It may sound quite silly to begin an article by saying that cats differ from dogs, you are probably thinking you knew that all ready. But quite honestly when studying animal behavior as it pertains to your family pets, we’ve spent the last decade identifying all the things they have in common. To name just a few, we know that the behavior of both cats and dogs is similarly affected by age, sex and neuter/spaying.
But if we want to understand some of the stereotypes associated with family dogs and family cats, you need to only look at their wild cousins.
We all know the stereotypical description of cats. Those who don’t know them well, such as dog people, will think the typical domesticated cat to be aloof, entitled and independent. By comparison they think of our family dogs as being man’s best friend and eager to please.
If we look at a pride of lions, we see the male lion in a position of authority, not because he is the provider of food, but because he is beautiful, stately and occasionally a protector of territory for his pride.
When we look at a pack of wild dogs, wolves, and coyotes we actually see a different dynamic. The hunter provider is also the figure of authority. The hunters and providers are the most important but still play a part in the pack. The roles of territory protection etc. are more shared within a dog pack than they are in a lion pride.
Let’s look at our family pets in our home. We feed both our cats and dogs but by being the provider of food we assume two different positions with our pets.
By being the provider for our cats, we place them both at the head of the pride and assign responsibility to them of protecting the territory. If we picture our demanding and regal lions who appear to do little unless challenged, we can well imagine our domestic felines trying to emulate a version of that lifestyle. Many don’t understand how seriously our cats take the role of patrolling their territory. Our domestic cats are for more territorial than your average pet dog is. We are often told by our pet parents that when their cat returns home from the cat hotel, the first thing they do is begin a very thorough inspection of the entire house. When dogs return from a visit to the dog hotel, there is very little inspection by comparison. Many will check out their food and water dishes, maybe their beds, but little else.
It’s really quite interesting to think that we can draw comparisons of their behavior between them and a pride of lions. I know our homes, the cat hotel and a cat boarding near me situation seem very far removed from the Serengeti, but understanding that there is some hard wiring buried deep in their psyche can really help to understand how they are feeling and make sure we act to better there situation. Especially when they are cat boarding near me, it is important to understand their motivators to make the absence of their pride easier on them. Understanding the importance of their territory also makes it a lot easier to understand how staying home with regular visits from people violating their territory can be much more disconcerting than staying on neutral ground, by cat boarding at a professional cat hotel.
Whilst certainly not exhausting the subject, I hope you found this a little food for thought.