In this corner, weighing in at a lean 8 pounds, we have Smokey—the American Shorthair cat. Across the ring, we have Buddy weighing in at 65 pounds, the Golden Retriever. Our bets are on Buddy. That’s right! The age old debate is back on the table—why dogs better than cats!
The argument is as old as domestication itself. Starting before Odie and Garfield feuded over the affection of their owner Jon. There are a lot of opinions swirling around in the mix of claws, jaws, and furr when it comes to this debate. So we thought we could clue in readers on some history first.
Cats, Felis Catus,
The domestic cat is believed to have been domesticated as early as 4,000 years ago in Egypt. The culture was as obsessed with cats. The Egyptians worshiped a cat goddess named Bastet—the god of cats, protection, joy dance, music, and family. They even took it one step further and mummified their beloved pet cats to take the journey with them into the afterlife. They even mummified the remains of mice for the cats to snack on!
Cats were adopted from the wild for their abilities to hunt rodents that disrupted crops and home life. Cats are carnivorous and great hunters. The species has an intrinsic ability to stalk prey and pounce, striking to kill with their sharp claws and teeth. Just ask any cat owner who comes home to a dead mouse on their doorstep. Cats have light-reflecting eyes which give them excellent night vision.
Many animal behaviorists actually theorize that cats are nocturnal and since domestication, have adopted to our habits. Since food is readily available there is no need for cats to hunt. Now they have different sleeping habits than their wild counterparts. Cats will usually sleep all day and become more active as the house fills. Still, any cat owner will tell you, cats are night owls and perfectly content to swat at your face while you sleep.
According to the American Pet Products Association (APPA), there are 47.1 million households that own at least one cat.
Dogs, Canis Lupus Familiaris
Dogs are first believed to have been domesticated around 15,000 years ago in Central Asia around modern day Nepal and Mongolia. It is theorized that friendly Eurasian gray wolves actually approached humans first. Scientists believe that because humans wiped out other large mammals during the time period, dogs were spared because of their charm.
Since then, hundreds of breeds have emerged from early wolves. Of the hundreds of breeds, the American Kennel Club currently recognizes 189 of them with mix breeds also making up a huge percent of the dog population. Dogs fist served as companions as working dogs. They helped herd livestock, hunt, guard homes, and use their noses for police work.
The Egyptians also worshiped dogs in the form of the god of cemeteries and embalming—Anubis. Anubis had the body of a man with the head of a dog. The Aztecs also have dogs as a prominent role of their religion. They also believed that the Mexican Hairless dog, or Xolotl, led the soul to the underworld. Dogs have appeared in myth, folklore, and regions countless times showing their kinship with humankind.
The APPA reports that 60 million households own a dog in the U.S.
Let’s take a look at why dogs are better than cats!
1. More Famous than Cats
Ok so, there’s Snoopy, Scooby Doo, Balto, Marley, Winn Dixie Wishbone, Beethoven, Old Yeller, Hooch, Airbud, Blue from Blue’s Clues, and everyone knows…All Dogs Go To Heaven.
2. Dogs Make you Laugh, It’s Science.
A study conducted by Department of Psychology at St. Bonaventure University reported that dog owners laughed more than cat owners.
Participants who owned a dog, cat, both, or none were surveyed to see how frequently humans laugh and what provoked the laughter. It was found that dog owners laugh more than people who own both animals with cat owners laughing the least. This explains grumpy cat.
This prompted another study conducted by the Department of Psychology at Eastern Kentucky University. The researchers filmed people playing with dogs. The goal was to determine exactly what was provoking laughter. It’s no surprise that they found that people laugh most at dogs when they fail some aspect of playing. If you throw a dog a ball, and they trip in the process, we all burst out laughing.
The second situation that evoked laughter was when a dog did something unanticipated or exaggerated. AKA, they act goofy. Still no surprise here. Any dog owner will tell you that it’s hilarious when their dog tries to guess cup the treats in.
Both studies concluded that laughter is a social interaction. Laughing reduces stress and gives you a higher quality of life. Our dogs are partners with us and help us to laugh making them better than the grumpy cat equivalent.
3. Dogs Help You Make Friends
Harvard University partnered with other academic institutions around the world to publish a series of studies scientifically proving how dogs provide human-to-human friendships. Of course, dog parents already know this, and probably already know why dogs are better than cats.
Dog owners were found to be 60% more likely to get to know their neighbors through a pet related connection. People meet people while walking their dogs and are far more likely to befriend the people they met while walking or visiting parks. When was the last time you walked your cat?
