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Dogs vs Cats, What Pet Is Best - The Good, Bad, And Ugly

Updated on October 23, 2011
Round one, fight!
Round one, fight!

Dogs versus cats, two of the most popular animal pets known to mankind. Some like to settle for just a dog, others for cats, and the more daring are only content by combining them both together under one roof. However, what about the people who have yet to decide on which animal friend is best for them?

Choosing the pet that fits your unique personality is a challenge onto itself, so I decided to compile together a little guide that hightlights the good, the bad, and the ugly characteristics that go along with owning a dog or cat. I've lived with them both for many years and have been able to observe their cute, but also incredibly annoying habits, and want to share that information with any new potential pet owners out there that may be stuck on the fence as to which pet is for them.

I'll be talking about the dogs and cats individual behavior, how clean they are, the entertaining they can be, and more! So how about we get started?

Dogs are more loyal, but cats are more mature. These two different personalities will blend together better with the right person.
Dogs are more loyal, but cats are more mature. These two different personalities will blend together better with the right person.

Dog and Cat Behavior - What Are They Like?


The Good: The two defining features a dog's attitude possesses has to be their abundance of love and loyalty. Dogs are thrilled to receive attention from their owners, it makes them happy and is essentially what fuels them to keep going. When dogs are in a good mood, which is basically all the time, they will wag their tails, lick our faces, jump on top of us, and even bark from excitement. It's cute, and the great thing is, the type of mood you're in won't stop them from showing off how happy they are. Meaning, whether you are in an angry or sad state of mind, the positive effects of a dog's friendly personality can spread rapidly to a person, which can cheer up even the poorest of moods.

And of course, do not forget about a dog's loyalty. Dogs, in their efforts to make us happy, are great listeners. You call their names and they respond without any hesitation. Dogs willingness to abide by what we say shows they are very loyal animals, and that is a nice thing to have in a pet.

The Bad: As mentioned previously, dogs are fueled by the owner's attention and affection, so the times you desire to be left alone and not bothered by anyone or anything will probably fall on deaf ears. At times, dogs simply do not understand when enough is enough and that can definitely be frustrating to handle.

The Ugly: Resulting from their need for attention, dogs can easily become jealous or angry at minor things. If you have another pet for example, and start petting them but not the other, one of them will probably get angry or jealous and how they respond to those feelings depend on the dog. A few won't really care, others will ask to given attention too, and certain dogs will plot revenge by doing something they know you'd hate.

For instance, I had this Poodle that would get angry if things didn't go her way. Simple things like making food and not handing her any when she begged for some would anger her, so she'd go and urinate in the house somewhere, on purpose! The funny part was, I would be completely oblivious to my poodle's bad intentions, but she'd give herself away because immediately after urinating, she knew it was wrong and would lower her head down and look at me as if to say: "Yeah, I did something bad. Sorry!" Despite feeling guilty, she did this anyway, multiple times. And yes, it was annoying to deal with. Most dogs, however, are not like that, so don't let this anecdote be too off-putting.


The Good: Cats are chilled, laid back animals that do not heavily rely on their owner to get by. They have a greater sense of maturity about them and seem far more independent than dogs. While dogs will overwhelm you with their perpetual amounts of energy, cats will sort of just hang back, only engaging you for attention when in the mood. Now, I do not want it to sound like cats are these cold, uncaring creatures; they will certainly hop up onto laps and knead with their pointy claws while purring their heads off with glee, it's just kinda arbitrary when they decide to do it. A cats low-key attitude might gel better for individuals who want a more "grown-up" pet.

The Bad: The laid back behavior can be disappointing for those looking for a more lively animal companion. Cats boil down to three types of moods: loving, playfulness, and laziness. Laziness tends to dominate the majority of time, which is kind of a bummer. And because of their strong independent attitudes, often times when you call for a cat, even by name, they will choose to completely ignore you. And when super lazy mode is activated, they'll actually fall asleep while you shout their names! There's no mistaking it, the cats hear you, they just don't care to react. Sometimes the cat will listen; again, it all depends on their fluctuating mood!

The Ugly: Cat owners frequently let their cats outside to explore the wide expanses of the great outdoors for one reason: cats absolutely love it. Cats, however, can become addicted to going outside. When they want to be let out, they will sit next to the door and continuously meow over and over until they grab your attention; your ears will be driven crazy. If this happens in the middle of the night, you risk being woken up by the relentless noise, it's a recipe for a sleepless disaster!

To avoid this, you could always raise a kitten indoors and never let him know the joys of adventure that awaits him outside. What a cat doesn't know won't hurt him right? Another route to take is creating a pet door so they can let themselves in and out at their own leisure.

Cats are cleaner than dogs, but their occasional gross hairballs keep them from perfect score!
Cats are cleaner than dogs, but their occasional gross hairballs keep them from perfect score!

Dog And Cat Cleanliness - How Clean Are They?


