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Cat or dog: Which is the best pet for me?

Cats or dogs? A great debate for animal lovers for a long time. To determine which pet is best for you depends on the space and time you have to spend with them, your family’s needs, the ability to cover short-term and long-term expenses, and of course, personal preference. We hope this information helps you on your path to pet ownership.  

Space and Family Consideration

Before heading to the nearest pet rescue, consider the dog vs. cat needs, your family, and any home restrictions.

Cats are great if you have the budget for short-term (food, litter, toys, scratching post, treats, etc.) and long-term costs (vaccinations, vet care, cat insurance, etc.), cat-proof living space free of loose wires and other cat distractions, and time and money for grooming especially of certain breeds. Also consider other people and pets in the home and whether they will all get along.

While cats can be left alone for short period of time if left with access to food and water and/or someone to look in on them daily, dogs require more. Making the decision to get a dog shouldn’t be taken lightly: They require daily walks and interaction, access to potty outside, and may not be allowed if you rent your home. While some apartments allow small dogs (up to 15-20lbs.), they often don’t allow larger breeds.

Allergies and Health Considerations

When I was a teenager, my mother decided to feed a stray cat. My brothers and I decided, against my parents’ wishes, to pet it. Almost immediately I broke out in hives and started sneezing. Turns out, I was allergic to cats. While we loved the idea of having a cat, the reality was that we needed a hypoallergenic pet. We found the cat care and adopted a poodle, a hypoallergenic option for pet lovers. If we hadn’t known about the allergy, a cat may have been a better fit for our busy lifestyle.

Personality Considerations

All things equal, when it comes to selecting a cat or dog, they are distinctly different animals. Dogs are pack animals, craving attention from others whether that’s other dogs or people. It’s why they follow you wherever you go and why most do well traveling or moving. Dogs just want to be near their pack.

Cats, on the other hand, are lone, nocturnal hunters who crave independence. While they may bond with a human, especially if you get them when they are a kitten, most cats only need you to fulfill their basic needs of food and shelter.

If you love to travel, are on a budget, and are not allergic, cats may be the better option for you but if you’re looking for a more active companion who wants nothing more than to be close to you, then consider getting a dog. To determine the best dog breed, again, consider your family’s needs and lifestyle

Pet Expectations

Finding the best pet is a lot like dating: You have an idea of what you want, but your expectations may not match reality.

You may like larger dog breeds—like Labradors and Rottweilers—but the reality is that their care may not fit your lifestyle. From a budget perspective, cat and smaller dog breeds may be less expensive, but their personality may not be a good fit for your family.

When choosing a cat or a dog, set reasonable expectations and consider the following:

  • Does your pet need to be hypoallergenic? 
  • What is your budget for pet care?
  • What breed (size and personality) is right for your family and lifestyle?
  • Are you willing to take care of them even if they don’t meet your expectations?

A pet is a long-term commitment, and in spite of how much research and time you spend selecting a cat or dog, sometimes the reality is that your small puppy ends up quite large and still your responsibility.

Cost of Pet Ownership

As an example, the first year costs of cat ownership is estimated at $1,070 and approximately $500 per year. Dogs cost slightly more in the first year, ranging $1,000-1,200. Keep in mind, the cost of pet sitting for a dog can be $15 for a drop-in or $25-40 for an overnight stay, whereas a cat may be able to stay home alone for a short period of time, saving you money in the long-term. It’s important to consider both the first year and ongoing expenses before making the decision to bring a dog or cat into your home.

Conclusion

Whether you adopt a cat or dog, there are the factors of time, money, space, and allergies to consider. Once you have an idea of what you want, you can start the search and start a lifetime of love with your new friend.

Editor’s Note: When choosing the perfect dog for kids, there are many considerations. With these tips and plenty of research, you can find the right dog for your family.


Anne McAuley Lopez is a professional blogger and the founder of Blogging Badass. Since 2010, she has worked with clients to create content that tells the story of their business and connects them to their target market. It could be argued that she knows entirely too much about termites, retirement planning, court reporting, Alaskan fishing and mining, and social media—which makes her a great blogger and trivia night partner. When she’s not showing off her mad skillz, Anne can be found spending time with her husband, watching romantic comedies, eating tacos, or walking her dog.

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