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Choosing Between Dog or Cat

Cats and dogs are the most popular pets in the United States. In fact, if you’re thinking about getting a pet, you’re probably considering both. In order to help you choose, we have put together a list of advantages and disadvantages for each. Please remember that getting a pet is a commitment. Don’t rush into it. Be absolutely certain it is something you want, can afford, and can fit into your lifestyle.

Cost of Care
Dogs and cats both need to be spayed or neutered. They both require vaccines and a minimum amount of supplies like a litter box or a leash. Both can be destructive when they’re young. There are many factors to consider and many variables that can change over time. For this reason, I’m chalking this up to a tie. Nevertheless, you should know that the American Veterinary Association reports the annual cost of medical care to be more expensive for cats than dogs. Visit this site for a nice break down on the current costs associated with dog and cat care. Use their calculator to determine how much your pet might cost you over his lifetime.

Time
Cats require less time. They are more independent and don’t need to be walked. Even if you train your dog to go inside the house, he will require more time. Dogs tend to be needier and require more attention, hence the term ‘lap dog’. Let’s just say that if you have little time to devote to a pet, you should get a fish. If you have a little more time than that, get a cat.

Exercise
If you’re big on exercise and outdoor adventure, a dog might be your best bet. Dogs enjoy being walked and can be ideal for travel and outdoor fun. Some breeds have a lot of energy and require the exercise. Dogs can fetch, swim, hunt, pull sleds, or herd sheep. They lend themselves more to exercise than cats do. If your lifestyle requires you to be more sedentary, get a cat.

Trainability
Most dogs can be trained. They want to be trained to do things. It gives them a sense of purpose when you give them a job to do. They like to please you and want to spend as much time with you as you will allow. Some breeds will be easier to train than others. Some are smarter. Some are even instinctively better at certain things, like swimming. Whatever the case, when you compare a dog to a cat, a cat is less likely to respond to training.

Security
This tends to be a more obvious one. Don’t get me wrong. You will find your occasional hero cat, but when you think security, you think dog. You have your watch dog breeds and your guard dog breeds. A dog’s bark alone is enough to deter criminals.

Space
Cats require less space. With the exception of toy breeds, most dogs need room to walk and stretch. Most require space to play and run around. This is not to say that cats don’t need space too. They just require less and will do just fine in a small or cramped apartment.

You
Who are you? Some personalities do better with cats while others do better with dogs. If you are introverted and calm, you may prefer a pet that requires less exercise, is more independent, and requires less maintenance. Generally, these personalities do better with cats. Dogs are a better alternative for outgoing, affectionate, and sociable personalities.

Whatever you decide, keep in mind that breed will have a lot to do with the kind of pet that you get. There are cat breeds that behave more like dogs, such is the case with the Maine Coon. Still, the above is a good guide for weighing one over the other. Once you’ve decided on the species, do your research on the breed to get as close to your perfect pet as possible.