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Cat vs. Dog: Know the Difference

Shumaila Saeed
By Shumaila Saeed || Updated on December 25, 2023
Cats are independent, often aloof pets with retractable claws, while dogs are sociable, loyal pets known for their non-retractable claws and varied sizes.
Cat vs. Dog

Key Differences

Cats, members of the Felidae family, are known for their independence and often aloof nature. Dogs, belonging to the Canidae family, are generally more sociable and known for their loyalty and companionship.
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In terms of physical features, cats possess retractable claws and are typically smaller and more agile than dogs. Dogs have non-retractable claws and come in a wider range of sizes, from tiny Chihuahuas to large Great Danes.
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Behaviorally, cats are often more solitary and can spend considerable time alone without feeling lonely. Dogs are pack animals by nature, often seeking constant companionship and requiring more attention and social interaction.
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Cats usually require less training and are more self-sufficient, often using a litter box for their needs. Dogs, however, require more training for socialization and obedience, and need regular walks for exercise and toileting.
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In terms of communication, cats often use purring and meowing to express themselves, while dogs bark, whine, or howl. Each has a unique way of interacting with their environment and their human companions.
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Comparison Chart

Family

Felidae
Canidae
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Claws

Retractable
Non-retractable
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Social Behavior

Independent, can be aloof
Sociable, seeks companionship
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Training and Care

Less training, uses litter box
More training, needs walks
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Communication

Purring, meowing
Barking, whining, howling
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Physical Variety

Generally smaller and more agile
Greater size variety, from small to large
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Loyalty

Affectionate but independent
Known for loyalty and eagerness to please
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Lifespan

Typically 12-15 years
Varies by breed, generally 10-13 years
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Hunting Instinct

Strong natural hunting instincts
Hunting instinct varies by breed
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Domestication History

Domesticated for rodent control
Domesticated for work, hunting, companionship
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Cat and Dog Definitions

Cat

An animal of the Felidae family, commonly kept as a pet or for catching vermin.
She adopted a stray cat from the shelter.
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Dog

A member of the Canidae family, often kept as a pet or working animal.
The farmer relied on his dog to herd the sheep.
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Cat

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

A pet varying from small breeds like Chihuahuas to large breeds like Great Danes.
She walked her Great Dane in the park every morning.
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Cat

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

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.
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Cat

(Informal) A woman who is regarded as spiteful.
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Dog

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

A person, especially a man.
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Dog

A male animal of the family Canidae, especially of a fox or a domesticated breed.
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Cat

A player or devotee of jazz music.
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Dog

Any of various other animals, such as the prairie dog.
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Cat

A cat-o'-nine-tails.
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Dog

A person
You won, you lucky dog.
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Cat

A catfish.
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Dog

A person regarded as contemptible
You stole my watch, you dog.
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Cat

A cathead.
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Dog

A person regarded as unattractive or uninteresting.
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Cat

A device for raising an anchor to the cathead.
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Dog

Something of inferior or low quality
"The President had read the speech to some of his friends and they told him it was a dog" (John P. Roche).
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Cat

A catboat.
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Dog

An investment that produces a low return or a loss.
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Cat

A catamaran.
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Dog

Dogs(Slang) The feet.
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Cat

To hoist an anchor to (the cathead).
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Dog

See andiron.
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Cat

To look for sexual partners; have an affair or affairs
"catting around with every lady in sight" (Gore Vidal).
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Dog

(Slang) A hot dog; a wiener.
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Cat

An animal of the family Felidae:
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Dog

Any of various hooked or U-shaped metallic devices used for gripping or holding heavy objects.
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Cat

A domesticated species (Felis catus) of feline animal, commonly kept as a house pet.
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Dog

(Astronomy) A sundog.
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Cat

Any similar animal of the family Felidae, which includes lions, tigers, bobcats, leopards, cougars, cheetahs, caracals, lynxes, and other such non-domesticated species.
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Dog

Totally; completely. Often used in combination
Dog-tired.
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Cat

A person:
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Dog

To track or trail persistently
"A stranger then is still dogging us" (Arthur Conan Doyle).
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Cat

(offensive) A spiteful or angry woman.
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Dog

