A debate-worthy and controversial question, even personality-defining… ‘Are you a cat or dog person?’. 51% of the UK’s adult population are pet owners so this is a very common topic of discussion, even used as criteria on dating apps with requests such as ‘cat/dog-people only please!’, as if this one element of personal information can decide the overall compatibility of a possible partner. Seems extreme doesn’t it? But actually, research has shown that people’s choice of pet actually says a lot about their own personality. You don’t want to wait until you finally move in with your partner to end up disagreeing over something as trivial as pet choices, do you?
Over the last year there has been a surge in pet ownership as a result of lockdown loneliness and an increase of people working from home. Cats, dogs, rabbits, hamsters, miniature pigs, rats, tortoises, whatever floats your boat… (the list is ever-expanding), offer companionship, affection and a daily focus. Watching animals go about their business and getting up to strange things is an entertaining escape from boredom and sometimes even work. (Oops).
If I were to broadly compare cats and dogs to humans, I would say that cats are the introverted and difficult-to-please type, they’re the control-freaks, defiantly independent and sometimes a little irritating friends. Despite that, when they show you love, IT FEELS SO GOOD. You are the chosen one! In contrast, the human equivalent of a dog would be the easily pleased, needy friend. They form attachments with anyone and anything they can find, they’re excitable and endlessly talkative, but ultimately loveable and sweet. Dogs require constant affection and attention whereas cats can find enjoyment on their own. For this reason, when a cat chooses to form a bond with their owner it’s really rewarding.
Something to contemplate, possibly more importantly than the quirks and personalities of each pet, is which animal suits your lifestyle? The wellbeing of your pet is paramount. Panic-buying puppies over lockdown has led to hundreds of abandoned dogs handed in to shelters, as a result of owners not actually being able to care for them properly. Becoming a pet-owner shouldn’t be an impulse buy but an informed decision. If you live in a small flat or work long hours, a cat might be best for you as they don’t need so much space or maintenance. If you have a larger home, more time on your hands and are looking for a reason to be more active, a dog may suit you better. I can’t tell you how much I resist just ‘going for a walk’, unless there’s food or drink at the end of the journey. Yet when a dog is thrown into the equation (not literally I hope), I just can’t say no! Sometimes a dog walk is the best motivator for getting out of the house, refresh the body and mind and interact with other dog walkers. Socially distanced of course…
So, which is the better pet…a cat or a dog? I think it’s best I don’t answer this question to avoid offending those cat and dog lovers out there. My position is biased because we have always had dogs in our family and I have grown fond of their attributes. Until recently I was actually scared of cats, I found them unpredictable and I always half expected them to scratch out my eyes. I think this was just down to a fear of the unknown and a lack of experience being around them. I understand cat’s behaviour a little more now and they’re hesitation towards humans. Maybe I’ve realised I have similar traits to them after all? I have really warmed to them, even relating to them, and the way they can be stubbornly independent. Who knows, maybe I’ll rebel against the family tradition and adopt a cat in the future, or better yet, a cat and a dog, to defy the idea of being one or the other, I’ll be a cat and a dog person.