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Cats vs. Dogs!

Posted by at 12:12 PM | Permalink | Comments (30)


Cats vs. Dogs! By Scott VanValkenburg Diane S. Murphy / CC

Many people firmly consider themselves “cat people,” while many others faithfully belong to the “dog people” camp. Are you one or the other? Do you think that there are personality traits that predispose certain types of people to make better companions to either felines or canines?

It certainly is true that cats and dogs have different needs and that individuals within those species vary markedly in their behavior. If they weren’t so unique, why would we haul out the pictures and regale anyone willing to listen with the latest “fascinating” activities of our beloved animal companions?

And having spent decades helping to make permanent matches between people and rescued dogs and cats, I do believe that there are some personal characteristics that might help somebody decide whether to look in the cat rooms or the dog kennels first.

If you’ve ever looked out your window to see a letter carrier in a severe storm and thought, “That pledge of ‘no rain or sleet or snow’ is not for me,” you shouldn’t have a dog. After all, letter carriers only have to walk once a day, and they get Sundays off (no comments about possible cutbacks in delivery days, please). If you live with dogs, you really owe it to them to go for a walk at least twice a day-four times, if you do not have a yard that you can let them out in for a quick leg-lift!-every single day (or drive to an off-leash, fenced-in dog park for a run!). That’s no piece of cake during unappealing weather conditions.

A cat guardian can simply snuggle down with his or her feline pal(s) and read a book, knowing that the indoor litterboxes are easily accessible 24 hours a day (and should be scooped at least twice a day, of course). But that doesn’t let friends of felines off the hook for exercise and entertainment. If you are the sort who would prefer video games (or better yet, video game development) to the great outdoors, you would probably make a perfect “director of kitty games” for your household. This is a very important position.

While dogs also enjoy new games (especially certain breeds who need “jobs” in order to be happy), cats really enjoy a much more varied lineup of entertainment. Surely you’ve been humiliated at some point by the sight of a bored yawn on a beautiful cat face that was clearly sending the message, “Hey, that string with the fake feather on it was great yesterday, but how about something different today, please?”

You really have to vary the options for cats: a paper bag with a sparkle ball, a cardboard-box tunnel, a noisy ball, a bird video, scratching posts, etc. Vary those offerings if you want purrs and not bored stares. You signed a 20-year (or so) contract the minute you opened your home to a young cat, so keep those creative juices flowing.

Of course, I find this cat-versus-dog thing to be nonsense. I’m for cats and for dogs, and a mixed household is the best. It will put every one of your interests, skills, and talents to use keeping your animal companions happy.

What’s your opinion? What human characteristics do you think might indicate that somebody will value feline companionship over dog companionship or vice versa?

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    Barbara L. Hall says...

    April 13th, 2009, 4:16 pm

    Although I have a lot of hobbies and keep busy with a poetry group which
    I co-chair, Woman’s club in Walpole, MA, etc., I do have a lazy streak a
    mile wide which I have to control. I love to relax and I loved to have my
    kitties join me on the bed as I propped myself up to read. Their beautiful
    fur felt so good to stroke and their purring was so relaxing. I loved them so
    much, but they have since passed away. I feel as though I am too old now
    to have the care of any animals, although I still feed the birds! I have
    always loved animals. The deer walk through my yard. Woodchucks are
    now raising a family under my shed where for several years I had a family
    of red foxes under the same shed! I should have been a naturalist!

    Vanessa says...

    April 17th, 2009, 1:42 pm

    I’ve always been a fan of both…then throw in horses and birds and rodents…I can’t make up my mind! I love them all! Thank goodness we get to share our lives with so many different wonderful animals. But knowing yourself, your lifestyle and what an animal requires does make for happy match making.

    Elaine says...

    April 17th, 2009, 1:51 pm

    I agree with you about your description of cat and dog people. I have had many cats, only two dogs and am happier with cats. I love how quiet they are, no barking dogs for me! My four girls are wonderful friends, Jesse Marie even likes to walk on a leash. Cats are definitely my choice of companion animal.

    Marcia says...

    April 17th, 2009, 1:53 pm

    I think if you really care about animals you will love and be grateful for whatever one you are guardian for.

    Samantha says...

    April 17th, 2009, 2:01 pm

    well I really like cats but also I love dogs so it’s really dificult to choie but
    well I love them
    cats&dogs
    are the best♥
    By Samantha (:

    Leigh Anne says...