To hold or fasten with a mechanical device
"Watertight doors and hatches were dropped into place and dogged down to give the ship full watertight integrity" (Tom Clancy).
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Cat

An enthusiast or player of jazz.
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Dog

To be persistently or inescapably associated with
Questions about his youthful indiscretions dogged him throughout his career.
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Cat

(slang) A person (usually male).
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Dog

To be recurrently or persistently in the mind; haunt
Despair dogged him in his final years.
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Cat

(slang) A prostitute.
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Dog

A mammal of the family Canidae:
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Cat

(nautical) A strong tackle used to hoist an anchor to the cathead of a ship.
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Dog

The species Canis familiaris (sometimes designated Canis lupus familiaris), domesticated for thousands of years and of highly variable appearance because of human breeding.
The dog barked all night long.
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Cat

Short form of cat-o'-nine-tails.
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Dog

Any member of the family Canidae, including domestic dogs, wolves, coyotes, jackals, foxes, and their relatives extant and extinct; canid.
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Cat

(archaic) A sturdy merchant sailing vessel now only in "catboat".
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Dog

A male dog, wolf, or fox, as opposed to a bitch or vixen.
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Cat

The game of "trap and ball" (also called "cat and dog").
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Dog

The meat of this animal, eaten as food:
Did you know that in South Korea, they eat dog?
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Cat

The trap of the game of "trap and ball".
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Dog

A person:
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Cat

(archaic) The pointed piece of wood that is struck in the game of tipcat.
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Dog

A dull, unattractive girl or woman.
She’s a real dog.
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Cat

A vagina, a vulva; the female external genitalia.
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Dog

(slang) A man, guy, chap.
You lucky dog!
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Cat

A double tripod (for holding a plate, etc.) with six feet, of which three rest on the ground, in whatever position it is placed.
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Dog

(derogatory) Someone who is cowardly, worthless, or morally reprehensible.
Come back and fight, you dogs!
You dirty dog.
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Cat

(historical) A wheeled shelter, used in the Middle Ages as a siege weapon to allow assailants to approach enemy defences.
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Dog

(slang) A sexually aggressive man.
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Cat

(computing) A program and command in Unix that reads one or more files and directs their content to the standard output.
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Dog

A mechanical device or support:
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Cat

(slang) A street name of the drug methcathinone.
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Dog

Any of various mechanical devices for holding, gripping, or fastening something, particularly with a tooth-like projection.
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Cat

Abbreviation of catapult
A carrier's bow cats
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Dog

A click or pallet adapted to engage the teeth of a ratchet wheel, to restrain the back action.
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Cat

Abbreviation of catalytic converter
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Dog

A metal support for logs in a fireplace.
The dogs were too hot to touch.
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Cat

Abbreviation of catamaran
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Dog

(cartomancy) The eighteenth Lenormand card.
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Cat

Abbreviation of category
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Dog

A hot dog: a frankfurter, wiener, or similar sausage; or a sandwich made from this.
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Cat

Abbreviation of catfish
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Dog

Underdog.
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Cat

Abbreviation of caterpillar
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Dog

Foot.
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Cat

(slang) Any of a variety of earth-moving machines. (from their manufacturer Caterpillar Inc.)
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Dog

(Cockney rhyming slang) (from "dog and bone") Phone or mobile phone.
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Cat

A ground vehicle which uses caterpillar tracks, especially tractors, trucks, minibuses, and snow groomers.
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Dog

One of the cones used to divide up a racetrack when training horses.
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Cat

Abbreviation of computed axial tomographyOften used attributively, as in “CAT scan” or “CT scan”.
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Dog

(informal) Something that performs poorly.
That modification turned his Dodge hemi into a dog.
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Cat

To hoist (the anchor) by its ring so that it hangs at the cathead.
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Dog

(film) A flop; a film that performs poorly at the box office.
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Cat

To flog with a cat-o'-nine-tails.
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Dog

(transitive) To pursue with the intent to catch.
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Cat

(slang) To vomit.
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Dog

(transitive) To follow in an annoying or harassing way.
The woman cursed him so that trouble would dog his every step.
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Cat

To go wandering at night.
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Dog

To fasten a hatch securely.
It is very important to dog down these hatches.
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Cat

