It’s the age old question, “Which is the better pet, a cat or a dog?” In the cats vs dogs debate, the truth of the matter is that they both make wonderful pets and they all deserve a loving home. So, the real question is, “What are YOU better suited for, a cat or a dog (or both maybe)?”
Making a choice
When deciding whether to adopt a cat or a dog (and, yes, I did say adopt and not buy), first you should consider how much time you will be able to spend with the pet. Dogs require much more of your time than cats. Dogs require regular walks, are typically more affectionate than cats, and dogs really need to be trained in order to keep you and your household sane. If you have the time and the love in your heart to spend a lot of time with your pet, a dog may be the pet for you.
Cats, on the other hand, are much more independent and can be left alone for a day or two without much more than a litter box, accessible water, and food (a smart portion feeder like PetTrax RightBite is a good choice). Many cats do love attention and can be very affectionate but they will not constantly look for you to be the center of their lives. So, if you lead a busy life and don’t have as much time for your pet, a cat may be a great choice.
Health and cost
Cats, on average, live to the age of 12-14, however, many live into their late teens and twenties. Dogs have a life expectancy of 7-14 years based mainly on breed and size (larger dogs tend to live shorter lives). Medical costs for pets vary based on size, breed, and any chronic diseases contracted but you should at least budget for $160/year for a cat and $200/year for a dog. The total cost when bringing home a pet is typically $670/year for a cat and $580-$875/year for a dog depending on size. These costs include food, medical costs, supplies, and kennels/pet sitters.
Grooming and house training
Cats do not need regular baths. They can be bathed occasionally but they do quite well on their own keeping themselves clean. Dogs require regular bathing and grooming (particularly those with long hair). Cats and dogs can contract ticks and fleas. Always consult a veterinarian for the safest products to use for these pests. As far as training goes, most cats are born knowing how to use the litter box. A litter box should be cleaned daily. Dogs, on the other hand, require much more attention here. A dog needs to be housebroken and socialized. Training a dog will typically take 2-3 months.
Dogs also require more space than cats so that they can run around. Also, dogs need to go on regular walks (at least 2 times per day) while cats can spend their entire lives indoors.
Both cats and dogs make wonderful pets. It really comes down to what is right for you. A pet can add so much to your life and think of the difference you can make in the life of a pet. Check out this guide on ‘Pet Adoption’ at HomeoAnimal. Visit your local shelter and think about adopting a pet. At the very least, a small donation can make a big difference in helping a shelter pet find a forever home.