Pros and Cons of Cats and Dogs

Updated on August 18, 2018
alexadry profile image

Adrienne is a former veterinary hospital assistant, certified dog trainer, behavior consultant, and author of "Brain Training for Dogs."

Pros and Cons of Cats and Dogs

Are you exuberant, easy going and extrovert? Or are you solitary, a bit aloof and quiet? Chances are the choice of your pet may reflect a bit your personality. It is not a surprise why poets, artists and writers have a history of being cat people while movie stars,singers and those that generally have a lot to do with people choose the friendly dog.

Whether or not this is true or just a generalization, there are also many other factors to keep in mind when choosing between a member of the canidae family or a felidae member.

Having owned both sides, I can say that they both come with their fair share of pros and cons. Deciding whether one is better compared to the other, is ultimately a choice left to the single individual, his/her lifestyle and personality.

Pros of Owning a Cat

1) Cats are easy to maintain. All they need is a food and water bowl, a litter box and they should be good to go. Additional items can be added at your own free choice. Some spoiled cats have cat trees, scratching posts, toys, catnip, special shampoos and grooming kits. Others simply enjoy a window view and a piece of paper rolled up and that will make their day.

2) Cats are independent. Yes, you can go to work for 8 hours straight and your cat may not miss you or at least it will not show much commotion when you leave. They can easily entertain themselves and cater to their needs on their own. I once, had to leave my cat for the weekend alone (boarding was out of question as she did not do well in unfamiliar territory) and I was sick worried and when I came back there she was like if nothing happened.

3) Cats are clean. You will not smell that typical doggy odor and they rarely have anal gland issues. Your home will not smell like cat and if you are particularly careful in keeping the litter box clean and fresh with high quality litter chances are, nobody will ever now you share your roof with a feline.

4) Cats are lazy. Well, some are really not much. There are some hyperactive breeds such as Bengals and Siamese, but most cats are pretty lazy pillow warmers that sleep up to 16 hours a day. No need to walk them every day to keep their energy levels low, a ball tossed about the room will suffice.

5) Cats are litter box trained. Cats do not need to be walked at 5 in the morning in the dead of the winter with Subarctic temperatures. They will do their business in their litter box while you can sleep in after a late evening. All they need is a litter and a litter box and a 5 second daily scoop.

Cons of Owning a Cat

1) Cats are standoffish. While this may be true, I have encountered a few individuals that were sort of "doggy cats" really eager to stay near their owners and happy as can be to greet them. However, the majority of cats I have owned decided when to give and get affection on their own terms. They also decide when they had enough, and if you own a cat with bad temper he/she may let you know with some teeth marks.

2) Cats have nails. Yes, those claws can do their fair share of damage to your Lazy boy sofa and recliner. If not redirected to a nice scratching post, your home may be quickly destroyed. While declawing should be out of question, luckily, frequent nail trimmings may save some of your furniture and upholstery.

3) Cats do not like to travel. Cats are very territorial, they feel calm when they are in their territory and their scent is over their favorite objects and people. If you plan to travel a lot or go on vacation, your cat may not be a happy camper. However, there are always exclusions and some cats that traveled a lot as kittens are quite comfortable being moved about cross country.

4) Cats may cause allergies. Their fur carries dander and their saliva is a known culprit in causing allergies. There are a lot of people suffering from allergies. If you are allergic to cats but do not care much about appearance, a hairless cat breed like the Sphinx or Devon Rex may be a solution.

5) Cats are not too easy to train. While your dog may go to obedience classes, your cat may have a hard time learning things like walking politely on a leash. It is hard to tell if the cat is really acting dumb like he has no clue what you want or if it is just a smart strategy to make humans give up on training them. Telling a cat not to climb on your kitchen counter or not to steal your steak from the table may be a challenge that will require some good thinking and special strategies.

Pros of Owning a Dog

1) Dogs are fairly easy to train. Ask a dog to sit, stay, come, roll over, give paw and your dog, given the right incentive, will make you happy. Dogs have lived for centuries with humans and it is deep in their genes to have a job and carry out tasks either out of instinct of because of incentives we offer them (treats, praise, petting) Whether, your dog must pull a sleigh or gather sheep, the dog will do it and even promptly.

