Cats and dogs offer us unconditional love and friendship, as well as several therapeutic benefits. It doesn’t matter if you are a child or an elderly person, pets will contribute to your general health and wellbeing – after all, who doesn’t like to come home to a furry friend at the end of the day?
Cats and dogs have different needs and characteristics, so choosing between a cat or a dog should be a well-though-out decision. When choosing between these species you should consider your lifestyle as much as which animal is your personal favorite. In fact it’s not about “cat vs dog” but about which pet will best suit your lifestyle, taking into account your daily routines, the space you have at home, how much time you can spend with him, and whether you have children or not.
Cat VS Dog
Which Pet is the Best Pet For You?
Our pal Rosa Silva from Cat lady Confidential shared some factors to consider on the cat vs. dog dilemma to help you answer the question, “Which is the best pet for you?” Rosa Silva is the author of Cat vs Dog: the pet diaries, a funny book for pet lovers of all ages.
Living With A Dog
Dogs are pack animals. Every dog is hardwired with this pack instinct, which makes them social and friendly, as well as happy to belong to a family. This pack mentality makes them want to be involved in all aspects of your life, much more than cats. They make great companions, who will follow you everywhere you go. Their desire to please also makes them more persuadable to obeying your commands.
Dogs follow their pack wherever they go, which makes them more open to travel or moving. On the other hand, this pack mentality also makes it hard for dogs to be left alone, because they crave closeness and attention.
Dogs also need more care. If get home late home from work, you will need to walk the dog whether it is raining or snowing. Walks should be something you look forward to. If walks sound like a chore, then maybe a dog isn’t the best option for you.
Dogs also require attention and play time. When you get home from work, you’ll need to spend some time playing with your dog, which can be exhausting, especially if he’s a lively puppy.
Living With A Cat
By contrast, cats are not pack animals, so they do not have an innate need to please you. Cats in the wild are solitary nocturnal hunters that have their own hunting territory. For domestic cats, these instincts make them much more independent than dogs. This independence may make them seem distant. They usually sleep during most of the day and like to roam the house at night. Domestic cats may also be prone to marking their territory by spraying outside their litter box, especially before getting spayed or neutered. This territoriality makes even small changes like rearranging the furniture a source of stress.
A cat will not need as much care as a dog, however he will require some grooming, such as nail trims, as well as periodic brushing. His litter box will need to be scooped every day, and the litter needs to be changed periodically. But because a cat is more independent, he can be left alone for longer periods of time. If you go on a vacation for a few days, your cat can get by with someone feeding and checking up on your cat twice a day.
This independence does not mean your cat will always be distant. He will approach you for affection when he wants to be petted and stroked. He will also probably love to curl up with you on the couch at night. Play time is also something you should provide him, but the effort will be less tiring for you because he will do all the running and jumping.
When choosing a pet, you should also take into consideration your lifestyle. If you are the active, outdoorsy type, then a dog may be the right choice for you, because you can play with him outside. If you do choose a dog you also need to be prepared to walk him every day, even if it is raining or snowing.
You also need to consider not only your habits and preferences, but also your family’s preferences. Choosing a dog or cat should be a family decision. Regarding your family, you should also take into consideration whether you have children. If you have children under seven years old, you should be aware that experts say children should be between seven and nine years old before getting a dog, because dogs may not tolerate the behaviors of children, or they may even hurt children accidentally during play.
Other issue to take into consideration is that having a pet usually means cleaning up hair. Some dogs and cats shed more than others, but they all do shed to an extent. Some dog breeds also drool a lot, which will mean something more to clean up. You need to consider how neat you are and how ready you are to clean after your pet.
Dogs are much more active and need more space compared to cats. If you are an outdoorsy person and can take your dog on walks or if you have a backyard where he can run around, then a dog can be a good fit for you. However, if you live in a small apartment maybe a cat is a better choice. Cats get their exercise through play, which they can do inside the house by playing with toys and climbing cat trees. Because of this, cats do not usually need as much area to roam around. Cats are definitively best suited for indoor living.
When comparing cat versus dog training, dogs are certainly the easier of the two to train. The dog’s pack mentality makes him willing to follow a leader, which makes him usually more obedient by nature. Dog training is typically a process of teaching and reinforcing commands that help communicate your desires to your dog. If you want to influence the way your dog behaves, you need to reward behaviors you like and make sure behaviors you don’t like aren’t rewarded.
Cats can be trained, but not as easily as dogs. Their independent and willful nature will make it difficult. With cats, it’s best to focus training on establishing boundaries, rather than training behaviors. However, when it comes to house training, cats have the advantage over dogs. Cats use the litter box instinctively. Dogs, on the other hand, can be a lot tougher to potty train.
Food and Eating Habits
Cats and dogs eating habits are very different. Dogs will eat larger sized meals in one go, usually one or two times a day. Cats are usually smaller and will eat much less but will have more meals per day.
When choosing a pet, cost is something you need to take into consideration. Both cats and dogs will need food, toys, veterinarian care, and eventually daycare and training classes. Overall, dogs tend to cost more than cats. And the bigger the dog, the more food he will eat.
Which Is the Best Pet For You?
Besides taking into consideration all aspects mentioned above, before choosing to adopt a cat or a dog, it’s also important you do some research on your choice of pet before taking him to his forever home. You may consider dog or cat sitting for a friend to see if you prefer the company of one over another. Also, you should spend some time at your local shelter before you decide to adopt. Most times it’s not about the species or breed, but about the bond you form with a specific animal. No matter which species you choose to adopt, you will surely bring home a forever friend.