Cat or Dog: How to Decide Which Is the Best Companion for You

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It’s a war that’s been waged as long as we can remember: cats versus dogs. While you probably realize that both species have their ups and downs, the debate takes on a whole new meaning when you’re trying to decide on a furry new addition to the family. It’s an important decision, too, as it’s one that will affect your life for the next dozen or so years. Here are some things you’ll need to consider when choosing between the two.

Which Fits Your Personality?

One of the biggest deciding factors that comes into play when deciding between a cat or a dog is the animal’s personality. At this point, it’s almost a cliche to see dogs as loyal and excitable and cats as independent and blase. And while those traits ring somewhat true, it’s important to remember that, especially for dogs, the personality is going to depend greatly on the breed. A golden retriever is very, very different from a chihuahua. Plus, all cats and dogs have their own quirks to them that you’re not going to realize right away.

If you have a family, it’s also important to consider what will be the best match for them, too. Is your family a team that does a lot of stuff together? A dog might be a natural addition to your family. Or, do you all do your own things? If so, a cat might be a better fit for the family. Of course, most kids will be happy with either pet, but the point is that it’s important to make this a family decision.

Think of the Responsibilities

When many people dream of owning a pet, they tend to think of all the wonderful possibilities. It’s true that there will some great times to be had with a pet, especially when you’ve forged a wonderful bond with each other. But you also need to consider the responsibilities that come with owning a pet. Besides feeding your pet and making sure it gets enough exercise, you’ll also be responsible for making sure it takes its potty breaks, and that isn’t even considering the guaranteed messes it will make. Plus, what will happen when you need to go on vacation?

On one hand, it can be daunting to think of all the new responsibilities you’ll have. After all, raising a pet can in some ways be similar to raising a child. But if you and your family are ready to accept those responsibilities, you’ll find that caring after another living thing can be a real character-builder, especially for kids.

Get Some Experience With Both

There’s probably no better way to figure out which pet is best for you than to spend some quality time with both cats and dogs. Offer to watch your friends’ pets when they head out of town, or simply just ask around to see if you get can get some time with their pets. They’ll most likely jump at the chance of someone else walking the dog for a change.

If you can’t think of any friends or family who have pets you could hang out with, consider volunteering at a local animal shelter. Not only will you get first-hand experience with cats, dogs, and other animals, but you’ll be doing them and your community a favor in saving them from a cruel life on the street. Plus, if any animals make a real impact on you, you’ll have first dibs at adoption!

Despite the differences between cats and dogs, you’ll find that both have similarities. In the end, they both can be wonderful pets who return the love you give them. Both will be sure to bring you happiness, and sure, perhaps a little frustration at times, but such are the joys of raising a pet.

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