2) Dogs are social. You can take your dog easily on vacation with you and as long as they are with their owners they are fine. Territory is not a big deal for them and they can move to a different place each day with not much fuss. In nature, dogs tend to move a lot in search of food and they are used to changing their habitat quite often. Living with their families is what mostly counts.

3) Dogs promote healthy lifestyles. Dog owners are kept healthy because dogs need walked. Dog owners lead a healthy lifestyle when exposed to fresh air everyday as they walk their dog vigorously in the morning. Dogs also unlike exercise programs ensure consistency because owners must always walk their dogs cutting off the risk of procrastinating.

4) Dogs are fun. A dog can learn many games and they can keep a family entertained. Dogs may fetch and play hide and seek. They can be enrolled in agility classes or pull carts. They can learn a lot of tricks and they can go swimming in lakes or run in the sand on the beach. There are many fun activities owners can share with their dogs.

5) Dogs are loyal. Dogs are very devoted to their owners. Some have even died from the sorrow following their owner's death. Dogs will follow their owners everywhere and have a strong desire to be with them. Not many humans offer the unconditional love that dogs are able to offer.

Cons of Owning a Dog

1) Dogs need maintenance. Yes, some need their anal glands expressed others need frequent baths because they may be smelly.. They need chew toys and bones to keep their teeth in good condition and grooming sessions to keep their fur nice and tidy. They need to obediencetrained and they must learn leash manners. Dogs are more costly than cats and require more care.

2) Dogs depend on humans. Some dogs suffer from great separation anxiety when left alone and this may lead to destructive behaviors. Others may bare with their owner's absence but cannot be left alone too long because they need to be fed, sent out to potty and because they tend to feel lonely. Dogs require to be boarded or brought along when owners must leave from several hours to a week end. It is a sad fact that dogs are often abandoned because of this. Not everybody is willing to deal with dogs destroying things because they are bored or suffering from separation anxiety when being left alone.

3) Dogs chew. A puppy's teething may turn into a nightmarish even. If not redirected to chew toys and bones most dogs will try to gnaw on the attractive dining room's table legs or even through the drywall. Some dogs still will chew for the rest of their lives if not trained early on what behaviors are acceptable and which are not. However, most dogs will learn their boundaries and will learn to leave your furniture alone.

4) Dogs need to be walked. That nippy morning walk may feel like a chore to some dog owners. Truth is, your dog will need to be walked 365 days a years because they need to have their bowel movements. Hiring a dog walker may be costly and procastrinating may mean ruining your well housebroken dog. It is a fact that like it or not your dog must be walked rain or shine and even snow.

5) Dogs are bulky. Large dogs may not be permitted in apartment complexes and some breeds are even banned lately from communities. If you are planning to move, you must do your research well as some places will not allow dogs over a certain weight. An 80 pound dog may also feel like a cow in a china store once it grows up to its potential and it may tug at leash in such a manner of making its owner fall.

So here are the biggest pros and cons of owning cats and dogs. There may be a lot of homework required before making a choice, however, whether you decide a purring kitten or a fluffy puppy, enjoy your pet to the fullest and best of luck!

Questions & Answers

    © 2009 Adrienne Janet Farricelli


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      • alexadry profile imageAUTHOR

        Adrienne Janet Farricelli 

        4 weeks ago from USA

        Noiblanche, thank you for pointing the typo out. Being that this article was written back in 2009, it was in need of some serious updating. I clarified that dogs are people pleasers, but there must be some sort of incentive involved (treats, praise, pats) when training so to get that level of motivation needed but certain behaviors are carried out by instinct with little training involved. I don't really see fun and loyalty necessarily associated with treats. Dogs tend to bond with their owners but this is much more than treats, it's as if the sense comfort and security being around their owners. I added details on why dogs with separation anxiety are often surrendered. Not sure what FTFY means?

      • profile image


        5 weeks ago

        Oh boy such a rollercoaster. Read the cat pros/cons, fine. It's objective to the extent a dog worshipper would be able to be when talking about a cat.

