Are you trying to decide whether you should take a cat or a dog as your pet? As a writer for a cat website, you’d probably assume I have a bias towards cats. But the fact is that I have owned multiple dogs myself, and I certainly enjoyed having them. Both are wonderful creatures that have lots of love and companionship to share, if you treat them right.
But what are the differences between taking care of a dog and taking care of a cat? Let’s take a look
Pros and cons of cats
Known by scientists as Felis Catus, cats were domesticated right after humanity started to settle down. Archaeologists discovered that house cats have been domesticated for thousands of years. The main reason humans started taking them in as pets were due to a growing problem with rodents wreaking havoc in their grain storage. Since cats are always on the hunt for mice and rats, they proved to be the perfect animal to keep them away.
Longer life span
With the average life span coming in at around 15 years (and in rare cases even up to two decades), cats live longer than dogs. Getting to spend more time with your pet is something that every pet owner will see as a benefit.
While the need for attention and care can vary wildly among individual specimens and breeds, cats require significantly lower maintenance than dogs in many regards. On some days, they may even be perfectly content being left to roam the house and relax in various spots.
This does not imply that indoor cats don’t have needs: most cats also have days where they want to play, cuddle and cozy up. My own cat has her moments every so often, where she just wants to be with me and feel safe for a few minutes. And then she’s off to do her own cat things again!
They are quiet animals
Generally speaking, cats are very quiet animals. Even when in pain, a cat will do everything in its power not to draw any attention. Their lack of expressiveness makes them an ideal pet for those people who prefer to live in silence.
There are of course exceptions. For example, unspayed/unneutered indoor cats can become VERY loud if you don’t allow them to go outside. And there are plenty of stories of cats who keep owners awake at night with their incessant meowing.
The financial argument
In financial terms, cats might be a better choice than dogs. Since a cat’s body is relatively small, the amount of food they need to eat each day is lower compared to most dog breeds. That’s not to say keeping a cat can’t be expensive. They will need the occasional trip to the vet, and those are not cheap in most countries. We calculated that the average cat will cost you just over $800 each year.
Sharp claws.. ouch!
Like humans, cats also have a darker side; if you cross their boundaries, you could end up getting scratched or bitten.
There is another potential downside to their sharp claws: if you have furniture, there’s a chance it’s going to get scratched. Still, you should NEVER declaw your cat. It’s really painful for them, and they need their claws for various things. With some effort, you can perfectly train your cat not to scratch furniture, and another thing that will help massively is picking the right scratch post.
Like most animals, cats shed their hairs continually. This means you will have to vacuum your house more often. They will shed even more frequently when they are kept indoors all the time.
Certain breeds like the Sphynx are born almost completely hairless, so this could be an option worth looking into.
Another unfortunate consequence of shedding is the allergic reaction that some people have. A significant percentage of people are allergic to cats. Even if you are not allergic yourself, having a cat around can cause trouble for your family and friends when they come over. I have pretty heavy allergies myself, and I can tell you that it’s nothing to sneeze at.
Can throw-up occasionally
Cats may occasionally throw up due to illness, food poisoning, allergies, but also as part of their normal behaviour. You will have to clean up vomit and hairballs every now and then. The vomit may leave stains on your carpet and furniture, and these are not the easiest stains to remove.
Pros and cons of dogs
We answered the first part of the question (‘what are the pros and cons of cats and dogs?“). Now that you know everything about the life of a cat owner, let’s shift our attention to dogs.
Dogs have the honor of being the first domesticated animal in history. Biologists estimate that they were first domesticated about 30,000 years ago. They are also the most popular pet amongst the American population. There’s a saying that goes:
‘Dogs are man’s best friend’
Is a dog for you? Here’s a list of the most important pros and cons that you’ll face as a dog owner:
They can read your mood
Dogs have well-developed instincts which allow them to accurately read the subtle body language of their owners. If they find you in a great mood, they will bark excitedly and wave their tails. But if you’re feeling low, they will just quietly sit beside you.
They are one of the few animals who serve humans selflessly. There are countless real-life stories in which dogs have saved lives and even have sacrificed themselves to do so.
Your real-life friends and even your partner can turn their backs on you in times of need. A dog is loyal to the very end, and will never abandon his owner no matter what happens. They are in it for the long haul.
Are active companions
Dogs are perhaps the most active of all pets. They’re always up for a game of throw and fetch or a cuddle session. Plus, since many of us live alone these days, we get bored. Getting some canine companionship may be just the thing you need to feel less lonely.
They keep you safe
Depending on the breed, they may add to your safety at home since they can act as guard dog. Dogs are very aware of the sounds in their enviroment and instinctively know when something is wrong. Should a burglar attempting to break and enter your home, there’s a good chance your dog will pick up on that and sound the alarm with a loud bark.
Dogs need training
If you fail to train your puppy properly, the grown-up version of your dog will probably cause you trouble in the future. You can either hire a qualified trainer for this or try to train him yourself. Warning: you’ll need lots of patience and a big bag of treats!
They are loud
Dogs can make a lot of noise when they bark, so they aren’t exactly the best choice for a pet if you like a quiet enviroment. We should mention that there are some breeds of dogs that bark less loudly or not at all.
They need more attention
Many dogs constantly look for validation from their owners. If you’re the type of person who enjoys validating others, that won’t be a problem. But if you see this as a hassle, getting a cat may prove to be a better choice for you.
Here’s why you need to get a pet!
So far we examined the differences between cats and dogs. But what do they have in common? Indeed, having a pet in general has many great benefits:
They make you laugh
Any cat or dog owner will attest to the fact that these animals do hilarious things when they are in a playful mood. Want to have a good laugh? You can’t go wrong with either. But cats in particular can do some crazy things:
They improve your mood
Beeing around a pet has been proven to boost to a person’s mood. Their love can do wonders for you. The companionship which they offer is invaluable. For those who are all alone in this world, pets like dogs and cats can give hope and a reason to keep going.hey improve the condition of depressed people
If you suffer from depression, a pet may help your condition. But always visit a good mental health professional, and never use a pet as a substitute for professional advice or medication.
Can help you become more social
Single guys out there, we have good news for you! Many surveys have found that women are more inclined to date a guy who has a pet like a cat or a dog. So, what are you waiting for? Jokes aside, do remember that you will have to take your pet’s responsibility.
They teach you responsibility
If you have kids and teens who are irresponsible, then getting them a pet will improve that. The fun and love offered by these creatures will make them care for them and they might start taking responsibilities related to their dog/cat. This also goes for those adults who run away from responsibilities.
They reduce your stress
Do you come home from job stressed out and frustrated? Do things just get worse when you try to browse social media for solace? There is a dog or cat in your nearest shelter home which might make things better for you. In return, they won’t ask anything but your love and affection. Their companionship is something which no amount of money can buy in the world.