Cat vs. Dog: Which One is the Perfect Pet?

Feb 19, 2019     |      Sophie's Circle

Are you a cat person or a dog person? There are benefits to both, but every pet has quirks you need to accommodate. Let’s look more in depth at the similarities and differences between these loveable furry friends to see which one might be coined "the perfect pet" for you and your family.

The Cuddle Factor
Both cats and dogs have a high rating in this area. Having a cat can be soothing because they often curl up on your lap. When you stroke their soft fur, there is even an approving purring sound to let you know your attention is appreciated. A word of advice, if your cat has claws, make sure to use a thick blanket he or she likes to scratch over your lap to prevent picks in your clothing.

Dogs thrive on their cuddle time, and many breeds are not very picky about which human is dishing out the affection. They also can be trained to come when called for a quick snuggle or lie down when cuddle time is over. This makes them excellent pet choices for therapy purposes. Some breeds are softer than others, so the type of fur or hair, depending on the breed, may be a consideration in breed selection. Also, if you require a higher level of obedience, you may want to take some time to find out which breeds are easier to train.

Points for "The Cuddle Factor" are awarded to both cats and dogs equally for their soft fur and interest in receiving affection.

Behavior Challenges 
Cats are independent in spirit and may not need as much attention as dogs, but they can be standoffish too. Many people enjoy this about cats as it gives them a feeling of being chosen by the cat instead of the other way around. On the other hand, when the cat decides to tip over your water glasses on the table, hang on the bedroom curtains, hiss at guests, or spray the plants, these behavioral challenges can be overwhelming as training is not much of an option with cats. If you struggle with these and other unwanted behaviors, talk to your veterinarian for expert ideas on bringing a happy balance to your home.

With dogs, there can be a greater volume of damage with chewed shoes or furniture. Typically larger in size than cats, dogs can be intimidating to guests and more physically demanding when they want attention. Such behaviors can cause stress in the home. The great news is, with the exception of aggressive tendencies, consistent training techniques will change a dog’s unruly behaviors giving them the chance to more than make up for those destroyed kids’ toys. Only 15 minutes per day of working with your dog plus an established routine of walks can give you the loyal trustworthy bond you have always desired.

Points for "Behavior Challenges For Young Pets" goes to kittens for creating less damage to the household overall.

Points for "Behavior Challenges For Adult Pets" goes to dogs for their ability to become trained regarding unwanted behaviors. 

Tricks and Trainability
As discussed, cats are more interested in training their owners than being trained to perform tricks or curb their behaviors. That said, using treats, positive reinforcement and clickers may go a long way in coaxing your cat into certain activities. For patient owners with just the right amount of cat treats, may we suggest attempting to train for the cat agility trials?

Owners who do not mind setting aside 15 minutes per day will find dogs to be loving, loyal, and fun! Contrary to popular belief, all dogs should be trained on key behaviors to make sure your furry companion is a good fit for your family. This includes small dogs, big dogs, puppies and old dogs. Any nonaggressive dog can become your best friend with a little daily positive reinforcement and exercise. If aggression becomes an issue, be sure to contact your veterinarian at the first sign to learn your options on ways you can help your dog reach his or her full potential of being a great pet.

Points for "Tricks And Trainability" goes to dogs because training a cat takes much more patience and appreciation for their aloof independent spirit.

Care Needs
While the dogs get points for trainability, cats may take the lead in the care category for some owners. If you do not mind the smell of a litter box or cleaning the box frequently, then cats might be your best pet choice. They do not require the potentially expensive grooming and time-consuming walks like dogs. However, many people would prefer to pick up after a dog outside than keep a litter box indoors, and they like the idea of having an energetic walking buddy. This category ultimately comes down to personal preference.

Points for "Care Needs" goes cats because changing a litter box is much less time consuming and expensive than caring for a dog.

Therapy Jobs
If you have not yet made up your mind yet on the pet choice for your family needs, perhaps this last category will offer the final clue. With the right personality, both cats and small dogs can make great therapy pets as they are not too heavy to lift and they are soft to touch. Yet, when you look at the top requested therapy pets, large dogs still tend to take the lead with their ability to perform a myriad of useful tasks, including retrieving items for the disabled, helping the sight-challenged to avoid accidents, or detecting seizures for those suffering from epilepsy.

Points for "Therapy Jobs" goes to dogs for their trainability to be utilized in many forms of therapy.

Our Conclusion And The Proud Winner
Cats and dogs both win a lot of points for all the categories of pet ownership in that they are soft and happy friends that offer a warm greeting when we come home or comfort us when we are feeling blue. They can both perform the role of therapy pet for others in need of a cuddle, and their care is more of a personal preference. In the end, the main difference is likely more about whether you would like the ability to train your pet to perform and avoid specific behaviors or if you find bliss in the carefree lifestyle of a more independently-minded pet. Once you decide your ideal pet species winner, we encourage you to take some time to become familiar with our adoptable pets who might bring you and your family the most joy to be crowned “The Perfect Pet”.