other qualities with only slight variation when it comes to their personalities, which are often specific to the breed.

When comparing animals, one needs to remember that all comparisons are based on relativity. For instance one can think of the famous example of comparing apples and oranges, which is hard to find examples for past that they are both fruit. Yet cats and dogs are not just animals, and hold closer relations that most any other animal would when compared to either a dog or a cat; especially when it comes to physical characteristics. Besides being from the just the same kingdom, Animalia, they also share class (Mammalia), order (Carnivora), and phylum (Chordata). Something remarkable about both cats and dogs are their fur and how similar the two are in this regard. Now of course cats and dogs have furs that come in many different styles, lengths, and colors; yet both follow similar patterns within all these categories. In terms of the lengths of each animal’s coat, the general rule of ‘hairless, short haired, medium haired, and long haired’ apply to both species. As well generally whatever solid color a dog can be a cat can also be: such as red, cream, brown, fawn, blue, black, white, grey, and yellow. The patterns that their fur come in are also remarkably similar, since both can be spotted, striped (brindle for dogs & mackerel for cats), marbled, tuxedo, ticked, saddled, and so on. These similarities are remarkable when one considers any other animal in comparison to either the dog or the cat. Most wild animals do not come in such a variety to patterns and colors, who also have a variety of hair lengths. For instance there are no blue pigs, brindle bears, or even naturally hairless tigers. It goes further than this though since both dogs and cats have a generally similar body plan. They both have pointy, sometimes floppy, ears, long and short tails, a horizontally structured body, and also both are four-legged with paws. Cats always have dew claws, a nail on the inner side of the paw, while dogs will generally have one on at least one paw.

It is not just physical similarities that these two animals share either, but their social characteristics when domesticated are very similar as well. One personality trait that is undeniably analogous are that both dogs and cats are instinctively hunters. Not just in the wild but even when both creatures are domesticated, cats and dogs have huge prey instincts. This is why dogs are known for chasing squirrels, deer, and about anything that runs away from them; while cats naturally attack birds and mice. Cats will even attack toys that are shaped like birds or mice or produce the sound of either, for just like dogs it is natural for them to hunt. Another dominant characteristic that both animals share are their natural tendency to be territorial and thus ‘mark’ what they claim as theirs. For cats this territorial behavior is less common when domesticated, but every so often there will come a time when a cat does not like a new cat entering its home and it will began to pee in order to mark its’ supposed Territory. This can also occur when a unuttered male cat smells a female cat who is ‘in heat’, in which the male cat releases a strong orders pheromone that he will spread throughout his domicile. Though well behaved dos rarely mark their territory within a home, it is still common for un-housebroken dogs to choose the same area to pee in within a home. Outside of the home the dog will show this territorial tendency by peeing where it smells that other dogs have peed previously. As well both animals are overwhelmingly affectionate. It is known that cats do not ‘pur’ or ‘meow’ with other cats, but only with humans as a sign of affection. As well dogs will communicate to their owners, usually through the unwanted lick to the face, that they care for them as well.

If dogs and cats are so similar then why are they typically the epitome of differences? This all boils down to the fact that two main differences cause a huge divide between the two species. These two differences create a vast difference in lifestyles that owners will accordingly take on. The first significant difference is that cats typically will know how to use a litter box without any guidance, while dogs need to go outside and be walked in order to use the bathroom. This means that those who have more time on their hands will have a lifestyle more suitable to keeping either pet, while those who are frequently busy could most likely only make room for the self-sustaining cat. This plays into the second major difference as well where cats, though affectionate, tend to spend most of the day by themselves and typically are self-entertaining. Although dogs can chase their tails for long periods of time, they frequently need their owners attention and assistance in order to entertain themselves. It is essentially in these time consuming tasks that the ‘huge’ difference between dogs and cats emerged. In reality though all it boils down to is that dogs are more time consuming then cats and therefore need an owner who can dedicate more time and energy than that needed for a cat owner.

Essentially dogs and cats are more similar than dissimilar when one takes into consideration their physical and social characteristics. The main reason that people tend to classify these two animals as dissimilar is because cats happen to lead a more calm life with their owners, while dogs are very demanding in terms of energy and time. Yet both creatures have similar coats, bodily structures, and even share many of the same scientific classifications. As well both naturally are inclined to mark their territory, hunt prey, and be affectionate with their owners. It is in this way that these common house pets are more similar than one may first believe.

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