Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Cat Versus Dog: Which One Makes the Best Pet?

By Julia Williams

Pet owners often engage in friendly – and sometimes not-so-friendly – discussions on whether cats make better pets than dogs, or vice versa. While there are quite a few pet owners who love both cats and dogs equally, others are adamant in their stance that one species is better than the other. Where we stand in the great ‘cat versus dog debate’ is often a result of which pet we had growing up, or a particular experience we had with one, either positive or negative. Sometimes a preference emerges for no apparent reason; it just is, and it’s how we’ve always felt.

Over the years I’ve been a pet mom to a dozen cats. I like dogs too but have only shared my home with one, so my experience with them is more limited. However, just because my BFF’s have always been cats doesn’t automatically mean I think cats make better pets than dogs. The relationships are different, not necessarily better. Nonetheless, for the sake of the debate I’ve come up with a few reasons why one might want a cat instead of a dog. Don’t think I’m bashing dogs though, because I’m really not. Rather, this is just my attempt at humor.

The Cleanliness Factor

Dogs need to be bathed regularly and even then, many breeds have a distinct ‘eau de dog’ shortly after getting squeaky clean. Cats win this category paws down because they are remarkably self cleaning. My cats wash themselves after every FELIDAE feeding frenzy, in between mealtimes, and pretty much every waking hour. Bathing a cat is rarely necessary, which is a good thing because it’s not exactly easy to do without getting shredded.

Physical Activity

All dogs need regular exercise. Some breeds can get by with a short daily walk or play session in the backyard, but others need more physical activity than this, which can be challenging if you’re more ‘couch potato’ than marathon runner. Cats need regular exercise too, but you don’t need to brave the chill of winter to help them burn off their kibble calories. A drawer-full of cheap cat toys is all you need!


Big dogs eat mountains of food, and even some small dog breeds put away more kibble than most cats do. Dogs need bigger pet beds than kitties do, and most felines prefer a cardboard box over a cushy pet bed anyway, so you might as well not buy one. There are typically more supplies to buy for dogs too, such as crates, leashes, harnesses, rain booties, and sweaters for those short-haired or hairless breeds. Cats don’t need to wear sweaters and most will claw you into itty bitty pieces if you’re foolish enough to even think about putting one on them. Same for the harness and leash…just don’t go there!


There’s a big difference in the time and effort required to train dogs versus cats.  For cats, training generally consists of showing them where their litter box is kept, and keeping a spray bottle of water handy to discourage counter surfing. Dogs need rules and guidance to become canine good citizens who will follow your basic commands at home, at the dog park and on walks.

Barking Versus Meowing

A bored dog left alone all day tends to engage in excessive barking, which can really get annoying when you live next door. It’s certainly not the dog’s fault, but that doesn’t make the barking any less irritating. Conversely, have you ever heard someone complain because the neighbor’s cat meowed all day while they were away? Nope, me neither! If you’re gone a lot, a cat is definitely the better pet because they sleep all day anyway.

The Palate

It’s no secret that dogs view the things they find in garbage cans, the cat’s litter box and their backyard as tasty tidbits. Yep, dogs eat rotten food and poop, and they like to roll in the stinky stuff too. When have you ever seen a cat do that? Enough said.

I’m sure I could come up with just as many reasons why dogs make better pets than cats… but I won’t because that would mean I’d have to relinquish my lifetime membership in the Crazy Cat Lady club, and the tacky cat plaque that came with it. And you know, I’ve actually grown quite fond of that ugly thing. 

Photo by Dixie Wells

Read more articles by Julia Williams


  1. I love dogs - used to have a darling German Shepherd - but I just love cats because they are such independant creatures, which suits my nature very well. I guess it very much comes down to peoples individual natures and personalities - and as you say economics too. In the end of the day they both provide such wonderful company, comfort and friendship.

  2. LOL, the look on the cats face in this pic is priceless! I 100% agree about my relationships with dogs not necessarily being better than cats - just different!

    Just wanted to let you know that I still love you lots and read your posts and all of your comments! There are never enough hours in the day for cat blogging! I will do better visiting, I promise :)

  3. I have always had both dogs and cats and have enjoyed both of them so much. They really are different to have around and I guess it depends on what your life style is. I used to love to ride horses all the time and my dogs would go with me. Now the cat couldn't do that. But the cats are great company and are independent so that makes them great companions. They both have their good and bad features. So it is a tie in my book.

  4. There used to be two big dogs that lived here with 2 cats, before I came here. I heard they were wonderful and very smart!

  5. Once again - hysterical and so true! As a once cat, now dog person (who still loves to snuggle with kitties), I loved your article. Probably won't trade in the 16 year old dog or get a kitty (because of the kitty box taste treat issue), I still see your point. Ha, ha, ha.

  6. I won't be sharing this article with my humans, since it's very convincing and might give them the crazy idea of bringing home one of those pesky felines...LOL!!

  7. I love both dogs and cats but cats are a lot easier to take care of and live with than are dogs. The dogs are worth the difference and I will always love having either or both. There are really pros and cons to having either of them. This was an interesting read. Hugs

  8. In BLOGVILLE... we are all EQUAL... except fur Squirrels, of course.
    Tacky??? Darn I thought all the glue was DRY before I took that picture of my Puddles' Original BirdBaff. hehehe

  9. My people could never choose, we have cats living here with me. I'm sure if they had to they would say schnauzers are their favorite though!

    Nubbin wiggles,

  10. I think neither one is better than the other. As you mentioned it all comes down to personal taste, personalities and what characteristics are unique to both.

    I love cats and dogs but I feel I relate to cats much better than I do dogs.

    My personality is much more "cat-like". As outgoing as I can often be, when I am done, I'm done and want to be left alone. I dislike anybody or anything always in my face. Dogs tend to be "in my face" more than I would like.

    I have a dog and a cat and adore them both but I find that cats soothe me, dogs don't.

  11. I do agree with lots of friends here, Dogs and Cats are good human's boss..heh..heh But it's up to their life style. Like me, My pawrents got no choice, I chose them and I adopted them by myself, They can't say no. But Mom agree with all those info, She prefer to have me than woofie. Because Me is purrfect her life style : )

  12. Gosh, this is a tough one! Kind of like which came first the chicken or the egg?

    I am a dog who lives peacefully with 3 cats - I think both species are pretty great!

  13. An interesting article! I'm a dog person so I prefer dogs even though they bark loudly and run crazily : )))

    Well, I don't mind cats as I have more cats than I can count because of my beloved neighbours!! I wonder whether they are cat breeders but they are not, they are pure cat lovers!!

  14. We love both dogs and cats here and could never choose between having one or the other! No dog here has ever eaten poop or rolled in anything stinky but one of the kitties rolls in her box!

  15. It doesn't really matter! There're both fantastic in their own ways! Just because dogs are loyal and cats are more cuddly doesn't make them better! Its not the animal's looks you should be worried about, its the personality that matters!

    Would you like an aggressive animal in your house-hold? I don't think so! :(


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