Whenever we take our mammals out for education, or post pictures of them somewhere, the most common question we are asked is, “is it more like a dog or a cat”. My response is always, “well, he’s just like the species he is”. Sure, we can compare pretty much anything to a dog or cat if we try really hard, like, “my girlfriend is more like a cat, a bit aloof and scratches often”, or “my other girlfriend is like a dog, very loyal”, but it is kind of a stretch, don’t you think?
It really is just as much of a stretch to compare a raccoon, skunk or fox to a cat or dog. Yes, they all have fur, yes, they all have tails, but really, as for personality, that is where the similarities end.
I know that people ask because they are trying to relate it in their own head to something they know and understand, but the comparison is just not fair. Sure, I could tell you that a skunk is a lot like a cat. Doesn’t jump all over you when you get home (usually), and will lay in your lap and allow you to pet them (usually). And, they do shed, so that’s like a cat, right? Wait, that’s also like a dog, isn’t it?
Given that skunks are only awake 2-4 hours a day, that’s a little cat like, right? But wait, I’ve got dogs that are only awake that much. Hmm….I know, I know….
A skunk is JUST like a skunk!
So, we can force an explanation as to how each is like another, but it would not be an accurate depiction of life with that species. We seriously hesitate to give an inaccurate picture of living with any species, this is how pets end up needing homes.
So, the next time I say something like, “well, he’s just like a fox”, please know I’m not being a smarty boots, I’m trying to be fair to the animals.