Skip to main content

Pros and Cons of Cats and Dogs

Adrienne is a certified dog trainer and former veterinarian assistant who partners with some of the best veterinarians worldwide.

Are you trying to choose between a cat or a dog as a pet? Read on to weigh the pros and cons of each animal.

Are you trying to choose between a cat or a dog as a pet? Read on to weigh the pros and cons of each animal.

Cats vs. Dogs: The Pros and Cons

Are you exuberant, easy-going and extroverted? Or are you solitary, a bit aloof and quiet?

Chances are, your choice of pet may reflect a bit of your personality. It is no surprise why poets, artists and writers have a history of being cat people, while movie stars, singers and those that generally work 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, I can say that they each come with their fair share of pros and cons. Deciding whether one is better than the other is ultimately a choice left to the individual and their lifestyle and personality.

Here are the top 5 pros and cons of owning a cat.

Here are the top 5 pros and cons of owning a cat.

Pros of Owning a Cat

1. Cats Are Easy to Take Care of

All they need is a food and water bowl and 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 rolled-up piece of paper, and that will make their day.

2. Cats Are Independent

Yes, you can go to work for eight hours straight, and your cat may not miss you, or at least it will not make a fuss when you leave. They can easily entertain themselves and cater to their needs on their own. I once had to leave my cat alone for the weekend (boarding was out of the question as she did not do well in unfamiliar territory), and I was worried sick. But when I came back, she acted as though nothing had 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 a cat, and if you are particularly careful in keeping the litter box clean and fresh with high-quality litter, chances are, nobody will ever know you share your roof with a feline.

4. Cats Are Lazy

While there are some hyperactive breeds, such as Bengals and Siamese, most cats are pretty lazy pillow-warmers that sleep up to 16 hours a day. There's no need to walk them every day to keep their energy levels low; tossing a ball about the room will suffice.

5. Cats Are Litter-Trained

Cats do not need to be walked at five in the morning in the dead of 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 five-second daily scoop.

Cons of Owning a Cat

1. Cats Are Standoffish

While this may be generally true, I have encountered a few cats that were sort of "doggy cats," meaning they were 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 a 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 La-Z-Boy sofa and recliner. If your cat is not redirected to a nice scratching post, your home may be quickly destroyed. While declawing should be out of the question, frequent nail trimmings may luckily 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 who suffer from allergies. If you are allergic to cats but do not care much about appearance, a hairless cat breed like the Sphynx or Devon Rex may be a solution.

Scroll to Continue

Read More From Pethelpful

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.

Here are the top 5 pros and cons of owning a dog.

Here are the top 5 pros and cons of owning a dog.

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 or because of incentives we offer them (treats, praise, petting). Whether your dog must pull a sleigh or gather sheep, the dog will do it promptly.

2. Dogs Are Social

You can take your dog on vacation with you easily, and as long as they are with their owners, they are fine. Territory is not a big deal for them, and they can visit different places 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 counts the most.

3. Dogs Promote a Healthy Lifestyle

Dog owners are kept healthy because dogs need to be walked. Dog owners lead a healthy lifestyle when exposed to fresh air every day as they walk their dogs vigorously in the morning. Dogs also, unlike exercise programs, ensure consistency because owners must always walk their dogs, eliminating the risk of putting off exercise.

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 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, and others need frequent baths because they may be smelly. They need to chew toys and bones to keep their teeth in good condition, and they need grooming sessions to keep their fur nice and tidy. They need to be obedience trained, 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 bear 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 need to be boarded or brought along when owners are gone for several hours or an entire weekend. 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 alone.

3. Dogs Chew

A puppy's teething may turn into a nightmarish event. If not redirected to chew toys and bones, most dogs will try to gnaw on the attractive dining room table's legs or even chew through the drywall. Some dogs still will chew for the rest of their lives if not trained early on which 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. The truth is, your dog will need to be walked 365 days a year. Hiring a dog walker may be costly and procrastinating 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 in 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 the leash in such a manner to make its owner fall.

Which Will You Choose?

So there you have it—the most important pros and cons of owning a cat or dog. There may be a lot of homework required before making a choice; however, whether you decide on a purring kitten or a fluffy puppy, you will certainly enjoy your pet to the fullest! Best of luck!

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

© 2009 Adrienne Farricelli


Ddd on May 06, 2020:

Wow perfect

using this for my essay on February 25, 2020:

just read my profile

Burke Brennan on February 18, 2020:

Using this for my argumentative essay! Dogs for life!!

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on August 19, 2019:

Puppies are lot more work than cats, and it may come to a shock for those who have never owned one before.

;-; (2) on August 12, 2019:

I have 3 cats, all of them rescued from abandon and animal abuse situations, and recently adopted a dog. Never the 3 cats have given me so much trouble as the puppy alone. The puppy simply won't pee or poop where she was supposed to, she cries and barks whenever she is left alone, and she is very... aggressive and territorial when she is playing (she won't let go of toys and balls whenever she plays fetch, often growling and trying to bite the person who's playing with her).

It breaks my heart, but I see no other option than passing her to someone else...

;-; on May 02, 2019:

I think this article is very put together and informing. Well done

hahaha on February 13, 2019:

love dogs

QuietSoloist on December 14, 2018:

Using this for my argumentative essay! Cats for life, man.

Lol on December 04, 2018:

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?

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on August 18, 2018:

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?

NoiBlanche on August 13, 2018:

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.

Sally Choi on June 15, 2018:

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

idk on June 11, 2018:

idk is this true

CJ (girl) on April 23, 2018:

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

Hunter on March 27, 2018:

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

Auron on February 28, 2018:

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

heba on February 07, 2018:

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

dd on January 22, 2018:

dogs are better

jenny on December 11, 2017:

I don't understand

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on December 09, 2017:

Avery, don't cats meow too though?

avery on December 03, 2017:

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

Nate on September 13, 2017:

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

bubbly...Cookies on May 16, 2017:

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!!!!!!!!!!

Alica on February 13, 2017:

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

Brady on October 25, 2016:

thankyou for the info

WTG123 on May 15, 2015:

Thanjs for the free info

Laura on June 10, 2012:

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

clyford on May 01, 2012:

thank you for that

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on April 20, 2012:

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

gim on April 20, 2012:

very nice i like it good job contain it thanks

Lee on April 19, 2012:

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

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on April 05, 2012:

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

Bayleigh on April 05, 2012:

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 from Wales on March 07, 2012:

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


Adrienne Farricelli (author) on February 29, 2012:

Happy you got a great score, best wishes:)

bella on February 28, 2012:

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 from the beautiful south on December 05, 2011:

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.

the dean on September 21, 2011:

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

Victoria Lynn from Arkansas, USA on August 27, 2011:

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 from Miles, Iowa on March 26, 2011:

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!

yummy 432 on February 15, 2011:

i found this very useful for an essay thanks ;)

Mer on February 09, 2011:

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.

Hector on December 28, 2010:

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.

mynameisnick on December 24, 2010:

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

Grace on October 05, 2010:

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.

Kay8127 on October 03, 2010:

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

0000000000000000000000000 on September 07, 2010:


Sheryl on August 29, 2010:

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 on July 14, 2010:

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

brettb from London on July 13, 2010:

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 from India! on June 06, 2010:

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.

animallover8 on May 23, 2010:

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

MeganM on January 31, 2010:

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

Jaspal from New Delhi, India on September 06, 2009:

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 from Spring, Texas on August 30, 2009:

"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!

Amanda Davey from Canterbury, Kent, UK on July 07, 2009:

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.

Related Articles