Should I get a dog or a cat? 5 Questions to give you paws for thought
- by DR Roxanne Jones
Ready to add a furkid to your family, but not sure whether you should opt for a dog or a cat? It’s a conundrum a lot of animal lovers face, and fortunately, we can help you make a decision!
Here are some questions to ask yourself to help make the decision a little clearer
Can’t make head or tail of it? 5 questions to help you pick your perfect pet
- How much time do you have?
Getting a dog is a major investment in time and patience. Dogs need to be made part of the family, and require daily exercise and attention. Puppy training takes time and effort, and being a dog owner calls for an ongoing commitment to your pup’s emotional and physical wellbeing.
Do you have the time (and willingness) to walk your dog every day, spend quality time with her, make sure she’s always stimulated and entertained (this may mean getting her a friend or sending her to doggie daycare while you’re at work), and involving her in as many aspects of your life as possible? If not, a cat – usually happy to be left to his own devices – may be the more realistic choice.
Cats are independent and good at keeping themselves entertained. This makes them a good option for people who want the companionship of a pet without the major time investment.
- How much space do you have?
If you live in a smaller space or an apartment, a cat may be better suited to your lifestyle. Some cats, particularly certain purebreds, can happily spend their lives indoors, as long as they are stimulated with toys and play time. Dogs, meanwhile, require a lot more space – ideally a garden to run and play in.
- What’s your budget like?
Although this is a generalisation, dogs tend to cost more than cats. Not only do they eat more food, but they also need to be groomed and bathed. You can do this yourself (if you have the time) or take your pooch to a professional pet groomer. Overall, owning a dog is usually more expensive than owning a cat.
- Do you have security concerns?
Dogs, especially larger breeds, are excellent watchdogs – though it must be stressed that you shouldn’t ever acquire a dog purely for safety reasons. Remember, a dog needs to be part of the family, which means she shouldn’t be left outside 24/7 to guard your property. If you’re needing to beef up your security and add the love of a pet to your family, a dog may be a sure bet for you. Cats, after all, are not great watchdogs!
- Do you love cuddles?
This is actually a trick question! Of course you love cuddles if you’re considering getting a pet. There’s a misconception that cats don’t enjoy affection, but this doesn’t apply to all of them. In fact, some breeds (like ragdolls, Siamese and Russian Blues) actually love to be picked up and cuddled.
Research this carefully before picking the type of cat you adopt. Some regular domestic cats may surprise you with their capacity for love and affection, and may crave physical touch and contact.
That said, if you want constant love and attention from your furbaby, a dog is a better bet. For the most part, dogs love to made a fuss of, and they’ll lap it up when you cuddle and play with them! Dogs adore affection, especially when it comes from their favourite human companions.
A final (paws for) thought
Cats are independent and for the most part, owning a feline furbaby won’t drastically change your life. They bring warmth to your home without making massive demands on you, but still require love, affection, quality food, and a safe, warm space to sleep and relax. If you have limited space, limited time but lots of love to give, a cat is probably right for you.
If you’re outdoorsy, have lots of time and space, and want a pet that can become part of the family, a dog is a great choice. Dogs are a greater commitment than cats, and adopting one will mean that your life changes, possibly fairly drastically.
Whether you opt for a cat or a dog, remember that your furbaby has a very specific set of needs, and you must be prepared for these.
Need more insights? Read our posts on dogs or cats for help with making the purrfect decision!