Cats or Dogs???

Updated on April 03, 2011
J.G. asks from Berwyn, IL
38 answers

I would like to get some opinions if you dont daughter really wants a cat as a pet but which is a safer, cleaner, all around better pet to get, a cat or a dog? I have this thing with bugs and parasites so which are known to have less? Which is less expensive to care for including shots and such? Thanks!!!

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So What Happened?

Ok well we got a cat or a kitten should I say...we will see how it goes. I was no thrilled that first night I could tell you that!! But it seems to be getting used of everything so it is getting better. Most importantly my daughter loves it. We will take it for what it is day at a time:) Thanks for the input though everyone!

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answers from Johnstown on

It all depends on how you take care of the animal in the first place as to which would be cleaner, etc. Cats don't need baths, but do need litter changed. Dogs need baths, but can be trained to relieve themselves outside. Both have temperments that depend on the up-bringing. Both need shots, both need wormed and flee collars, etc. If you want the EASIEST route: get a fish.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Modesto on

Cats are much easier to maintain, and you can leave them home for a week alone, you cant do that with a dog.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Hartford on

I am a cat person, but have both. Cats are much easier and can be kept indoors. They tend to have smaller medical bills because they are smaller animals. They cost much less to feed.

2 moms found this helpful

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answers from Atlanta on

Indoor cats are usually MUCH easier and cheaper than dogs. I love both and have both, and it's been my experience over the last 20 years that cats are easier all around (they use a litter box, don't have to be exercised and taken out, etc.). Dogs are great though! How old is your daughter? I would wait until over 3 to get either pet. She needs to have a full understanding of cat's claws and that dogs will nip or growl if aggravated. My two boys love our dogs (we had them long before the boys came along), but they actually resonate better with our newest addition -the cat! He's a 2 year old Main Coon rescue and a real sweetie. If your daughter wants a cat and not a dog, then she's going to automatically be more into a cat. Dogs also smell! I don't care how much you wash them, groom them, etc., they have that "doggy" smell about them, and some folks don't like it at all -including some kids. With a cat, you'll have to change the litter box. I recommend a covered one that you change several times a week. Do that and it won't smell. Also, make sure if you get a male cat that he's neutered or you will have a spraying issue. Either animal can get bugs and parasites -but a strictly indoor cat will have less of a chance of any of that. They can still get fleas though! Good luck, and please research adopting a rescue animal or a pound/Humane Society animal when you make your decision. You can often find pure breeds through rescue organizations or you can investigate the most child-friendly breeds of dogs and go for one that is primarily that in a mix.

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answers from Washington DC on

Both have pros and cons

Dogs need daily attention, walking, etc. Cats like to be more on their own. Cats will walk on counters, tables, etc. Some dogs do this also, but cats more so.

Adoption, spay/neuter costs are usually cheaper for cats.

Cleanliness wise, there is some new liter out that is made out of recycled materials and has a low dust.

Call a few rescue groups or a vet and see how they feel.


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answers from Spokane on

What about something smaller, like a guinea pig or chinchilla or something?

Cats are easier, but dogs are better ;o)

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answers from Honolulu on


They go to the litter box themselves.
You don't have to walk them or take them out.
They are independent and affectionate and playful.

I have had both, as a child and as an adult, and many other pets.
We have a rabbit now... and a lizard and fish, and a Pill bug, and a millipede, and Silkworms as pets.

With any pet, you do have to take them to the vet for shots, check-ups etc.

I say, Cat.

Cats are great.
You can go to the Humane Society... sit in the cat room and see which one is friendly with you and which your girl likes.
They are also neutered too and I think, are given the 1st shots.

I read your other post about getting a Kitten:
And no, they are not full of diseases or parasites... if they are gotten from a good place or the Humane Society. The Humane Society gives them a check up.
BUT, if you keep your pet outside... then sure, any cat or dog, can get parasites or diseases.
So keep your pet, indoors.
Then it is cleaner.

