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Are Hyenas Dogs or Cats?Which are they more closely related to?

Hyenas often seem similar to cats and dogs in various aspects. For instance, just like dogs, hyenas have sharp night vision and use their powerful jaws and teeth to catch prey.

Also, hyenas usually have a notable resemblance to wild dogs and have somewhat similar behaviors. For example, both animals are carnivores, thrive in packs, and have a tendency to hide extra food in the wild for later feasting.

When it comes to cats, hyenas do share a few similarities with our feline friends, including their self-grooming habits and parental behaviors.

This begs the question: are hyenas dogs or cats? Let’s dig a little deeper.

Are Hyenas considered dogs or cats?

Contrary to what many believe, hyenas are neither felines nor dogs. According to the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance, Hyenas aren’t members of the Canidae (dogs) or Felidae (cats) family. Instead, they belong to their own unique family known as the Hyaenidae family.

Unlike what many think, hyenas have no genetic relations with dogs, and therefore aren’t a mix of two dog breeds.

The Hyaenidae family comprises four distinct Hyena species. These include: The spotted Hyena (which is the largest of them all), the brown hyena (the second largest), the stripped hyena, and lastly the Aardwolves (the smallest among the four species).

Spotted hyenas are the most commonly seen hyenas. They’re well known for their signature “laugh” which they use to vocalize distress.

Although Hyenas don’t belong to the dog or cat family, National Geographic reveals that they are more closely related to felines than canines.

In other words, hyenas aren’t part of the feline family. However, cats are more of the hyenas’ closest living relatives than dogs. According to findings by Bushwise, Hyenas are often classified as Feliformia (cat-like carnivores) and not Caniformia (canine-like carnivores).


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