    April 17th, 2009, 2:33 pm

    I always thought of myself as a “cat person”. I enjoyed OTHER peoples dogs, but I didn’t really want one for myself. When my oldest daughter turned 16, I finally caved in to the pleas for a puppy. What a surprise my little fella Max was!!! Virtually overnight, I feel in love with him as if he were my own birthed baby!!! And yes, he loves to chew up everything, took a long time to potty train, barks at every sound and requires tons of attentions, but I love him far beyond what I ever imagined that I would be capable of loving. I still love all my precious kitties, but my life is much more full-filled, joyful, and full of laughter with sweetie boy Max.

    Renee says...

    April 17th, 2009, 3:19 pm

    I love all animals. I have dogs, cats, birds, and rabbits. If I lived in the country, I’d have pigs, cows and chickens.

    Scott Ogilby says...

    April 17th, 2009, 3:36 pm

    I grew up with both dogs and cats, but at heart I have always been a cat guy. I am always puzzled by the fact that most men seem to be dog people. Cats after all are miniature lions and tigers, and what could be more masculine than that? Many people also object to cats’ independent ways, but that is one of the things I love about them. They live their own mysterious lives, but when they love you, you can be sure that they love you.

    Angela Wilkinson says...

    April 17th, 2009, 3:54 pm

    I think I am more of a “dog person”, even though I have one cat since she
    was a baby, her eyes were not even open when my son came home with
    her & her mom. He worked as a Manager in a apartment building and found them in a empty apartment, two of the kittens were dead, only mom
    & one baby sat there with a empty box in the living room. My son took both
    home to us and I did not have the heart to just leave them on the street.
    Mama kitty has since died, but Smoky the baby still lives with me. My dogs
    I have four do not like her, and vise versa, so I have to keep them away
    from each other. Smoky has my bedroom and is content, the dogs have the
    rest of the house. I love all animals, have had foster dogs until I found a
    good home, rescued birds, and a baby racoon, I drove out to a wonderful
    Animal Sancuary we have close by where we live. The feeling I have when
    I help a animal I cannot even explain in words, since I was a little girl I
    fought for animals. I guess I was born to do so, at least that’s what my
    mom used to tell me. All my dogs were homeless at some point in their lives until they found me, all four of my dogs. I also have a parrot for a long
    time, his former owners planed to move and just deceided they do not want
    Sidney, that is his name, any longer. I do not understand people who from
    one day to the other just get rid of their pet just because….
    Dogs are so special to me, I can read their mind, it may sounds funny, but
    I always know what it is they try to tell me by looking at me, and hardly ever was I wrong by reading them. A walk with my dogs feels as if we have
    a special bond, and they thank me daily by loving me without judgement,
    or looks, or what mood I may be in that day. Petting any of my animals is
    better treatment than any shrink could provide. As I said I love ALL animals,
    but dogs are my special friends. Funny is, my pets lasted longer in a relationship with me than my former husband.

    Ann-Marie says...

    April 17th, 2009, 4:04 pm

    I grew up with cats and very deathly afraid of dogs. My husband is a lover of both. We got a dog while having two cats with the provision that he walk the dog. He hasn’t walked her much so I’ve taken over with distain looks from my kitties. Having a dog has taught me more than having cats but having both has been a free-for-all especially since they don’t care for each other.

    april says...

    April 17th, 2009, 4:40 pm

    i used to be a dog person and I recently converted to cats a year or so ago. Dogs are for people with families and kids. Cats are so easy to care for if you have a busy schedule and cant always be home to let it out. But I still love other people’s dogs!

    Audri Good says...

    April 17th, 2009, 4:49 pm

    I’m mostly a cat person. I’ve owned cats, dogs, ferrets, & fish before, but there’s just something about cats. I guess dogs are just a little bit much sometimes with the barking and needing outside and how they want to jump all over you. Cats are more subtle. I’ve never been one for rambunctiousness – except when I was a kid, of course.

    Michelle says...

    April 17th, 2009, 6:26 pm

    As an animal lover I’ve had everything, iguanas, snakes, tarantulas, birds, rabbits, rats, mice, guinea pigs as well as barn yard animals (I currantly have a goat and horse and I’m working on my hubby for chickens) and of course dogs and cats. That being said, cats are definately my favorites~I’m planning on being the crazy cat lady with lots of kitties some day…Oh wait, I already am!!!!!

    Arlene Ruksza-Lenz says...

    April 17th, 2009, 7:24 pm

    Until I owned/was owned by a cat, I was, I THOUGHT, a “DOG PERSON” — but, once I got to know the cat who was foisted on me, I mean given to me as a gift, by my nephew, I ALSO became a “CAT PERSON”-and now I can’t imagine life without a feline companion!
    Cats are every bit as loving and companionable as any dog! We used to call our now geriatric (over 19 years old) cat, our “puppy cat” because she’d greet us at the door, fetch, meow for attention, etc.
    I love BOTH cats and dogs- and I loved the hamster, the turtle and the parakeets I once had. I’m not sure I could love fish or an iguana as much, but, I think of myself as an animal lover-love all kinds I’ve had the joy of “owning.” :)

    Debbie says...

