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If you have decided on owning a cat or a dog as a pet, it’s important to put a lot of thought into the decision before moving ahead. Whichever one you choose, keep in mind they will be with you for a potentially long period and there are many factors to consider. While it may true that cats and dogs are both domestic species, there are still major distinctions that define them and make them more suitable for certain personality types and lifestyles.

Dogs
Dogs descended from wolves and are instinctively pack animals. They have the innate ability to get along with nearly any species, which is why dogs are great around a barnyard, able to befriend sheep and cows and goats. This pack mentality also means they will want to be near their pack as often as possible. If you own a dog, this means you. To them, you and your family are their packs, which means they will want to be near you at all times. Dogs, in general, do not enjoy being alone. Some get upset and develop severe anxiety that can manifest in a variety of destructive ways. If you are someone who will not be home much, then a dog might not be the best choice for you. If you are available, however, you will have constant, unconditional affection.

In addition to wanting attention, dogs also need space to move around and a time commitment for outings. Depending on their size, dogs will require a certain amount of exercise each day. They also don’t have potty training abilities and will, therefore, need you to help them take care of bathroom business regularly. Waste disposal is another issue you will need to consider once your dog has mastered using the outside bathroom. Depending on the breed, housetraining a dog can be a frustrating and time-consuming process which will require consistency on your part.

Cats
Cats are lone predators. Their sharp claws and teeth have made them genetically predisposed to take care of themselves. They are fine with being left alone for hours, provided they have food and water and a properly maintained litterbox. Training a cat to use a litterbox is exponentially easier than housetraining a dog, but it requires daily upkeep to ensure that your cat will continue using it.

Unlike dogs, who might nervously or innocently destroy something, cats have been known to act out of spite. If you get lucky, you might find a cat who is dog-like in their expressions of affection, but cats, for the most part, are content to just co-exist with their people. They don’t crave the social aspect of a pack the way dogs do. Because they are self-soothing, they also provide their entertainment. You will often see a cat frantically zing around, playing with what appears to be nothing. Having a small house or apartment is no big deal if you own a cat because they sleep 12-16 hours a day. By contrast, dogs could potentially sleep for 12 hours a day but would choose not to if they could play with their human instead. A cat would most likely choose to sleep.