The Good: Dogs are not known for being the cleanest animals around because, well, they are not the cleanest animals around. As long as you train your dog to be potty trained, preferably outside, then they are clean enough for the most part. Giving them a bath here and there wouldn't hurt, either.

The Bad: Alright, the good didn't sound very positive, sorry. Don't get me wrong, dogs are not walking dirt factories or anything, it's just the main ways of keeping them clean require work from you. You have to potty train them so they go to the bathroom in the right place, and potty training can be hard, smelly work before it finally pays off in the end. As for baths, well that requires work too.

On the plus side, most puppies you buy should hopefully come pre potty trained. For example, I have Maltipoo puppies for sale that are already trained to use pee-pads or newspaper. For the sake of convenience, new pet owners certainly approve of this. Still, the pads or newspaper will need to be replaced eventually, meaning you'll have to be the one picking up the gross, used papers... okay it's not so bad, really. Training a dog to go outside, however, is still preferable for most people, and totally worth it.

The Ugly: While the dogs are using your home as a personal toilet, let's focus our attention elsewhere. Dogs are notorious chewers, a dangerous habit that could cost you a pretty penny. Wires, shoes, and pillows are a few things a dog might chew on, some of which can cause a general mess in your house, or a mess of wealth in your wallet.

Do you have any wires out in the open? Tons of the appliances we use today have cords attached to them and dogs can and will chew through these cords when bored. Not only does replacing the broken devices cost money, but it could also cost your dog his life. Indeed, electricity is nothing to fool around with. To avoid such a pricey accident, invest in several cord covers and chew toys. The covers will prevent wire chewing, and the chew toys will occupy the dog's time instead of your delicious shoes, saving you money in the long run.


The Good: Conveniently, cats are already potty trained and clean themselves on a daily basis. All you have to do is place a couple of litter boxes around your home and the cat will handle the rest. Just ensure the litter boxes stay clean, otherwise cats will avoid using them, instead opting for a nearby rug. Cats also groom and wash themselves every day, so they stay nice and sparkly.

The Bad: Dogs have an affinity with chewing, cats have an affinity with scratching. They naturally love kneading on things, some of which involves furniture. Yeah, cats are unfavorably renowned for destroying soft chairs or sofas with their pointy claws, and that can become an expensive problem.

While the habit may be disconcerting, it's also easily preventable. Buy scratching posts and strategically place them next to the furniture you want protected. The scratching posts should lure the cat into using them instead of that high-priced couch of yours.

Another dirty habit originates with male cats. An unneutered male cat will develop a spraying practice, marking anything he chooses with a spray of urine. This habit is difficult to clean up after, but this too can be easily prevented. Just have a veterinarian neuter any male cats you have, starting at an early age. The earlier you neuter them, the less chance they'll have at developing this nasty tendency.

The Ugly: While cats keep themselves shiny and well groomed, it comes at a price. They clean themselves using their mouths, obviously, but they ingest a small amount of hair for each cleaning session. It accumulates inside until finally needing to be coughed up as an ugly, wet hairball. Long haired cats have more hairballs than short haired ones, so keep that in mind if you want a cat.

Dogs get the owner involved more with fun activities, while cats are more exciting to watch from a distance.
Dogs get the owner involved more with fun activities, while cats are more exciting to watch from a distance.

Dog and Cat Entertainment - How Do They Have Fun?


The Good: People have fun with dogs in various ways. Dogs can be taught clever tricks that can be used for friends or relatives to see. They play many games that involve the owner, such as fetch, frisbee or tug of war; fetch is a great way for a dog to get some quick exercise. They also enjoy going for active walks during the day which offers you and your dog a healthy dose of exercise medicine. Yummy!

The Bad: I guess if you are lazy guy or gal and are not looking for such an outgoing pet, then a dog's entertaining ways might be lost on you. If this is the case, perhaps you should think about getting a cat instead for reasons I'll explain below.

The Ugly: The downsides of too much playing are possible injuries. Be careful not to overexert yourself or your dog, and don't risk putting them into a dangerous situation that could endanger their life, like throwing a fetching ball into questionable places. Smaller dog breeds like a Maltipoo or Chihuahua are more likely to be injured, so be careful. Those medical bills are accompanied by a hefty price tag.


The Good: Cats love to entertain themselves. They will play with or without you, and with or without anything... seriously. When cats get bored, they will attack rugs, socks, strings, bottle caps, or whatever is tiny enough to swat around. If the object is small and a cat can move it, it will be played with, have no doubt about that. And if they can't find something to smack around, then they'll chase their own tail in circles for minutes at a time and even bite it if they get the chance. Sometimes I wonder if cats know it's their tail own or not.

Basically, it's funny to just stare from afar while they play. The number of times I've watched my cat stalk little bugs in the house is surprisingly high, and it never gets old. The way they slowly move towards their prey while skillfully using furniture for cover is hilarious. Sometimes I'll mess them up by walking over which triggers the bug to fly away. I bet they hate me for that.

