Cats vs Dogs: Which pet is best for you?

Dec 13, 2018     |      Sophie's Circle

It’s an argument that defies reason and sets boundaries between friends and family alike. Which animal is better, cats or dogs? While most seem to have a quick answer without even having to consider the options, the debate is much more complex than we might realize. The real issue isn’t which animal is best, but instead, which animal suits you as a human seeking animal companionship. Let’s explore your options.

Dogs are referred to as man’s best friend, and for good reason. A faithful dog will be devoted to you until the end. They are happy when you are happy, they are sad when you are sad, and they constantly look to you for approval and affection. You truly are their master and their entire world. Dogs are perfect for someone looking for a friend to spend time with and train up to be a great companion. If you put time in with your dog, you will never regret it.

However, dogs definitely require a whole lot of time. Depending on what breed of dog you have, you have to be willing to devote good portions of your day to feeding, walking, exercising, and giving affection to them otherwise they will be more likely to misbehave or act out. If you really love your pet and enjoy spending time with them, then this shouldn’t be a problem. It is a warning, though, for those who are not sure if they earnestly want a dog, because if you fail to put in the work with them, you will have a dog who causes problems.  

Dogs are also, typically, more energetic and playful than cats and will be much more likely to play with their humans. Playtime with dogs is a great way for children to connect with their dogs and learn to train them as well. Kids usually connect faster with dogs than with cats because a dog’s energy is at a similar level compared to other animals, and so they can keep up with them easier. Also, if they are trained correctly and have a propensity toward small humans, dogs are amazing at guarding and protecting children whom they spend a great deal of time with. But, it goes without saying, that dogs are animals and they can also act out if they feel threatened, even by a small child. So you should always be sure that you are completely comfortable with an animal before leaving it alone with your child.

Generally speaking, cats are more independent than dogs. They require less hands on attention and training than dogs and can take care of themselves in most cases. They are an ideal pet for someone who spends most their day at work or school and doesn’t have a whole lot of extra time to devote to training and playing. However, it shouldn’t be assumed that your cat doesn’t want you around, because they do show you love in many different ways, you just have to be aware of them. Think of cats as a friendly roommate who you share life with rather than someone you have to devote your life to.

However, as with any pet, you are taking care of another life, and that comes with some work. If you are planning on keeping your cat indoors you will have to deal with the heavily feared and dreaded litter box. Scooping up your cat’s urine and feces may already sound like a deal breaker, but if you keep it cleaned daily and get the right kind of litter it doesn’t have to be a make it or break it problem for you. (Not to mention, having to pick up warm dog bowel movements is equally as horrific, so it really is a draw on this one.) Cats also, generally, like to keep themselves clean anyways so hopefully, with the right equipment, you won’t have too much work to do.

Outdoor cats also come with difficulties such as keeping their shots up to date CONSTANTLY in order to prevent them catching diseases from other cats and having a way for them to get in and out easily. Cats are notoriously fickle about when they want to be inside or outside so you will save yourself a lot of unnecessary trips from the couch to the door if you install a catdoor that they can use by themselves.

Some cats are more affectionate than others, but depending on what kind of relationship you want with your feline, you should look for a breed that has those traits. As with dogs, there are lap cats and there are hunting cats. Each breed has instinctive characteristics that you will have to deal with and grow accustomed to. But as long as you put in the work, your relationship with your kitty will be smooth sailing.

All in all, it comes down to this. While cats have been given a bad reputation due to their connection with the underworld and whatnot, outside of mythology they are a very endearing and pleasant animal to live with. They can be standoffish and stick to themselves most the time but they truly are extremely lovable and loving as a companion and are deeply connected with their owners. Dogs, on the other hand, are a warm, friendly presence in your home who will always be there when you need reassurance and there to greet you on a hard day. However, they tend to come in a tightly bound package of energy and enthusiasm that can be disastrous if not given an outlet. Either way, loving cats or dogs comes down to who you are and the type of companionship you are looking for in your home, and both are equally as beneficial to you as a human being.