7 top differences between cats and dogs

Most people would describe themselves as either a ‘dog person’ or a ‘cat person’. I used to be a ‘cat person’, but now,  I’m both! And most people who own a cat or a dog could tell you the real and perceived differences between the species – knowledge often gained from cartoons and lists shared on social media. Well I am here to tell you that most of those ‘perceived’ differences are actually true! So here are is what I have observed to be the most obvious differences between cats and dogs, from my scientific (ahem..) observations of Coco and Sadie (our cats) and Ivy (our dog)!

1. Emotions

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Dogs and cats show their emotions in very different ways. In fact, to be honest, cats don’t show much emotion in an obvious way at all. I know when Sadie and Coco are happy and content by their loud purrs when they come for a cuddle. I can also guess they are happy when they are stretched out blissfully in a sunny patch. But that’s about it. Their inscrutable stares don’t give much away. Dogs are different. Dogs put it all out there! Every morning when I come downstairs, Ivy greets me as if I have been away for a year! She jumps up and down, tail wagging frantically – her enthusiasm makes me feel like a superstar! She rolls over for tummy tickles, scampers after balls and barks with excitement at anything that moves. She even makes little satisfied noises when she’s asleep or when we give her a cuddle. Ivy is pretty much permanently happy, except when we leave the room, when she then lets us know her displeasure by continuous barking.

2. Unconditional love

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Dogs love their humans. Unconditionally. They love you if you are happy. They love you if you are sad. They love you when you are a bit cross with them. They love you when you are asleep. They love you when you are awake. They just LOVE you SO much! Ivy loves me so much she even growled at my husband this morning when he tried to kiss me goodbye! Cats? Well, they do show their love, but they also show their displeasure. And it doesn’t take much. If they are on your lap and you so much as sneeze.. whoosh! They are gone! They love you when you are doing exactly what they want to you to do and the way they want you to do it. Otherwise, they are having none of it! Sadie will ‘accept’ my attentions and even enjoy it, but one wrong move, one stroke of her fur in the wrong direction.. game over!

3. Personal hygiene

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Ivy loves mud. She also loves rubbish – discarded wrappers, half a sandwich, an orange peel, a squashed banana.. but most of all she loves mud. She will dig holes and then dash through soggy muddy puddles and rub her whole face in it just for good measure and to ensure maximum coverage. If she had her choice, life would be one great big mud bath! And when she is done, she feels no need to clean off the mud. One of her favourite pastimes is doing the pre-wash in our dishwasher. Open the door and she’s in, licking the plates and saucepans, cups and saucers, knives and forks. On New Year’s Eve we had sticky toffee pudding. It has taken me a week to get the toffee out of her fringe, because she didn’t seem bothered by it at all! Coco and Sadie however are fastidious with their cleanliness. They can spend hours licking and washing and preening themselves. One hair out of place or one bit of dust or moisture heralds thorough all over ablutions!

4. Licks for their humans

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Dog’s tongue smooth as silk. Cat’s tongue rough as sandpaper. That is all!

5. Toilet habits

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In the same way that cats are fastidious about their cleanliness, so they are equally careful with their toilet habits. I don’t think I have ever actually seen a Coco or Sadie poo (sorry neighbours!). But I am sure they are very careful to relieve themselves in a flower bed and bury the evidence immediately. And God forbid you ever catch them in action. Awkward! Our dog Ivy? Well, anything goes. When you’ve gotta go, you’ve gotta go and your human will pick up after you, so why bury it?

6. Training

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Dogs love to be trained. It keeps their brains active and they are every eager to please. And if there is a tasty reward at the end of it, all the better. However, training dogs can take time, since we don’t speak Dog and they don’t speak Human. However, eventually they get the hang of what every you are trying to teach them if you do it right. Cat’s on the other hand do what they want! It’s easy to think that you have trained your new kitten to use their litter tray, but they only use it because they want to and you have shown them where it is!

7. Independence

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I love Ivy and she loves me. But while I can cope if she goes into another room without me, Ivy does not feel the same. The minute I stand up, so does she. I imagine the word ‘Whats up?’ racing through her head when she hears my chair scrape back. And as I begin to climb the stairs, so I hear the pitter patter of her little feet as she follows me like a.. well, like a dog! Ivy is my little shadow, following me wherever I go. Coco and Sadie on the other hand consider themselves to be free agents. They have a cat flap and come and go as they please. Generally I don’t see much of them during the day, but come evening they will grace us with their presence.. or not!

