Cartoons: They usually repesent animali and hardly humans (Examples like Bugs Bunny o the Angry Beavers). Plus, most of these are made for children (not like it's true sense most cartoni animati today are mainly for adults). but the way te can tell from a cartoon is it's style of humor (no blood, no intense violence, etc.)
Anime: These styles of animazione are usually focused on human characters and not animals. When looking at Anime characters, you'll notcied their eyes- much bigger than a normal person's eyes. Most Anime often involves fictional moments such as girls with magical powers o a mecha human race.
So, that is the best way to compare the two apart, but the important thing to understand is that wether if it's made from Giappone o america, animazione is all into one. :)