If you're considering the pros and cons of sharing life with a dog versus a cat, the true dilemma is not so much which critter makes the best pet -- both have their perks. The real puzzle is who are you and what you expect from your furry friend.
Sharing Your Space
They're pack members by nature, and most dogs love rubbing shoulders with their leader, be she human or canine. If you carry that same social gene and want someone close as you watch television, catch up on your messages or rummage through the fridge for a tasty midnight snack, your pup will happily oblige. He'll sometimes stick close enough to trip over. Your cat will know where you are at all times but won't feel the same need to join the party, unless he wants a taste of that tuna sandwich or it's time for his evening petting session.
A Faithful Partner
If you've ever felt disappointed when an exercise buddy called at the last minute to cancel, rest assured that Rover will never let you down. He needs that early morning run or brisk walk on the trails as much as you. And if you haven't started a routine aerobic workout despite all those well-intended resolutions, Rover's daily exercise requirement will get you up and moving. A feline roommate would wonder why you're embarrassing yourself with all that sweating but may enjoy watching the show out the window as you trot by on the sidewalk.
Broadening Your Horizons
Right from the start, Rover opens doors for potential new relationships with his need to walk around the block to find the perfect potty place. Even standoffish neighbors might suddenly find a reason to chat as they pet your new pup. Dog parks and group obedience classes also offer you and Rover a chance to meet a soul mate, or at least a fellow dog lover. You'll find cat people wherever you go, but there aren't as many opportunities for developing new relationships because of Kitty. Few cats ever leash train, and most consider group meetings an oddity best left to humans.
Improving Your Skills
While training is meant to educate your pup, there's little that teaches the importance of commitment, timing, patience and learning nonverbal cues faster than working on obedience with Rover. He'll pick up a few things quickly but forget them by tomorrow until you've practiced the same skill a million or so times. If you get frustrated or start frowning over his goofs, he'll forget everything except finding a way to make you smile again. Your cat will teach you to handle rejection better since he has no interest in learning, much less following any of your commands. Probably because he feels he's at least your equal, if not slightly superior.
A medical writer since 1990 and successful home-based business owner for more than 14 years, Sandra King holds a Bachelor of Arts in communications. She uses her formal education, professional insight and extensive volunteer involvement to cover topics on health and fitness, pets, parenting for a lifetime, building healthy relationships, conquering business basics and developing career goals.