The chances are, if you ever meet up with pals for a coffee and someone is chatting about the perils and joys of having a new boisterous puppy, another friend will recoil and state that they are more of a cat person. The idea that you are either firmly in the dog camp or the cat camp has been a notion since the dawn of time. However, often things aren’t that black and white. Both dogs and cats have their lovely traits and more annoying foibles. If you’re tempted to welcome a new four-legged family member into your household, it’s only right that you do your research to discover which animal is the perfect pet for you.
If you have a little one at home who has been asking you incessantly about getting a pet, you should seriously consider doing so. They can be loving creatures that teach your little darlings responsibility, empathy, and patience. They can also be hilarious, getting into all sorts of scrapes, be fun to have around and they can help lighten the mood. Take a look at whether you should be considering either a cat or a dog for your humble abode.
While there are many different breeds of dog and cat, they tend to share certain traits. Dogs are inherently pack animals and are happiest when in groups of their own kind. You may find that welcoming a couple of puppy siblings into your home gives them both reassurance as they make their first tentative steps into their forever homes. Our canine pals need to be loved, and they will show love in return. Dogs really are man’s best friend and will remain loyal to their owners through thick and thin.
The media is full of stories about hounds venturing into deep waters to save their owners from drowning, or mutts that somehow manage to raise the alarm with neighbours, Lassie-style if something is wrong at home. These stories, while sensationalised, are truthful and demonstrate just how intelligent and loyal our canine pals can be. Dogs don’t want to be left alone; they need companionship. If you choose to take on a mutt, you need to have plenty of time on your hands to train him, make him feel safe and keep him company. Leave him alone for long periods at your (and your furniture’s) peril!
Cats, on the other hand, are aloof, fickle and independent creatures. While it may often feel like you have welcomed nothing more than a cute four-legged lodger into your home, cats can be the most affectionate of pets. From tortoiseshells to Persian blues, moggies have been a pet of choice for hundreds of years. From a young age, kittens are toilet trained and take pride in a clean environment in which to live. They adore order, routine, and tidiness. It’s not uncommon to see a cat preening itself for hours on end, such is their need to be perfectly coiffed.
Cats can lounge on your lap for hours, enjoy the chin rubs you can offer and purr as they half doze with you alongside them. The rub with cats is their independent streak. When they have had enough of your affection, they can be gone for hours, rocking up only when hungry or thirsty. Some people adore this aloofness as it makes them easier to care for and live with. Other people need the dependence shown by a dog.
If you live in a one bedroom flat with no garden space and minimal soundproofing, a St Bernard will not be an appropriate pet for your immediate surroundings. At the same time, if you live in a detached home of epic proportions, you may be forever looking for your moggy as they become adept at hiding in the nooks and crannies of your home.
It’s vital that you consider the well being of the creature that you intend on welcoming into your family. Heading onto a pet blog or two can see you finding out plenty of facts about apartment living with cats, dog-proofing your garden and protecting your furniture from unwanted attention. While you want to ensure minimum disruption to your home, you need to realise that taking on a pet is a big step and you will need to adapt to make the experience a success.
Cats love the outdoors, they just don’t want to be on a leash and walking alongside you. Attempt to play fetch, and they will simply sneer at you. Cats want to go it alone, stalk their potential prey a la lionesses and return with all sorts of unpleasant gifts for you. Your moggy won’t need accompanying outdoors, and they are more than happy spending the twilight hours outside of your four walls.
Dogs need much more adult-led time outdoors. You can’t simply install a dog flap and allow your hound to come and go as he pleases. Without long walks twice a day and some free time chasing sticks in the park, he could become frustrated and start destroying his immediate environment. With a dog, you need to put in much more time and effort than if you welcomed a new cat into the home. Buy a litter tray, whip up a few scratching posts and install a cat flap and that’s all your cat will need to be a happy resident in your home. Dogs need more interaction, affection, and fuss.
Some people aren’t cat or dog people but are, in fact, both. Just like those cute YouTube videos of kittens and puppies playing happily alongside one another, cats and dogs can actually get on if you introduce them to one another at an early enough age. Plenty of people across the nation own both cats and dogs, and their households are harmonious environments.
Welcoming a pet into your home should never ever be done on a whim, and it requires plenty of research before you take the plunge. Consider the personality and temperament of any potential four-legged creature, and the effort involved in owning a cat or a dog before you decide which one of these wonderful creatures will make your perfect pet.