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answers from New York on

I never lived with a dog but have had many cats. Cats are more independent--they use a litter box so no walks and little or no bathing is needed (my elderly longhair cat got groomed 2-3 times a year but none of the short hair cats I had needed it). Dogs take more time and effort to train. An indoor only cat has very little exposure to bugs or parasites. Both cats and dogs need basic vaccinations, an annual check up and spaying or neutering. I think cats may be less expensive but I haven't actually compared. It probably depends on the size of the dog and if you want a purebred cat or dog. I think cats are safer since I have lived with cats and never had more than small scratches or nips. I had someone else's dog nip me as a child. That also depends a lot on the animal's personality and training. I've has several affectionate, easy going female cats. We are planning to get a new cat soon and I would feel comfortable with a cat around my kids who are 5 and 2.

I'm sure dogs have their good points and someone else can tell you much more about that than I can.

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answers from Sacramento on

Cats are naturally cleaner. If you have an exclusively indoor cat, they tend to have much less chance of fleas and internal parasites. When both pups and kittens get their first sets of shots, they also get dewormed. The cost is usually about the same. Cats use the litter box, just put it where your kids cant get to it. Dogs go on your lawn, where your kids play... Upside of dogs, some breeds are natural kid lovers and family defenders, cats are not. Dogs can (usually) handle more roughhousing with kids, cats will either bolt or scratch, which can cause infection of childrens skin. You must bathe dogs, cats bathe themselves. Both will teach your children care and tenderness and how to respect other beings around them. Be sure no matter which you get, please spay of neuter!

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answers from Los Angeles on

Cats are easier and cheaper and probably a 'better' child pet...but IMO, dogs are better!

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answers from Columbus on

Try FOSTERING a dog or cat first to see if they would be a good fit. It helps out the pet and the shelter by finding temporary housing and is not an all or nothing commitment.
We did this with our Mr. Bear and fell in love with him and never gave him back. We ended up adopting him quite soon after he was placed. He loved us ten times more than any cat could. = p.

Go dogs!

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answers from Rochester on

Cats are cleaner and less expensive, unless you end up with a cat with medical needs. Cats should have an annual vet visit for a check-up and shots, but for my area that costs around $60 a year. Initially getting the first shot series and then spay/neuter as a kitten can be a few hundred dollars though.

Any pet that is indoor-only is less likely to bring in fleas, etc. Otherwise, illnesses they might pick up are usually only transferrable to other animals, not people. Our cat has been an indoor-only cat since we got him as a kitten and is in great health, easy to take care of, and has a great temperament.

On the other hand, some people are simply dog people (I am not!) and find that the more active affection of a dog, playfulness, etc. is much more rewarding than a cat, which does not always engage people. Dogs require more active work than cats, such as going for walks (some active breeds really need to be walked several miles a day) and to be let out of the house several times a day to relieve themselves.

Depending on your daughter's age, a dog could be less safe (also depending on the breed), but my family had a dog when I was born and we almost always had one (we also always had at least three or four cats at a time), so generally I would say whichever you LIKE better would be best. Cats do have the advantage of being able to be left for several days when you're on vacation and such.

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answers from Tampa on

Cats are smaller - so if a pet needs anesthesia a cat will always be cheaper. Other than that... cats are really maintenance free. They come to you when they want to snuggle and depending on the personality, they will accept snuggling even when they don't want to. If you keep them up to date with flea medications (topical) then they are pet free after the first set of dewormers. Dogs repeatedly are able to acquire parasites, ticks and fleas just from the regular walk or roaming outside. They are great companions too.

Since your daughter ASKED for a cat, that is what I'd get her... probably a 9 month - 2 y/o cat if possible.

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answers from Seattle on

They are about the same as far as i know. Cats are easier to care for since you dont have to walk them and if you need to be gone a couple of days they are fine home alone. Some dogs can have seperation anxiety from their owners. But with cats you have the cat box unless you allow them to go out side.

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answers from New York on

Get a cat. Hands down the better choice. BUT get an indoor cat only. We have a persian and a himalyan and they are both indoor only. We adopted the persian through and she is the most loving tolerant cat I have ever met. My son (age 3) has known her all his life and adores her. Plus, cats like persians are so laidback that they let you clip their nails. That is really the only maintence with the exception of occational brushing and scooping the little box. They need initial shots but our cats haven't been to the vet or gotten shots in 5 years and they are both perfectly healthy.

