It seems like the world has stereotyped behaviors for cats and dogs. When a dog is aloof or independent, they might be called “cat-like”. Whereas a cat who fetches toys will be labeled “like a dog.” When it comes to cat and dog behavior, it can get tough to differentiate myth from reality.
Dogs are Social, While Cats Like Their Space
While this is more often the case, there is an explanation. Dogs and people have evolved together, developing a very cooperative relationship over the generations. Humans haven’t developed the same type of relationship with us cats.
Also, dogs are pack animals and are highly social. As such, they like to assume a role in the family structure. Dogs readily respond (for the most part) to verbal commands and signals.
Dogs were originally domesticated to perform services for humans: herding, guarding, hunting; in the process, they’ve become dependent on humans for direction, sustenance, and affection.
Cats, on the other hand, have a limited function as helpmates. We will hunt rodents, but not on command, although we may proudly bring you our prey.
The typical cat values alone time more and doesn’t need constant reassurance of your presence in the way dogs do. But, there are cats who want to be with their human all the time, just “like a dog”.
Cats Are Much Harder to Train Than Dogs
In fact, you can teach a cat to follow commands – that is, if you figure out what he really wants and offer that as a reward.
It’s very possible to train a cat, you just have to choose the correct training methods for the animal. For a cat, that might mean a tasty treat we don’t get any other time.
One of the reasons most people believe dogs are easier to train is that humans have been doing it for centuries, so it simply feels more natural. Most dogs love a pat on the head along with some “good boy” praise, while most cats really don’t care as much.
Dogs and Cats Do Not Like Each Other
“Fighting like cats and dogs” is a common phrase. This reflects the commonly held belief that dogs and cats just can’t get along because they are natural enemies. It is life experiences with the other species, and not an inborn animosity, that determines how cats and dogs feel about each other.
In homes where a dog and cat are introduced and trained properly, they tend to relate well with each other, especially when their people are taking good care of them. If appropriately socialized, cats and dogs may be best of friends. I actually prefer dogs to cats so I am not making this stuff up.
While there are traits and behaviors that are more typically dog or cat, it’s also important to accept a pet for the individual, unique being he/she is. Give every pet a chance, get to know their personality, understand what motivates them, and accept and nurture him/her as part of your family.
My name is Diamond, a spayed female, tuxedo cat. I’m a dog-like cat, in that I’m loving, affectionate and will follow you around and, as aforementioned, I prefer dogs to cats.
Second Chance Humane Society’s Animal Resource Center and Thrift Shops have been servicing San Miguel, Ouray & Montrose Counties for 28 years. Call 626-2273 to report a lost pet, learn about adopting a homeless pet, or about our Emergency Response, Community Medical, Spay/Neuter, Volunteer, or other services. View our shelter pets and services online: www.adoptmountainpets.org.