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Cats or Dogs?

John Lund/Getty Images (Cat and Dog); DEBATE PHOTOS COURTESY OF FAMILIES

There’s no question that Americans love both dogs and cats. About 48 percent of households in the U.S. own dogs and 38 percent own cats, according to the American Pet Products Association. But one thing many people can’t seem to agree on is which animal makes a better pet.  

Cat lovers argue that their pets are easier to care for than dogs. They point out that cats are less of a nuisance to other people because they don’t bark or jump on visitors. Also, it’s cheaper to own a cat. Cat owners spend $300 to $800 less per year than dog owners do, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Dogs sometimes need training classes and eat more food than cats do. Visits to the vet also tend to cost more for dogs. 

Still, dog owners say the money they spend on their pets is well worth it. They argue that dogs are more social and affectionate than cats. Plus, scientists who studied the brains of both animals determined that dogs are smarter than cats. 

Dog lovers also point out that canines help people in ways that felines can’t. For example, walking their pets helps dog owners stay active. And dogs can be trained as service pets for people who are disabled or have food allergies.

Here’s what two of our readers think.

Cats don’t need as much attention as dogs do. 

I have both cats and dogs, but I’d rather own a cat any day. Dogs are noisy and make a mess. Dogs drool all over you and lick your face. Some chew up furniture and shoes.   

Cats are much quieter, and they’re better companions. My cats are the perfect size for sitting on my lap, and they purr when I pet and cuddle them. 

It’s also less of a hassle to take care of cats. They can stay home alone and use a litter box. Meanwhile, dogs need a sitter to take them outside constantly. Plus, when cats go to the bathroom, they cover it up. Dogs just leave it in the yard where it can get stepped on!

Dogs care more about their owners than cats do.

There are many reasons dogs are called “man’s best friend.” They’re playful and love their owners, and you can teach them cool tricks. Cats mostly just care about eating and taking naps. Plus, cat owners need to keep gross litter boxes in their homes. But dogs can be house-trained and mostly stick to a schedule for going outside.

Also, from the smallest Chihuahua to the largest Great Dane, there are many more breeds of dogs than cats. Each breed has a different personality and level of playfulness. 

Finally, dogs can be service pets and even lifesavers. A cat isn’t going to protect your home from burglars. 

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