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Can Dogs Live As Long As Cats? Find Out Why

  • 6 min read

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Can dogs live as long as cats?

More often than not, most people get a dog or cat as a pet. They’re the most common animals we keep for companionship. You probably have a dog or cat at home too, if not more than one.

However, because of this, dogs and cats have been compared in so many ways. Although, these two mammals are different in nature and lifestyle.

The dog is a social animal that is always in need of his master’s praise. They crave human companionship so much hence the saying, “a dog is man’s best friend”.

On the other hand, cats do not care. They live in their own world. Historically, they’ve been known to be solitary animals that thrive alone.

Many theory has sprung up as to why there’s a difference between the longevity of cats and dogs. However, it’s been a bit of a hassle finding out concrete facts about aging in pets, just like in humans.

Nevertheless, let’s go through the popular theories that explain the reason for the difference in lifespan between man’s favorite pets.

Historical And Wildlife Differences

The progenitors of the current day dogs and cats lived different lifestyles in the wild. Canines move in packs and hunt together. This predisposes them to the risk of infection.

This means when one canine in the pack comes down with an illness, then the rest are likely to contact it. With such phenomena, a pack can be wiped out at once.

On the other hand, the cats rarely work together in the wild. One of the few times an adult cat will encounter another is for mating. Most of their lives are spent in solitude, and this would protect the specie from communicable diseases.

So in essence, this theory is suggesting that cats live longer than canines because of their lifestyle. However, there are loopholes to this theory.

One of the glaring ones is protection against predators. With canines moving in packs, it’s easier for them to collectively ward off predators.

However, cats are prone to falling prey to predators. While they’re known for their strength, a lone cat will not always win against its predator.

Additionally, starvation is a bigger deal in the wild than infections. Hunting as a pack is more effective, thereby making feeding easier for the canine. This theory does not explain the discrepancy in the lifespan of dogs and cats. Let’s check out the next.

Cats Have More Weapons In Their Arsenal

This might be weird to hear because the usual notion is that dogs are stronger than cats. Well, this theory disagrees.

According to some studies, between a cat and a dog of the same weight, the cat will be stronger. This is due to its build, flexibility, and mobility.

Therefore when a dog is attacked, its only weapon is usually its jaw and teeth. Therefore giving it a limited attack power.

On the other hand, the cat has dangerous claws in addition to its teeth. The claws are retractile and can deal a deadly blow to its predator.

The flaw in this theory is that such situations might not arise in present times because most pets are indoor pets. In the wild, dogs or canines move in packs, that’s a couple of jaws and teeth and certainly more powerful than a pair of claws.

Therefore, while the sharp claws of cats give them a better protective skill, it doesn’t fully explain the difference in lifespan.

Human Interference

can dogs live as long as cats?

Man has kept dogs as companions for ages, far longer than cats. This has led to interference in breeding to achieve a breed with unique traits and quality. It’s hard to believe that the Irish wolfhound and the chihuahua are of the same species.

On the other hand, cats have not been tampered with as much. They’re all fairly equal in size and appearance. Even though there are variations, it’s not as wild as you find in dogs.

So what’s the implication?

Tampering with the breeding process can cause unforeseen future consequences that can shorten the lifespan of dogs. This is because of several genetic and chromosomal abnormalities that can arise from this process.

Does this explain it all?

Well, there’s still a loophole. Even purebred dogs that aren’t tampered with still live a shorter time compared to an indoor cat. Therefore this theory just explains one part.

These are all theories and none have concrete evidence as to why cats live longer than dogs.

The Modern-Day Cat And Dog

can dogs live as long as cats

With improved veterinary care, the lifespan of pet cats and dogs has markedly increased over the past few years. Indoor pets tend to live longer than their outdoor counterparts.

And I’ll say the reason is pretty obvious. And indoor pets do not have to battle starvation, predators, infections, and extremes of temperature. They live a relatively stress-free life.

When you come to indoor pets with adequate healthcare, cats still live longer than dogs for reasons not fully known. Hurray for cat lovers.

The bigger the better theory for animals does not hold water when it comes to dogs. It has been shown that bigger dogs have a shorter lifespan compared to smaller dogs.

The great Dane for instance gets to live for about 8 years while a chihuahua can live for up to 12 years or more. Bigger dogs are known to age faster, but the reason for this is still unknown.

However, it’s also important to remember that there are more stray cats than dogs in the U.S. Some estimate has pegged the total amount to be about 41 million stray cats roaming in the U.S against 1.3 million stray dogs.

In essence, stray cats are more common than stray dogs. And these stray cats tend to live way shorter than an indoor cats. Some do not last up to two years.

Conclusion: Can Dogs Live As Long As Cats?

In an ideal situation, cats live longer than dogs. This is evidenced by a cat living longer than 30 years as reported by the Guinness book of world records.

However, in outdoor situations, there might be variations. With the population of stray cats being much more than stray dogs, cats will probably live a shorter life outdoors.

The reason for this difference in lifespan still hasn’t been attributed to a single fact. However several reasons have been suggested. Although each theory has its flaw, they made a good attempt at explaining why.

Whatever the case may be, enjoy your time with your pet and make it count.

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