If your house is anything like mine chances are you have both a cat and a dog, if not a couple of both. Each person in our home loves every animal and genuinely cares for its well-being, but that doesn’t necessarily mean we love all there is to love about that given pet.
In fact you’ll often here one of us say, “Yeah well I’m just a dog person” or “I love cats, but dogs are okay.” As to which statement you hear strongly depends on who you are talking to. For me it’s dogs without a doubt. My 11 year old picks cats and my 16 year old equally adores both.
So what is it that makes us prefer one or the other when it comes to our furry friends?
Sometimes Lifestyles Just Match
On first assumption you might suspect a low energy home body would always pick a cat over a dog. But that’s not always the case. In fact many low energy home bodies prefer dogs. Their reasoning is simple:
- A low energy dog makes a great movie buddy and snuggle companion
- Older dogs love nothing more than just lazing around the house, deck or yard
- On those occasions when you want to take off for vacation your lounging buddy is on board for the change of pace, with very little fuss.
This isn’t to say that cats aren’t great snuggle buddies, when they want to be. But generally speaking your cat will prefer to lounge in a window while you sprawl out on the couch and that pooch is going to edge his way in to sprawl up close and personal.
For the hurried person they tend to flock more towards cats because cats overall are low maintenance animals. They don’t demand a lot of your time and enjoy short periods of affection from day to day making them ideal for the career driven household.
It’s All About Preference
The obvious reality is cats and dogs have very different preferences in life and in lifestyle. What keeps one species happy down right aggravates another and vice versa. For example dogs LOVE to go on walks and car rides; generally speaking cats do not. Cats love being at the highest point while they observe the world below them; generally speaking dogs do not. Cats hiss and claw. Dogs bark and bite.
Dogs more often than not need to be house-trained and taught manners. Cats often come already litter trained but track litter all over the house and are found in the most annoying places sometimes, like your kitchen counter while preparing a meal.
All in all it’s about preference when it comes to which species a person leans towards owning. For us dog lovers there isn’t a single thing about a dog that we can’t work with because those slobbery kisses and frequent barking brings great joy to our day. The same goes for cat lovers; seeing their kitties climb the drapes is not annoying. Rather it’s an enjoyable time to watch them run and play and show off their kitty talent.
Basic Characteristics Just Don’t Change
Cats and dogs are both very different in how they live, what they prefer and the demand the place on their human owners. Familiarizing yourself with the most common differences can you determine if you really are a cat person or a dog person.
- Demand for daily exercise – dogs need to be exercised daily, hard enough to exert energy. If their human fails to provide adequate exercise the dog will become disobedient and possibly destructive. Cats on the other hand don’t require their humans to exercise them. All they need are a few good toys and climbing posts and they’re set.
- Demand for attention – generally speaking dogs demand a lot of attention from their humans. They want play time, they want exercise time and they want cuddle time. For the most part cats are quite content with the occasional head scratch and available lap to nap in. They don’t demand a whole lot from their humans.
- Learning boundaries – while many cat people will brag about training cats they all do agree on one thing, cats set their own boundaries. They’ll tell you that they can teach their cats to stay off the counters or table – sometimes – but they can’t teach them that one room is off limits. Additionally the simplified use of baby gates is ineffective on cats since they simply jump over them. Dogs on the other hand train very well to boundaries set by their humans and learn to respect baby gates as if they were solid walls.
- Bathroom cleanup – the obvious, cats require a litter pan if you plan to keep them indoors and that alone deters many from liking cats without much consideration.
Whether you are a dog person or a cat person pretty much depends on what animal behaviors you want to live with and which ones seem to fit perfectly with your family and lifestyle. While the points above are generalized and don’t necessarily mean all cats or all dogs will fit these descriptions it does help serve as an indicator of what to expect.
So what’s your preference and why? I’d love to hear your thoughts below.
This post was written by a guest contributor. About the Author:
Mikki Hogan, publisher of MyDogDidWhat.com actively works in animal rescue with an emphasis on the rehabilitation of special needs dogs. Through her website she offers online dog training tips and support to dog owners and fellow rescuers across the globe.