9 Ways Cats and Dogs Are Different

http://www.pawculture.com/                           BY: DIANA BOCCO

Cat and dog on lawn

9 Ways Cats and Dogs Are Different

Dogs and cats are different in more ways than the obvious, from their behavior and social interactions to their metabolisms and physical traits. As a result, there are a number of instances in which they need to be treated differently from each other, including daily care and in emergency situations.

Here are some basic differences between cats and dogs and how they should be handled according to species:

Dog at vet

Cats and Dogs Have Different Health Issues

While dog and cats can suffer from some of the same maladies, certain health issues are more common to each.

“Dogs more frequently experience skin disorders, trauma, parasites (fleas and ticks), pancreatitis and lymphoma,” says Dr. Jeffrey Levy, a Manhattan-based veterinarian and certified veterinary acupuncturist. “In cats, we see many cases of inflammatory bowel disease, food allergies, asthma, diabetes, immune deficiency and feline leukemia.”

Dogs are also more likely to suffer from arthritis and other mobility impairments.

“Cats can, of course, injure themselves, but are naturally cautious and less likely to develop wear and tear on their joints,” Levy adds.

Two cats eating

Dogs Can Be Vegetarians, But Cats Can’t

Dogs can be omnivores, while cats are strictly carnivores. Because cats cannot produce certain essential amino acids that are necessary for health, they must get them through diet.

“A few of those essential amino acids are only available in meat proteins—the two most necessary are taurine and arginine,” says Dr. Jeff Werber, a Los Angeles-based veterinarian and contributor to CBS’ “The Early Show” and “Sunday Morning.” “Taurine is necessary for eye health and healthy skin, and very important for heart health.”

Arginine is needed to produce ornithine, a different amino acid that binds to ammonia to make it non toxic to the body.

“Without it, ammonia build up can’t be neutralized, so it will become toxic to the cat,” says Werber. “Cats need a meat/fish diet to get their protein from animal sources [and] get these essential amino acids.”

Cat outside

Cats Don’t Pant Like Dogs

Technically, cats can pant to cool themselves down like dogs, as they have sweat glands in their noses and pads of their feet that help with heat regulation.

“The reason we don’t see them pant nearly as often in dogs is they usually don’t exert themselves to the point of overheating,” says Werber. “They pace themselves better, and seem to read the changes in their body heat earlier than their canine counterparts, so they don’t overheat nearly as often.”

If you see your cat panting, it’s more likely due to a different reason such as stress or pain.

“Cats usually pant when they are stressed, rather than hot,” says Dr. Sarah Proctor, clinical assistant professor and director of the veterinary technology program at the Thompson School of Applied Science at University of New Hampshire.

Dog nose close up

Dogs are Social, While Cats Like Their Space

Because dogs and mankind have evolved together, they have developed a very purposeful relationship over the generations, says Teena Patel, a certified dog trainer and the owner of University of Doglando. “We haven’t developed the same type of relationship with domesticated cats,” she adds.

In addition, dogs are pack animals and are highly social. As such, they like to assume a role in the family structure, Levy says, and 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,” Levy says.

Cats, on the other hand, have a limited function as helpmates.

“They will hunt rodents, but not on command, although they may proudly bring you their prey,” says Levy. “And while dogs are usually predictable in their behavior, cats are more independent and ‘creative’ in their life skills.”

While this might come across as a little snobbish, the truth is that cats value their alone time more and don’t need constant reassurance of your presence in the way dogs do

Dogs waiting for treats

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