There are two types of people in the world: dog people and cat people. Both of these ancient animals have evolved with humans over the span of centuries. Today, these two pets are most popular pets in the world, with over 43 million households in the US owning at least one dog, and 36 million households owning at least one cat. Both of these pets have their benefits, with cats being independent animals that are easy to care for, and dogs being loyal and trustworthy additions to the family.
With me owning two dogs and a cat, I can accurately list the benefits of owning both of them. Both pets have their advantages and disadvantages, but what makes them both awesome?
First up to the stand: Dogs!
Lets see all the good things about dogs, shall we?
Dogs have been named "man's best friend" for centuries.
According to many studies, dogs were the first tame animals, accompanying humans for 10,000-15,000 or so years. Scientists speculate that dogs, domesticated and wild, all share the common ancestry of the South Asian Wolf. Today there are hundreds of dog breeds, some of which who wouldn't stand a chance in the wild. As different as these pooches all are, as Golden Retriever to Chihuahua, they all share the same genus and species name, Canis familiaris. All dogs are related to wolves, foxes, coyotes, jackals, etc.
Dogs have been with humans for centuries. Dogs were domesticated by the lure of an easy meal. While humans were still hunter-gatherers following herds, canine ancestors were drawn to their camps by the smell of food and followed to scavenge leftovers. When humans realized they would bark when predators were near, they began to feed them willingly. Dogs have loyally followed and protected us ever since.
Dogs are highly intelligent.
Dogs, on average, are smarter than toddlers. According to a language development test done on dogs, they can learn on average about 165 words, which is on par with a 2 year-old's brain capacity. The number one smartest dog breed is the Border Collie, followed closely by the Poodle and German Shepard. Smart breeds like this require extensive stimulating brain activities and attention.
Dog owners are happier.
According to a study conducted by researchers at Mahattanville College, New York, dog owners have a better sense of well being overall than cat owners do. They conducted a survey on 263 participants in order to investigate the relationship between pet ownership and subjective well-being. The results showed that people who owned pets did not significantly differ from non-pet owners when it came to levels of happiness, positive emotions, negative emotions or major personality traits. However, pet owners were found to be more satisfied with life than non-owners - and dog owners scored higher than cat owners on all measures of well-being.
Dogs love their owners.
A study was conducted to see which animal is more fond of the company of humans. Both animals, like humans, release a hormone called oxytocin, which indicates happiness.
It’s one of the chemical measures of love in mammals. Humans produce the hormone in our brains when we care about someone. For example, when we see our spouse or child the levels in our bloodstream typically rise by 40-60 per cent.”
said Dr. Paul Zak, who conducted the study.
The neuroscientist checked the oxytocin levels in both cats and dogs after a play session with their humans. He took saliva samples from 10 cats and 10 dogs on two occasions - 10 minutes before a playtime session with their owners and immediately after - and tested both samples for oxytocin.
The results show the hormone increased by an average of 57.2 per cent in dogs but only by 12 per cent in cats. This means, in theory, dogs love their humans more than cats do. Take that, cats!
Dogs can detect cancer.
Well, it is quite obvious that dogs have amazing noses, but did you know that it widely believed that they can actually sniff out cancer?
Studies of dogs and cancer detection are based on the fact that cancerous cells release different metabolic waste products than healthy cells in the human body. The difference of smell is so significant that the dogs are able to detect it even in the early stages of cancer. Dogs are able to identify the chemical traces in the range of parts per trillion. Some studies have confirmed the ability of trained dogs to detect the skin cancer melanoma by just sniffing the skin lesions. Furthermore, some researchers have proven that dogs can detect prostate cancer by simply smelling patients’ urine. Dogs may also be able to sniff out the presence of cancerous cells through a human’s breath.
Okay, we get it. Dogs are awesome, but it's time for the cats to step up to the stand and defend themselves!
Next up to the stand: Cats!
What's so awesome about our feline friends?
Cats have been domesticated for over 9,000 years!
It was hard for scientists to piece together the puzzle of the origins of the domesticated cat. It is estimated that cats were first domesticated in the Near East about 10,000 years ago. The modern domesticated house cat is thought to have originated from Felis silvestris lybica, or the African Wildcat and have experienced genetic mutations to have our feline friends today. All 600 million house cats in the world can have their DNA traced back to five females of the African Wildcat's ancestors. The ancient Egyptians worshiped cat goddesses and believed that cats were sacred animals. There were laws made to protect cats, and it was even considered a grave crime to injure or kill a cat. They even had their beloved cats mummified and buried along with them, along with mummified mice.
