Who’s Better — Cats or Dogs?

It’s time to revisit the age-old debate. Who’s better: cats or dogs? Here are the pros and cons of each, plus popularity and cost.

Cute sleeping kitten
This cute sleeping kitten, Oliver Patrick, belongs to Traci E., a Petful reader.

It’s time to revisit the age-old debate about which pet makes the better companion. By looking at the pros and cons of each animal, popularity and cost, maybe we can finally determine who’s better, cats or dogs.


Dogs are true companions and love to be an integral part of their owners’ lives. Dogs can accompany you on long walks and are always visibly happy when you get home.

Another pro about dogs is that they can be trained to protect your home, keeping you safe from harm.


Cats are a very different breed and have very different pros. Cats have the advantage of being able to take care of themselves for more than 24 hours, which is a huge plus for busy owners.

Cats are also sneaky mouse hunters, and can therefore save you money on mouse traps. Finally, cats have the ability to clean themselves, which saves you a lot of money on grooming costs.

Who's better - cats or dogs?
Who’s better — cats or dogs? This photo of Ballistic BJ is from Petful reader Terie V.


If you have a dog, you know how much fun it is to play with your furry friend and make sure he’s getting exercise. Dogs are extremely energetic and require regular exercise, rain or shine. This means that even on the rainiest or coldest days, you have to take them for walks.

They also love to chew on things, even if those things are your favorite slippers and other personal belongings. Finally, dogs are known for digging, and they do it anywhere they have the opportunity to. Yes, even the backyard you’ve been spending all your time manicuring.

Meanwhile, cats are independent animals who may ignore you for extended periods of time. They need an indoor bathroom, which isn’t exactly something nice to have lying around your house. Cats are mysterious creatures, and love to climb the back of your couch, even if that means destroying the couch.


In terms of popularity, cats rule and dogs drool? Well, not necessarily. Let’s look closely at the numbers first.

Yes, it’s true that there are 86.4 million owned cats in the United States versus 78.2 million owned dogs.


But there are more homes with multiple cats, as opposed to dog owners, who apparently find it easier to just have one dog. For every owner, there are 2.2 cats and 1.7 dogs, which means that only 39 million households have cats versus 46 million households that have dogs.

So let’s call it a draw in terms of cat and dog popularity.


Looking at annual and one-time costs, we find that dogs are significantly more expensive to own than cats. A medium-size dog may cost you nearly $1,600 during its first year, a price that includes food, insurance, toys/treats, vet visits, grooming, etc. A cat’s first year, on the other hand, will set you back around $1,000 and includes food, insurance, litter, toys/treats and vet visits.

So, Who’s Better — Cats or Dogs?

In the end, it’s not about which animal is better; it’s about which animal is better for you.

By comparing the pros and cons, such as those above, you can determine which pet is a better fit for your lifestyle and budget. For example, If you’re a busy body who can’t afford to bring a dog with you everywhere, considering a cat might be a good idea.

Whichever animal you choose, keep in might that both cats and dogs are lovable creatures that deserve good homes! Also, please consider adoption over buying a pet.

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