        But something happened when dog's pros/cons started being listed.

        Dogs are people pleasers - I wonder if that's because they're just willing to, or because they know treats are involved. Hmm.

        Dogs promote healthy lifestyles - Walking is a healthy habit alright. But they also promote isolation from society, where you can't go have a night out with friends because your dog with anxiety will start chewing your TV.

        Dogs are fun/loyal (to treats). FTFY

        Also this got my attention: "It is a sad fact that dogs are often abandoned because of this". Why is that?

        Lastly, I think you wanted to say suffice and not suffix.

      • profile image

        Sally Choi 

        3 months ago

        Simple: If you're lazy couch potato, get a cat. If you're out going and love the outdoors, get a dog.

      • profile image


        3 months ago

        idk is this true

      • profile image

        CJ (girl) 

        4 months ago

        I'm doing an argumentative paper, and this helps a lot!

      • profile image


        5 months ago

        cat are not better than dogs because dogs are protective and if intruders come dogs can protect you house.and cats can not be protective

      • profile image


        6 months ago

        This is going to help with the research paper I am doing, Adrienne. Thanks!

      • profile image


        7 months ago

        this is helping on my homework and at school the bothside pro and con. thank you very very much can you give me more thing to write give me something new

      • profile image


        7 months ago

        dogs are better

      • profile image


        9 months ago

        I don't understand

      • alexadry profile imageAUTHOR

        Adrienne Janet Farricelli 

        9 months ago from USA

        Avery, don't cats meow too though?

      • profile image


        9 months ago

        don't forget a con about dogs... THEY BARK!!

      • profile image


        12 months ago

        Cool article! I now feel more confident about picking a dog or a cat as a pet! Thanks!

      • profile image


        16 months ago

        I had to do a report on which i like better a cat or dog. And i went with dogs. She gave me an A+ THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!

      • profile image


        19 months ago

        I always think I be a dog person who ever gives a fuck about be a dog lover not a cat lover.

      • profile image


        23 months ago

        thankyou for the info

      • profile image


        3 years ago

        Thanjs for the free info

      • profile image


        6 years ago

        That gave me some ideas for my homework project im doing, thanks guys

      • profile image


        6 years ago

        thank you for that

      • alexadry profile imageAUTHOR

        Adrienne Janet Farricelli 

        6 years ago from USA

        I am happy you liked my article on pros and cons of cats and dogs.

      • profile image


        6 years ago

        very nice i like it good job contain it thanks

      • profile image


        6 years ago

        thanks! this really helped me on a report about dogs and cats;)

      • alexadry profile imageAUTHOR

        Adrienne Janet Farricelli 

        6 years ago from USA

        That is cute! I love it when dogs and cats get along in the same household they just do the sweetest things!

      • profile image


        6 years ago

        I am a dog person, I prefer dogs, mainly because they are always happy to see you, they know when something isn't right, and you can do a lot more with them. Although I loke dogs way more, and I don't like the majority of cats, I love the cat I have. He will run with the dogs to greet you when you come home, and he will come to you and follow you around for attention. He likes car rides, and he is very loyal to my dog, because we rescued him as a kitten, and my dog has pretty much taken him in and raised him. They sleep together, and when he catches mice in the horse and cow feed, he brings them to my dog, as some cats catch bugs and put them in their owners' shoes. it's so cute!

      • Eiddwen profile image


        6 years ago from Wales

        So very interesting ;I vote up plus bookmark as one of my favourites.


      • alexadry profile imageAUTHOR

        Adrienne Janet Farricelli 

        6 years ago from USA

        Happy you got a great score, best wishes:)

      • profile image


        6 years ago

        OMG you saved my life! i had to write an article on which pet is better but instead i wrote how it all depends on someones persanality, and she gave me and A+!!!!!!! live long alexadry!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • Jackie Lynnley profile image

        Jackie Lynnley 

        6 years ago from The Beautiful South

        My cat is almost 17 and she is pretty good, other than attacking me out of the blue 2 or 3 times, I don't consider that too bad.

