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Cat vs. Dog: What's the Difference?

Edited by Janet White || By Harlon Moss || Updated on October 13, 2023
Cat is a small domesticated feline, while dog is a domesticated canine.

Key Differences

Cats, known for their independence, are typically aloof and may prefer solitude over company. Dogs, on the other hand, are often considered social animals that thrive on interaction and companionship.
Both cat and dog have been domesticated by humans for thousands of years, serving various purposes from hunting to companionship. The anatomy of a cat is designed for stealth and agility, making them expert hunters.
Dogs, however, vary greatly in size and shape, but many breeds have been developed for specific tasks such as herding or guarding. The dietary needs of cats are obligate carnivores, which means they primarily need meat to survive.
Dogs are omnivores, meaning they can consume a more varied diet, including both meat and vegetables. Lastly, communication with a cat often involves subtle body language, purring, and meowing. Dogs communicate with barks, whines, and a wide array of body language, tail wags being one of the most recognizable.

Comparison Chart


Felidae family
Canidae family


Meows, purrs
Barks, howls, whines

Dietary Needs

Obligate carnivore

Social Tendency

Often solitary


For companionship, mousing
For work (herding, hunting, etc.) & companionship

Cat and Dog Definitions


A small domesticated carnivorous mammal with soft fur.
The cat sat on the windowsill, watching the birds.


A device or tool that grips or holds something.
Secure the timber with the dog before cutting.


Any wild feline species, like lions or tigers.
The safari park had several species of big cats.


A male friend or man (informal).
Hey dog, long time no see!


A person, especially a man, who is seen as being sly or cool.
He's one cool cat, always calm under pressure.


A domesticated carnivorous mammal known for its loyalty and companionship.
The dog wagged its tail excitedly when it saw its owner.


A catboat.
He sailed his cat across the bay on a sunny day.


To pursue with tenacity.
The detective dogged the criminal's every move.


A short whip used in naval discipline.
In history, sailors feared the cat o' nine tails.


A contemptible person.
He's a real dog for breaking her heart.


A small domesticated carnivorous mammal (Felis catus), kept as a pet and as catcher of vermin, and existing in a variety of breeds.


A domesticated carnivorous mammal (Canis familiaris syn. Canis lupus subsp. familiaris) occurring as a wide variety of breeds, many of which are traditionally used for hunting, herding, drawing sleds, and other tasks, and are kept as pets.


Any of various other carnivorous mammals of the family Felidae, including the lion, tiger, leopard, and lynx.


Any of various carnivorous mammals of the family Canidae, such as the dingo.


Where does the word "dog" come from?

The term "dog" is believed to have originated from the Old English word "docg."

Are cats solitary creatures?

While domestic cats can be social, they are often seen as more solitary than dogs.

What is the origin of the word "cat"?

The word "cat" is derived from the Old English word "catt."

Is the term "cat" ever used for big wild animals?

Yes, "cat" can refer to wild felines like lions or tigers.

How do dogs primarily communicate?

Dogs communicate through barks, howls, and body language.

Do all dogs belong to the Canidae family?

Yes, all dogs are members of the Canidae family.

Is "dog" ever used informally to refer to a person?

Yes, "dog" can be used informally to refer to a male friend or a contemptible person.

Can "cat" refer to a tool or device?

Yes, "cat" can refer to a short whip used in naval discipline.

Are all dog breeds the same in behavior?

No, dog behavior can vary widely depending on the breed.

Can "dog" be used as a verb?

Yes, "dog" can mean to persistently pursue or chase.

Can "cat" be used in slang?

Yes, "cat" can refer to a person, often a man, seen as cool or sly.

What's another meaning for "dog" in terms of tools?

"Dog" can refer to a device or tool that holds something in place.

Are dogs considered more social animals than cats?

Yes, dogs are often seen as pack animals, thriving on social interactions.

Do cats have a wider variety of vocal sounds than dogs?

Both cats and dogs have a range of vocalizations, but cats are especially known for their varied meows.

What are cats known for in terms of sound?

Cats are known for their meows and purring.

Are dogs strictly carnivorous?

No, dogs are omnivores and can eat a varied diet.

Which is more independent, a cat or a dog?

Cats are generally perceived as more independent than dogs.

Can "cat" refer to a type of boat?

Yes, "cat" can also mean a catboat.

Are dogs and cats the most common domesticated pets?

Yes, both cats and dogs are among the most popular pets worldwide.

Are cats obligate carnivores?

Yes, cats require a diet primarily of meat.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.

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