Minus hair and fur, cats (the domestic kind) seem to be just scaled versions of the same thing. Dogs on the other hand can have long necks, short necks, long bodies, short legs, long ears, short ears.....

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    $\begingroup$ To my knowledge, there are quite a number of cat breeds (domestic) which have the same distinct features as listed by you above, such as longer tails, long ears (Devon Rex), short tail (Japanese Bobtail), different eye colours (Khao Manee), short legs (Munchkin)... what knowledge/source did you base your statement on? $\endgroup$
    – Ebbinghaus
    Mar 21, 2016 at 16:32
  • $\begingroup$ They don't actually come in all shapes. They were bred like that as explained in the answer. $\endgroup$
    Mar 21, 2016 at 17:03
  • $\begingroup$ it's artificial selection $\endgroup$
    – rg255
    Mar 22, 2016 at 12:19

2 Answers 2


Until recently, cats were not extensively selectively bred, but were allowed to roam freely and therefore interbred randomly. Darwin pointed this out, contrasting cats to species that were routinely "enclosed":

On the other hand, cats, from their nocturnal rambling habits, can not be easily matched, and, although so much valued by women and children, we rarely see a distinct breed long kept up; such breeds as we do sometimes see are almost always imported from some other country.

In contrast, dogs and some other species were selectively bred for certain characteristics "each good for man in different ways":

The key is man's power of accumulative selection: nature gives successive variations; man adds them up in certain directions useful to him. In this sense he may be said to have made for himself useful breeds.

Why were cats not selectively bred, while dogs were? This gets to be somewhat speculative, but it's clear from looking at dog breeds that many of the different breed functions need to have a larger animal than a cat, as well as one with different personality: Herding sheep, hunting foxes or badgers, fighting bulls, etc. Cats' function for humans has traditionally been to hunt mice and rats, a role for which they're already beautifully adapted.

(There are a number of small dog breeds, of course, but these parallel cat breeds in that many are ornamental, or else originated as rat-hunters.)

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    $\begingroup$ Also, if a cat is to be out hunting mice & other vermin, it has many opportunities for random mating. $\endgroup$
    – jamesqf
    Mar 21, 2016 at 16:59
  • $\begingroup$ Indeed, we'd have guard cats, hunting cats, retriever cats, rabbit warren cats, racing cats... let's go to the cat races! $\endgroup$ Jan 29, 2018 at 5:18

Cats are small size for hunting closer on the ground for small rodents

dog were born with longer legs for travel linger distance because of great stamina

cats dont have stamina like dogs but they are great sprinters to run 30mph for short burst


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