    April 17th, 2009, 8:29 pm

    I LOVE many different types of animals! I have had dogs ( when I lived in Vermont and had LAND), but, I am now the proud “Mother” of 5 beautiful, rescued cats. ( All rescued at differnt times..) I think, since I do NOT enjoy walking around in bad weather ( sleet, snow, rain,….), that my kitties are the “perfect match” for me!! We ALL love to snuggle up and watch movies at night, and play in the morning!!! We enjoy our quiet house, and because I also “feed the birds”…..my cats have MANY birds to watch thru the windows, for their “live entertainment” throughout the day! I still work, now. I would ONLY consider a dod, AFTER I retire, and IF I had my entire property enclosed with a fence. So for me–kitties ARE my family!

    Haley says...

    April 18th, 2009, 12:05 am

    I’m both!!! I volunteered with cats though, but I love all animals. At the moment we have 5 cats, 2 dogs, and a bird. We have a variety and all the animals get along relatively well. Except the cats and the bird. . . but still, they talk to one another. When I’m older and have a place of my own, I’m going to have a variety of animals, but I really really would like to rescue a goat.

    Beth says...

    April 18th, 2009, 1:05 am

    I have grown up with animals in my life. I have had both cats and dogs. We even inherited a dog when my great uncle passed away, but by far, I enjoy cats so much more. Dogs have to constantly be let out to do their business while cats are fine with the indoor amenities.

    Now, living in an apartment, it isn’t practical to have a dog, but cats are more than welcome; in fact they can often be found roaming the halls looking for their next belly scratch. Dogs are great, but cats are so much easier.

    Irish says...

    April 18th, 2009, 9:35 am

    I’ve always been more of a cat person than dog,currently I have 7 of me own and 1 dog,with my cats if the need arises that they need to do their business I then don’t have to get up during the night to let them out like the dog,my cats don’t meow at every single sound they here like the dog does,the same car that has come gone next store for yrs the dog has to bark,tis annoying at times,sheesh she even barks if an ant walks across the grass,like I said before though I perfer cats and am known as the Crazy Cat Lady on my street and I’m proud of that :O)

    Jackie says...

    April 18th, 2009, 11:14 am

    I love all animals, but I have 3 adorable rescue cats right now. I have had a dog also, and I loved him very much. He lived to be 17 .I’ve also had a budgie who lived ’til 12, and 3 turtles and I loved everyone of them. I guess in my case I’m just an animal lover.

    Jessica says...

    April 18th, 2009, 12:59 pm

    I have a few questions, we have a new kitten in the house and I can’t seem to get her to use the scratching post. she loves scratching the door mat and the box spring, but isn’t interested in the scratching post I bought. I tried bringing her to the scratching post a few times a day and putting her feet on it, but she looks at me like I’m crazy.

    Fatima says...

    April 18th, 2009, 2:18 pm

    I love animals, any kind. The only reason that I don’t have more is space, I don’t have enough room. I think dogs a needy, they want to please you, I really don’t why they do that. Cats are more independent, is like “take me as I am, if you don’t, I just go away”. I always had dogs and now I have two cats and I live in the country side, they are wild. They can easy take a dog(or two) for spin, but they are my babies and at night, everybody in a house to sleep with mommy.

    Sharon says...

    April 18th, 2009, 4:49 pm

    I love all animals. I think cats are easier to care for, you can leave for a weekend without worrying about them. I have 8 cats, & 1 dog that does not like other dogs. They all bring joy to my life.
    For those who like dogs or cats, but don’t want one, may I suggest fostering a shelter animal. Even if you take it home for the weekend, it gets them out of the shelter for a couple of days for much needed attention.

    Geri says...

    April 18th, 2009, 7:44 pm

    I am definitely a cat person, although I love dogs too.

    Shawna says...

    April 19th, 2009, 2:25 pm

    Personally I love both cats and dogs I’ve grown up with both they both make me happy because on fun days i can go outside or to the front room and play with any one of my dogs but on lazy days i just have to lay down in bed or on the couch and be loved by my cats and when i’m sick they all flock to comfort me as I do them!!I don’t even have to keep them happy most of the time because they keep me happy as well as each other!!So instead of cats vs. dogs i really prefer the term cats and dogs!!

    Phyllis says...