There are also have been numerous studies showing dog ownership makes you seem more approachable and friendly. Researchers from a separate study surveyed 1,210 Match.com users. The studied showed women were twice as likely to be attracted to a guy because he had a dog, and also twice as likely to judge their date based on how they reacted to their dogs. Even more damning for the cat-people, 32% of women surveyed said that a guy with a cat was a potential deal-breaker. Ouch, get a dog!
Dogs making people more social and adventurous is also evident in dog meetups. Many cities have social media pages, dog bars, and even apps dedicated to getting dog owners together.
4. Dogs Can Smell Cancer
Everyone knows dogs have the best nose! Dogs like Bloodhounds possess up to 300 million olfactory receptors compared with about six million in humans. Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania’s Working Dog Center have trained dogs to put their sniffers to good work detecting cancer.
With a process called imprinting dogs are able to sniff out different chemicals present in ovarian cancer. Researchers spread the scents gathered from an ovarian tumor on a blanket. They have the dog target each scent over and over again. Each time, they reduce the size of the blanket, and increase the scent. Once the dog has mastered this, they remove the blanket entirely.
Scientists are using this data to build a device that will sense cancer. The chemical the dogs gravitate toward the most will be the chemical they base their sensor design on.
5. Dogs Keep Human in Shape
Everyone who has ever owned a dog can attest to this. Dogs need walks. Most of us get home at the end of the day and hit the couch. But after a few whines and earnest looks from Fido we take a nice healthy walk around the neighborhood.
A study published in the National Institute of Health showed that older people with dogs covered an average distance of a mile daily. The study also found that dog owners with a backyard spent an average daily duration of 100 minutes walking the dog.
There you go, get grandma a dog!
6. Dogs Can be Trained and Do Cool Stuff, Cats Don’t
A study out of the University of Tokyo showed that cats actually do know their name and have the ability to come when called. They choose not to. Cats have selective hearing, just like your kids.
The study analyzed how cats responded to hearing the voice of their owners compared to the voices of strangers. They determined cats could recognize their owner’s voice and identified with their given name. 10% of cats involved in the study displayed behavior of responsiveness when called.
Animal behaviorists theorize that because cats were used as independent creatures to hunt rats the strong bond didn’t develop the way it has with dogs. Cats have come closer since agrarian days, but the evolution of cat responsiveness is still antiquated.
Compare this with dogs. Dogs can be trained to sit, shake, lay down, play dead, roll over, and even open doors. These are just tricks for your average pooch. It’s not called the Westminster cat show now is it?
7. Dogs Help Humans from Developing Allergies and Asthma
This is reason six dogs are better than cats.
Dogs are saving the world one potentially asthmatic kid at a time. A study out of University of California, San Francisco, shows that exposure to infants exposed to dog dust—dried flakes of dog skin—help protect against developing allergies and asthma later on in life by altering intestinal bacteria. Mice that inhaled dog dust built a better immune response to cockroach allergens than their non-exposed counterpart.
So having a dog around not only protects your infant but helps build up their immunity. Not sure if the cat does either of these, but boy is he funny when gets his paws on that catnip!
8. The Dog House is Cleaner Than the Cat House
No scientific studies here. Just pure observation of having owned both cats and dogs over a lifetime.
Yes, while dogs are puppies they will tear up the house. But with some proper guidance and good dog training, this stops. Dogs learn to use the bathroom outside and respect the furniture. As long as they get their de-shed service the house is neat and orderly with the doggos.
Cats? Not so much.
You have to deal with the litter box. No matter where you put the thing, or what kind of litter you use, it still has a lingering smell. Also, cats claw everything…everything. Now some cats are good, but I had a cat once that had three scratch posts, but still preferred to maul the couch every time I left the house. Cats also vomit and cough up hairballs! They love to aim for your favorite rug too.
9. Dogs Can Take Selfies
Seriously! A dog training center in London now offers a class called iPad Masterclass. The trainers focus dogs on taking their own selfies and doodling. Dogs use their noses to swipe the screen to take candid shots of themselves for Instagram. The intention of dog training is based on animal behaviorists theories that animals trained to do something have a lower incidence of anxiety and aggression.
This might be true, but we have a feeling all the pet parents who have signed up their dog to take iPad Masterclass really just want a dog that can take their own picture. It’s a pretty cool cocktail party trick…
Dogs are also being trained to recognize and respond to typical commands written on an Ipad. The dog reads the command ‘sit” and then loyally takes a seat. What a time to be alive!
10. Dogs are Man’s Best Friend
All kidding aside, we at Splash and Dash Groomerie & Boutique love all animals of every shape and size. We just like to have a little fun every once in awhile. You can join in by commenting on our Facebook page who you think is better, cats or dogs?
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