95% of Americans think of their pets as part of the family. Out of that total, dogs and cats are the top choices for household pets. Whether you are Team Cat or Team Dog, there are many interesting facts you probably don’t know about both species. This article will teach you all about dogs and cats!
Let’s look at the unique characteristics of America’s most adored household pets. You might be familiar with some of them, but you’re bound to find a few surprises.
8 Things You Need To Know About Cats and Dogs
- Dogs and Cats Can See Colors
- Dogs and Cats Have Unique Nose Prints
- Dogs Have an Excellent Sense of Smell
- Cats Have Right- and Left-Paw Preferences
- Dogs Know What You’re Saying
- Cats Can Sleep 12-15 Hours a Day
- Dogs Have Super Sensitive Hearing
- Cats Have Very Good Low-Light Vision
1. Dogs and Cats Can See Colors
Cats and dogs are not color blind—they are both able to see in color, but they don’t perceive colors the same way humans do.
It isn’t true that dogs see the world in black, white, and shades of gray. Canine eyes can process a limited spectrum of colors, with blue and yellow tones being the most vivid. However, red tones seem muted for a dog, sometimes appearing as gray or black.
Similarly, cats can also perceive shades of blue and yellow. The only difference is that a cat’s field of vision is bathed in a pastel hue as their eyes do not process color saturation well.
2. Dogs and Cats Have Unique Nose Prints
Scientists have found that every doggy and kitty nose has a distinct nose print pattern, similar to human fingerprints. How did they discover this?
A study by researchers at the Seoul National University aimed to examine if dogs have unique, individual nose patterns that can be used as biometric markers. They defined the canine nose pattern as an “interlocking pattern of beads and grooves (…) unique to each individual dog”.
But that’s not all about dogs and cats! both cats and dogs share this feature, but a dog’s nose print pattern is significantly larger than a cat’s, making it easier to see up close.
3. Dogs Have an Excellent Sense of Smell
As humans, we rely on sight to assess the world around us. Dogs do the same with their noses.
Olfaction is the canine’s most powerful sense, and it’s crucial for their survival. A dog relies on smell for many things, namely to gather information and food, sniff out danger, and for choosing a reproductive partner.
Humans have five to six million scent receptors. In comparison, dogs can have up to a hundred million. This figure can go even higher in some breeds — the Bloodhound has 230 million receptors, making them excellent trackers.
Additionally, canines have an organ that specializes in the detection of pheromones. This organ, dubbed the vomeronasal organ, helps a dog sense chemical changes in the body of another animal—including humans. No wonder dogs make good support animals!
4. Cats Have Right- and Left-Paw Preferences
Did you know that cats have paw preferences, just like humans have a dominant hand?
A food-reaching test to assess paw preference showed that female cats preferred using their right paws and male cats used their left paws more often.
Also, scientists at Queen’s University Belfast found that kitties used their dominant paw to lead when trotting down the stairs and stepping across the edge of their litter boxes. It turns out that felines can be a lefty or a righty after all.
5. Dogs Know What You’re Saying
Ever wondered if dogs know what you are saying to them? Well, they do.
Dogs can learn approximately 250 words in their lifetime, but they might not fully understand what you say to them. However, pups can react to what a human says to them and are also responsive to the tone of voice used to address them.
Researchers in Hungary found that the reward center of a dog’s brain gets excited when a human speaks words of praise to them in a praising manner. Basically, your dog is the happiest when you praise them for being a good boy or girl.
6. Cats Can Sleep 12-15 Hours a Day
Cats are notorious for taking long naps, but do you know why they sleep so much?
Felines typically sleep a lot because they are biologically wired to be hunters. Sleeping is one way for a cat to conserve energy for their daily activities. Actions like pouncing, chasing, and climbing during playtime resemble a kitty’s hunting movements, so plenty of shuteye is needed.
Cats also sleep a lot because they are usually not in a deep sleep. Cats have the habit of dozing off in a half-alert state to stay wary of their environment. As a result, they develop an interrupted sleep pattern, which may explain why they need a lot of rest.
7. Dogs Have Super Sensitive Hearing
Your dog may react very enthusiastically when it hears you opening a bag of snacks in another room. Why do dogs have such good hearing?
According to Dr. Siobhan Kehoe, the anatomy of a dog’s ear is instrumental in helping canines effectively direct sound into their inner ear. A dog’s ear has 18 muscles that position the ear to receive sound in the most efficient way possible. For comparison, the human ear has only six muscles.
These muscles also move a dog’s ear canal into a position that helps capture sounds. When you see a dog’s ears rotating, it is likely trying to pinpoint the direction of a noise.
8. Cats Have Very Good Low-Light Vision
Cats have excellent vision when lighting is low, but not in pitch-black darkness. Feline eyes require very little light to be able to see their surroundings.
The ability to see in low light conditions is a trait that gave the ancestral feline an advantage when hunting for prey. A cat’s cornea and pupil are about twice as large as a human’s, allowing more light to enter the retina.
Cats also have a unique layer of tissue in their eyes called the tapetum lucidum, which magnifies light entering the eye. This layer is also what gives cat eyes that blue-green reflection when light shines upon them.
We hope that you enjoyed learning all about dogs and cats! If you liked this article, you may want to checkout Can Dogs Eat Any Kind of Popsicles?, and How to Remove Dog Ticks Safely and Easily, and Should a Cat With Tapeworms Be Quarantined? 4 Facts, and finally How To Tell if a Cat Still Has Kittens Inside (7 Signs).
Thanks for reading all about dogs and cats!
- Cision PR Newswire: More Than Ever, Pets Are Members of the Family
- DVM 360: Vision in Dogs and Cats
- HeadStuff: Why Do Dogs Hear Better Than Humans?
- LiveScience: If Your Cat Swats With Its Left Paw, It’s Probably Male
- MSD Veterinary Manual: Description and Physical Characteristics of Cats
- National Library of Medicine: Canine Olfaction: Physiology, Behavior, and Possibilities for Practical Applications
- National Library of Medicine: Study on the Viability of Canine Nose Pattern as a Unique Biometric Marker
- National Library of Medicine: Paw preference in cats: distribution and sex differences
- NPR: Why Do Animals’ Eyes Glow In The Dark?
- Ontario SPCA and Humane Society: Can Cats and Dogs See Colour?
- PBS: The Bloodhound’s Amazing Sense of Smell
- PetMD: Why Do Cats Sleep So Much?
- Reader’s Digest: Why Do Cats Sleep So Much? The Reasons Behind All Those Catnaps
- ScienceDaily: Dogs hear our words and how we say them
- The Independent: Dogs can understand human speech, scientists discover
About The Author
M.D Mark D. is a Health and Wellness professional writer. Mark has authored many health articles around the following topics: Men’s Health, Women’s Health, Fitness, Nutrition, Pets Health, Mental Health, Medicine, and Supplements.