Dogs or Cats?

It appears the controversy regarding dogs or cats has been part of human culture since time began. Research reveals that people were either dog or cat lovers back to the stone age. 

When Dogs Became Man’s Best Friend

Some archeologists believe that the domestication of dogs began with hunters sharing their meat surplus and scraps with wolves, who eventually became friendly to humankind. Orphaned wolf pups may have been raised, later acting as hunting partners. Archeologists believe that about 40,000 years ago, dog breeds split off from original gray wolf ancestors, eventually becoming the many breeds we know today. 

Various theories exist about how dogs and humans became inseparable, and where and how it began – but the relationship is here to stay. 

Cats and Gods

The ancient Egyptians cherished cats and considered them good luck charms, a reminder of the power of the gods. Cats were not believed to be gods themselves, but vessels that the gods could inhabit. This is believed to be the reason cat mummies are found in Egyptian burial sites.

Recently, archeologists discovered an ancient grave, where a human and a cat were buried together, predating the Egyptian cat obsession by more than 4,000 years. Stone and clay figures of cats 10,000 years old have been found in Syria, Turkey, and Israel. So, cats have held meaning in human lives since ancient times. It makes sense, as cats are natural allies in the human battle to protect food stores from rodents.

Pet Personalities: The Difference Between Cats and Dogs

People who love dogs (meet my French bulldog, Frankie, sweetest guy around) appreciate the unconditional love, loyalty, and affectionate nature of dogs. Dog-lovers may find cats standoffish and see them as less loyal than the honorable dog. Cat lovers contend that the intelligence, agility, and independence of cats makes them a superior pet. 

Dogs and Cats are… Related!

Surprisingly, dogs and cats are closely related as species. Both animals are of the species order “carnivora,” which sounds like they eat meat, but refers to their teeth. The common ancestors of cats and dogs was a species called “miacids,” which were long-bodied creatures that once lived throughout Europe, Asia, and North America. These tree-living creatures are said to have appeared a few million years after the extinction of dinosaurs and are the ancestors of both cats and dogs. 

As the animals continued to change over time, they split into two distinct types of carnivora – dog-like (caniformia) and cat-like (feliformia) – which is supposed to have happened about 43 million years ago. Cats and dogs can be friends in a household, or arch enemies, or change from day to day or hour to hour. 

It’s Raining Cats and Dogs?

The phrase “raining cats and dogs” is first found in Tudor times, but the origin of the phrase is in dispute. Some claim it is related to the fact that back in the day, domestic cats and dogs lived in the upper level of a home, beneath the thatched roof. In a heavy rain, when the roof would become heavy with water, driving the pets lower in the home – or raining cats and dogs. Cats could easily perch on the rafters, but dogs? Doesn’t seem likely. Another idea is that during a big storm, stray cats and dogs would drown and be washed into the streets, making it appear that it rained cats and dogs, a more gruesome origin story. Other word-obsessed historians believe the phrase goes back to Norse mythology. The Vikings believed cats influenced the weather, and dogs gusts of wind. Those are just a few of the current theories behind the saying!

Love dogs? A cat-lover? Whatever your inclination, sharing your home and life with a pet is part of the human experience that brings joy to our lives.

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