This is a short essay on Cat vs. Dog for students.
Note: If you think it is good enough you are free to use this essay in any way you like under a creative commons license. If anyone makes a comment then I would recommend that a visitor takes into account what the comment says to modify what I have written.
The dog is a domesticated wolf. Domestication of the wolf occurred about 15,000 years ago. The cat is a domesticated African/Asian wildcat. Domestication of the wildcat occurred about 9,500 years ago. The dog was domesticated before the cat. This is because people considered the dog more useful than the cat 15,000 years ago. At that time the idea of keeping a domestic animal as a companion was less important than keeping a useful animal. Today both the dog and cat are companion animals and used less as utility animals. Although the dog is still used for the protection of property and people and in police and military employment.
The origin of domestic dogs and cats tells us a lot about their character. It is the character of dogs and cats that dictates who likes dogs and who likes cats.
Wolves are gregarious. Wildcats are solitary. Wolves live and hunt in packs, which is a family unit. The wildcat hunts alone. Domesticated cats have adapted to living in groups but this can cause tensions amongst the group members if the make up of the group is dictated by a person rather themselves.
Because dogs are essentially gregarious pack animals, in general, the person most likely to like a dog as a companion is a team player man, whereas an independently minded women of intelligence is most likely to be attracted to a domestic cat.
Because the dog was domesticated well before the cat the dog is in advance of the cat in terms of people selectively breeding it to create various dog breeds. The exact number of dog and cat breeds is unclear. There are over 100 cat breeds and perhaps something in the order of 500 dog breeds. The American Kennel Club recognizes over 150 dog breeds. The Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA) recognizes 44 cat breeds. The CFA is a conservative cat association and perhaps the largest of all the cat associations.
One area were there is a similarity between cats and dogs is extreme breeding for appearance. This is a contentious area of discussion. A example of extreme breeding for appearance over health in dog breeds is the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel which can suffer from a condition where the skull is too small for the brain. Amongst cats the flat faced Persian and slender Modern Siamese are good examples.
It is generally agreed that cats require less maintenance than dogs. This probably stems from the independent and solitary nature of the cat. The dog requires a greater input from the owner (human companion).
The dietary requirements of dogs are different to cats. Both are carnivores but cats are obligate carnivores while dogs are adaptable carnivores and therefore more flexible. You cannot feed dog food to a cat. It will cause ill health over time.
The size and weight difference between the smallest and largest dog is far greater than for domestic cats. This is because of the longer period of selective breeding of dogs. The average dog weighs around 30 to 45 pounds, while the average cat weighs about 8 to 20 lbs.
Dogs are cats can get along well together provided both are socialized to each other during the period when they are most sensitive to socialization which is considered to be the first 7 weeks of life for a cat. There are many examples of cats being very friendly with dogs in households.
As to senses, the cat has better eyesight in dull light and can hear a wider range of frequencies. Although the dog is considered to have a slightly better sense of smell, on average the cat has more receptors in the nose. Overall it could be argued that the cat has better senses. We should not forget the cat’s whiskers which are highly sensitive.
One aspect of dogs that places it head and shoulders above the cat is the ease at which it can be trained. It is a much more tractable companion animal. This is probably due to its pack animal roots.
Which is the more intelligent? This jury is out on this one. Being easier to train does not automatically place the dog over the cat in intelligence. The two species have different skills. On intelligence we should award a dead heat. The dog’s brain is bigger but the cat’s brain has more neurons in the cortex.
The dog is still considered more useful as a utility animal than the cat. The classic image is of a dog trained to detect drugs in baggage or bombs in war zones. In many parts of the world they are still important for protection.
The cat’s relative independence and less needy character makes it the slightly more popular animal companion in the 21st century. As the demands on people grow the amount of time people have to interact with a companion animal diminishes hence the growth in popularity of the domestic cat. There are marginally more domestic cats in the West than dogs.
You can read the views of a regular contributor, Elisa Black-Taylor on the matter of cats vs dogs on this page.