If you have both a cat and a dog in your life, then you're aware that they can be quite different. From diet to exercise to overall personality, you'll find many contrasts between the two. You'll also find that cats and dogs sometimes don't get along at all, partially because of these differences. However, there are also many things that cats and dogs have in common.
Similarities between cats and dogs
Cats and dogs may seem entirely different at a glance. They have contrasting behaviors, often don't get along with each other, and training them is a very different experience. However, cats and dogs do share a certain amount of similarities.
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One of the most striking similarities between cats and dogs is that both species rely on body language to communicate. Sure, dogs bark and cats meow, but the foundation of their communication is built on body language.
According to the AvoDerm, though both cats and dogs communicate through body language, their body language signals are quite different. For instance, a dog who wags his tail and opens his mouth is probably happy. But if a cat wagged its tail and opened its mouth, it would be communicating anger. If you have both cats and dogs, then you'll need to learn two different types of body language.
According to Pets 4 Homes, both cats and dogs have territorial instincts. These instincts cause cats and dogs to defend things that are important to them, like food, their home, or their young.
While cats and dogs have the same territorial instincts, their instincts cause different behaviors in each species. Cats, for instance, often mark their territory by rubbing against it or urinating on it. They tend to be loners and may try to drive off another cat that comes into their space.
Dogs, on the other hand, are naturally more social animals that form packs for companionship and hunting. Dogs don't display the rubbing behavior that cats use to mark their territory. This behavioral contrast is one difference between cats and dogs.
Cats and dogs also share hunting instincts for their survival. Pets 4 Homes states that in the wild, cats and dogs would hunt and scavenge to find food. Both cats and dogs have a strong prey instinct without ever needing to be taught how to hunt.
Dogs are a bit more opportunistic about finding their food sources, but both cats and dogs can take down prey if they need to. While cats prey on smaller animals like mice and birds, dogs often go for slightly larger animals like rabbits or squirrels.
There are health-related similarities between cats and dogs, too. According to SafePath, both cats and dogs can get intestinal parasites, also called worms. The most common intestinal parasites in both cats and dogs are hookworms, roundworms, whipworms, tapeworms, and giardia.
Luckily, preventing and treating parasites in cats and dogs is also a similar process. You should remove feces from the litter box and yard regularly and frequently, and make sure that children always wash their hands after playing with or around pets. If your cat or dog does develop intestinal parasites, then a trip to the vet is required. Your vet will test a stool sample to determine the species present and will prescribe an appropriate treatment.
Fleas and ticks
According to the ASPCA website, fleas and ticks infest both cats and dogs. Keeping your pet on an appropriate flea and tick preventative is an essential part of your pet's health care. If you have both cats and dogs in your home, it's essential to treat all of your pets, since fleas can spread between the species.
Luckily, many flea preventatives also kill ticks. However, make sure that the product you're using is safe for your pet since some products that are safe for dogs can be toxic to cats. Your vet can recommend a preventative that is safe for all of your pets.