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answers from Cleveland on

Some cats are really "people cats" so you get some of the same affection as from a dog. Other cats seem to be too independent. But as a dog lover and owner, I think dogs etc are more fun but way way way more work and likely expense. I suppose a small dog isn't as much work as our big dog yet they still need walks at least once a day in all sorts of weather while a cat doesn't.

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answers from Chicago on

Dogs are better friends and don't get into everything by climbing on tables, kitchen counters, and getting hair everywhere. I cat-sit for a weekend which opened my eyes and I will never have a cat in my home again. We've had dogs all my adult life and my daughters love our dogs and consider them their best friend(s). You can't put a price on a dog's devotion. And if I'm not mistaken it's dangerous for pregnant women to be around cats due to something they carry.

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answers from Austin on

We have 5 cats and one dog... both have their benefits. Cats are more independent, and you can easily leave them all day without undue worry. You can also leave on a trip and not have as much of a worry by leaving out plenty of food and water and having the neighbor check on them once a day. They are much more independent, and sometimes don't seem to need humans around at all! However, you do get ones that love to be a lap kitty and snuggle with you.

Dogs, on the other hand, can be more time-consuming to train, walk, exercise, and such. If you don't train them, you can end up with one that you can't take anywhere. Also, some have a hard time being left alone all day without being let out. If you want to go away for a weekend, you need someone to let them out frequently, or board them at a kennel. Yes, you can easily take a dog with you on a trip, but again, you do need to make sure it is well-trained.

As far as vet bills, well, that is just part of pet ownership... just like having kids you have doctor bills.

That being said, I can't imagine my life without my pets!

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answers from Rockford on

I like dogs but they are a lot of work. If you are going to be gone for more than a few hours you have to get someone to let them out. There is a lot more to the clean-up too. They cost more to maintain than most cats as well. Indoor cats are low maintenance and really do make great pets. Fill the food and water bowls when they run low and clean the box every few days and they are good to go. We have had 2 cats for the past 11 years are they are great. One is more of a shy and reserved and the other is more outgoing. They both appreciate some affection each day and have their own routines and are very much a part of our family.

Oh, and definitely adopt your new pet and don't hesitate to adopt an adult pet either. You'll feel good and your new pet will be so grateful for the chance to have a family. Knowing how many homeless pets are out there I don't think I could ever buy from a breeder or pet store again. (I think the mixed breed cat or dog tends to hold onto all the best characteristics of the breeds that make them up. And if you are looking for a pure bred, the shelters often have purebreds too.) So I definitely encourage you to check out your local shelters or

PS - Pregnant women can be around cats. they are not supposed to clean the litter box but who really minds passing that task off onto someone else for a few months :). (Not to mention the risk of disease transmission while cleaning the box is really minimal when you are dealing with indoor only cats.)

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answers from Baton Rouge on

Any mammal, even a 100% indoor cat, can get fleas. You can get fleas if you don't have a pet, simply by walking through grass that is infested.
Flaes on cats and dogs are fairly easily controlled with products like Advantage, Advantix, or Frontline, though. We have five cats, and three dogs, they split their time about 50/50 indoors and outdoors, and we don't have fleas in the house.
With a generally healthy animal, the main parasites you have to watch for are fleas, ticks, and tapeworms. Tapeworms are carried by fleas, so if you keep the fleas off, your pet won't get tapes. Ticks can be controlled with Advantix or Frontline. The tapeworm that infects dogs and cats is not the same species that infects people.
Cat and dog vaccination costs tend to be about the same, and they only have to be done once a year.
Feeding expense will vary, depending on the size if you get a dog. Big dogs eat more.
Cats can be litter-trained, so you don't have to let them in or out or walk them, but there is the added expense of litter, and the box has to be cleaned regularly or the cat won't use it. Dogs have to be let out or walked unless you want them to potty on the floor.
Males of either species will urine-mark territory unless you have them neutered. Neutering a male cat is less expensive than neutering a male dog. As the size of the dog increases, so does the cost.
Female dogs who come into heat will remain in heat for about three weeks, and they come into heat about twice a year on a fairly predictable schedule. Female cats who come into heat will stay in heat for a couple of weeks, go out, and come right back into heat until they get pregnant. Spaying a female cat cost about the same as spaying a small dog. As the size of the dog increases, so does the cost.

