Let's be real. There genuinely are only two kinds of people in this world: cat people and dog people. They often get along great, but if you ask them which animal is better, you better be prepared for fiery debate! Dogs versus cats: a dilemma that has been around since time immemorial. Why are cats better than dogs? Or why should I adopt a dog? Or a cat? And can't we just have one (or several) of each?
Seven reasons why cats are better than dogs
Reason 1: Cats are easier to care for than dogs
Generally speaking, cats are lower maintenance creatures than their canine counterparts. Cats don't need to go for multiple daily walks to do their business (although, of course, you could if you wanted to). They can take themselves outside, or use their kitty litter. Unless you live on a farm, a dog can't go for walkies by themselves.
Reason 2: Cats can entertain themselves
Cats can entertain themselves at home. Providing they can go outside, of course. Should you have a proper indoor tiger, you'll need to play with them to allow them to burn some excess energy. Cats are easily entertained with laser pointers, brain games or a cat castle to climb in. And if your cat has plenty of options to climb and play, they will leave your furniture in peace. And as they can entertain themselves so well, cats can be great pets for people that have to work all day.
Reason 3: Cats take up less space
Cats take up less space than the average dog. Besides the actual size of the animal, cats also require less accessories. Cat baskets are much smaller and can be funny and subtle additions to your living room decor. Cat toys tend to be smaller and therefore easier to store. That makes cats ideal for small living situations.
Reason 4: Cats aren't noisy
Cats are much more quiet than dogs (One might even say stealthy) and your neighbours will appreciate that. Dogs tend to bark when they see or hear someone passing by outside and although you can train them out of that habit, they will never stop barking altogether. Some cat get the zoomies and others love to chat with you loudly, but generally speaking, their meows, purring and grunts are low volume.
Reason 5: Cats are cheaper
Cats toys are usually a bit less expensive than dog toys, as cats tend not to destroy them so quickly, which means these toys don't require the use of costly materials. You could even DIY some of their toys yourself! Other cat equipment is generally also less expensive for cats, as you don't need leashes and collars. In addition, cats eat a lot less and do not need a walking service or puppy training.
Reason 6: Cats don't need lots of training
Speaking of training: as soon as they are weaned, cats are independent and know (how) to use a kitty litter. Cats do need to get used to new environments, but they will eventually make themselves at home and will adjust to their human's lifestyle (or they make sure their human adjusts to theirs…).
Before you can leave a young dog alone at home, they will need to go through a whole educational process. They need to learn to socialise with humans and other dogs, get to know the rules of the household and learn commands and how to walk on a leash.
Reason 7: Cats are incredibly independent
As cats are super independent, they will probably not follow you around everywhere you go to beg for your attention. After a long day at work, sometimes you just want to chill out on the sofa, without a dog throwing themselves on your lap and licking your face. Some days, a happy meow hello and a wee head bump against your leg is more than enough! Lots of cats don't need constant attention, although you could be fooled into thinking otherwise when you are working, and they jump on your laptop 😉.
Seven reasons why dogs are better than cats
Reason 1: A dog can't live without you
All well and good, these independent kitties, but what if you are looking for a BFF? Someone that will go with you wherever you go, who is always happy and is ecstatic when you get home (even if you have been gone for only 10 minutes)? That probably means you are a dog person. Their humans are everything to a dog: going for walkies together, playing together and training together. A dog is a buddy that is up to anything, as long as they get to be with you.
Reason 2: A dog will keep you fit!
Dogs need to go out for a walk several times a day, which means you'll be working at keeping fit! Not only will you get lots of fresh air, you will also reach your required 10000 steps a day. There is also a good chance you'll meet fellow dog owners to have a chat with, of folks that compliment you on the cuteness of your pooch.
Reason 3: A dog is always up for having a bit of fun (with you)
Dogs are always ready for good times. Cats have their balls of yarn and their cardboard boxes, but they don't need humans to enjoy those. Dogs are always ready to play, preferably with another dog and/or humans. Throwing frisbees, tug-o-war or running after other dogs: pups prefer to have fun with others!
Reason 4: There is a dog for every lifestyle
Dogs have been our loyal companions for eons and there are many different breeds. Small dogs to cuddle with? Check. Active dogs to exercise with? Check. Badass dogs to assist law enforcement? Check. Cat breeds are relatively uniform. There are different breeds, but often the difference is no more significant than the length of their fur (or lack thereof) or their size. And many kitties are mixed breeds. So if you are looking for an animal to suit your specific lifestyle? Check out the doggie catalogue!
Reason 5: A dog will adapt
Cats have a hard time getting used to new situations. Moving house can be stressful for kitties and they will take time to get used to a new home. Dogs tend to be a bit more chill about things and will take their cue from their humans. New baby? No problem: stay calm about it and your pup will follow your lead.
Reason 6: Dogs are easier to train
Doggos are much easier to train than cats. It takes much less time, because many dogs will do anything to please their human. Cats on the other hand seem to laugh in your face when you try to teach them anything. As dogs are easy to train, it is also easier for them to unlearn something. Untrained dogs can wreak havoc on your home, but by educating them well, they will stop vandalising (or never start). Cats however, will never stop swatting cups and vases off the table. Trust us. They won't.
Reason 7: Dogs can protect you
Some pups are highly vigilant and will do anything to protect their humans against intruders. The love for their owners and the fact that they are easy to train not only makes dogs suitable as guard animals, but they can also assist the police and customs officials. You'd be hard-pressed to find a sniffer cat!
Dogs and cats: you can have it all
In the end, of course, claiming one species is better than the other is nonsense. We want both! And although we all know the saying 'fight like cats and dogs', they can live together peacefully. It just takes some time and patience to get them used to each other.
Step by step: introducing your dog and cat to each other
Just like humans, dogs and cats need to get to know each other step by step. It is essential that when you introduce them to each other, both animals are calm and quiet. First, they have to get to know each other's scent. Place the new animal in a separate room for a few days, so that your current pet has the run of the rest of the house. They will occasionally sniff at the closed door and slowly get used to the smell of the new animal. Pay close attention to how they react: reward your pet if they behave interested and curious, but distract them with food or toys if they are angry or agitated.
When both animals accept each other's scent and stay calm, you can move on to the next step. Now they are allowed to see each other. Purchase a baby fence or something that works for your home, so that the animals can see each other, but not touch. Open the door to the room, but keep the gate closed. Again, reward curiosity, but remove the animal that reacts hyper or agitated. Repeat this process several times, and spread it out over several days. If that goes well, proceed to step three: opening the gate. Allow the animals to approach calmly. Prevent them from jumping each other abruptly by keeping the dog on a leash. Don't let the animals touch each other, but do let them get closer. If all goes well, you can stay in the same space together. Again, keep the dog on a leash to give the cat time to make a run for it if necessary. Do this in several sessions, adding a little to the duration each time, until you see they are buddies!
Of course, it also depends on what breed of dog you have. Quite a few dog breeds are not suitable for living with cats or other small pets. Hunting dogs or shepherd dogs have an innate tendency to go after other animals. This does not mean that your pup will not get along with cats, just because he is a Beagle or Jack Russel. It's is different for each animal. If your dog's hunting instinct is not too big or if he gets enough exercise and distraction, it doesn't have to be a problem. However, always stay alert during the getting-to-know-you phase, so that you can immediately intervene if things go wrong.
So you see, cat versus dog doesn't have to be a dilemma! Both cats and dogs are amazing, and each has their attractive characteristics and advantages. Choose the animal that best suits your lifestyle and home situation and if possible: take both! The more, the merrier. (Up to a point. Don't start hoarding them. 😉)