Posted: 10 Aug 2011 09:37 PM PDT
If you're trying to decide whether to get a cat or a dog, you're probably a bit of an all-round animal lover. Maybe you should even get one of each! But if you have to make a choice, then, for the sake of you and your new companion, get the pet that matches your temperament and your lifestyle.
Let's start with some basic yes/no questions.
1. Do you like peace and quiet?
If you answered YES to questions 1 and 2, then you could be a cat person. Cats are quiet, clean and generally well-behaved. They'll fit into your life and home without intruding, making a mess and creating lots of extra housework. If dust bunnies infuriate you, make sure you go for a short-haired variety. Make sure you can live with a litter tray if you don't have a yard.
If you answered YES to questions 3 to 5 then as long as you are careful about choosing the right breed, a dog may be ideal for you. Even small dogs need fresh air and exercise and lots of it, preferably on a daily basis. They don't like it when you leave them alone and if you're a couch potato, you could end up with a frustrated animal and a problem pet.
On to question 6: What do you want from your pet and what can you give back? Remember that cats are independent, but not as independent as people say. They like company and are often the most loving of companions. But it's all on their terms. If you want constant admiration, get a dog. If you don't want to be pestered for games, walks, petting, food and love, get a cat. Their quiet presence and undemanding ways are ideal for many people.
But of course there's a reason that dogs are said to be man's best friend. A cat can be a great and affectionate pal, but for undying loyalty, nothing beats a dog. A cat will never bring you your slippers and if you've had a bad day don't expect much sympathy.
It shouldn't be too hard to figure out whether a cat or a dog will best suit your lifestyle. Cats will fit in almost anywhere. But if your head tells you that your circumstances are suited to a cat but your heart is aching for a dog, you'll know. And you needn't give up on it. Choose the right breed, or rescue an older dog, and you can have the pet that will complement you best.
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