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answers from Seattle on

I think if you dont have much room then a cat. They are cuddly, less maintenance, dont need many shots, flea treatment is cheaper. Also cats dont usually potty anywhere but the box. So easier clean up as well. And a good starter pet to see how your child adapts. If she does well then maybe later on a dog to walk and take care of. Also if you go somewhere, then you dont have to worry about who is going to take your dog out for walks, and bathroom, a cat you can leave enough food and water for and they are just fine for a few days.

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answers from Denver on

Cats are less expensive and less likely to be aggressive. They do come with stinky litter box is somehow less yucky to actually scoop poop (for a dog).

We have both and the kids do love them both. But you know, if she WANTS a cat....I think it's worth getting a cat. You could visit your local shelter and meet some of the cats there.

Good luck!

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answers from Chicago on

I suggest getting a cat. They do their business in a litter box which can be scooped or dumped out with little effort. They do not require constant attention and affection. They are more self sufficient and you can leave them for extended periods of time without supervision. Dogs are like kids in that they need constant supervision. They need to be let in and out, paws cleaned, poop picked up (and it gets gross in the summer!), played with and/or walked everyday, the list goes on. I love both kinds of animals and both can be safe, clean pets but the care required for a cat is significantly less. Good luck...

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

How about a fish? One thing you need to remember before getting a pet is who is going to take care of it and what happens when you go on vacation, even for just the weekend.

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answers from San Francisco on

I have both and love both! Cats are easier and cheaper, but of course you have the yucky litter box to deal with. Dogs are a lot more fun but also a LOT more work and more expensive. They just seem more prone to accidents, aliments and vet bills (cats and dogs) are just as high as DR bills.
Since a cat needs less attention and exercise, I would suggest starting with that. Try to find a sweet adult cat at your local shelter, or a kitten which can be fun to raise if you're up for it. Whatever you do make sure YOU want the animal too because no kid, no matter how much they say "I'll take care of it, I'll do everything" is ever really able to follow through. As with most everything else, mom is primarily responsible for it's love and care in the end :)
And if you get a dog, I like what someone else said about fostering a dog first. If you've never had one you may be shocked at how much work it is, they need a lot of attention. Of course I think it's worth it, but not everyone does. Good luck!

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answers from Phoenix on

My best advice for you is to wait. You don't get a pet simply because your kid wants one. Plus, you have a thing with bugs and to be frank, they both can get fleas or mites. If you are concerned about expenses, well, they both are expensive. They all need regular checkups and vaccinations. Dogs need licensed. Cats need food and litter. Cats can get stones and bladder infections. Dogs need supplies like leashes, dog beds, toys, and sometimes, even clothes. What about pet care if you leave town? You have to pay someone to come in and care for your pet or board the pet. It's often more than $15 per day. There are dentals too. These procedures can cost more than $400.00! Pets are expensive.

Most importantly, they are a lifetime commitment. It's not fair, to the pet, to get this cute little pet and realize that you can't afford it, takes too much time, too much care, gets fleas or mites...or ticks, daughter doesn't really play with pet so much anymore and you don't have the time to care for it, etc., and then you have to get rid of it. Well, it likely ends up as a statistic--one of the 5,000,000 pets in this country that are killed because no one wants it.

Look, I don't want to discourage you from getting a pet. I do want to discourage you if you are not 100% positive that this pet will be a lifetime commitment for you. Oh, and they DO get more expensive when they get older with more medical bills and possible prescription food. And speaking of food, quality food costs money too.

Here is a link for you to view:
ADOPT > Before You Adopt >Things to Consider Before Getting a Pet

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answers from Kansas City on

sounds like you might be a cat person! they are generally smaller, quieter, less obnoxious, just saying! however, you WILL have to be a little bit realistic. having a "thing" about bugs and parasites is a moot point as long as you take care of an animal. it sounds like you might have a "thing" about animals in general. or haven't spent much time around one. i suggest, whatever you end up with, you go to a local shelter. they can also help an inexperienced pet owner. good luck!

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answers from San Francisco on

J., Both need love and care. Both are expensive and need food all the time, vet care each year (IF) nothing goes wrong.

I like dogs the best and I also like cats (in door out door cats).. My son likes cats the best and has discovered a natural cat box litter made from pine that actually eleminates most oder.

