Cats Versus Dogs

Last week, dogs somehow worked their way into the Friday Casual Cat action. It’s now time to address that age-old conflict.

Speed

We’ve already looked at cheetahs. How does a greyhound – the world’s fastest dog – compare?

As it turns out, both have “flight phases” while running, which is awesome. In fact, the greyhound runs a lot like a cheetah, when you look at it in slow motion, but… .
 

Cats 1, dogs 0.

Evolution

Sprinting is impressive but not necessarily an evolutionary advantage. The cheetah burns a lot of calories and so needs to hunt a lot, but it also must rest after a chase. It might not even be able to eat until after it catches its breath – during this vulnerable time, as witnesses have reported, other predators can sneak in and steal the meal.

Cheetahs have overspecialized, and some say that it will result in their eventual extinction.

It wouldn’t be the first such event in the cat family. There is a 6.5-million-year “cat gap” in the fossil records of North America where no cat fossils are found at all.

No one is quite sure what happened, other than that climate cooling changed the environment dramatically and the cat ancestors were among the predators who couldn’t adapt.

Guess who took their place – canids.

This ‘cat gap’ shows that many caniform species evolve felid type morphologies indicative of hypercarnivory…This reflects an overall recurrent pattern in which there is always some [hypercarnivore]; whenever [the carnivore] filling this niche goes extinct it is rapidly filled in kind.
— “Carnivore Conservation,” edited by John L. Gittleman

Obviously cats did make a comeback in North America, but still – 6.5 million years is a big fail.

Cats 0, dogs 1

Intelligence

Dogs are incredibly intelligent. Border collies recognize hundreds of words and can even connect an object with its picture despite never having seen them before.

It’s difficult to find comparable information on cat intelligence. Kitties have better things to do with their time than sit around pleasing humans by answering their questions; instead, they manipulate us into accepting their overall perfection. Or, to put it more objectively, “[T]here is no certified measure of cat intelligence and this general rule may be very anthropomorphic.”

That said, it must be pointed out that DARPA isn’t modeling computers that may “one day learn and recognize information more like humans do” on a dog’s brain.

Cats 1, dogs 1

A Special Quality

I hope you won’t mind one more Earth Unplugged video. I don’t know who these guys are, but some of their videos are really enjoyable, including this one:
 


So, cats get the win for agility?

Well, that’s not the quality I had in mind. It was adorableness.

Kittens 1+infinity, puppies 1+infinity

The Result

Cats and dogs each have their own special strengths and weaknesses, but overall in this human’s eyes, they’re equally wonderful. I’m just a cat person (see “anthropomorphic,” above) so casual Fridays around here will continue to be about cats – just don’t be surprised if a doggie sometimes wriggles its way into things, too.
 



Categories: Friday's Casual Cat

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