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Cat vs Dog. Which is best for your house?

Updated on December 22, 2010

For many people the question “should I have a cat or a dog?” is mostly a very easily answered question, as you generally find that people either like cats or they don’t, and therefore people who do not like cats will definately have a dog, where as the people who like both have the dilemma of which is best for them?

Before choosing any pet you should always take a good look at your home life and ask yourself a few simple questions.

  1. What sort of house do you live in?
  2. Do you have a good size garden?
  3. Do you work full/part time?
  4. Do you live close to a road that exceeds a 30mph speed limit?
  5. Do you have children or plan to in the near future?

I'll go and get it says the retriever
I'll go and get it says the retriever
Will you play with me, please says the growing playful kitten
Will you play with me, please says the growing playful kitten
Someone will let me in eventually, i'm sure of it.
Someone will let me in eventually, i'm sure of it.
Now nobody disturb me because I am trying to sleep!
Now nobody disturb me because I am trying to sleep!

Why ask yourself any questions

The reason for asking theses questions is in order to make your job easier in choosing which pet is best for you “Cat or Dog”. It is important to answer these questions honestly so as to avoid owning the wrong type of pet for your home situation. Now lets take a look at the possible answers.

  1. House size is important especially if you live in a small apartment. If you were serious about having a dog you should do some research into the breeding, as a large dog would not be suitable in a small apartment. If you lack space a cat may be the better option, as they don’t tend to need as much room.
  2. Garden size is important if you decide on a dog, as dogs like to run. So if you only have a small garden, a small dog may be best unless you know you can take it for good long walks twice a day to keep its energy levels controlled. Cats on the other hand do not need gardens unless you are planning on making a nice outdoor run for a planned house cat.
  3. Although many people who work full time own dogs it is not the ideal situation. Dogs like company and when bored can be come very destructive. It is best if they have an outdoor enclosure for during the daytime while you are away so they can play happily in their own enviroment. You will need to make sure you have time in the day to walk/exercise your dog, twice a day is preferable. If you work part time this may not be so much of an issue.
  4. Living close to a road that exceeds 30mph can be hazardous for a cat who is allowed ‘out to play’. So if you are in this situation think carefully whether you want an indoor/house cat or a high vets bill for an injured cat or the worse case senario dead cat.
  5. If you already have young children or are planning to have them in the near future it is wise to think twice about having a cat or dog. As much as you may want the animal to grow up with the child, children can be quite nasty towards animals, with pulling of hair, tails, ears etc. Research the different dog breeds carefully before choosing one, as temperaments vary vastly amongst the different breeds. Cats will do 1 of 3 things, run and hide, play stupid and take it or they will fight back. If the later happens your child could get hurt.

It is important to remember that no matter how well you know an animal, no animal is predictable around children.

Things to remember when buying a dog

Dogs also come in many shapes, sizes and colours with the smallest being the Chihuahua weighing in at just 1-2kg whilst the largest dog the Irish Wolf Hound stands at a minimum of 31inches and should weight more than 55kg. One of the most important questions to ask when buying any dog is “How much exercise will the dog need?” Some dogs do need more than others, such as the Border Collie, but although this is a very easy dog to train due to its excellent intelligence, it can also be a very destructive dog in the home if it is not trained and suitably exercised as it becomes bored. Dogs are higher maintenance in general care than a cat and still need the annual health check and vaccinations done by a vet. Wormers and flea treatments are also required on a regular basis. It is important to have a dog spayed/castrated at around 6-8 months. Doing this prevents bitches from having litters of up to 6 sometimes more, puppies. Male dogs, when castrated tend to be much calmer and less liable of running off and roaming.

