2018-10-12 / On Second Thought

Are you a cat person or a dog person?

Compiled by Warren Hughes

What advice do you have for someone who wants a pet – a dog or a cat?

At the risk of fighting like cats and dogs, let’s wade into the question.

If you go by statistics, dogs rule in popularity, says the American Pet Products Association. In the United States, about 68 percent of households representing 85 million families, have a pet. Among those families, 60.2 million own a dog and 47.1 million own a cat.

Presumably, a goodly number of these households include both dogs and cats where they often get along together quite well.

The real debate seems to be among the owners themselves as to which makes the better pet. That, of course, depends on whom you ask. There is no shortage of opinion and information abounds on the pros and cons of both.

But for now, we turned to Purina, major producer of animal nutrition products.

“Choosing between getting a cat or dog can be a tough decision, but generally speaking, dogs require more attention while cats are more independent. But if you like to have a cuddle with your furry friend—and not just when it suits your cat, then perhaps a dog is the right choice for you,” a writer for its pet-care expert team says.

“Cats and dogs have different needs and characteristics, so this decision is influenced as much by the type of lifestyle you have as it is your personal favorite. It’s less about ‘dog vs cat’ and more about which animal would best suit your lifestyle, taking into account your activity levels, the space you have at home, whether you have children or not, and how much time you can give to a pet,” the article notes. “Cats and dogs have different needs and characteristics, so this decision is influenced as much by the type of lifestyle you have as it is a personal favorite.”

The article further summarizes factors to consider as follows:

“If you’re an energetic “outdoorsy” type who loves keeping active, a dog may be the right choice for you. Dogs need lots of stimulation, fresh air, and regular walks, so they’re best suited to people who have a garden, live in rural areas, or have easy access to parks and open spaces.”

“Well-trained dogs can be taken on trips and enjoy days out and travelling. Unlike cats, they’re not naturally solitary animals, so they shouldn’t be left alone all day—if you work long hours or have a very demanding job, think about whether you can give them the full attention they deserve. You’ll also need to set aside time to train them and groom them.”

“There are lots of different types of dog breeds available, ranging in size, shape, temperament, and hairiness, so you should take these individual differences into account as well if you’re thinking about getting a dog. Ultimately, if you have the space and time, you’ll be rewarded with a pet who is an empathetic, playful, protective and faithful lifelong companion.”

“If you have limited indoor space, a busy lifestyle or simply want a more independent pet, you might be better suited to a cat rather than a dog. Cats are relatively quiet and are happy to be left alone to sleep and entertain themselves for most of the day—especially if they’re allowed outdoors. They don’t need walking, so cats are often well-suited to less active people. They do enjoy social interaction, though, and love being played with. Regular grooming is important too, especially if you have a long-haired cat.”

“Cats don’t really need as much indoor space as dogs, especially if they have safe access to a garden. Even without outside access, cats can be content as long as they are fed an appropriate diet and have access to a litterbox, toys, and scratching posts to keep their minds and bodies busy.

“It’s also essential you interact with them frequently, so if you’re going away you will need to find somebody to look after them, which may mean asking a neighbor to check in on them regularly or putting them in a cattery where they’ll be looked after while you’re gone.

“Although they don’t tend to show the boundless energy dogs do, cats often prove to be more self-sufficient and make loving, affectionate, relaxing, and entertaining pets.”

Of course, the writer concludes, “A lot of people love cats and dogs equally, and under the right conditions the two can get along quite happily in the same household if you give them time to get to know each other.”

For additional useful information, see purina.com.

We want to add to the community’s storehouse of knowledge, whether it is a neighborhood matter, a larger issue or a simple curiosity. We’ll do the footwork for you. Submit your questions to wmchughes27@gmail.com

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