      • profile image

        the dean 

        6 years ago

        Dogs don't need walking just let them out back and train them to let you know when they need to out

      • Victoria Lynn profile image

        Victoria Lynn 

        7 years ago from Arkansas, USA

        I have 6 cats and a dog, and I love them all. I would say I'm a cat AND dog person. Awesome hub! You're right on. I think both dogs and cats are wonderful in their own ways.

      • JennyKnight profile image


        7 years ago from Miles, Iowa

        It was just lately when I discovered that I am a cat person. Growing up I have had pet dogs and loved them dearly. I grew fond of cats when I got my Birman and my Egyptian Mau. The only thing I didn't love about them is the fact that they can go out for days and not come back (to the point that I don't even know if they'll go home) for a long time. Now I have 8 cats (4 Egyptian Maus and 4 Birmans) and 2 gentle giants (2 Bull Mastiffs). They get along really well and I just love it!

      • profile image

        yummy 432 

        7 years ago

        i found this very useful for an essay thanks ;)

      • profile image


        7 years ago

        I've been around no less than 4-5 cats since birth so they're what I prefer and am accustomed to. It's a pity I can't say the same thing about my boyfriend. He chooses dogs. At the moment we have both. And tend to disagree on eacher's pet of choice. Making it possibly the only thing we would ever argue about. That really saddens me. We can't understand eachother's logic or reasons. So it can create quite a tension in a relationship.

      • profile image


        7 years ago

        brettb 5 months ago.

        Just to this person, the cats dont know they are superior, they think they are, or if you want to think this that's ok, but they are not superior in any way.

      • profile image


        7 years ago

        i have one dog and i really want a cat. that is all.-nick out

      • profile image


        7 years ago

        I grew up with dogs and loved them. Had always thought cats are mean and unpredicably scratchy. But now I'm a total cat-lover and honestly prefer them to my whining, greedy, chew everything, poo and pee everywhere teenage dachshund! Cats command respect and they gives you respect in return. Plus they are quiet, graceful and smart enough not to eat poo or destroy their own place of dwellings.

      • profile image


        7 years ago

        I'm definitely a dog person. #5 in the pros of owning a dog is the most important!!!! :)

      • profile image


        8 years ago


      • profile image


        8 years ago

        I have 3 cats and a dog and I have to say that cats are def. easier to take care of. The thing I think needs to be stressed though is how cats can have extremely different personalities. In my lifetime I've had several cats, and though I wouldn't describe them of being doggish, many were very affectionate and several of them were trained. I have a cat now that can high five, shake, speak, sit and jump onto/into things on command. Just like a dog, you have to find what motivates them and some cats are just harder to train then others.

      • rachel.htpmv profile image


        8 years ago

        Thanks for your insights! I have two cats and I'm dying to get a dog as well.

      • brettb profile image


        8 years ago from London

        Each cat is really unique, they always have different personalities. The only thing they have in common is that they know they are superior to all other life forms (including us!)

      • estranged911 profile image


        8 years ago from India!

        Great hub. Gave me a lot of insight into cat's lifestyle. I have never pet a cat and was planning to do so. The information you provided is really of great help.

      • profile image


        8 years ago

        This is great. I am a cat lover and dog lover. But cats are certainly easier to take care of. :-)

      • profile image


        8 years ago

        This "How To" has helped me with my persuasive/argumentative essay for college. Really breaks it all down. Thank you!

      • Jaspal profile image


        9 years ago from New Delhi, India

        Interesting reading. You've got it all covered, and very well. I've always been a dog person and we've always had one at home. Now, lately, we have two.

      • Petsit Lady profile image

        Petsit Lady 

        9 years ago from Spring, Texas

        "Acquiring a dog may be the only opportunity a human ever has to choose a relative".

        Think about this when adopting! And PLEASE get a rescue. NOT a puppy mill dog from a pet store!

      • Tigermadstanley profile image

        Amanda Davey 

        9 years ago from Canterbury, Kent, UK

        I've always been a cat person. However, we are now the proud owners of 4 cats, 1 puppy and 3 chickens. I'd have another guinea pig and rat if I could but think I've got my hands full already!

        Great hub. You are so right with your points.


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