To gossip in a catty manner.
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Dog

To watch, or participate, in sexual activity in a public place.
I admit that I like to dog at my local country park.
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Cat

To apply the cat command to (one or more files).
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Dog

To intentionally restrict one's productivity as employee; to work at the slowest rate that goes unpunished.
A surprise inspection of the night shift found that some workers were dogging it.
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Cat

To dump large amounts of data on (an unprepared target), usually with no intention of browsing it carefully.
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Dog

(transitive) To criticize.
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Cat

Catastrophic; terrible, disastrous.
The weather was cat, so they returned home early.
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Dog

To divide (a watch) with a comrade.
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Cat

Any animal belonging to the natural family Felidae, and in particular to the various species of the genera Felis, Panthera, and Lynx. The domestic cat is Felis domestica. The European wild cat (Felis catus) is much larger than the domestic cat. In the United States the name wild cat is commonly applied to the bay lynx (Lynx rufus). The larger felines, such as the lion, tiger, leopard, and cougar, are often referred to as cats, and sometimes as big cats. See Wild cat, and Tiger cat.
Laying aside their often rancorous debate over how best to preserve the Florida panther, state and federal wildlife officials, environmentalists, and independent scientists endorsed the proposal, and in 1995 the eight cats [female Texas cougars] were brought from Texas and released. . . . Uprooted from the arid hills of West Texas, three of the imports have died, but the remaining five adapted to swamp life and have each given birth to at least one litter of kittens.
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Dog

(slang) Of inferior quality; dogshit.
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Cat

A strong vessel with a narrow stern, projecting quarters, and deep waist. It is employed in the coal and timber trade.
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Dog

A quadruped of the genus Canis, esp. the domestic dog (Canis familiaris).
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Cat

A double tripod (for holding a plate, etc.), having six feet, of which three rest on the ground, in whatever position it is placed.
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Dog

A mean, worthless fellow; a wretch.
What is thy servant, which is but a dog, that he should do this great thing?
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Cat

An old game;
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Dog

A fellow; - used humorously or contemptuously; as, a sly dog; a lazy dog.
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Cat

Same as cat o' nine tails; as, British sailors feared the cat.
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Dog

One of the two constellations, Canis Major and Canis Minor, or the Greater Dog and the Lesser Dog. Canis Major contains the Dog Star (Sirius).
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Cat

A catamaran.
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Dog

An iron for holding wood in a fireplace; a firedog; an andiron.
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Cat

To bring to the cathead; as, to cat an anchor. See Anchor.
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Dog

A grappling iron, with a claw or claws, for fastening into wood or other heavy articles, for the purpose of raising or moving them.
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Cat

Feline mammal usually having thick soft fur and being unable to roar; domestic cats; wildcats
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Dog

An ugly or crude person, especially an ugly woman.
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Cat

An informal term for a youth or man;
A nice guy
The guy's only doing it for some doll
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Dog

A hot dog.
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Cat

A spiteful woman gossip;
What a cat she is!
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Dog

To hunt or track like a hound; to follow insidiously or indefatigably; to chase with a dog or dogs; to worry, as if by dogs; to hound with importunity.
I have been pursued, dogged, and waylaid.
Your sins will dog you, pursue you.
Eager ill-bred petitioners, who do not so properly supplicate as hunt the person whom they address to, dogging him from place to place, till they even extort an answer to their rude requests.
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Cat

The leaves of the shrub Catha edulis which are chewed like tobacco or used to make tea; has the effect of a euphoric stimulant;
In Yemen kat is used daily by 85% of adults
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Dog

A member of the genus Canis (probably descended from the common wolf) that has been domesticated by man since prehistoric times; occurs in many breeds;
The dog barked all night
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Cat

A whip with nine knotted cords;
British sailors feared the cat
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Dog

A dull unattractive unpleasant girl or woman;
She got a reputation as a frump
She's a real dog
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Cat

A large vehicle that is driven by caterpillar tracks; frequently used for moving earth in construction and farm work
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Dog

Informal term for a man;
You lucky dog
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Cat

Any of several large cats typically able to roar and living in the wild
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Dog

Someone who is morally reprehensible;
You dirty dog
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Cat

