(YouTube) Bengal cats (a cross between a domestic cat and a small Asian leopard cat) are not far from the wild.
Are Dogs or Cats Easier to Train?
MAY 31, 2010April Holladay, HappyNews Columnist
Q: Are dogs or cats easier to train?A: Probably dogs, but both can learn some things in about the same time. However, they go at it, differently, as we see watching Duma, the Bengal cat, and then Otis, the boxer, play fetch.
Dogs are willing to do many more tasks than cats. Furthermore, we've bred dogs to help us, which makes them easier to train. Lately, animal behaviorists have studied dogs and cats to decipher differences. Some answers emerge.
The 4-month old Bengal cat, Duma, coaxes his owner (DH) into a game of fetch. Duma learned to fetch, like most cats, in a few days.
The scene starts with Duma mauling a bracelet-sized rubber green ring on carpeted stairs. He pounces, tackles, wrestles, and, eventually loses interest. Duma walks over and looks at DH.
"All right," DH says as he rises to his feet. Barefoot, he strides over to Duma and picks up the ring. Teasing the leaping Duma, DH hurls the ring the length of the hardwood-floored room to the hall at the end. Paws slipping for purchase, Duma, nevertheless, runs so fast he almost instantaneously disappears down the room and appears at the distant hall, his dark brown spots and stripes blurring with speed. Pity the prey trying to escape this hunter!
Bengal cats (a cross between a domestic cat and a small Asian leopard cat) are not far from the wild. The International Cat Association only considers a Bengal cat as being 'domesticated' if it is at least four generations removed from the Asian leopard cat.
Duma trots back and drops the green ring beside DH. The two repeat the toss, the sprint, the graceful tail-wave pick-up many times. Finally, DH focuses the camera on Duma sitting under a bridge formed by DH's legs; his paw rests lightly on the 'dead' green ring.Dog fetch
Otis clearly wants to fetch the stick his owner (Lost Duck) has thrown into a mountain lake. He looks longingly at the stick floating in who-knows-how-deep water. The boxer understands his job is to bring back the stick. But, he's afraid of water. Otis makes valiant attempts but fear drives him back until... He carefully looks at the distant floating stick, looks back at his owner for encouragement, then trots out, realizes he need not swim, trots into deeper water, seizes the stick and trots back to deposit the trophy at Lost Duck's feet.
Dogs and cats both learn to fetch usually in a few days. Some dogs manage the trick in ten to fifteen minutes. But cats and dogs fetch for different reasons and need different training approaches.
Duma couldn't resist the thrill of the hunt, the savagely fast run and the fun of playing with DH. Whereas poor Otis wanted to accommodate his owner but water spelled trouble. Although Otis didn't have much fun, he persisted until he got the job done.Published on Monday, March 8, 2010 12:01 PM MST
Read more: Can a domestic cat be trained as well as a dog? WonderQuest