Pet owners often have strong opinions regarding their preferences in animals. But could there be an answer to the often asked question of whether dogs or cats are actually better? This article will explore different benefits that come along with owning either a dog or a cat in order to figure out which pet wins overall. Throughout the article, a running score will be kept with each point, so that you can easily see which pet is the best and why. Here are 14 reasons that answer the age-old question, which are better—dogs or cats?
1) Training? – Point Dogs (Dogs-1, Cats-0)
If your ideal pet is one that you can teach tricks to, dogs take the cake. Dogs are much easier than cats to train. They are more receptive towards the necessary repetition and reward systems you may use to encourage them to continue. While cats will usually grow bored of learning to do things on command, dogs more often will look forward to having something to do that their owner approves of. Dogs prefer to be driven by a purpose, and learning to perform tasks will fulfill this desire. Not to mention, since you can train your dog well, you can take them with you more and be better able to predict their behavioral response to you.
2) Pest Extermination? Point Cats (Dogs-1, Cats-1)
When it comes to keeping your home free of unwanted pests, cats are far better than dogs in doing so. Since cats are born hunters, they will naturally chase most things that move, including insects as well as mice. As such, if you live somewhere that has a vermin problem, your situation will be helped out by a cat who kills such pests. While dogs may only bark or chase around some of these animals, cats will effectively hunt them. It is important, however, to make sure that your cat does not eat the pests it kills in case they are carrying any diseases.
3) Space Requirements? Point Cats (Dogs-1, Cats-2)
If you are concerned about having enough space to keep your pet happy, you will be better off opting for a cat over a dog. Cats tend to be smaller than most breeds of dog, so they physically will not take up as much space, and thus will not get in your way if you have a small home. Additionally, since cats do not tend to run around as much as dogs, they will be more content having a smaller area to roam than would a dog. Since cats can fit into small spaces, even in the absence of large rooms, they will be able to stay comfortable as they go about their days.
4) Active Lifestyle? Point Dogs (Dogs-2, Cats-2)
People can often get frustrated and bored when they don’t keep busy and active. There is no doubt that dogs are better at keeping up with your activity and encouraging you to play than cats. Since dogs, especially bigger dogs, need to go for walks and run around, you as an owner will get a fair dose of exercise frequently. This is especially beneficial if you do not usually work out, as it will allow you to spend time with your dog while also keeping fit. Furthermore, dogs are often willing to learn to run along with you when you play sports or even follow along with your yoga routine. Since exercise is a great way to reduce stress, playing with your dog is actually beneficial for your health.
5) Noise Level? Point Cats (Dogs-2, Cats-3)
If you live somewhere where there are often other people around, or you just don’t want loud sounds to distract you from your routines, cats will be the better pet for you. While many dogs will respond to unknowns by barking loudly and frequently, cats tend not to make so much noise. Resultantly, you are less likely to be disturbed by the vocalizations of cats than those of dogs. Some cats may be more verbal than others, but even the sounds that cats do make tend to be quieter than persistent barking.
6) Protection? Point Dogs (Dogs-3, Cats-3)
If one of your reasons for having a pet is protection of yourself and your property, you should face the reality that cats cannot measure up to dogs in this respect. When feeling threatened, cats will usually try to run away to escape. Dogs, on the other hand, will instinctually seek to protect their territory from perceived dangers. Even dogs that are too small to be capable of fighting off threats will likely be loud enough to alert you of problems so you can seek out aid. If you do have a large dog, potential intruders will likely be deterred, as big animals can be intimidating, especially if you do not know how they have been trained.
7) Useful Sense of Smell? Point Dogs (Dogs-4, Cats-3)
A good nose can come in handy, and dogs have an exceptional sense of smell. Not only can they use their noses to sniff out food as you serve meals, but they can also get jobs with the police sniffing for bombs or drugs. Furthermore, dogs have such a heightened sense of smell that they may be able to sniff out certain illnesses. Dogs have an extremely high rate of accuracy when it comes to smelling certain types of cancer in humans. Additionally, dogs can often sense the impending onset of seizures hours before they occur. As such, dogs can be trained to use their noses to help many people in various walks of life, from law enforcement agencies to chronically ill individuals.