Cats are so smart, that they are believed to have domesticated themselves! When humans stopped following herds of animals as a food source and began to farm crops, they ate grain as their main source of food. This in turn attracted vermin such as rats and mice, which attracted cats to hunt and kill them. Humans were appreciative of the cats, so they allowed the cats to stay. They fed them and protected them.
Cats are independent animals.
You already noticed this. Tell a cat to sit, they don't listen. To a cat to come, they walk away. All they want from you is food and a place to stay. You don't own them, they own you. You care for them! Cats are a cats best friend, eh?
This may be because cats are solitary hunters. They prefer to work alone. This can be observed in the wild by their larger cousins (except maybe lions). While dogs prefer to hunt in packs, like you see with wolves, cats prefer to hunt in solitude. They use tactics such as stalking and pouncing to catch prey. These methods work better if only one cat does it. While cats do live in clans, they don't have to.
Cats also used to be worshiped like gods, so if your cat acts like an a-hole, then he or she is probably exerting their ancestry! Cats are the descendant of god cats, and they can trace their origins all the way back to Cyprus and Egypt!
Cat owners are smarter.
Uh oh! The cat team is out for blood it seems like. According to a study conducted by Carroll University, Wisconsin, cat owners are smarter on average than dog owners.
The research revealed that the owners of the two animals tend to have different personalities - with cat lovers being more sensitive and open-minded than dog lovers who are largely energetic.
The study also found out that cat owners scored more highly on an intelligence test than dog owners and are more sensitive too.
Cats are independent thinkers.
There is a lot of anecdotal evidence to back up the phrase that cats are smarter than dogs and vice versa, but there was never a scientific study to back it up. So, who's smarter? There's no telling, but there was a study that shows that cats like to think for themselves.
While dogs on average have a bigger brain than cats, there is evidence that brain size does not account for intelligence. Research showed cats and dogs can solve simple puzzles to get food, but when the puzzle is unsolvable, dogs will look to humans for help, whereas cats will keep trying.
Cats see the world similar to us.
Cats don't just have awesome night vision, but they also see the world similarly to us. Artists have hypothesized and created pictures in they way they think cats see the world.
The biggest difference between human vision and cat vision is in the retina, a layer of tissue at the back of the eye that contains cells called photoreceptors. The photoreceptors convert light rays into electrical signals, which are processed by nerve cells, sent to the brain, and translated into the images we see.
The two types of photoreceptor cells are known as rods and cones. Rods are responsible for peripheral and night vision. They detect brightness and shades of gray. Cones are responsible for day vision and color perception.
Cats (and dogs) have a high concentration of rod receptors and a low concentration of cone receptors. Humans have the opposite, which why we can't see as well at night but can detect colors better, and cats have superior night vision compared to us.
Here is a sample of how it is believed cats see the world.
Woah, an epic comeback by #TeamCat!
Who's better? It's time for a tiebreaker! What do dogs do better than cats? What do cats do better than dogs?
Cats hunt less efficiently than dogs!
We all know how cats hunt. They hide, stalk, then pounce. However, there is a study that says that this is not as efficient as how dogs do it, and they end up expending their energy quicker.
The bio mechanics of the dog gait, for example, enables them to reduce muscular effort required to move forward by 70 percent. The cat gait efficiency gains max out at 37 percent and drops precipitously in a stalking posture.
Most scientists think that energetic efficiency is the currency of natural selection. Here we've shown that some animals make compromises when they have to choose between competing demands."
Said Schmitt, the conductor of the study. Another comeback by the dogs!
Cats for the future of computing?!
Computer engineer Wei Lu at the University of Michigan is trying to develop a computer as smart as a cat.
The cat brain sets a realistic goal because it is much simpler than a human brain but still extremely difficult to replicate in complexity and efficiency"
He is developing devices called "memristors" that remember past voltages they were exposed to. They function like real brain synapses. Wow, this could be the tiebreaker we all needed!
Both have their humans well-trained!
This is obvious!
No matter which side your on, it can be agreed that both animals are awesome!