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What Should I Consider When Choosing Between a Cat or a Dog?

Cats are generally independent creatures who do not require much care.
Dog owners must be ready to provide regular walks.
Cats may be happier in a smaller space than dogs.
Cats are lower maintenance than dogs, making them ideal for people who prefer calm and quiet.
Dogs typically require more space to run than cats.
A dog will require regular exercise and more training than cats.
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  • Written By: Dana Hinders
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 14 September 2014
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Pets provide companionship and unconditional love. In fact, there have been numerous studies proving that owning a pet reduces your stress levels and promotes an overall feeling of well-being. However, choosing whether to get a cat or a dog can sometimes be a difficult task for a prospective pet owner.

When choosing between these two pets, the first thing you’ll need to consider is your living arrangements. Dogs typically need more space to run, while cats can be happy in a smaller apartment. A dog will need to be taken for regular walks — a task which may be difficult if you live in a larger urban area. If you live in a rental unit, your landlord may also have restrictions on what types of pets are acceptable.

The level of time you have to devote to caring for your pet is another important factor to consider. Cats are independent creatures who need very little care, but dogs will require much more training and supervision. If you have a demanding job that requires late nights at the office or frequent travel, owning either will be difficult, but owning a dog may be more difficult unless you have someone else to share the responsibility of caring for your pet. If you’re patient and looking for a pet who can become another member of your family, however, owning a dog might be an ideal fit.

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Your own personality can also influence whether a cat or a dog is the right pet for you. Generally, people who are outgoing and sociable prefer dogs to cats. They love to play with their pets and look forward to being greeted enthusiastically at the end of the day. Cat owners, however, tend to be calmer and more introverted. They want a pet who is as low-maintenance as they are.

No matter what type of pet you finally choose, it’s important to make sure that you understand the responsibilities of owning a cat or a dog. For example, you’ll need to make sure that your pet is protected from poisonous household cleaners, breakable objects, electrical cords, and other potential safety hazards. You’ll also need to have it spayed or neutered and adjust your household budget to account for your pet’s veterinary care, grooming, licensing, boarding, and accessories. In some cases, you may even wish to purchase pet health insurance to protect your dog or cat in the event of unexpected illnesses or injuries.

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Discuss this Article

anon956694
Post 9

Lots of things said here are not true. "Generally, people who are outgoing and sociable prefer dogs to cats." I am not at all outgoing and have always loved dogs much more than cats.

"Cats are independent creatures who need very little care." This isn't true either. I have a cat who follows me wherever I go and is totally not independent.

I'm sorry, but I really think this is stereotypical. And the most important thing to remember is that personalities vary with each animal, so meet and play with the specific animal before adopting (please adopt, don't buy) it to make sure it fits your lifestyle. Thanks.

anon303936
Post 6

Not enough information! The reason why most cats are lazy because they have been neutered. That's what happens with animals who are spayed or neutered; they tend to grow lazy. But not all of them. Some will be as energetic as before they were spayed or neutered.

anon163324
Post 5

The article has a good beginning, but it is a bit too vague. Also, I agree that it may be stereotypical, because in all cases, dogs and cats can act in different ways.

Although I do think that most people do think as stated in the article, about dogs' and cats' personalities, but it is not necessarily true. The article itself isn't too bad though, so keep working hard!

anon70339
Post 3

this is a very stupid article, as it doesn't include enough information. I also don't like the fact that they act say cat lovers are reserved and more laid back while dog owners are outgoing. This is almost never true. My cat goes on walks with me, on a leash, and my dog sleeps all day. These people are stereotyping our animals.

anon28379
Post 2

The information about cats is rather stereotypical. My husband and I are both very outgoing social people and love all 4 of our cats just as much as any dog. Our cats greet us every day at the door and prefer to hang around whichever room we are in. Our cats play games with each other and with us as well (some play fetch) and we consider them to be members of the family.

anon21724
Post 1

Good start but I believe the article should be expanded. For instance would you rather clean a litter box or take your dog out every few hours?, Are you going to mind the smell your dog will get after its been running around in the yard? There are so many more things that could be brought up in this article. And the comment about cats being independent creatures is not necessarily true. I personally have a cat that plays chase with my children, fetches a ball, and loves nothing more than to follow you from room to room and sit in your lap whenever you sit down. (As a side note, I also own three dogs and have been actively involved in animal rescue for nine years)

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