It would be very tempting to think that the differences between cats and dogs simply boil down to appearances. Dogs look the way they do and cats have their own distinct look. However, these specifies are a lot more different than you think. You have to go past the cosmetic distinction. They differ pretty much across the board and this is what adds to these species’ appeal.
Why do dogs look different from cats?
Well, dogs are canines and cats are felines. They come from completely different species lines. Dogs were pretty much domesticated from a species of wolf all over the world. Cats, on the other hand, have a more localized origin-they are thought to originate in the area of modern era Egypt.
Generally speaking, cats are smaller than dogs. Dogs display remarkable diversity when it comes to appearance. Some dogs are hulking monsters that reach close to the height of a medium-sized man. On the other extreme, some dog breeds are so small, their pups could easily fit into a tea cup.
Cats tend to have a more ‘static’ appearance. Apart from the hairless Sphinx cat, almost all cat breeds are around the same size and have roughly similar traits.
What other ways do cats and dogs differ from each other?
Dogs are purely social animals. It’s very hard to find a properly-raised dog that isn’t social. They seem to have a special gene that makes them crave attention and validation from their human companions. This trait is so different from other domesticated animals that some scientists believe dogs carry a variant of a gene that makes one extremely social.
According to this theory, dogs should have the social disposition of wolves. While wolves can be intensely loyal, they aren’t so social that their hearts would be broken if they don’t get the validation they are looking for. Dogs have been known to get sick if they don’t get attention from their masters. There’s something about their master’s companionship they simply can’t live without.
Some scientists say that this dependency or even craving for social interaction and approval is similar to a gene that makes some people ‘hyper social.’ There are some people who are hypersocial. They just have to be around other people. They feel they can’t live their lives without social approval, interaction, and simple companionship.
When your dog welcomes you home with a wagging tail that is so frenetic that you fear it might fall off, you might be looking at your pooch’s hyper social genetic mutation in action. Dogs have simply taken social dependency and validation to a whole other level.
No wonder they would bark if someone tries to break into your home. No wonder they would put up a fight if someone attacked you. No wonder they would do everything they can to keep your home safe to the point of even dying in a fire just to ensure you and your family are safe.
Cat temperament is the perfect counterpart to canine loyalty
You only need to look up Google News results of dogs saving their family’s members in the middle of a fire to get a good idea of just how far Fido will go to prove his love. In fact, in many of these ‘hero dog’ stories, the canine hero actually ends up dying. It’s not an understatement to say that dogs will love their masters all the way to the end.
We’ve reached a point where we simply expect this type of loyalty from our dog. Many dog critics aren’t impressed, however. They sniff that dogs who display loyalty that extends as far as the grave are simply unthinking animals responding to instinct. To their jaded and cynical eyes, to get inspired by a dog’s heroism and selfless sacrifice is like being impressed at a fish that uses its tongue as a fake lure to attract prey.
In many of these critics’ eyes, if you wan to truly witness real affection you need to look at cats. Cats are independent by nature. In fact, they are still wild.
Don’t believe me? There have been cases of cats escaping the confines of the research facilities in Antarctica. Yes, that Antarctica-the world’s coldest continent. You’d think that going feral in that part of the world would be an instant death sentence for the escaped felines. Nope. Not a chance.
For several generations now, cats have thrived in Antarctica. They didn’t need any kind of human help to stay alive or even thrive. In fact, they are doing so well that they threaten the native bird species of the world’s coldest continent. From terns to gulls to even penguins, cats have successfully hunted all sorts of bird species wherever they go.
What accounts for the cat’s appeal? It really all boils down to one thing and one thing alone: their independence. You can leave them in a room full of cat food and they would know enough to eat only enough to stay fed for the day. They are smart and independent like that. Compare this situation to a dog. There’s no comparison. The pooch would eat all available dog food like there’s no tomorrow. They actually require quite a bit of human intervention to keep alive.
Pet owners since forever have prized cats because you can leave them alone and they would thrive. They also clean themselves just fine.
Finally, there’s also that feline ‘too cool for school’ attitude. They often ignore their ‘owners’ as they go about their thing. Owning a cat really is all about respecting boundaries. While you can feed and shelter your feline companion, at the end of the day, there never really comes a point where you can safely say that you truly ‘own’ your cat.
People love that independence. there’s no clinging. There’s no dependency. There’s no drama. The best part? When your cat shows affection, you know it’s the real thing. You can rest assured that it’s not just angling for that nice can of tuna flavored cat food can in the cupboard.
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