Things to remember when purchasing a cat

Cats come in very many colours with varying lengths of coat. There are pedigree cats that have no hair, called the Sphynx, which require warmth all year-round, whilst offers such as the Norwegian Forest Cat has a coat which can withstand sub artic conditions. Cats with long hair will require regular grooming to avoid matting of their hair. All cats are happy being house cats, but with this comes the job of cleaning out a litter tray at regular intervals during a day, especially with a young kitten. Some cats do prefer to be outside even when given the option of the warm indoors. If this is the case make sure they have access to somewhere warm whilst they are outside i.e. a warm bed in the garden shed or greenhouse. Overall if you choose to have a cat that is a house cat or allowed outdoors they are still a relatively low maintenance animal only requiring regular annual visits to the vet for vaccinations and health check. Wormers are required on a regular basis, usually about every 2-3 months, again this depends on the animal and flea treatment is also required regularly to prevent health problems. It is advisable to have any cat spayed/castrated at around 6-7 months of age. A female cat can have litters of up to 4 kittens every 4-5 months from the age of 6-8 months. Having a male cat castrated helps prevent fighting and territorial spraying (which does smell). The cat will usually not stray as far from home either.

Help in choosing the best cat for you

Animal shelters are a good place to start

Presumably you have now made up your mind as to which animal you want ‘Cat or Dog’, but where do you go to get the animal and advice on what you need?

There are many animal shelters that have both cats and dogs up for adoption, most notably in the UK is the RSPCA. But there are many smaller organisations that have good animals to rehome as well. These places should be able to help you make that final choice between what is best for you and your homelife. They will also advise you as to what your new pet will need in relation to bedding/food. Most of these centres will charge an adoption fee that helps to cover their expenses. The animals are generally already spayed/castrated so that you do not have to arrange this. If it is a young animal you have arranged to have and it has not yet been spayed then a date is usually arranged for you to take the animal back to the shelter to have this done.

Which ever you choose, please make sure that you can afford the animal and give it the best home possible for the rest of its life. As they say “Dogs are not just for Christmas” this applies to cats as well.


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    • nasus loops profile imageAUTHOR

      nasus loops 

      7 years ago from Fenland

      Hi Whikat.

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting. This is a very valuable point that you mention which I must admit did not think about. Barking dogs can be a nuisance to any close neighbour.

      Pleased you enjoyed the hub.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Good article. These are good tips, another thought on having a dog in an apartment may be if the dog is a barker, and will upset other tenants in the building with the noise. Thanks for sharing.

    • nasus loops profile imageAUTHOR

      nasus loops 

      7 years ago from Fenland

      He Camlo. Thanks for stopping by and your comments. I totally agree in that cats are far from stupid. Probablby smarter than us and dogs as they only ever do what they want when they want. A dog needs us for food whereas a cat doesn't.

    • camlo profile image

      Camlo De Ville 

      7 years ago from Cologne, Germany

      I love most (if not all) animals, but have a cat for the very reasons you mention here. I've had her for 12 years now, and it really does work very well.

      I do regret not having got two cats, because mine is often alone for many hours, but I don't think she'd accept a further addition to the family now that everything here belongs solely to her (she thinks).

      Often, I've heard people say that cats are stupid and boring because they can't be trained as dogs can. Well, they'll only do things that make sense to them (the reason they won't do tricks etc.), and, judging by mine, have characters that are near to human - very far from boring or stupid.

      Great advice in this Hub!

      All the best, Camlo

    • nasus loops profile imageAUTHOR

      nasus loops 

      7 years ago from Fenland

      Thanks richtwf for commenting on the hub. I am pleased you enjoyed it and found it useful. I myself do not have a preference, although I own 2 cats I also like dogs and do prefer the border collie as well. The only problem being this breed needs lots of exercise and time which I unfortunately do not have.

      I will try to do some more hubs on this subject, maybe on the different breeds. Thanks for voting.

    • richtwf profile image


      7 years ago

      An excellent hub packed with lots of very useful advice. I enjoyed reading it and it has made me more informed about factors which I should be aware of when choosing between a cat or a dog. I generally prefer dogs and I'm considering a Border Collie puppy in the future so if you have any more useful hubs on this subject then I will look forward to your opinions and suggestions. Thanks for sharing and voted up!


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