A method of examining body organs by scanning them with X rays and using a computer to construct a series of cross-sectional scans along a single axis
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Dog

A smooth-textured sausage of minced beef or pork usually smoked; often served on a bread roll
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Cat

Beat with a cat-o'-nine-tails
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Dog

A hinged catch that fits into a notch of a ratchet to move a wheel forward or prevent it from moving backward
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Cat

Eject the contents of the stomach through the mouth;
After drinking too much, the students vomited
He purged continuously
The patient regurgitated the food we gave him last night
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Dog

Metal supports for logs in a fireplace;
The andirons were too hot to touch
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Cat

A small, domesticated carnivorous mammal with retractable claws, known for its agility.
The cat gracefully jumped onto the windowsill.
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Dog

Go after with the intent to catch;
The policeman chased the mugger down the alley
The dog chased the rabbit
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Cat

A feline pet often valued for its independent nature and hunting ability.
Our cat keeps the house free of mice.
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Dog

A domesticated carnivorous mammal known for its loyalty and wide variety of breeds.
The family's dog eagerly greeted them at the door.
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Cat

A domestic animal known for its purring, grooming habits, and agility.
The cat spent hours grooming its fur.
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Dog

An animal renowned for its companionship, sense of smell, and diverse sizes.
Their small dog barked excitedly at the visitors.
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Cat

A popular pet with a wide range of breeds, from Siamese to Persian.
He photographed his Persian cat for the pet contest.
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Dog

A domesticated animal commonly used in various roles, from service to companionship.
The service dog assisted its owner with daily tasks.
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Repeatedly Asked Queries

What is a dog?

A dog is a domesticated mammal from the Canidae family, known for its loyalty and sociability.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 21, 2023

Can cats be trained like dogs?

Cats can be trained but are generally less responsive to training than dogs.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 21, 2023

Are dogs good for companionship?

Yes, dogs are known for their companionship and loyalty to their owners.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 21, 2023

What is a cat?

A cat is a small, domesticated carnivorous mammal with retractable claws, known for its agility and independence.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 21, 2023

Do cats require a lot of attention?

Cats are relatively independent and don't require as much attention as dogs.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 21, 2023

What are popular dog breeds?

Popular dog breeds include Labrador Retriever, German Shepherd, Golden Retriever, and Bulldog.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 21, 2023

How do cats communicate?

Cats communicate through meowing, purring, hissing, body language, and tail movements.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 21, 2023

What are common breeds of cats?

Common cat breeds include Siamese, Persian, Maine Coon, and Ragdoll.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 21, 2023

Are cats or dogs better for small living spaces?

Cats are often better suited for small living spaces due to their size and independent nature.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 21, 2023

Do dogs require grooming?

Yes, dogs require regular grooming, including brushing, bathing, and nail trimming.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 21, 2023

How do dogs communicate?

Dogs communicate through barking, whining, growling, body language, and tail wagging.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 21, 2023

What is the average lifespan of a dog?

The average lifespan of a dog varies by breed but is typically around 10-13 years.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 21, 2023

Can cats and dogs live together peacefully?

With proper introduction and training, cats and dogs can coexist peacefully.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 21, 2023

How long do cats usually live?

Cats typically live 12-15 years, but some can live into their 20s.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 21, 2023

Are dogs protective of their owners?

Many dogs are protective of their owners and can be trained for home security.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 21, 2023

Do cats need to be walked?

Cats generally do not need to be walked like dogs but require play and exercise indoors.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 21, 2023

Do cats have a natural hunting instinct?

Yes, cats have a strong natural hunting instinct, often chasing small prey or toys.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 21, 2023

Are there hypoallergenic cat and dog breeds?

Some cat and dog breeds are considered hypoallergenic, producing fewer allergens.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 21, 2023

How much exercise do dogs need?

Dogs need regular exercise, which can vary in intensity and duration depending on the breed.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 21, 2023

Can dogs be left alone for long periods?

Dogs are pack animals and can experience anxiety if left alone for too long.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 21, 2023

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About Author
Shumaila Saeed
Written by
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed, an expert content creator with 6 years of experience, specializes in distilling complex topics into easily digestible comparisons, shining a light on the nuances that both inform and educate readers with clarity and accuracy.

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