Featured in Beasts of the Wild

Is a Fox a Cat or a Dog?

Foxes have plenty in common with both cats and dogs, so it's not so easy to answer, "Is a fox a cat or a dog?"

I was visiting a friend in Gold Hill, Colorado. It's right outside Boulder, but several thousand feet above it, up an unpaved road. The foxes there are so unafraid of people that they come right up to back porches. They'll even eat food if you leave it out for them, or just steal your leather moccasins. 

When you see foxes that often you might find yourself wondering, "Is a fox a cat or a dog?" Well, let's put on our detective caps, toke up, and figure this one out! What? It's Colorado; weed's legal here!

Who do they look like?

This is the most obvious place to start when answering the question of, "Is a fox a cat or a dog?" Foxes have eyes like a cat. They're also more active at night, like non-domesticated big cats are. The gray fox is like a cat because it has retractable claws that lets it climb trees. And those whiskers? They're long and sensitive just like a cat's whiskers are. They also have slender bodies, like a cat! 

How do they hunt?

Is a fox a cat or a dog? Well, how does it hunt? Like a cat! They're stealthy creatures who like to stalk, pounce, and even play with their pray. They also hunt alone rather than in packs like dogs. 

How do they kill?

Let's take this one step further closer to answering the question of, "Is a fox a cat or a dog?" How do they kill? That'll clue us in on whether a fox is a cat or a dog. Most canines grab and shake their pray, but foxes use their teeth to kill. Their teeth, BTW, are long and slender, like a cat's. That's three points for "foxes are cats"!  Looks like one of the weird facts about cats you probably didn't know is that cats are foxes!

What do we call baby foxes?

Alright! Case closed. The answer to the question of, "Is a fox a cat or a dog?" is cat. We've got three items and three makes a pattern. So, let's just have some fun now splish-splashing around in fox facts. Like, what do you call a baby fox? A "kit!" Short for kitten. Or a "pup." Short for "puppy"? Or a "cub," which we use for both lions and wolves. Euch, we may have been premature in our conclusion!

How do they sound?

Maybe we can study how foxes sound to answer the question, "Is a fox a cat or a dog?" They kinda bark like dogs, they yell like people being murdered, and they make sounds that are maybe a little like cats. Euch. This was a bad one!

Who are some famous foxes?

Maybe if we study the behavior of a famous fox we'll finally know, "Is a fox a cat or a dog?" There's Robin Hood Disney's Robin Hood, The Fantastic Mr. Fox, Tails from Sonic the Hedgehog, that fox from Zootopia, and Fox McCloud from Starfox. That wasn't helpful at all! Having those foxes anthropomorphized strips them of their wild characteristics, as if they've been domesticated. Wait a minute!

What are foxes like when domesticated?

A Russian scientist ran an experiment to see how long it would take to domesticate wild animals and what that process might reveal about the genesis of humanity's relationship with other domesticated animals. What he learned was that a silver fox, when turned into a pet fox, begins to show doglike traits. 

Barking, being playful, wagging its tail, licking, and whining for attention. They also started to look more like dogs. Floppy ears, their legs shortened, their tails got smaller and curlier, and their fur developed thoughts. Even their skulls got narrower and their noses got more like snouts. That made them less like wild foxes and more like dogs. Looks like we have to reevaluate our conclusion to the question, "Is a fox a cat or a dog?"

How are foxes unlike dogs?

Foxes are very shy and live two to four years, even though they can live up to 14 years in captivity. That's not really helpful, though, in answering the question, "Is a fox a cat or a dog?"

What family do foxes belong to?

Foxes belong to the species canid and the family Canidae. Just like wolves, jackals, coyotes, and domesticated dogs. Well, that settles it: the fox is not a cat. That should have been the first question we asked when trying to figure out the answer to "Is a fox a cat or a dog?" Guess it turns out that one of the weird facts about dogs you probably didn't know is that foxes are dogs. 

A lot of foxes look like dogs!

Who do foxes look more like goes a long way to answering the question of "Is a fox a cat or a dog?" Many foxes just straight up look like coyotes, little wolves, Chihuahuas, spitzes, shiba inus, and many more. Ohhhhh yeaaaaah gimme a shiba inu. Euch, I wanna pet one so bad! Just when you think shiba inus can't get any cuter, Roverwatch dog strikes again with more adorable cosplay

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Is a Fox a Cat or a Dog?
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