Cats and Dogs


Cats and Dogs introduces students to the history of owning either a cat or dog as a pet. Students will discover how these animals became domesticated. They will also learn the characteristics of these animals and compare and contrast them.

The “Options for Lesson” section provides several more ideas for either additional activities or tasks or alternatives. One idea is to plan a “Pet Day” and have students with pets, particularly cats or dogs, bring them to school. You could also assign students a specific cat or dog breed to research and present to the class.

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What our Cats and Dogs lesson plan includes

Lesson Objectives and Overview: Cats and Dogs explores the differences between these two animals. Students will compare and contrast the two pets and will also learn the history behind their domestication. The lesson is for students in 1st grade, 2nd grade, and 3rd grade.

Classroom Procedure

Every lesson plan provides you with a classroom procedure page that outlines a step-by-step guide to follow. You do not have to follow the guide exactly. The guide helps you organize the lesson and details when to hand out worksheets. It also lists information in the yellow box that you might find useful. You will find the lesson objectives, state standards, and number of class sessions the lesson should take to complete in this area. In addition, it describes the supplies you will need as well as what and how you need to prepare beforehand. This lesson does not require any additional materials or supplies apart from the worksheets.

Options for Lesson

There are several suggestions in the “Options for Lesson” section for things you can do in addition to the lesson plan or as alternatives. One idea is to plan a “Pet Day” when students with different pets can bring them in to show the class. Another idea is to assign students a dog or cat breed to research and later present to the class. You could also organize a play or skit where each students play the roles of different breeds of cats or dogs, meeting for a common purpose. Another option is to split the class into two groups, one for cats and one for dogs, and hold a debate to determine which animal makes the better pet. You could also have students review pictures of different breeds and then have them guess the right breed based on the pictures.

Teacher Notes

The paragraph on the teacher notes page provides a little extra guidance and information for the lesson. It encourages you to plan a pet day where students can introduce their pets to the class, regardless of the type of pet it is. You can use the blank lines to write any additional ideas you have for the lesson.


Cats and Dogs

The Cats and Dogs lesson plan includes three pages of content. The lesson begins by describing pets and what exactly it means for an animal to be a pet. Students will discover that an animal must be domesticated in order to become a pet. These animals are also not a food source. Instead, people usually take care of them as if they are a member of the family. In the United States, about a third of the population owns a pet. The most common pets are cats and dogs.

In 2012, people in the U.S. owned about 74 million cats and 70 million dogs. Even if people don’t own a pet themselves, they almost certainly have seen or interacted with one or more at some point. While cats and dogs are similar in some ways, they differ in many ways as well. They have different behaviors and personalities, and they even have unique histories. In addition, there are many breeds for both kinds of pets that have differences of their own.


Students will learn that the most common pet in America is the cat, or feline. They first became domesticated around 4,000 years ago in Ancient Egypt. The Egyptians used cats to protect their food from pests. The cat therefore had a place of honor, and people admired it as a hunter and worshipped it as a god or goddess. If somebody killed a cat, they could receive the death penalty.

Eventually, cats were tamed and other civilizations started to own them as pets. They grew in popularity first in Italy and slowly spread throughout Europe. Students will learn that cats first arrived in the U.S. when people from England brought them along as pets when they came to settle America. Cats spread throughout India, China, and Japan as well. International Cat Day is celebrated every October 29th.

For some time, people associated cats with the devil. However, they were very popular throughout the world by the 1700s. Today, there are more than 500 million cats living in the world. Breeds include Siberian, wirehair, Burmese, and American bobtail. Students will learn that the terms “feral” and “stray” as they relate to cats are not breed names. Feral cats describe cats that don’t socialize with people and that live on their own. Stray cats are homeless cats that socialize with people.

The lesson lists several facts that apply to most cats. For instance, they sleep for 13 to 14 hours a day. They usually weigh between 8 and 11 pounds. Cats have powerful night vision, six times better than that of humans, and they have great hearing and a strong sense of smell. They usually live between 12 and 15 years.


