Cats VS Dogs
Article by Sarah Vandergraph
“A friend is someone who loves you when you forget to love yourself.” Unknown author. Which is better, cats or dogs, has been a debate throughout the ages. The goal of this essay is to compare and contrast these animals’ behavior, domestication, and history. There may not be a clear-cut answer of which is better, but there will definitely be a better understanding of both of these animals.
Dogs and cats are similar in many ways, even more than any of us can imagine. First of all, in comparing the histories of the cat and the dog it is evident that both dogs and cats held a very important place in history. Cats were significant in Ancient Egypt, and dogs were important in Ancient Rome. The importance of the cat in Ancient Egypt was because of the cat’s proficiency at killing rodents and protecting Egyptian homes from death and disease. This would soon lead them to being revered as gods. Dogs must have been very important in Roman life because they buried dogs in their cemeteries and made sentimental gravestones dedicated to them. One of these markers said, “To Helena, foster child, soul without comparison, and deserving of praise.” Both the cat and the dog were included in each of the civilization’s art. The cats were in ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics, and the dogs were in Roman paintings.
There are similarities and differences in their behaviors as well. When a dog or cat is ready to react, their fur will fluff out and stand on end. When a dog or cat is stimulated by something, their whiskers stiffen and stand out. When a cat’s pupils are dilated, it means that she is afraid. This is similar to a dog because if he does this, it means that he is scared. When a dog or cat is interested in something their ears will move all the way forward and upright. When they are relaxed, their ears will point forward. When a dog’s tail is wagging at a medium height, that means they are friendly. When a cat does the same thing, it means a predator is approaching. When a cat is greeting someone, she or he may hold their ears up. If their ears twitch, that means the encounter is not going well. A dog will move his ears back even further as an appeasement gesture. A dog will lay on his belly to show that he or she is friendly, but a cat will do so to protect itself. Not very many cats like their bellies rubbed and may respond aggressively.
Next will be a compare and contrast of their domestication. During the domestication of the dog, humans took the traits from wolves, and through artificial selection created dogs to help with specific tasks. In the early ages, before gunpower and guns were invented, the dogs would help hunt and put food on the table. Also, the dogs would guard small villages and homes and send out an alert if there was danger. Felines follow in a similar path of domestication. Humans would store grains for later, and this would attract rodents. Lucky for them, cats are carnivores. They would eat the rodents and the grain would be left for the humans to eat. The differences in domestication begin with the fact that cats are only semi-domesticated. The only reason that they stick with us is because they like the attention and the rewards. According to Independent.co.uk, scientists found changes in the domestic cats’ genes that other studies have shown are involved in behaviors such as memory, fear and reward-seeking. The behaviors are thought to be important in the domestication process. It has been thought that humans wound give cats food as a reward to stick around. So, in addition to leading a solitary life, cats have an extra incentive to stick around.
The answer to the age-old question on which is better, cats or dogs, is not a cut and dry answer. However, it is their similarities and differences in their history, domestication, and behaviors that makes us desire them as companions. It makes sense that we consider cats and dogs companions because, “A friend is someone who loves you when you forget to love yourself” and no matter what the choice is, that is definitely what you will be getting in return.
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