Having a pet adds a lot of joy to your life, but it’s also a lot of responsibility. You certainly want to choose a pet that fits in well with your lifestyle and personality. Cats and dogs are some of the most popular furry companions, but which is the best pet for you?
Before adopting a pet, consider important factors, including a budget, your schedule, how often you travel, and your overall lifestyle. For example, if you enjoy getting out and about, a dog can be a great companion on walks or socializing at the park. But if you cannot walk your pet frequently or are away from home often, a cat might be better.
It’s also important to remember that although dogs and cats have some generalized personality traits, each pet is unique. You can find a very sociable cat or maybe an older dog that doesn’t require a lot of activity. When choosing the perfect pet for you, the most important thing is to find one that matches your lifestyle.
Questions to Ask Yourself Before Adopting a Pet
Before you head to the shelter to adopt a pet, it’s worth taking the time to answer a few questions. The proper prep work can ensure you make the best choice for yourself and your future companion.
1. Do You Spend a Lot of Time Away from Home?
What’s your typical schedule like? Do you work all day? Do you travel often? A cat might be a better fit if you spend a lot of time away from home. Dogs are social animals that have a pack mentality. Therefore, pups don’t do well when alone for long periods. They tend to crave constant companionship.
Of course, even your new kitty wouldn’t appreciate being alone all the time. But, cats are more independent and can handle the occasional solo weekend if you’re heading out of town.
On the flip side of this situation, even if you’re away often, do the places you go allow you to bring your pet? Depending on your work situation, your pup (if well-trained) might be able to accompany you. Also, many restaurants welcome dogs to eat outside on their patios, and you’ll find lots of dog-friendly shops, too.
2. What’s Your Lifestyle Like?
Do you have a more active lifestyle and desire a furry companion that can accompany you on your adventures? If you opt for a dog, you’ll have a running partner, travel companion, and canine hiking buddy. You’d be hard-pressed to convince your cat to join you on a trail run or a long road trip.
If you prefer a bit more low-key lifestyle and would rather not deal with daily walks, a cat could be purrr-fect. It’s all about the individual pet; you might find a dog that prefers to be a homebody or a cat that loves to walk on a leash.
3. What Is Your Budget for a New Pet?
It doesn’t matter if you get a dog or cat—a pet costs money. You need to buy food, toys, pet beds, cat condos, and all sorts of other supplies. Plus, vet bills can add up quickly. Cat food tends to cost more than dog food. However, dogs typically cost more to take care of than cats.
Dog toys are usually pricier, and you need to spend more on training, pet sitting, and boarding. For example, if you go away for a weekend, you’ll need to pay someone to watch your dog. But, as long as you leave your cat with enough clean litter, fresh water, and food, they’re usually good.
4. Where Do You Live?
If you live in a small apartment, a cat or a small dog that doesn’t require a lot of space or exercise is ideal. But what if you’re on the third floor of the apartment complex and don’t feel like going downstairs every time your dog needs to go to the bathroom? Then a cat becomes a no-brainer.
If you live in a home with a backyard, having a dog becomes much more manageable. Still, a dog could work out just fine if you live in a tiny apartment but are always heading out to run, hike, bike, etc. All you need is a strong leash and some good training, and your dog can accompany you to many places. Therefore, consider your living arrangements and your lifestyle when choosing your perfect pet.
Comparing Dogs and Cats
When you have a pet, some things are non-negotiable. For example, both dogs and cats will need regular vet care, food and water, and some form of stimulation. You’ll want to work in some playtime with both animals and show both pets affection.
But dogs will need a lot more training and exercise, especially larger dogs or more active dog breeds. And cats and dogs generally have different personalities. Here are a few points worth remembering when choosing between a dog and a cat.
- Cats will use their litter box immediately based on instinct. Dogs require thorough and consistent potty training.
- You can train your cat to do various behaviors, but it will likely take a lot more time and patience. Dogs will generally catch on more quickly. And if you need help, you can find professional dog trainers more easily than a pro cat trainer.
- Dogs tend to give unconditional love almost immediately. Cats might appear to be more aloof, but this is due to their more independent nature. Cats will also eventually develop strong bonds with their owners.
Other Things to Consider When Getting a New Dog or Cat
Once you’ve considered all these things to determine the best pet for you, don’t forget about the other people in your life. If you live with a roommate, have a family, have kids, etc., they need to get a say in the decision.
Remember, it’s crucial to think about your overall lifestyle. If you have young children, you might prefer to find a puppy that can grow with them. Your main concern might be finding a great family dog.
What if a cat is a perfect match for you, but your roommate is highly allergic? In other words, remember to think about every aspect of your life and look at the big picture.
Do You Already Have a Pet?
If you already have a dog or cat, you might assume your new pet needs to be the same. However, cats and dogs can live happily together as long as they’re introduced properly. You might even find that your cat and dog get along better than two cats or vice versa.
Choosing the Best Pet for You
When you take the time to think through these different factors, you can determine if a cat or dog is best for you. But once you’ve decided on a pup or a kitty, it’s still essential to consider the individual pet. The above characteristics are generalizations about how most dogs and cats are, but every animal has a unique personality.
Spend some time with your future pet before making the final decision to ensure you’re a good fit for each other. Once you’ve entered the ranks of pet parenthood, make sure to check out the rest of our blog for valuable resources and tips.