Both cats and dogs make fabulous pets but they certainly are not similar and that is because they are wired completely different! Remember the book, “Men are From Mars & Women are From Venus”? Well it is kind of like cats and dogs are from different planets too.
To be good pet owners we need to understand a cat’s basic instincts that make them behave the, sometimes, strange way that they do.
Cats are not scared of the dark!
I have a cat that loves to hunt and if I let her, she would do a lot of hunting at night. But she is a black cat and we live near a highway so I call her in at night for obvious reasons. (And she actually comes – that’s my girl!)
Not only do cats instinctively hunt, they are also instinctively nocturnal because long ago they would do their hunting at night to avoid predators. They have trained themselves to detect motion with very little light. The long, stiff whiskers on a cat’s face are extended sideways when resting but when moving they extend forward to aid in hunting.
We all know that a dog’s strongest sense is smell. Well for a cat, both sight and hearing are stronger senses and prove very useful in the dark when hunting.
So if you are up in the middle of the night and find your cat wide awake, don’t think she is sick or crazy, she is just instinctively a cat! Your dog, on the other hand, will wake up from a deep sleep, stretch and wonder what’s wrong with you!
Cats are very touchy!
By this I mean that cats love to rub their bodies against us, and all the furniture in the house, and the trees and fences outside of the house. What is this all about?
Well our lovely little feline is instinctively marking her territory by putting her scent on all her surroundings. This is how cats tell other cats to stay away from their claimed area. Don’t be surprised if your cat makes a ceremonial walk around your property every morning to freshly mark her territory. And she likely has her favorite spot in your home to lie down where no one else is permitted to be.
Isn’t it nice to know that when your cat rubs herself against your leg, she thinks she owns you and not the other way around? Well, at least this territorial behavior is more pleasant than a dog’s, who urinates to mark his territory.
Cats are very independent!
My cat loves to be caressed and cuddled but usually only for a few minutes and then she wants to be left alone so she jumps out of my arms. I don’t take offense because I know she loves me and that instinctively cats like to be alone. There are not many “lap cats” out there so if you are looking for a cuddly pet to rest on your lap, then you need a “lap dog”.
Once again it goes back to a cat’s origins and their hunting habits. When too many cats were around, there were too many scents so cats would find their own territory to hunt their prey. As a result, cats prefer to be alone.
Dogs historically live in packs but cats choose to be alone and can easily entertain themselves for hours making the care of a cat much simpler then a dog.
Cats are superb stalkers!
Some cats actually stalk their food – a very humorous maine coon for sale sight indeed! After all how hard can it be to “catch” the kibble or Fancy Feast that is in the dish waiting for them?
My cat, being a hunter, does not stalk her food but we have certainly seen her on the prowess numerous times in our hay field or ditches. And sometimes she even corners her prey and just stares at them in utter cruelty while they fearfully wait for their demise!
Well my precious little kitty, like all cats, learned the “stalking stature” for hunting from her mother to help her survive. And she taught her kittens about hunting by bringing home her “kill” for show and tell.
Cats are not dogs and dogs are not cats!
Both cats and dogs have their natural instincts dating back to their origins that make them unique. Hopefully, learning a little more about the instincts of cats will help you understand their natural behaviors a little better.