Sometimes we have no choice but to become our pet. A cat or a dog suddenly appear in our lives and become friends. But if we want to make a rational and thoughtful choice of a pet, we should think carefully before doing so. While many of us believe that the cat is less absorbing than the dog, it is a harmful myth that should be debunked once and for all. Like many other myths.
If you’re looking for more advice and information, also check out the Cat questions articles here.
Cat versus dog – species differences
The most important difference between a cat and a dog is that a dog is a herd animal, domesticated between 200,000 and 300,000. years ago, and the cat is a solitary animal, domesticated about 10,000. years ago. These apparently “dry” historical facts have a colossal impact on the behavior of dogs and cats towards humans and each other.
The dog, due to earlier domestication, is much better adapted to life with humans than a cat. In addition, his herd nature helps him find his place in the home hierarchy, even if we have more than one dog.
A cat is by nature a solitary animal that does not need a second cat for its happiness. In the case of incorrect “overestimation”, it can manifest serious behavioral problems, because it is not in its nature to create a hierarchy or a complicated social structure.
A cat has diametrically opposed needs than a dog. This is due to the so-called ethogram, i.e. a set of all behaviors characteristic of a given species. Of course, every living organism needs food and drink, but the similarities stop there. A cat has many unique needs that a dog does not have, and before adopting a cat, you should consider whether we have the time, resources, and capabilities to meet these needs.
The dog needs regular walks, this goes without saying. The cat, on the other hand, needs regular, everyday hunting fun while maintaining the hunting chain. Without this play, the cat’s quality of life runs out of head and neck and is often the cause of behavioral disorders such as attacking household members.
The dog is focused on cooperation with humans – for thousands of years it has been bred for this. The cat as a species has never been used for a specific job, nor has it been genetically selected for that purpose. The natural hunting behavior of a cat simply matched the human needs, therefore the human influence on the cat as a species is much smaller.
This is of great importance in the process of intercourse with the cat. It will not be focused on obeying orders or gaining our approval. For this reason, the relationship with the cat can be difficult for us. We expect animals to obey, and cats rarely obey. At most, they can compromise with us. Also check this article with tips on whether a cat or a dog, i.e. which quadruped is right for you.
Cat versus dog – living costs
When it comes to basic maintenance costs in the form of food or supplementation, they are similar. Typical canned food for dogs and cats does not differ significantly in price. This does not mean that dogs and cats are eating the same thing. You can afford more non-meat additives in your dog’s diet than in a cat’s diet, which is a ruthless carnivore and derives all its nutrients from meat.
However, a cat requires slightly more accessories than a dog. In addition to the litter box, litter and bowls, also a decent scratching post, a few bedding and a few high shelves on the walls. And of course the toys. Taking all this into account, a cat layette will definitely be more expensive than a dog’s layette (leash, collar, bed, bowls, toys).
Additionally, cats do not like sharing, so if we are going to have more cats, we will also have to purchase separate accessories for them. Cats do not live in herds and the use of, for example, one litter box is unnatural for them. Like sharing one toy or bowl, which can generate unnecessary tension.
Basic veterinary care for dogs and cats is not very different from each other. With the proviso that a cat that does not go out has a lower risk of infection with parasites or of getting injured than a dog that goes out every day. Therefore, while a cat can be dewormed rarely, only after faecal examination, the dog is dewormed regularly. It is similar with vaccinations – non-leaving animals do not require the same vaccinations as outgoing animals.
Regular health check-ups are needed for both species, although these are even more important for cats than for dogs. Cats instinctively hide illness and malaise, often until it is too late for effective treatment.
Perhaps the biggest difference between dogs and cats is when behavioral problems arise. Cats are animals that are extremely susceptible to stress and exhibit anxiety reactions more often than the average dog. Unlike dogs, cats do not take comfort from a human handler, much less as dogs. In other words – if a cat has a stress problem, there is a good chance it will require the help of a behaviorist.
In turn, the behavioral problems of a dog can end in criminal liability for us if, for example, our pet bites someone in a park. In the case of cats, this risk is easily reduced, in the case of dogs that have to go out, the risk is considerable.
Cat versus dog – relationship with humans
Scientific research proves that having a pet has a positive effect on our health. Children who grow up at home with a dog or cat suffer less from allergies. Petting a purring cat lowers stress levels and blood pressure. Regular walks with the dog help to maintain good condition and social relationships.
So there is no doubt that both cats and dogs are wonderful life companions. However, each of them in their own way. Cats are much more independent and less focused on the satisfaction of the handler, so they will not endure too long stroking, carrying on their hands or other caresses that they do not want to do. The average dog will be more understanding in these cases.
Define your needs
If you do not have the opportunity to go for a walk with your dog on a regular basis or you have a small apartment, then the cat will actually be a better companion, but with the fact that you will not expect dog behavior from him. If, on the other hand, you do not like dogs, but you dream of going for walks with your pet, you can find a cat that will like to go out. Just remember that a walk with a cat is different from a walk with a dog. They will follow the cat, the dog follows the leg.
If you travel frequently or work long hours, then it is not advisable to adopt any animal. The dog will miss you and the cat will be bored. It is not true that cats do not need human contact. They need. And they certainly need hunting fun that only humans can provide. Taking two cats at once does not release us from the obligation to devote our time to them.
Traveling with a dog is usually easier than traveling with a cat. The dog tolerates changes in the environment well, the cat is quite the opposite. Therefore, if you take a cat, you need to reckon with the need to find a visiting sitter when you decide to go on vacation. Fortunately, there are more and more companies providing professional petsitter services on the market.