What ever you decide make sure your child is a part of the care, feeding and clean up after the pet.


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answers from Chicago on

I had 2 cats for about 8 years. I did let them go outside under my supervision. They never ran away so I could just watch them outside and then pick them up when it was time to go in. Bugs were never a problem and they were always cleaning themselves. However, I still felt I needed to give them a bath once a month. I was able to take vacations and leave the cats at home. I bought this water bowl that constantly filtered the water and put 3 litter boxes out. My biggest thing with having a cat is the litter box. It is just gross, smelly, and it's hard to maintain the litter in just one area. Also, a box of cat litter is about $8 and I replaced the litter every week or at top 2 weeks since I just felt it gets too gross. Also had to get their teeth cleaned a couple times which ran $200 per cat each time. If you can stay away from soft food then do it. Hard food is good for their teeth and soft food just rots their teeth. My one cat wouldn't eat hard food. Yearly shots and checkup is about $80 per cat.

Pets can get expensive especially if they get sick. Definately get a pet from a shelter. Also, don't declaw cats. It is cruel. It's like taking away your fingers. It is very easy to train a cat to not scratch on furniture. I never had a problem with that.



answers from New York on

I have 2 dogs. I wish I had cats. Cats are much easier to take care of and to train.



answers from Cincinnati on

shots are the same...dogs are more involved (ALOT MORE INVOLVED) on your have to let them outside to pee, feed them everyday....cats you can dump 10lbs of food on the floor and they will eat when they want....and fill the litter box when they want...cats are easier
(and I hate cats because they are not as affectionate ...IMO)
With dogs, if you leave, you need someone to come over everyday and let them out...cats you can leave for a long weekend and they wont car.
Vet bills are typically the same..dogs get into more trouble, dogs get lots of ear infections because their ears are large and floppy.



answers from Chicago on

Cats are easier than dogs, but I have to be honest with you. I've had cats all my adult life and am DONE with them. Cats can be very "gaggy" meaning they are always throwing up. They can be fussy about their litter box and if there is a change or they are feeling any stress they may choose not to use it and use your carpet instead. Not to mention, you do not know when you buy the cat if they will even like you. My cat is very affectionate and a great cuddler with us, but not with the kids - she avoids them at best and hisses and bats at them if she is in a bad mood. My aunt has had a cat for 18 years and it just sat next to her for the first time a couple months ago (and my aunt is an incredibly kind person who takes excellent care of all her animals).

As far as the bugs and parasites, an indoor cat is probably best for you. Dogs track in whatever is outside and they can't take off their shoes, so you have to clean their paws each time or live with the fact that they are carrying indoors what should be outside.

One thing that really bothers me about pets is that they will throw up, diarreha, poo or otherwise ruin your carpeting - then you clean it up with toxic chemicals and they kids go on playing in the area - the animals are not usually considerate enough to do these things out of the way or on the hard floors, I've found.

Not to mention, we've taken our cat many times to the vet to figure out why she is so gaggy and diarrhea-ie and there is nothing wrong - she is just a cat and that is how it is for her. When checking, the vet tested for parasites that she said the kids could catch! Ugh. Luckily that test came back negative so we lucked out but yikes!

Anyway, you got a lot of great answers from animal lovers. If you have a high tollerence for such things, then a pet is for you. And the shedding, my God the shedding.


answers from Chicago on

I have dogs and cats and love them both. You have some excellent advice here, but I just wanted to add that whatever you do, don't buy a pet from a pet store.



answers from Detroit on

Cats that are kept indoors all the time are much less likely to get any kind of parasite, but it's not impossible - they can still get fleas at least, but it's easy to treat them with products like Frontline that you get from the vet. Every puppy and kitten born anywhere has worms, but those can be treated as well. And every pet should be on preventative for heartworm, intestinal parasites, flea and tick, etc.

Cats that are kept inside are much less likely to get hurt the way outdoor cats can get hurt - animal fights, hit by car, etc. So hopefully that keeps medical costs down. Costs for vaccines is about the same, dogs need yearly heartworm testing and meds while cats don't, and spaying/neutering for cats is generally less also. Cats also keep themselves very clean, but for dogs it might just mean a bath once a month. Depending on what kind of dog you get, some need to see the groomer on a regular basis for baths and trims - another expense. You do need to deal with the cat box though.