    April 19th, 2009, 3:58 pm

    What human characteristic is it that makes people who “love” dogs OR cats complacent animal cruelty? Whether you love dogs or cats – do you care about the dogs and cats that are being tortured in laboratories right now or just your own dog or cat? Dogs whose loving trust is so like that of our own companion animals are abused and betrayed time and time again by men and women in white lab coats. Cats who love to snuggle certainly have nothing and no one to snuggle with inside laboratories where their broken and bleeding bodies are simply thrown back into a metal cage after every single invasive procedure. I just got back from one of the WORST turns outs for a protest for animals in laboratories – ever. A mere 12 people out of a city with more than 3 million came out to speak against the sadistic and systematic torture of animals in laboratories. There are hundreds of people who subscribe to our local e-mail list who love animals and all have companion animals in their homes. Yet these people who profess to love and “rescue” dogs and cats did not care about the dogs and cats inside Emory University’s laboratories. But you can bet your bottom dollar if someone had taken their dog, cut into her spine crippling her, they’d be yelling for someone to do something. Dogs and cats are suffering inside laboratories and they will continue to do so unless people who profess to love them take a stand against vivisection.
    So I’m angry and confused – someone please enlighten me – why do people who love dogs and cats ignore the suffering of animals in laboratories?

    Lianne Lavoie says...

    April 20th, 2009, 9:28 am

    I am a complete, 100% dog person. I appreciate an adorable kitten as much as the next person, but then they soon grow up to be cranky, selfish, and otherwise generally unpleasant. I know some cat people say that their cats are really friendly and affectionate, but I just don’t see it. A dog will always love you, and will be loyal to you no matter what. This is because cats are solitary animals by nature, whereas dogs are pack animals. I prefer to be part of a pack, rather than serving a lone cat. That’s just me, though. :P I don’t know what personality traits that suggests.

    pigsandrats80 says...

    April 20th, 2009, 12:04 pm

    I personally love both my cats and my 3 dogs equally. I do wish I could take my kitties to a cat park sometimes when I leave them behind to go to the dog park, but I’m sure they’re a lot happier at home ;)

    Mark CG Jackson says...

    April 26th, 2009, 4:32 pm

    I wonder how many ‘animal lovers’ here are actually what they claim, for a disturbing amount seem to be ‘owning’ (like a toy or jewel) an awful amount of exotics, nevermind the ‘usual ones’. What the lady said about vicisection is brilliant and accurate-I would add most dog and cat owners are a joke because they own the animal for their own reasons, not the animals, they force their rules on it-‘eat here, shut up, sleep there’ etc, they deferentiate between species-NOT helpful, and support a multitude of animal-killing-or do they ALL feed cats and dogs veggie food?! Yeh right.

    Most people say they love animals and do in fact love them-they love them as leather jackets, filets of sole, nuggets, burgers, fry-ups, lipstick, shampoo, wheel greaser, sweaters and something to abuse for the hell of it. I might also add the pet industry is a cruelty in itself and owning them is an arrogant and misguided expression of ‘love’ as anything. Yes many people thankfully have rescues (the only animals anyone should ever ‘own’) but there’s something wrong when an animal lover like me chooses NOT to ‘own’ animals for their own good and THAT’S seen as abnormal.

    Pet owning is generally wrong-as is anything that insists something has to kept for yourself as opposed to its own happiness-and why dogs love people so much I’ll never know. Cats have the right idea of them, but then dogs win over cats as they are easier to have veggie and they love you more. But the average person is a selfish arse and would be better off with a cat as they don’t have to do much, but that does not help the cat, nor the hundreds of animals killed to feed it. And there’s something wrong in a world where enslaved (domestic/’pet’) animals now outnumber their far more important and healthy-gened and natural wild asssociates.

    This dogs vs cats nonsense is yet more unhelpful nonsesne to set animals against each other. All animals have a right to a decent life-and therefore a decent life means generally not being forced away from their homes into a life of general dictatorship-which sums up way too many households with animals-and those are apparently just the good ones!

    JoAnne says...

    May 25th, 2009, 1:14 am

    I love both cats and dogs, but am more a cat person than a dog person. I fell in love with my first cat 16 years ago, acquired two more in the next four years. Then last Christmas, we found ourselves with Chloe, a Border Collie, and we just love her! I am very happy she has joined our household. However, I still enjoy the cats more because I love to hold them close and carry them around. Dogs are noisier, shed a lot more, and demand more attention. The cats never go outside, but I have to walk Chloe twice a day, rain or shine, snow, wind, sleet, hail. Chloe can not be in the back yard alone because she has found a way to get out. She has made our lives more lively, and because of her, we get a lot more exercise.

    Austin says...

    January 5th, 2010, 11:34 am

    I love lizards and cats. dogs are just weird and ugly looking for me. I have loved cats since I was like 3 years old I have never liked dogs because most of the time they are vicious and to me they have never cared for anyone but themselves.(Kind of like my lizard) But I love him!

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