Sunday, May 19, 2024

Cats vs. Dogs: The Ultimate Showdown

Has the time finally arrived to settle the score once and for all? 

Is this, at long last, the article that’s going to end all further debate and provide a one-word answer to that age-old question: cats or dogs


What this is though is a dog and cat owner sitting down trying to illustrate what the differences between being the owner of a dog and being owned by a cat truly are. Hopefully, these musings can help you determine whether you are more of a dog person or a cat person. 

Dogs Need to be Lead and Trained 

Dog pulling a toy

When you have a dog, you need to be prepared to lead. You can’t show signs of weakness, you can’t be wishy washy, and you can’t change your mind more often than not. 

Dogs will look to you to be the leader of their pack. If you can’t live up to their expectations, they will find a different leader. Or, they may decide it will be simpler if they take on the role of leader for themselves.

This can lead to Corgis herding you around the home, Dachshunds burrowing in imaginary holes under the furniture, and your Great Dane taking you for a walk. 

Even if you are not normally that much of an authority figure, prepare to become one

The Cat Needs to Train You  

Cat lying on sofa

Cats on the other hand are the quintessential pack leader. It’s either their way or the highway, and you’d better accept this fact early on. 

True, there are cat breeds that can be trained. There are cats that perform tricks better than most dogs. But in the small, everyday matters of life: the cat will expect to do things the way they want to do things. 

You will not have to spend as much time on training as with a dog, on the plus side. On the negative side though, you might have to give up your favorite seat on the sofa, and accept the fact that your pillow is much comfier than the cat bed. 

As most cat owners will readily admit, their cat has done an amazing job at training them over the years, and getting what it wants, when it wants it, and how it wants to have it, every time. 

Dogs Need You 

Dogs require attention. They need to be taken for walks, they need to be trained, they need to be played with and they need to be socialized with both other animals and with humans of all ages, from an early age. 

If you fail to provide training, exercise and mental stimulation, your dog will not be a happy one. They will begin to misbehave and can become very hard to handle. 

Cats Need You Only When It’s Inconvenient 

Cats need you to open the food container and clean the kitty litter.

Of course, they also need to be able to sit on your lap while you’re on the toilet, they need to watch you while you’re taking a shower, they need you to pick up the toilet paper roll mess after they are done playing with it. 

But if you were to disappear for the entire day and leave plenty of food and water around, most cat breeds would be just fine in your absence. 

They will of course demand your attention every time you try to multitask, are on the phone, in a meeting, or doing a number two. 

Dogs Greet You at the Door 

When you do come home after a long day at work, the dog will greet you at the door, tail wagging, ready to go for a walk, play, eat and cuddle, not necessarily in that order. 

Cats Can’t be Bothered

That cat will usually do no more than deign to give you an “ah, you’re home” look, and keep looking out the window. 

Dogs Promote Walks

If you lead an active lifestyle, spend a lot of time outdoors, love to go on walks – your dog will love to keep your company. 

Bear in mind, you still need to choose a breed that lines up with your specific lifestyle. Smaller dogs won’t be able to do as many steps a day, but they can still enjoy going on adventures, so you can carry them when they get tired. 

Cats are in Favor of the Couch

If you are more of a homebody though, your cat will appreciate the option of extra meals and the chance to get more frequent cuddles. 

While cats are certainly very active too, and they get the zoomies just as badly as dogs do (especially when they need to do their kitty business), they do tend to loaf, nap and sunbathe a lot, so they will fit right into your more relaxed schedule. 

If you work from home, be prepared to have to wrestle for the keyboard though. 

Both Will Destroy at Least Some Furniture

While cats are often thought to be more of the homewrecker that tends to scratch the furniture despite the perfectly good scratch post you’ve provided, dogs, especially during puppyhood, are just as bad. 

Both will shed (unless of course they are a breed that sheds very little), both are just as likely to do their business on the kitchen tiles, and both can suffer from upset stomachs. True, there is the hairball factor to consider, but that just means cats come with that built-in self-cleaning mechanism dogs lack.

Some Will Need More Space

Most cats prefer to live indoors. There are of course the more adventurous among them who love to go on walks and will go hiking with their owners, but they are not that bothered about space. 

Small dogs are also perfectly fine with even the smallest of flats, but larger dog breeds will require a yard. For instance, a breed like the American Akita will certainly need some outdoor room. 

Don’t forget that dogs need shelter though, and that you can’t just leave them in their box. Walks are still mandatory, even if they have been outside all day. 

Both Will Love You Forever 

Ultimately, the simple truth is that both cats and dogs will love you forever. While cats tend to choose their people, dogs are perfectly content to be chosen, and are there for their human no matter what. 

All you have to consider is how much authority, time, space and patience you have, and you’ll be able to land on a species and a breed you’ll love to live your life with. 

A Vote For the Cat Though? 

You may (or may) not have noticed that the entire article has been a tiny bit skewed in favor of the cat

And you would be right, I am ultimately a cat person, no matter how much my dogs love me. Maybe it has to do something with the fact that I am much like a cat myself? 

Luckily, my husband is the quintessential pack leader, so the dogs don’t need to look for leadership from me, only for treats and snuggles. 

Mother, writer, entrepreneur, Julia is the Robson family anchor. Drinks a lot of coffee, dislikes tea, and can make some very mean pancakes.

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