And there you have it. My definitive, although not exhaustive guide to the difference between cats and dogs.

Coco and Sadie’s Christmas wish list

I don’t know this for a fact, but I am pretty certain that while most families will be going out to get a gift for under the tree for their pooch, less will be thinking the same for their cats. But this year we have a dog and it seems churlish not to put something under the tree for our feline friends too.

So, Coco and Sadie, over to you. What is on your wish list this Christmas?

Screenshot 2018-12-05 at 10.53.25.png1. Cat nip toy

Dear Santa, our top choice for under the tree is a cat nip toy. It drives us crazy! (but in a good way!) And one each if you don’t mind, none of that sharing malarky – The Dog is getting her own gifts and so should we!

Screenshot 2018-12-05 at 10.58.29.png2. New scratch post

A new scratch post would be puuuurrrrrrfect! There is a new thing in our house we are calling ‘The Dog’ and she needs keeping in her place. So our beautiful claws need to be sharp and on point!

Screenshot 2018-12-05 at 11.02.30.png3. Nerf bullets

If we are honest, we are not 100% sure what these are, but we just know that they are our favourite toy. We bat them round the kitchen, run around with them in our mouth and pretend we have caught something and then chew them to pieces! We used to have loads, but since the youngest human in our house has grown out of them, they are in scarce supply.

101329511.jpg4. Roast chicken

Dear Santa, we know that our humans are having roast chicken for Christmas lunch and we want some too! We know that The Dog will get scraps under the table. We would prefer ours served in our proper eating bowls and no bones s’il vous plaît!

Screenshot 2018-12-05 at 11.20.32.png5. Open fire

So after we have stuffed ourselves on roast chicken, all we will want to do is curl up in front of an open fire. Bliss!

We have been very good this year and have only hissed at The Dog when she chases us around the house, so we have our paws crossed for a bountiful Christmas!

Ivy’s Christmas wish list

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There are lots of things I have done that I said I would never do since welcoming a dog into our home: total access to the sofa, occasional treats when I am cooking, asking Ivy questions (and ever hopeful of a response!). So with Christmas looming, I was wondering whether I’m going to be putting a Christmas present under the tree for her. Who am I kidding!?

Which got me thinking – what kind of Christmas gifts do people buy for their dogs? And what would a dog even want for Christmas? So, I asked Ivy for her top five gifts for her Christmas Wish List… and she answered!

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1. Advent calendar

Dear Santa.. please could I have an advent calendar? I don’t really understand what they are for, but if it coughs up a daily treat in the run up to Christmas, then it sounds like a great idea to me! My humans haven’t got me one yet, but I am happy to open more than one door a day to catch up!

Screenshot 2018-12-04 at 09.31.132. Christmas jumper

Why should humans have all the fun? I get a little chilly when I am out on my walks and so a nice Christmas jumper would keep me warm. What’s more, it would mean that I get even more attention than I already get when I go to the park!

0004937_12-inch-jumbo-odor-free-bully-sticks.jpg3. Pizzle sticks (yum yum)

Listen, this is my Christmas list, not my human’s Christmas list! I don’t really know what these are either, but they smell and taste delicious! However, whenever I have one my family pull weird faces and wrinkle their noses and laugh. But they make me very very happy, so I don’t care!

rBVaGFY-7liAfS67AAW6XO56_m0644.jpg4. Balls, balls and more balls

In my opinion – and this is MY Christmas wish list so my opinion counts – you can never have enough balls. So a good selection in my Christmas stocking would be much appreciated. I am not that fussed what they look like, but if there are a couple that squeak, that would be fabulous. I don’t just run after balls, I chew, chew and chew too, especially as I am teething at the mo’.

5062egg_cartons.jpg5. Egg boxes

Yes! Egg boxes. My absolute favourite for chewing, ripping up and generally destroying. Even better if there is a little treat inside as a reward for all my effort!

If I can get just one of these presents on my Christmas list I will be very happy. If I get them all.. well, Santa, I will feel like I have died and gone to puppy heaven!

What are you wishing for this year?

Ivy the puppy – a baptism of fire

Welcome to our world 1

Life with a new puppy… where to begin? There are quite a few things you need to get used to when you welcome a new puppy into your life, most of which you simply will not have anticipated!

