We often see dogs and cats referred to as the exact opposites of the other. Ironically though, we also see pet lovers owning a cat and dog. And pet shop owners aren’t discouraging you to do so.
So how did the cats versus dogs issue came about?
Going back to the prehistoric period, paleontologists have uncovered something about prehistoric cats and dogs that will challenge our beliefs that these two animals are iconic enemies. About nine million years ago, bear dogs and saber-toothed cats, which are now extinct creatures, coexisted by dividing up their prey and territory. Researchers came up with that idea after analyzing the ancient fossilized fangs of these carnivores.
However, as man started domesticating dogs around 15,000 years ago as pack animals – we’re talking about the ancestors of wolves – things have changed. Dogs responded well to the training they get from their human pack leaders. Cats, on the other hand, chose to live with humans and in effect, domesticated themselves.
Cats are mostly hunters. They have an extra vertebra that allows them to be flexible. Dogs, on the other hand, are generally stalkers. They look at objects carefully as if they were prey. This trait makes some breed the ideal police dogs.
This is how the signals and behaviors that dogs and cats use to communicate get different over time. They exhibit dominance, aggression, fear, friendship, and territoriality differently. Dogs have the natural instinct to chase small preys that flee. Fleeing from danger, on the other hand, became a common instinct among cats. But while most cats flee from dogs, others may take actions such as hissing, back arching, and swiping at the dog.
But if appropriately socialized, dogs and cats may have a non-antagonistic relationship with each other. Dogs that are raised with cats may even prefer the presence of cats than other dogs. But then, they may still revert to aggressive reactions even if they are living in the same household due to external stimuli, illness, or escalated play.
As you can see, dogs and cats have different personalities but are equally loveable pets. If you can take both from a breeder or a pet shop, do so. That way, you won’t have to favor one from the other. But of course, taking care of dogs and cats poses different responsibilities, which we will be talking about in another post.
Do you want to know how much you love your pets? Take the quiz!