Cats vs. Dogs
Cats or Dogs? Dogs or Cats? That is the question. People have long debated who reigns supreme as the best companion animal. Cat people have their points and dog people have theirs. Let’s look at a few of these areas of debate.
Dogs are pack animals by nature, which makes them instinctively social, friendly and happy to belong in a family unit. Cats tend to be more independent, which also generally makes them less demanding. Because of a dog’s great desire to be in group environments, they can sometimes suffer from separation anxiety. Anyone that has had a dog with separation anxiety knows that can be very difficult, and very destructive. A cat on the other hand is genuinely pretty happy to have some alone time throughout the day.
Training animals can be challenging. I hear you cat folks, laughing, because TRAINING… a cat?!?! Bahahah! Training, or the lack of training, that a cat needs can be considered a pro or con depending on how you look at it. On the one hand, cats require very little training; kittens will instinctively use a litter box from a very young age. On the other hand, that is pretty much the extent of training of a cat. Dogs are very different and are generally pretty eager to learn, and do very well learning commands with simple positive reinforcement and consistency.
As far as space is concerned, cats tend to require less space. Dogs can and will live in small living quarters, but will typically require some outdoor activity, like fetch, walks, etc. at least once a day. Cats will usually get enough exercise from indoor playtime.
In terms of the financial requirements for dogs and cats, they can vary widely between individual pets. Food costs will depend on breed, size, age, health, etc. It does seem that throughout their lives dogs do incur higher medical bills. But again, this is very generally speaking and there are some cats (and dogs for that matter) that may incur a lot of medical expenses throughout their lives and some that require very little. It is worth noting that cats have a longer life expectancy than most dogs.
[Here is a handy reference that the ASPCA put together on the cost of owning pets: https://www.aspca.org/sites/default/files/pet_care_costs.pdf]
Overall, there is no decisive winner on whether or not dogs or cats make better companions. It is a completely individual preference. People LOVE dogs. People LOVE cats. There are even people that love BOTH! *gasp* Whatever the case, people are lucky to love and be loved by both dogs and cats, and also guinea pigs, rabbits, birds, horses, chinchillas, ferrets, rats, lizards, snakes, ferrets, and every other type of companion animal out there.