A Rational Guide to Choosing a Cat or Dog

It is a debate as old as debate itself. Whether you are team cat or team dog depends on several factors. But it’s about time the adversarial relationship between canines and felines ends. Emotion should be removed from the equation when it comes time to decide whether you will be a cat owner or a dog owner. The fact is that cats and dogs can both be loving, rewarding pets, but they do have some key differences that suit each to different lifestyles and owners. If you are on the fence as to whether you should get a pooch or a pussy cat, you should consider some logical criteria that boils the decision down to the facts.

How Much Do You Work?

One’s lifestyle is the first criteria that comes to mind when it comes time to choose a pet. Dogs are known for being more attached to and emotionally dependent upon their owners, while cats have a higher tolerance for independence and solitude. As Pet Place explains, cats don’t feel the need to please their owners, which can be viewed as a good thing. The upside is that this emotional independence allows cats to be left alone for longer periods without emotional or physical consequences.dog or cat

For owners who anticipate being consumed by work and other responsibilities, a cat is clearly the more humane choice. Dogs require 30-60 minutes of exercise daily, according to VetInfo. If an owner is unable to treat a dog to this activity, the dog may feel depressed and is more likely to get into trouble, especially when they are puppies. While cats are clearly the superior choice for a workaholic owner, some will choose a dog anyway.

In these cases, hardworking dog owners would be wise to hire a dog walker. This will provide the human interaction that your dog craves while you are at work, and it also means that you are less likely to arrive home to a messy home courtesy of your anxious, human-deprived pup. Sites such as Rover.com list prevailing rates for dog walkers so that you can find the intersection between quality and value. All this said, remember that a cat is the more logical choice for owners who don’t have much free time to entertain their pet.

How Needy are You?

With approximately 61 million dog owners in the United States dedicating more resources than ever to making their dogs happy, it’s clear that human-canine relations are very rewarding. Dog owners tend to look for more from their pets than just occasional companionship. Purina describes some features of typical dog owners. Outdoors-types who want their pet to go jogging, ride in the passenger seat, and do other activities alongside them without hesitation are more likely to choose dogs. The social nature of dogs means that they are a fit for owners who want consistent, effusive companionship from their pet.

On the flipside, cats tend to do their own thing. Owners who want a low-maintenance pet but enjoy occasional interaction with an animal are more suited to be cat owners. It’s true that cats don’t require as much exercise, take care of their own bathroom responsibilities, and are perfectly fine pretending their owner is invisible for long stretches. Still, they will occasionally brush up on their owner, providing a comforting purr and even curling up in their lap for a while, if you are lucky.

Gauge your own need for interaction with your pet, and decide whether a cat or a dog fits within your time constraints and relative need for interaction.


Cats and dogs shouldn’t be viewed like they are participants in some kind of gang rivalry. Sure, they don’t always get along. And it’s true that they have some significant differences. But pitting ‘dog people’ and ‘cat people’ as fundamentally different categories of human being is preposterous. If we start viewing cat or dog ownership as a matter of practicality and lifestyle differences, the world will be a better place.

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