Cat Vs. Dog for the Home?
I have been on both sides of pet ownership and care for quality homes. Sometimes my clients are considering a first pet and want my advice after they just spent a huge investment on their home design, and are leary of bringing a pet into the mix. My recommendation is always “Start with a cat if you don’t have the allergies”.
Martha Stewart says “if you hate cats, it’s because you never owned one”. I agree. As a child we only had dogs. My parents were anti cat. Now my parents have two cats and a dog and every time the cats walk into the room, their faces light up. It’s ridiculous how happy they are with cats….all I have to say to them is “I told you so”.
The coming in and going outside all the time routine obviously leads to general grime in the floor and the house, and a general dog odor in the house. In regards to cats, my clients also ask me about the litter box and allergies. Litter boxes are a controlled environment; you put it in the bathroom so it’s easy to clean out. And it needs to be cleaned regularly in order to not have an odor. We have ours hidden in a cabinet with a door for the cats.
So no, it’s nowhere near the major work of dog walking, potty training, and with a dog you must work around their schedule. The whole carrying around baggies full of dog doo until locating the nearest garbage or having to pick up dog doo in the yard regularly–well its not cool as it seems when shopping for that perfect dog.
You definitely have to make sure that you have no pet allergies before adopting a cat. Its’ not fair to the cat to just discard them like garbage if you find you are allergic. Sometimes a cat rescue will let you take care of a cat temporarily to test this but most people know if they have cat allergies already. The Siberian Cat is supposed to be good for people who love cats, but not the allergic reactions that come with them. Do your research on this one.
1. Cats are quieter. There will be no barking at 4 a.m. in the morning and naturally a cat’s meow is a lot softer than a dog’s bark. Your neighbors will appreciate this. It often annoyed us when we got a kitten because young cats play more at night than older cats. I have trained my cats by putting them into the bathroom until they calm down and slowly they learned to just chill out at night.
2. Cats clean themselves. Cats do such a great job of cleaning themselves that their hair doesn’t smell and they do not need to be bathed unless they are very old and sickly.
3. Cats have a litter box. There is no need to let the cat out at 5 a.m. or to go take the cat for a walk. Even with minimal training, cats know what a litter box from day one and how to use it. All you need to do is clean it out once a day for solids and 1-2x weekly for the rest.
4. Cats can be left alone for a couple of days. Cats are independent but don’t assume they don’t long for attention and love. If traveling, do not leave for longer than 2 days with food and water. They too miss their owners and sometimes get anxiety and stop eating until the owner comes home. Then they show their disapproval by hiding under the bed when you come home to show their disapproval.
5. Cats work with any schedule. If you’re a busy executive constantly on the go or have a leisure lifestyle, cats are great because they don’t need constant attention yet are very affectionate if treated with love and respect.
6. Cats are not obnoxious when it comes to greeting strangers. When a dog is excited, it barks and jumps to greet. Cats will be aloof or even afraid initially of strangers and then will come out to do investigating when all seems normal.
7. Cats cost FAR less in daily maintenance and yearly vet bills. In the lifetime of a pet, cats usually cost about $2,000 -$5,000 less than a dog when you take into account everything from vet bills to food needs.
8. Cats are very trainable, just like dogs. They often learn just as quickly as a dog.
For responsible dog owners, by all means have your precious puppies, but I only want to clear up the misconception so many people have about our feline friends. Just open your mind to the possibilities of giving a cat a good home. They are quite compatible with dogs . Takes about 1 week to acclimate them most of them time but of course this depends on the type of dog you already have in the home. There are far more cats out there at shelters now and you would be so pleasantly surprised at how quickly you fall in love.
If you live in the Chicago area and are looking for a cat to rescue and give a good responsible home, please contact the ladies at the Hyde Park Cats.
They do TNR for Feral cats in the University of Chicago area and have many wonderful cats who have been domesticated and fostered to choose from. I have 3 cats in my alley that I and my husband have been caring for who are all nearly domesticated and need homes before winter. Please contact me if you are a super responsible person without allergies and we can set up a meeting to see the cats. Thank you!