8) Affordability? Point Cats (Dogs-4, Cats-4)
Between food expenses, training, general maintenance, and more, taking care of a dog can be incredibly expensive, and cost hundreds of dollars more every year than owning a cat. Since dogs tend to be larger and more active than cats, they require a greater amount of resources including food, toys, and leashes, the costs of which can quickly pile up. Additionally, visits to the veterinarian tend to be cheaper for cats than for dogs, so owning a cat over a dog will save you money in that regard as well. Furthermore, in many cases even adoption fees are lower for cats than for dogs.
9) Making Friends? Point Dogs (Dogs-5, Cats-4)
Not only are dogs known as being much more friendly pets than cats, but they can also help you to have more interactions with others. When people see pet owners walking their happy dogs around town, they will often smile or ask to play with them. As such, dogs can help you make friends with the people around you. Social interactions brought about by dogs can brighten your day and help you feel better. Cats, on the other hand, don’t tend to walk around with their owners or inspire grinning or chatting with strangers.
10) Bathroom Habits? Point Cats (Dogs-5, Cats-5)
If you are squeamish about having a pet with unpleasant bathroom habits, you will be more comfortable with cats than with dogs. While you would have to pick up after a dog whenever you take them for a walk, you can just keep a litter box for the cat. Litter box maintenance tends to be a cleaner process, and you can just scoop out the waste and regularly replace the litter. As such, you will not have to worry about your pet making a mess on someone else’s property, or really even your own. With all of the odor-absorbing litter that is out there, you can keep your home smelling fresh even with keeping cats as pets.
11) Reading Communication Cues? Point Dogs (Dogs-6, Cats-5)
It’s incredibly common to hear people refer to dogs as man’s best friend, and this can extend beyond simply friendship. Dogs tend to read human communication signals at a similar level as babies, which is something that cats are not likely to even try to do. There has been evidence to suggest that dogs are sensitive to vocal and behavioral cues regarding informational communication. In fact, this is a unique trait of dogs, such that no other species has been shown to respond to communication cues to such a degree. Since wolves do not demonstrate the same degree of reading, it is possible that this trait is linked to artificial selection when dogs were first domesticated.
12) Keeping Clean? Point Cats (Dogs-6, Cats-6)
Cleanliness can be very important when it comes to pets, as unwashed animals tend to acquire an unpleasant smell about them. As self-cleaners, cats are much better at maintaining hygiene than dogs. When you own a dog as a pet, you will have to either give them regular baths or take them to a groomer in order to make sure they stay clean. Cats, however, groom themselves and require far less hygiene maintenance. Nevertheless, if you still want to take them to a groomer or brush their fur, you can do so. Additionally, cats tend not to roll around in muck as much as dogs do, so they will generally not get as dirty as canines in the first place.
13) No Need for Constant Supervision? Point Cats (Dogs-6, Cats-7)
If your ideal pet is one that is self-sufficient and doesn’t rely on you to stay occupied, you will be well suited for owning a cat. When left with necessary resources, cats can get along fine without their owners for relatively long stretches of time. Dogs, on the other hand, will get bored and perhaps frustrated or sad if left alone all day. While neither animal will need constant supervision in adulthood, dogs will still require more of your attention. However, cats are more willing to go about things on their own, so you need not worry about them if you have a busy day that pulls you away from home for many hours.
14) Variety? Point Dogs (Dogs-7, Cats-7)
When it comes to variation and range of options, dogs are better than cats. Though there are many different breeds of cats, most cats tend to be of a similar size, stature, and lifestyle. Dogs, however, come in a huge range of sizes, appearances, and temperaments. You can find a dog that will fit the way you live regardless of how that happens to be. For instance, some dogs are active and playful, while others are more content to be laid-back and cuddle. Since different breeds of dogs can vary greatly from each other, and there are so many mixed-breed dogs, you will be able to find one with all of the traits you most want in a pet.
Conclusion – It’s a Personal Decision!
When considering all of the factors on this list, it seems that the question of whether dogs or cats are better has no clear answer, as the contest ends in a draw. Cats and dogs can both be great pets, and they can both become part of your family. Only you can decide whether your lifestyle is better suited for a cat or a dog. Ask yourself, which factors are most important to you? Whichever pet you decide to bring home, if you show your pet care and love, he or she will brighten up your day and keep you company for many years.