Cats vs dogs. The conflict has even made its way into the English language, in the form of the idiom “fighting like cats and dogs.” And while cats and dogs aren’t necessarily always enemies (as they are often portrayed), they are different enough in terms of temperament, and in turn, attract different types of pet owners. Some people prefer to have dogs, others prefer cats, and yet others enjoy caring for both.
But if you’re thinking about getting a pet, how do you know which is better for you? Here are some questions to ask yourself when making the decision:
How Often Are You Away from Home?
If you’re home most of the time and want a pet that will spend time with you, then a dog may be your best choice. There’s a reason why we call dogs a man’s best friend. Dogs are pack animals and are used to being in a group. They’re sociable, friendly, and typically like to spend time with their owners. They don’t do well left alone for long periods of time.
Cats are usually more independent than dogs. They are more able to be left alone during the day while you go to work. This independence is often interpreted as aloofness, but it doesn’t mean that cats don’t develop strong bonds with their owners. They become stressed when separated from their owners for too long or given to a new owner.
Do You Need your Pet to be Trained?
Dogs are much easier to train than cats. They’re pack animals, which means that their instincts encourage them to follow what their leader (i.e. their owner) wants them to do. They’re also eager to please their owners. If you want to be able to train a pet to perform tricks, then a dog may be the better choice.
Cats aren’t as easily trained as dogs are, but they often don’t need it. They don’t need to be potty trained like dogs, as they will instinctively use the litter box. If potty training a pet isn’t something you want to do, then a cat may be a better option for you.
How Much Space Do You Have?
If you live in a small apartment, a cat may be better suited to your living space. Though if you lead a very active lifestyle, your dog can happily live in a smaller space when they are taken out to get the exercise that they need.
If you live in a house with a backyard, then the dog could get enough exercise just by being let outside. Cats can live in larger homes, too, but are excellent at playing hide-and-seek, so you could lose your cat within your house periodically if it is larger.
How Much Can You Spend on a Pet?
Dogs tend to be more expensive than cats. They need more toys and training classes than cats. They may also need daycare or a pet sitter if you have to be gone for a long period. Cats, on the other hand, can be less expensive because of their high level of independence.
Cats are good at taking care of themselves, so long as you provide enough food and clean litter. Even their toys can be cheaper; cats are easily entertained by a feather attached to a string or a laser pointer.
Which Should You Choose: Dog or Cat?
Which pet to choose should ultimately depend on your personality and living situation. If you prefer a friendlier, more social pet, then a dog may be best suited for your personality. However, if you live in a small apartment and don’t have time to take a dog for walks or runs every day, then your living situation may be more suitable for a cat.
Though it is important to remember, each individual animal is different despite the generalized traits. There are dogs that don’t have as much energy as others and don’t need to go for as many walks. Some cats are more social and friendly.
When choosing a pet, it’s important to find an individual cat or dog that fits well with your personality and living situation. You may be able to find a more social cat that does well in a small apartment or a more independent dog that loves your large house.