Dog vs Cat. What makes a better pet?

While the 2020 lockdowns have brought mostly negative consequences into our lives, one silver lining has been that animal adoptions are on the rise. This of course raises the age old questions or what makes for a better pet between dogs and cats. Today PMI American River looks at the pros and cons of adopting a dog vs a cat. 

Pros of owning a dog

  1. Dogs are great at keeping you active. Activity is great for your health. Most dogs need lots of exercise and will beg you to take them on long walks. Getting outside and being active is not only healthy for you but also a great bonding opportunity for you and your dog. 
  2. Dogs have a long history with humans and the positive effects of the companionship that you will receive is built into our DNA. Interacting with dogs has a proven stress relief factor on humans
  3. Dog companionship is also associated with elevated mood and disease protection in their owners. Owning a dog is highly associated with a reduced risk of disease. Dog owners are statistically less likely to have heart attacks than non dog owners and generally have lower blood pressure and cholesterol. 

Cons of owning a dog

  1. It is expensive to own a dog. Whether it be the cost of food, toys, collars and leashes or vaccinations and veterinary care, a dog is a major financial commitment that you must be ready for. 
  2. Your time and attention will be heavily required. A lot of people adopt a dog without realizing the amount of time and attention that dogs need to be healthy and happy. If you are a busy person and always on the go, then a dog just might not be the right pet for you. 
  3. Training takes a lot of effort. While you could argue that this falls under the time and attention category, it is actually a whole other process. Dogs need to be taught where to potty, how to walk on a leash, who is a friend, not to jump on people and what not to chew. If you are not a patient person then a dog might not be the best pet for you. 

Pros of owning a cat

  1. Just like dogs, companionship with a cat has a lot of health benefits for humans. Owning a cat is said to have positive effects on humans regarding heart disease and reduced risk of stroke. Cat companionship triggers the release of calming chemicals in humans. Their purring can help with sleep and anxiety relief as well. 
  2. Reduction in allergies is another potential benefit of having a cat around if you start when you are young. According to a study by “The National Institute of Health” children raised around cats had a higher resistance to developing allergic reactions to a multitude of different allergens.
  3. Cats help you say goodbye to rodents and other pests. Even the smell of a cat in the area is enough to make mice and rats want to live somewhere else. Cats are natural hunters and instinctively drawn to small prey. If you want a natural way to protect your house against pests, then cat ownership is an easy way to achieve it. 

Cons of owning a cat

  1. Cats shed a lot, so if it is a problem for you to have hair on your floor, bed and clothes, you may not enjoy having a cat around. 
  2. Cats may scratch, bite, destroy furniture and kill small animals. We know that killing small animals was listed above as a positive of cat ownership but the downside is that your cat may want to show its pride in defending your house against pests by presenting you with its most recent kill. 
  3. The litter box must be cleaned. While it is great that a cat is easy to potty train with a litter box, that litter box will still need to be cleaned consistently. Litter boxes can get pretty gross pretty quick. Cleaning the litter box will become a regular chore for any cat owner. 

In the end whether a dog or a cat makes a better pet comes down to nothing more than preference. In the U.S. it is estimated that  about 3/4 of households have dogs and about half of households have cats. The great news is that you do not have to decide on just one if you don’t want to. Which one do you think makes a better pet?