Here's a totally trash golden rule for you: if you want a loyal, obedient buddy that will adore you with its whole heart and light up when it sees you, buy a dog. If you want a fluffy companion that will ignore you at every opportunity and bring you dead mice you never asked for because it thinks you're too incompetent to hunt, get a cat. All seems pretty simple, right?
Well, actually, things aren't always so black and white. Despite being one of the world's oldest dog breeds, for example, the basenji famously behaves like a cat. Similarly, some cats behave a lot like dogs. But which breed comes closest to being man's best friend?
Often labelled the dogs of the cat world, Maine Coon cats are large, gentle, and play well with others, including children and other people's pets. Unlike other kinds of felines, these cats love water, too, and they really love to please people. Proud Maine Coone owner Ashleigh Ostermann told How Stuff Works:
"[My cat Maddie] lays next to me all of the time and even follows me from room to room in my apartment."
Maine Coons can even enjoy playing fetch, and some have been taught how to walk on a leash. Although it's worth noting that the RSPCA has warned against putting cats on leashes, explaining that even a cool cat like the Maine Coon could easily lose control, and that treating your cat like a dog in that regard may do more harm than good.
But what about the Manx? From the sound of things, Manx cats are constantly experiencing the world's most adorable identity crisis, since humans have likened the Manx to both a dog and a rabbit. Their name comes from their native Isle of Man, where they appeared near the beginning of the 18th century. To this day, the Manx still appears on the reverse of some of the Isle of Man's coins.
According to legend, the famously tailless Manx is the fluffy lovechild of a rabbit and a cat. In reality, a genetic mutation led to the cute stub for which they're famous, with that particular mutation resulting from years of inbreeding. Moreover, not all Manx cats are tailless, and some even have normallength tails, giving rise to the nickname "longies."
Like the Maine Coone, the Manx likes water. It also likes to ride in cars, follow people around, play fetch, and play watchdog. Protecting loved ones isn't a game to the Manx, though, and it will take guarding its human family very seriously. Unfortunately, they're not exactly the most intimidating animals, either. Still, what they lack in brawn they make up for in brains: Manx cats are incredibly clever, and are even able to turn on faucets and open doors. They're also known to be quite talkative and will hold a conversation with you in a "quiet trill."
And then there's the Savannah.
Unlike the Maine Coon and the Manx, the Savannah cat is actually doglike by design, and the breed is only actually a few decades old. Loyalty is their hallmark trait, with some owners reporting that their Savannahs have actually showered with them. A mix of the more feral serval and domesticated cats, Savannahs maintain some of their wild instincts, and many owners end up coming down with a raging case of buyer's remorse.
And although Savannahs interact well with children and dogs when properly socialized, Susan Bass of the Florida's Big Cat Rescue Sanctuary told The Dodo that she's had to perform some big human rescues. She explains:
"We get calls all the time from people asking us, begging us, to take them off their hands."
Savannahs are also notorious for howling at night and can pose a danger to children and the elderly. If that wasn't bad enough, they have acidic, foulsmelling urine that has a tendency to be sprayed over pretty much everything. In fact, according to Bass, Savannahs are pretty much the opposite of dogs. But they're not really much like cats, either. Think of them more as howling, spraying shower monsters, and you're probably a little closer to reality.