How to Choose between a Cat and a Dog as a Pet

Choosing Between a Cat and Dog Advice

If you’re thinking of getting an animal companion, it’s important to know how to choose between a cat and a dog as a pet. As you may have guessed, both come with their own advantages and disadvantages.

Before choosing either a cat or a dog as a pet, you also need to be aware of the responsibility you’ll be taking on. This includes having your new pet spayed or neutered, buying cat or dog food, scheduling trips to the veterinarian, etc..

There are also no absolutes. Some dogs are highly independent, while some cats are very emotionally needy. Behavior can differ from breed to breed, so the tips in this article are only intended as a guideline.

Below, I have included some of the most sensible considerations to take into account prior to getting a pet. Weigh each of these carefully, and you’ll be well on your way to knowing how to choose between a cat and a dog as a pet.


If you’re concerned about getting enough exercise, a dog might be the best pet for you. Dogs need to be walked, and you’ll get plenty of fresh air and exercise in the process.

Cats, on the other hand, don’t need to be walked. If your lifestyle tends to be a sedentary one, then a cat might be perfect for you.

Time Considerations

Before choosing between a cat and a dog, take into consideration how much time you have to devote to your pet. Dogs, as mentioned previously, will need to be walked daily. Throughout their lives they’ll also need a high level of attention, as dogs tend to thrive on interaction with their owners. If you don’t have much time to devote to a pet, you might want to avoid a dog.

Cats tend to be more independent. While they enjoy displays of affection from their owners, they don’t really require it as much as dogs. If you want a pet but have very little time to devote to it, a cat is probably more appropriate.

Bathroom Breaks

A pet owner is going to have to clean up after their animal. Cats will use a litter box (although I have heard of cats who’ve been trained to actually sit on the toilet), and these will need to be tended to daily.

Dogs will need to go outside to do their business. If you live in a big city, you’ll also need to pick up after your dog once they’ve relieved themselves.

Ability To Be Trained

Most dogs can be easily trained. If you’re looking for a pet that can fetch, roll over and play dead, then a dog might be best. Cats, however, don’t always respond to training and can be downright stubborn. Then again, most cats would look rather silly trying to carry in the morning paper.


While cats can be loyal, you don’t often hear stories about cats sacrificing their lives to save their owners. Dogs, however, have been known to pull their masters from burning buildings and all manner of other incredible feats. If you’re looking for absolute loyalty, a dog is the way to go.


If you need an animal to protect your property and alert you to intruders, the choice between a cat and dog is an easy one. Dogs make excellent guardians, as they can bark loudly and even subdue intruders if the need arises.

Living Space

If you live in a cramped apartment, a cat may be better suited to your life. You’ll just need to remember to clean out their litter box on a daily basis, or else your living space will soon begin to smell.

Dogs generally need more space to move around, with the possible exception of the toy breeds. But even small dogs need exercise, so make sure your dog has room to maneuver.

If the animal is going to live outside, you’ll need to provide it with some form of shelter. The larger the pet, the more expensive the shelter will be. By this logic, a cat would most likely cost you less money.

Also, both cats and dogs can sometimes be destructive. Dogs may dig holes in the yard, while cats can quickly destroy a garden (dogs are also good at this). Cats also have a habit of collecting dead mice and birds.

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