The Real Truth About Cats and Dogs


People frequently discuss cats and dogs in regards to how they are different. However, they have far more in common than most people realize. They have common physical characteristics, territorial behaviors, and connections to humans.

Many pet owners tend to prefer one animal over the other and may worry about introducing a puppy into a home that has historically been a cat haven, or vice versa. Fortunately, as long as both animals are well socialized and the introductory process is completed slowly, the two species can live happily together.

Physical Characteristics

Cats and dogs are both mammals but they belong to different species. They are similar biologically and each is a natural predator. Their fur keeps them warm and they both keep clean by licking their coats. They have similar diets in nature which has helped them develop similar teeth and digestive systems.

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Their nutritional needs are quite similar as both originally relied on a mixture of hunting and scavenging. Because of their similar physiology, cats and smaller dogs both need the same number of calories each day. For a 10 pound cat or similarly sized dog that’s only between about 200 and 350 calories daily. Of course, larger animals will require more food but it is easy to see how pets can quickly gain weight from being overfed.

Another commonality between cats and dogs is in the way they experience pain and how it can be treated. Both species feel pain in much the same way as their human friends. As with humans, the way each reacts to pain is based more on their personality than the species they belong to. While they experience pain in similar ways and may even express their suffering similarly, pain relief for dogs is different than that for cats.


Both dogs and cats have a strong natural instinct for defining their territory. However, the ways in which this manifests is different. Dogs tend to be pack animals while cats typically prefer to roam about as independent agents unless seeking a mate or caring for their young.

Cats will mark the boundaries of any territory they consider to be theirs and will also actively avoid moving into another’s territory unless it is unavoidable. Dogs will become aggressive and try to mark over the areas of other dogs in an attempt to gain dominance.

When cats or dogs are indoors this behavior is obviously not ideal. One of the best ways to prevent it is to have the animal spayed or neutered as soon as possible. This is most effective in younger animals as the pattern can become ingrained in those who have been doing it for longer periods.

Human Connection

Cats and dogs both love their humans. They were each domesticated thousands of years ago, although evidence suggests dogs have been domesticated approximately twice as long as their feline friends.

Each also has the potential to become depressed or anxious if they do not have adequate time and attention with their human family. It is important that cats and dogs are given the appropriate amount of attention for their temperaments. Some animals are extremely social by nature and others only need and want attention occasionally. It is important to be attuned to the preferences of your pet in order to keep them happy.

While popular culture likes to promote the notion that cats and dogs are as different as men and women, the truth is there are far more similarities than differences in both cases. By learning how the two are similar it is far easier for humans who are accustomed to one animal, to become more comfortable with the other.

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