Should I Get a Cat or Dog?
Have you always had a dream of owning an animal, and now you think you have finally reached a point in your life where you have the time and energy to give to someone else? This is the perfect time to consider adding a pet to your life. However, after this first decision, another complicated possibility arises: what pet to get. If you are unsure if a dog or cat is best for you, there are some factors you can take into consideration to help you decide!
All pets require love, attention, play time, some grooming and regular veterinary visits. How much differs between a dog and a cat? The choice comes down to what you want out of a pet, and how much energy you are prepared to devote!
Questions To Ask Yourself
Are you the active, outdoorsy type? If you want to play with your pet outside, a dog may be the right choice. This isn’t to say that cats cannot be taken outside under your close supervision or walked on a leash, but a dog is much more likely to enjoy the experience.
Do you mind daily walks? Remember, this is necessary for a dog in rain, sleet or snow, unless you have a specific place for your dog to go in the house.
What does your family want? Choosing a dog or cat should be a family decision.
Do you have children under 7 years old? Experts say children should be between 7 and 9 years old before getting a dog. Dogs may not tolerate the antics of children, or they may even hurt children accidentally during play. Although you should always keep an eye on the kids and the pets together, it is even more important with a dog.
How neat are you? Living with a pet usually means cleaning up their fur. Some dogs and cats shed less than others, but all do shed to an extent. Dogs generally require more clean up, even if they are housebroken. Some breeds drool a lot, which will give you something more to clean up.
Do you want to feel needed? Dogs and cats may both get excited and greet you when you come home, but a dog will stay excited. A cat will seek affection on her terms, not yours.
Factors To Consider Before Deciding
Evaluate how busy you are. If you aren’t home very often and are often busy with work, a cat might be a better option for you. Most cats don’t depend on you that much for companionship and are fine with alone time. Plus, they use a litter box, which means you don’t have to worry about them messing up the house when you aren’t at home.
Dogs require more time. Dogs need 30 to 60 minutes of exercise daily. If not, they will learn bad habits resulting from separation anxiety such as excessive barking, destructive tendencies, hyperactivity, scratching, or biting. They also need to be taken out a few times a day.
This doesn’t mean that you should get a cat if you are at home only to sleep. This would be cruel for your cat, which will need some interaction and care from you, such as fresh water daily and nail and fur care. They are just more low maintenance on a daily basis than dog.
2. Finances Capability
Dogs and cats are not cheap. Both pets need basic things, such as food, water, and consistent veterinary care. Cats need litter, a litter box, scratching posts, and toys to remain happy, healthy pets. Dogs need more food, toys, and carriers for traveling. It is generally easier to take a cat with you or find a cat sitter, but often dogs have to be kennelled, which is an extra expense.
Some cats, especially those with long or thick fur, will need regular grooming or a daily brushing. You may pay to have this done, or you may have to take time to do it yourself. This includes daily care as well as vaccinations and neuter or spaying. This doesn’t take into account any emergency care.
3. Current Living Arrangement
Consider the size of your home. Where you live can also impact which animal you have. Cats do fine in most environments, whether you live in a small house or a mansion with a huge yard. Dogs, depending on how large they are, require more space. It also helps to have a yard if you have a dog, which means you can just let her out to play and do her business in the back yard sometimes.
If you live in an apartment, think about a small dog or a cat. In these cases, many landlords will demand an extra deposit to cover any potential damage done to their property by your pet.
4. Flatmates or Family Members
When deciding if you want a pet, you have to think about the people who live with you. If the people are your family or your significant other, the decision to have a pet will likely be one you make together. You have to figure out everyone’s preferences, and what they feel about the different kinds of cats and dogs.
If you live with a roommate, you will need to take into consideration their needs and desires about getting a pet. Can they handle a rambunctious puppy, a roaming cat, or a large dog in your home? You have to consider their quality of life when deciding to get a pet. You also need to establish whether the people in your house are willing to help take care of the animal while you are away at work, school, or traveling.
The kind of animal you want may depend on their temperament or physical capabilities. You might want a rambunctious puppy that will turn into a big dog in need of a lot of exercise, especially if you are a very active person. If you are more a walk in the park kind of person, consider a small dog breed that enjoys slower activity.
Cats can be very temperamental. If you want a pet to hold, pet, and snuggle with all the time whenever you want, you may need to get a small dog. If you want an animal that will snuggle with you and love on you when he wants but not all the time, a cat might work better for you
6. Possibility of Allergies
Before you get a pet, you have to check to see if your family members or roommates have cat or dog allergies. You don’t want a roommate or family member to be miserable or to get attached to a pet you can’t keep. To check before getting a pet, visit friends or family that have cats and dogs separately, so you can decide which one a person might be allergic to.
If you don’t have friends with pets, visit the humane society to play with their animals. Nothing is more heartbreaking than having to give up a loved pet because someone in the family has allergies, so always be sure before adopting a pet!