Did you know that more people own cats than dogs? I don’t believe that is a mere accident. In the US, 95.6 Million people own cats compared to the 83.3 million who own dogs (“Pets by the Numbers”). 12.3 million more people own cats than dogs. According to this study, 15% more people own cats than dogs. Even though both pets are known to relieve stress, promote a positive outlook and lifestyle, and give the owner happiness, America still prefers cats (Wall Triana Animal Hospital; Couch). There are a few reasons why cats are preferred over dogs in the United States. In my opinion, cats are the superior pet over dogs by population because cats cost less money than dogs to keep, they don’t require much work for their upkeep, do not depend on the owner as much as dogs tend to, and are typically healthier and have a longer life expectancy.
The first reason why cats are the superior pet over dogs is because cats cost less to maintain as far as annual (food, water, toys, damage etc.) and medical costs (vet bills). The annual cost (cost per year of owning a pet) for felines is around $450 which is considerably different from the $660 annual cost for a canines (“Cat vs Dog”). Bottom line, dogs are one and a half times more expensive than the average annual cost for a cat. After you own both a cat and a dog, most would find that dogs are drastically more expensive than cats. However, there is an even larger price ratio for medical bills when we compare these two famous pets. The average medical fee for a feline is only $160 a year. Whereas, a dogs fee can be $290 a year or more (“Cat vs Dog”). There is a significant difference in cost when comparing dogs and cats. Studies, as well as my interviews, have shown that no matter which way you slice it, cats are cheaper.
Cats aren’t better just because they have lower annual and medical fees, but also because cats do not require as much upkeep as dogs do. Both need affection from the owner, but aside from affection, let’s look at the other things these pets require. Part of the upkeep of a cat is to refill his or her food and water dishes once every 24 hours. If the owner has an indoor only cat, then cleaning out the pet’s litter box is required every one or two days also. However, if you have an indoor/outdoor cat like I do, litter boxes are not necessary, making the upkeep even less. A yearly visit to the veterinarian must also be included. All total, the upkeep for a cat is a yearly visit to the vet, daily food and water, and basic affection. On the other hand, dogs need to be exercised every day. Most dogs need 30 to 60 minutes of exercise a day (“Dog Exercise Needs”). In addition to basic food/water/vet care, canines must also be trained not to bark, not to bite, not to jump, to behave on their leash, to behave like other dogs, not to beg, and the list continues. This training requires a lot of time, especially during the first two years of the dog’s life, but also ongoing to keep the dog in line long-term. Cats do not need to be trained, but are innately well-mannered and quiet. In addition, dogs have more diseases and injuries than cats do resulting in more intense participation from the owner. Dogs have to be bathed regularly also, requiring more upkeep to maintain them. Cleaning up after dogs either on walks or in one’s yard is another component of care with dogs that lucky owners of cats do not have to deal with, aside from simply litter box care. As you can clearly see, dogs are not the way to go unless you prefer loads of upkeep associated with your pet.
Another reason why cats are found to be a better pet than dogs is because cats are more independent than dogs are. As I already mentioned, cats bathe themselves, dogs don’t; cats exercise themselves, dogs don’t; cats mostly train themselves, dogs don’t. Dogs also have to be let outside to go to the bathroom and cannot be left at home for more than a few hours for reasons like this, and require pet sitters or dog kenneling if their owners take even an overnight trip. However, with cats, you can leave for the weekend, and they are independent and don’t need too much to keep them busy. Dogs, on the other hand, get very high-strung if their owners attempt to make them independent creatures. If you regularly leave your dog alone they are likely to chew vigorously on the furniture, walls, or their owners own personal items causing serious damage. Some cats without enough owner attention will occasionally claw on the couch if they do not have a scratching post available. Canines tend to get restless and depressed or anxious if not given enough attention or exercise. Felines more easily get their needs fulfilled, with a lap cuddle here and there they are happy to just take a nap. Cats satisfy their extra energy on their own by chasing shadows or a string on the floor unlike dogs which need to go for a half hour walk. Cats are without question more independent than dogs making it much easier to own them.
Cats have a longer life expectancy than dogs and typically have better health. Felines live about 16 years. But, canines only live 10-12 years (“Pet Life Expectancy”), with some of the larger breed’s only living until 7 or 8 years. Cats don’t get diseases as often as dogs do either, which means their longer lives are also healthier lives (Wall Triana Animal Hospital). Since 2011, diabetes Mellitus increased 32% in dogs and 16% in cats, dental disease increased 12% in dogs and 10% in cats (Klaussner, Jeffrey), and Otitis Externa is found over 20% in dogs and almost 10% in cats (Gotthelf, Louis). Unfortunately, diseases are on the rise for both pets. However, dog diseases seem to be rising faster stating that cats tend to be healthier than dogs. This statement goes along with a phone interview with a local vet which said that dogs tend to get more diseases than cats (Wall Triana Animal Hospital). Cats are certainly healthier than dogs, and owners can expect to enjoy their beloved pet cat up to two times longer than a dog, making it obvious again why cats are the premium option when choosing a pet.
In conclusion, felines are superior to canines because felines cost less, they have less upkeep, they are independent, and because cats have a longer life expectancy than dogs and better health than dogs. If you were considering adopting a dog, think again. Consider the facts that I have laid out. Don’t just get a dog because it’s ‘man’s best friend’ or because everybody says that they are cool. Truly look at the statistics and see which suits you better. Which pet do you prefer?