Students will then learn about the history of dogs. Dogs are very similar to wolves, and this is because their ancestors were feral wolves from thousands of years ago. It is possible that the first domesticated wolves existed about 30,000 or 40,000 years ago in parts of Asia. Other evidence suggests that dogs lived in Africa as far back as 100,000 years ago. Nearly all dogs came from Asian dogs.

Dogs are the first animals that people kept as pets. They became companions for people as they traveled. And, originally, they helped keep campsites clean by eating rats. Eventually, people also realized that dogs could scare off other animals, even larger ones, by barking. Dogs also helped hunters and pulled sleds in the snow. Breeds include boxers, poodles, Rottweilers, and terriers.

The lesson outlines some general traits for dogs as well. Dogs make great companions for people with disabilities or for people who need emotional support and comfort. They form strong bonds with humans and are well known as “man’s best friend.” A dog’s sense of smell is millions of times better than humans. They can weigh between 3 and 150 pounds and generally live between 10 and 14 years. They are also easier to train than cats, especially when they are young.

Key Terms

Here is a list of the vocabulary words students will learn in this lesson plan:

  • Domesticated: a term to describe an animal that is tame, as opposed to wild, that lives with people in their homes or on a farm
  • Breed: a specific group or kind of cat or dog, such as a Yorkshire terrier versus a husky
  • Feline: the official scientific name for a cat
  • Mummify: a preservation method that keeps a deceased body in tact for many years after death
  • Feral: a term to describe cats that will not socialize with people and that live outdoors on their own
  • Stray: a term to describe cats that will socialize with people but that don’t have a home to live in
  • Clowder: a group of cats
  • Kittens: young or baby cats
  • Tom: the title for a male cat
  • Molly or queen: titles for a female cat
  • Canine: the official scientific name for a dog
  • Famine: a period in which there is a shortage of food
  • Pups or puppies: young or baby dogs


The Cats and Dogs lesson plan contains three worksheets: an activity worksheet, a practice worksheet, and a homework assignment. Each worksheet will help students demonstrate their grasp of the material in different ways. The guide on the classroom procedure page outlines when you should hand out the worksheets to your students throughout the lesson.


Students will work with a partner to create a skit involving a cat (one partner) and a dog (the other partner). The second worksheet page provides blank lines that students will use to write dialogue between themselves as if they are a cat and a dog. The goal for each “pet” is to convince the other why they should become a pet for a family that wants to adopt a cat or a dog from a shelter. Each person should have a name, and they should incorporate information from the content pages. The skit can be funny, serious, or both. Students will perform their skits in front of the rest of the class.


There are two sections for the practice worksheet. For the first section, students will look at a list of traits and decide whether they apply to a cat (C) or a dog (D). There are 20 traits in this section. The second section requires students to fill in the blank for 10 sentences using the terms in a word bank.


For the homework assignment, students will first match definitions to the correct terms from a word bank. There are 15 total definitions and terms to match. Next, students will read seven statements and decide whether they describe a cat or a dog.

Worksheet Answer Keys

The lesson plan includes answer keys for both the practice worksheet and the homework assignment. Both answer keys provide the correct answers in red. Students’ responses should match these answer keys exactly. If you choose to administer the lesson pages to your students via PDF, you will need to save a new file that omits these pages. Otherwise, you can simply print out the applicable pages and keep these as reference for yourself when grading assignments.

Additional information


1st Grade, 2nd Grade, 3rd Grade



State Educational Standards

LB.ELA-Literacy.RI.1.9, LB.ELA-Literacy.RI.2.3, LB.ELA-Literacy.RI.2.4, LB.ELA-Literacy.RI.2.9, LB.ELA-Literacy.RI.3.3, LB.ELA-Literacy.RI.3.4

Lessons are aligned to meet the education objectives and goals of most states. For more information on your state objectives, contact your local Board of Education or Department of Education in your state.

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Cats and Dogs

My students loved learning about their favorite pets.

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Love it!

I was beyond excited to find this lesson. My little girl loves cats so it is always fun to be able to incorporate these fun lessons into our daily learning. Needless to say, this lesson was a hit with her and myself.