Cats and dogs aren’t supposed to get along. These days, they’re both domesticated and the squabbles largely take the form of barking and/or getting treed on a china hutch. But millions of years ago? Dogs nearly went extinct thanks to kitties.
Researchers have studied the fossil record, and it’s about as clear as fossil records get: When cats first appeared on the scene in North America, the dog population took a nose-dive. We’re not talking about fluffy Bichons and chihuahuas, either; the felines were taking down, as a species, animals like the bear-dog.
Why? Food. The research team believes the cat species were simply better at finding food supplies and defending them from encroachment by the dog species. As a result, they flourished and evolved while the big dogs became, well, not so big. If you know anything about the killing machine that is the domesticated kitty, this isn’t a surprise.
Eventually, the Ice Age would come along and settle every animal’s hash; most species would die out from the cold, paving the way for the dogs and cats we have in our home and on our computer monitors today. But, the next time you see your dog sprinting after your cat, remember that the two have good reason to hold grudges.