When it comes to cats and dogs, people usually take sides. It’s kind of like Coke and Pepsi, except with stronger feeling. Some people enjoy both, but many consider themselves either a “cat person” or a “dog person”. And indeed, there are even psychological theories about personality types being either “cats” or “dogs”.
Most individuals probably grew up with at least one or the other and made up their minds about which one they preferred early on. But what about those of us who just can’t decide which one we want to have?
Well, the best way to start might be to look carefully at both animals and examine their tendencies, habits, and needs. Of course, it would be inaccurate to generalize all cats one way and all dogs another, but there are certain truths to the stereotypes.
Dogs, in general, are more active than cats. They usually have more energy, and therefore will require more energy from you. This varies widely by breed, but if you have an active lifestyle where you like to run, hike, etc, a dog might be best for you. And of course, you probably would not want a really small dog for such activities.
Cats, on the other hand, do not require as much attention usually. Some are very affectionate and crave your touch, but most spend a fair amount of time alone. Cats tend to be very independent and like to do their own thing, whereas dogs will often stick close by you and seek attention constantly. However, if you are looking for a pet that will sit on your lap and cuddle with you while you watch TV, there are actually more cats willing to do this than dogs.
If you have kids, dogs are usually a little more tolerant, though once again this really depends on the breed. Cats will generally avoid anything that likes to pull on their ears and tail, understandably. Noise is also an issue to consider. Some dogs can be very loud and bark a lot, so if you know this will annoy you, you will probably prefer a cat, or will need to limit your search to the quieter breeds of dogs.
The bottom line is that every person is looking for different qualities in a pet, and no dog or cat will necessarily be perfect. At the same time, it is possible to make distinctions that will help you decide what kind of pet you are looking for. Who knows? You might decide you want both – or neither!