Which is better as a pet: a cat or a dog?

Since I own two of each, yes, that’s two cats and two dogs, I’ve been thinking that it may be helpful to reflect on which one I’d recommend to those looking for a pet. This is a tough one as there are pros and cons to owning a cat or owning a dog. It may be helpful to honestly reflect on each one:

Owning a Cat:

Pros: super affordable. Especially if you own just one (which I’d recommend! My vet told me that 99% of cats prefer to be the only cat in your home). Vet bills are only a small fraction to that of owning a dog. If you keep your cat indoor only you really don’t need to go to the vet very often at all. And cat food is super cheap and lasts forever.  a huge, huge plus to owning a cat is that you are able to maintain some sense of normalcy while owning a pet. Owning a cat doesn’t tie you down like other pets can. You can go to work, decide last minute to hang out with friends, or go away for a long weekend and your cat will survive!

Cons: their claws. we wanted to be humane and didn’t declaw our cats as kittens. our furniture has paid for it ever since! there’s no point in owning anything nice when you have a cat with claws (even though we don’t allow them on furniture upstairs they have still scratched it up badly. and yes, I’ve trained them to use scratching posts and they do this 80% of the time. it’s the 20% that you notice). another con to owning a cat is their vomit. yes, cats are the worst for eating too fast and throwing up their food shortly afterwards. this stains the carpets and is annoying and gross. lastly, the dreaded littler box. doesn’t seem so bad at first but it sure gets old fast. you not only have to scoop regularly but also have to change out the litter in the boxes completely. and if you lack upper body strength like me – just buying the litter and getting it in and out of the shopping cart is a challenging work-out.

Owning a Dog:

Pros: they do their business outside! scooping poop is way better than litter boxes, trust me. dogs can provide you with a sense of protection. dogs can motivate their owners to go for a walk when they otherwise wouldn’t have. they tend to appreciate guests/company better than cats (maybe too much excitement though at times!). and what we all know about dogs in general: they are loyal, loyal companions.

Cons: expensive vet bills. our one dog seems to pick up everything and even a simple vet visit for antibiotics will cost over $200! since dogs go in and out of the house to do their business and for play, you have to wipe their paws when they come in from outside and clean your floors more often. owning a dog often requires owning a very good vacuum! if you get a breed that sheds you will find hair all over your floors. in my experience the cats hair is limited to where they lay down where-as the dogs hair is all over. don’t be fooled that a non-shedding dog is a piece of cake – they often require grooming and that adds up tremendously $$!  and lastly, the biggest con (in my opinion) to owning a dog is the way that they tie you down. forget last minute getaways. you have to plan those precious times that you can get away well in advance by either booking the dog at a kennel or ensuring that someone can take care of your dog at home. at least with children you are able to go somewhere last minute and bring the kids with you. with a dog, you do not get to go away as often or be spontaneous with evening plans. this is a huge reality to accept when getting a dog. a lot of people grieve their loss of freedom shortly after getting a puppy or dog.

If you are trying to decide between owning a cat or owning a dog, I highly recommend doing your research. As you can see, there are clear pros and cons to both. For myself, a person who likes both cats and dogs, I don’t know what I’d choose in the future. Seeing as our pets are likely to live another 10-15 years, I have time to decide! Owning a pet is a huge commitment (15-20 years for cats, 10-15 years for dogs). One thing is for certain, I would only own one cat in the future. In my experience, two dogs get more enjoyment out of having a partner than two cats do. Good luck to you in making an informed decision! And if possible, adopt a pet from a shelter or rescue group vs. buying your pet from a pet store (the worst) or a breeder. All 4 of ours were rescues and sometimes reminding myself of that helps keep me sane! 🙂

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3 thoughts on “Which is better as a pet: a cat or a dog?”

  1. Oh my gosh, I love how they’re all laying together by the window! 🙂

    Awesome points, and I can say we’ve found all of them true in our experience as well. I love our dog to pieces, but she is definitely a big commitment of both finances and time – something I’m glad we thought through before we got her, otherwise that would be hard to accept I think. The cat just did his own thing, well, except when he was viciously biting us. Now he lives on a farm 🙂

    1. While it’s seriously a ton of work to have 4 pets, I am very grateful that our dogs are so good with our cats! Sometime the cats use that to their advantage 😉

      I’ve known a few cats that were biters. It’s a shame. Did he happen to have his front paws declawed? I’ve heard biting is more common with declawed cats…which scares me because I’d want a declawed cat from a shelter in the future.

      1. Yeah, we adopted him from a shelter declawed (front paws). We also got some information when we adopted him that he came from a home of an elderly woman and probably was not properly socialized as a kitten because she had a hard time keeping up with him. We think those two things probably set him up to be more aggressive with his teeth. :/

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