Obsessive photo taking

Anyone would have thought we were gunning for a place in the 2019 edition of the Guinness Book of Records for the most photos taken in one day! She’s sitting – snap. She’s standing – snap. She’s running  – snap. She’s sleeping – She’s done a poo – ok, we did draw a line there, but that first poo did not go unremarked upon! And I must admit to having taken a picture of one of her poos, because it looked like a Stonehenge statue, but I have been expressly forbidden by the whole family to share it, even tho’ I know you might be desperate to see it!

 

Sudden popularity

Seriously! You’d think there was a sudden world caffeine shortage, the number of friends who suddenly wanted to ‘pop over for a coffee’ – more than ever wanted to come and see our offspring when they were born! I guess watching a new puppy bombing round the garden and generally being adorable is a bit more interesting than watching a baby sleep, but still!

 

Complete chaos

By day two or three, our kitchen began to resemble a crêche. Brightly coloured balls and toys scattered all over the floor. A wire pen surrounding her night time cage. Paw prints on the glass doors and floor. Wee mats, like so many discarded diapers. Just mess everywhere!

 

Poop and wee

E.V.E.R.Y.W.H.E.R.E! Yes we knew this was going to happen, but seriously how many times a day can one small furry creature empty its bladder and bowels!

 

Who spilled the super glue?

Someone has definitely applied superglue to our new puppy. Wherever we are, so is she. If you move, she needs to know where you are going. When you leave the room, she follows. When I am making supper, if I stand still more than five seconds, she comes and lies on my feet, ever hopeful I won’t move and she can fall asleep! And don’t talk to me about trying to go for a wee alone!

 

Cuteness overload

Ivy is undoubtedly gorgeous. A whirling bundle of fur who just wants to have fun and cuddles. Every morning she greets us as if we have been parted for months – I don’t think we have ever been showered with such unbridled affection!

 

We are all in love!

 

Bringing home Ivy

Picking up Ivy - with mum and breeder.jpgDylan and Ivy, with breeder Louise and Ivy’s mummy.

The day has arrived! Dylan and I are the chosen ones. At 11am one Saturday morning the two of us head off to pick up our new bundle of joy. We are beyond excited and more than a little nervous. Will she like us? Will she cry? How’s her mum going to feel? Will she pee in the car? When will she first eat? You get the picture!

I should point out at this stage that none of us have ever owned a dog. Yes, we had done a lot of research and reading around. Yes, we have lots of friends who have dogs. And yes, we feel well and truly prepared. But as anyone who has ever brought home an 8 week old puppy will know – we did not know what was about to hit us!

We turned up at the farm and were met by the lovely breeder Louise. We stayed for coffee while she gave us some tips, the best one being “Don’t overthink it!“. A bit late for that, but as I was about to learn, there really is no point in overthinking because you just don’t know what you’re going to get. Yes, certain breeds have particular traits, but every puppy is different and every puppy develops at a different rate. Fooling yourself into thinking that you can be totally in control is simply not worth it.

Once we had everything we needed, including some food Ivy was used to eating, we got in the car and drove off. It’s hard to describe the feeling. I think ‘vulnerable’ probably does the job. We suddenly felt so protective of this little bundle of fluff who was not only being separated from her mum, but also her three siblings. And she was now 100% dependent on us. Gulp!

When we got her home, we put her into the garden and she did her first wee! That’s potty training nailed then… NOT!!

She had a lot of visitors on the first day. On the one hand I was a little nervous it might be too much for her, but on the other, the most prominent advice for those first few days and weeks was making sure she was well socialised. Well, we definitely ticked that box.

And so, the sun set on our first day with Ivy and our first night loomed.

I had set up her crate in the sitting room for the first night and put a pen around it so she could go in and out to pee and poo, but not roam. My plan was to ‘sleep’ on the sofa to keep her company (I shall just wait for the laughter to die down before I proceed). I turned out the light and the crying commenced. Poor little Ivy was not happy. To be fair, she settled after about 20 minutes, but every time she needed to go to the toilet, it began again.

Suffice to say, not a lot of sleep was had and by 6 in the morning I was sitting in the garden with a cup of tea wrapped in a blanket while she pottered around. I sat there thinking that there’s something very special about being up and outside so early in the morning while everyone else is asleep. Not so special that I wouldn’t have rather been tucked up in bed catching up on some sleep, but watching Ivy diddle around our garden did make me truly happy.

And so the first 24 hours had passed. Ivy seemed happy and our confidence was already growing. This was going to be a breeze!