The Bad: Well, the fun comes from watching, not so much participating yourself. There are a few things you can do if you truly want to get involved. Cats can't resist the opportunity to play with string, so grab a piece and wiggle it in front of them. They'll swipe and jump like crazy. Stores sell toys with strings that you could try as well. Still, that's basically it. Cats don't really need you to have fun and that can be kind of depressing for some.

The Ugly: Playing with a cat usually involves dangling a piece of string in front of them and lifting it up and down. Depending on the length of the string, the swiping a cat does might inadvertently slash your hand, ouch! And do not even think about scratching a cat's belly, because they will grab back. Playfully, of course, but when they have knives for fingers, it hurts!

Dogs or Cats, Puppies or Kittens?!

What Pets Do You Think Are Best?

See results

The Conclusion of Dogs Vs Cats!

As you can see by the predictable scores I've created, both dogs and cats come out pretty much evenly! This is all my opinion of course, but the point of this article was to help new owners decide what pet might be best for them. After reading all the positives and negatives each animal brings, hopefully you are able to answer that perplexing question: "What pet is right for me?"

And then you buy both. Ha!


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    • profile image

      here 23 months ago

      im with ethan. thats why most peoplehave cats because they cant train anything cause they are too lazy. if you dont want your dogs to uinate the take it outside. if you have a cat you dont have to worry. thats why most people have cats.LAZY. i hate those kind of people. cats suck. dogs are awesome.

    • profile image

      Jo 2 years ago

      Wow, Ethan. You need help. Your cat was probably peeing and scratching to signal serious unhappiness, because this is not normal behaviour for a cat. You dont deserve to own an animal. Infact, you should be locked up for animal abuse. You're a disgusting human being.

    • profile image

      Serous 2 years ago

      Best keep your cats indoor. No room for other opinion. If you let your animal out to do as it pleases it's then considered a wild animal as far as I'm concerned and I'm gonna cheer on the coyote that gets your stupid cat.

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      sll 2 years ago

      Wow, Ethan. Perhaps therapy can help you. I love cats. Dogs are filthy. I have a very old cat, which has never attacked me.

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      Wow 3 years ago

      Wow, ethan way to be a total hater. Cats are more independent than dogs, so you don't have to do much with them like, oh, picking up their crap on walks. Or get pee around the house. Or wake up something am cause of barking and whining.

    • profile image

      ethan 3 years ago

      Cats are filthy arrogant stupid creatures. They shit in boxes, walk around in it, track it all over your house, then cover themselves in saliva and rub against things and people. They shed constantly. Because of their genetic makeup and probably all of that damned licking, their mouths contain much more bacteria, and some of it is terribly dangerous. Also, they walk in their own shit, so when they scratch you, guess what's going in your bloodstream.... You guessed it, cat shit.

      I've just recently been attacked by my cat (It's now a wild and free cat learning to survive in the wild--hopefully it dies) and now that four or five of the cuts and bite wounds are infected, I decided to do some research and lo and behold cats are damn near venomous if you look at it from a bacterial standpoint.

      They're filthy.

      They're stupid because they CAN'T (Not won't, but CAN'T) follow instructions.

      They're destructive regardless of what you do.

      They sleep all day and wait for you to turn the lights off to wake up and knock shit off of shelves, scratch the fucking walls, run full speed in circles around the room, and occasionally piss on your clothes.

      They're terrible animals in general, and they're even worse pets.

      Get a dog. It's smart enough to know right from wrong. It can keep you company. It can hold it's urine and feces in until you let it outside. It respects the fact that you are it's source of food and water.

      Cats respect nothing because their tiny little brains are too small to comprehend such a notion as "The human keeps me alive." So if you have one, stop feeding it for a week. When it runs of out water, laugh. And if it continuously cries like the stupid pathetic worthless animal that it is, lock it in a cage and set it out on the porch. When you notice that it's on it's last leg and might die any day, bring it inside and give it a small amount of food and a few ounces of water.

      You can repeat this process as often as you desire, but the cat will still not learn to treat you as well as the dog does, and you don't have to teach the dog who's boss.

      All in all, this is a terrible article and it's obvious that you prefer cats. They're not cute. They're not cuddly. They're vicious disgusting lazy worthless, oh and let's not forget, VENOMOUS, undomesticated, untrainable, wild god damned animals that do not deserve to live indoors with humans.

      Get a dog. Perhaps it can teach your cat some respect.

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      har 4 years ago

      very dangerous

    • Mikey Bo profile image

      Mikey Bo 6 years ago

      Yeah, I'll admit, I'm more of a cat person myself. I think the way they behave is more my style. Sorry dogs, I still love you!

    • Stephanie Henkel profile image

      Stephanie Henkel 6 years ago from USA

      This is a cute, well written and well thought out hub on cats vs. dogs! I like cats as dogs, but right now a cat fits my lifestyle better. While cats are more independent, they can be very entertaining, too (when they want to be!). Voted up across!

      Welcome to HubPages!