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Pros and Cons Essay


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Dogs versus Cats: Which Makes a Better Pet?
Vicki Fournier
November 13, 2011
Genevieve Fraser

Dogs vs. Cats: Which Makes a Better Pet? There is no right or wrong answer to this question. Some people say they are dog people, some people say they are cat people, and some people say they are both. Beyond the pros and cons, the decision to what makes a better pet often comes down to a person’s lifestyle, expectations, or in certain circumstances a person’s needs. Remember “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” (Hungerford, 1878) Both dogs and cats are common domesticated pets. Dogs have been domesticated for 14,000 years and cats for 7,000 (Cats vs Dogs, n.d.). It appears in my research that most people that were asked this question “which makes a better pet, a dog or a cat” replied with the answer “dogs,” but if dogs are the better pet then why is it that there are 96.3 million homes that own cats and only 77.5 million homes that own dogs. The scientists at Oxford University released a study that claims dogs are smarter than cats and The London Daily Telegraph has reported dogs have been named as more social animals and therefore have bigger brains than the “alone loving cat” (Gatton Star, 2010, p.11). Here is something to think about: have you ever heard of a cat running full speed into a glass door? Sure a dog is a “man’s best friend” and is always there by your side, he can catch a ball in his mouth, and he knows exactly when he is in trouble, but one thing you can say for a cat is that he thinks for himself. Cats will not do anything they do not want to do – something quite intelligent. A cat does not fetch, instead they simply stare at you in a judgmental way as if to say “You threw the ball, go get it yourself. I am busy.” (Gatton Star, 2010, p.11). There are many pros and cons of cats and dogs. Dogs are usually easily trained and will work very hard to please their owners. Dogs are very social and fun pets. They can learn games and keep the family entertained by playing games like fetch and hide and seek. They also like to swim and run in the sand on the beach. Dogs are very loyal and devoted to their owners. They will give their owners unconditional love. On the other hand, cats are easy to maintain. All a cat needs is a food bowl, water bowl and a litter box. Cats are very independent. You can go away for the day or a few days and not have to worry about the cat. Cats are dainty and are very clean animals. No one would even know you own a cat unless you do not keep the litter box clean. Cats are usually laid back and are good listeners (alexadry, n.d.). Now consider the cons. Dogs need to be maintained. They are 100% dependent on their owners. You need to take them out for walks 365 days a year no matter if it is raining, snowing, or zero degree weather. Dogs need chew toys and bones to maintain healthy teeth and you need to give your dog toys to save your favorite pair of shoes or even your furniture. Dogs need to be groomed and they need to be taught manners. Dogs are very clumsy and somewhat bulky. Cats are standoffish. Cats usually decide when they want to be petted not you. Cats do not like to travel, and they are very territorial. Cats, unlike dogs, are hard to train. Cats can cause allergies because their fur carries dander and their saliva is the known culprit in causing allergies (alexadry, n.d.). Whether you choose to own a dog or a cat, you should choose wisely to make certain that your pet fits into your lifestyle and will fulfill any needs you may have. Both a dog and a cat can have therapeutic benefits and can help you live a healthier happy life. Dogs promote healthy lifestyles because dogs need to go for walks or runs which get their owners moving. Both dogs and cats can reduce your stress level simply because they are accomplished listeners, and in recent research when conducting a stressful task, people actually experienced less stress when their pet was with him or her than when their friend or even spouse was with him or her. Owning a dog can offer comfort, help ease anxiety, and build self-confidence for people who may feel anxious about going out into the world. Dogs are also fabulous social butterflies for their owners by helping their owners meet new people. Dog owners frequently stop and talk to each other on their walks or in a dog park (The Therapeutic Benefits of Pets, 2001-2011). Cats can help you relax at the end of a day by curling up on your lap and start purring. Cats will let you get a good night sleep because cats will not wake you up in the middle of the night to be taken outside to do their “potty.” Cats will also not bark in the middle of night, waking you up, when they hear something outside. Owners of dogs and cats often find new friends in pet stores, training classes, or at the veterinarians. Dogs and cats can control your blood pressure better than blood pressure reducing drugs can. In a recent study, a group of hypertensive New York stockbrokers who were given a dog or a cat were found to have lower blood pressure and heart rates than those who didn’t receive a dog or cat (The Therapeutic Benefits of Pets, 2001-2011). Caring for a pet adds structure and a routine to your day. No matter what your mood is – stressed, anxious, or depressed – you have to get out of bed to feed, exercise, and take care of your pet. Dogs and cats are there when you need them to offer unconditional love or companionship. They keep secrets and can be exceptional “snugglers.” Caring for a pet can help make you feel needed and wanted, and take the focus away from your problems (The Therapeutic Benefits of Pets, 2001-2011). Many nursing homes have been known to have dogs and even cats come in to visit their patients, and research shows that nursing home residents reported less loneliness when visited by a furry little friend (Scott, M.S., 2011). The key to aging well is learning how to manage life’s changes such as retirement, loss of loved ones, and the physical changes of aging. Dogs or cats can play a very important role in healthy aging by helping you find meaning and joy in your life. Dogs or cats also boost your vitality because dogs or cats encourage playfulness, laughter, and exercise which boosts your immune system and increases your energy. Dogs or cats are astonishing for people with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. Research at the University of California at Davis School of Veterinary Medicine concluded that Alzheimer's patients suffer less stress and have fewer anxious outbursts if there is a pet in the home (The Therapeutic Benefits of Pets, 2001-2011).
Many people acquire a dog for specific needs, like single women who lives alone, a family with children, or people who live in the city or in rural towns and want a dog for protection. A blind person may choose to get a Seeing Eye dog, which is a specially trained dog but is still treated as a pet. The busy professional may choose a cat because they do not have to worry about the cat when they work late or go away on a business trip. Having a pet is not a miracle cure. Owning a dog or cat is beneficial and comforting only for those who love and appreciate domestic animals. If you are simply not a “pet person,” owning a dog or cat is not going to provide you with any benefits or improve your life. For other people, owning a dog or cat may simply not be practical (The Therapeutic Benefits of Pets, 2001-2011). Once you decide to own a dog or cat, and have examined all the pros and cons, make sure you choose your dog or cat wisely. Your dog or cat should fit your lifestyle and sometimes as a bonus could fulfill one or more of your needs. If you choose to own a dog and a cat you will have the best of both worlds and will, more than likely, fulfill one or more of your needs.


alexadry, (n.d.). Hubpages. Retrieved from
Cats vs. dogs (n.d.). Retrieved from http://
Scott, M.S., E. (2011, May). How owning a dog or cat can reduce stress. Stress Management. Retrieved from
The therapeutic benefits of pets. (2001-2011). Retrieved from http//
(2010, November 24). Dogs vs. cats: the war is now officially over. Gatton Star. Retrieved from

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