Kittens can be adopted from a shelter for a small donation fee or even found in the paper being given away for free. Same thing with some puppies, while a purebred pup from a legit breeder could set you back several hundred dollars. If you need to do obedience classes for the puppy, that costs money too. Unless you get a tiny dog, cats eat less.

In terms of safety, it really just depends on the animal. Dog or cat, you want one that is used to people, is friendly, and has been gently handled by humans from day 1. If you visit a shelter, you may see many adult animals that need a good home but you will have a better idea of their temperment and personality. Shelter staff are generally very good at matching families with a pet that they think would be a good fit. And you would be potentially saving that animal's life. Many full-grown pets can adjust very well to living in a new home.

DO NOT get any pet from a pet store! The puppies in pet stores all come from puppy mills - horrible places that are more like puppy factories that care only about profit, not for the animals' welfare. The puppies often end up with tons of health issues which can be quite expensive to treat and as much as one might feel bad for the puppies and think they are "rescuing" them, buying one from the pet store only keeps the puppy mills in business. It's the puppy's mother that needs rescuing.

Overall, a cat would probably be less expensive, but remember that every pet needs medical care, every pet gets sick, and it will need to be taken care of. Preventative measures, like vaccines, check-ups, heartworm meds, and spaying/neutering will help more expensive things from happening, but "there's no such thing as a free pet!"



answers from Houston on

i love my dogs more than my cats but i was raised with dogs not cats. so i have a preferance for dogs. dogs play more and cuddle more but you have to take them outside to potty. cats are standoffish but do cuddle not as often. they do play but not as often. if you want an independent animal its a cat. cats dont have to go outside. its all a personal preferance i think my preferaance to dogs is the fact that i was raised with them and not cats.



answers from Chicago on

cats are less expensive, especially if they are inside cats. They are also less work - you have to do the kitty potty about every third day, you can leave out food and water for them and just fill it when it gets empty every month or so (we have big containers). They only eat what they need, not like a dog that will eat it all. A kitten is potty trained before you get it, and you can leave it alone all day and it doesn't care. A puppy on the other hand, well, you leave it alone all day and half your house will be peed and pooped on, the other half will be chewed to bits. I often hear people that have new puppies complain that it's like having an infant again. Never heard that about a kitten. Plus in the middle of winter, when it's negative 20 outside, I am nice and warm in my house with the cat purring on my lap, while my neighbor dog owners are trying to get the dog to pee and poop as fast as possible so they can get back inside. Plus they have to PICK UP WARM POOP - ugh, yuck.

Kittens are VERY fun for little kids. I do suggest getting two kittens at the same time from the same litter though as then the cats have someone to play with and are more social.


answers from Boca Raton on

Either are amazing pets.. I would say a cat is probably easier though.. A dog requires 3-4 walks per day and lots of attention.. Cats can sometimes do there own thing.. Hoping there's no health issues in either, a cat is less expensive when it comes to food, vaccinations, flea meds, etc....Dogs will give undeniable love, whereas cats sometimes like to do there own thing.. Depending on the cats personality of course.. Good luck in your decision! PS PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE adopt from your local shelter or humane society! There's millions of puppies, kittens, dogs and cats in shelters that are in desperate need of a home~



answers from Chicago on

Dogs can be indoor trained, too. I grew up with small dogs that went on a wee wee pad and we were able to be away all day without incident. Picking up and flushing the poop and changing the pad when it got too wet was a lot easier than changing litter, too.

As for cleaner, you can bath dogs when they are dirty, but most cats aren't big fans of water. I am a clean freak and although some people tend to think cats are cleaner, the fact that they scratch around in their litter box than hop all over the furniture is gross. I had a friend with two cats and after I saw them hanging out on her kitchen counter and licking themselves it made me lose my appetite. But then again, I had another friend bake me cookies for the holidays and I found a dog hair in one. Random, sorry.

Cats are probably easier, but I think dogs are more affectionate. Not sure if they may cost a little more, but I do know they need more attention. As for bugs, we were fortunate never to have that issue. I suppose it really comes down to your daughter's personality.

Good luck!

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