As pets, dogs seem to get the lion’s share of the spotlight. From being called man’s best friend and getting more media attention, to even being 80% more likely than cats to receive regular wellness veterinary care. Of course, dogs are wonderful animals, pets, and companions, but this post is all about the kitties, and why they are awesome pets in their own right.
Having been raised around dogs for the entirety of my childhood, then being introduced to cats as a young adult, I will admit, I was not initially crazy about cats. The problem was that, instead of enjoying them for being felines and all the unique curiosities and traits that come with the species, I was frustrated and disappointed over how much they were not like dogs; and to be sure, they are not like dogs.
It was not until I attended 4 years of veterinary school, became increasingly familiar with felines and understood them and adopted cats of my own, that I really began to appreciate cats for the wonderful pets that they are. In essence, I began enjoying them for being cats, understanding that they are different from dogs, but so very fulfilling companions in their own right. Today, I have more cats in my home than I do dogs (2 dogs, 3 cats).
They provide us a glimpse of the wild right in our home
Watching cats climb vertically, stalk toys and pounce, slink around the house, brings us the feeling of a connection to wild animals right in our own homes, without the danger or unpredictability of having a wild animal in the home. Whereas most dogs would die in the wild without people to feed them and provide them shelter, most cats can survive in the wild on their own. At the same time, they naturally seek and enjoy the company of people and thrive in domestic environments, giving us our own little “wild animals” that we can watch and be entertained by, but pet and cuddle with.
They are very cuddly
While most cats will not sit, roll over, or come on command, many cats are very cuddly, love to lie on laps on the couch, and snuggle in bed. In my home, one cannot sit on the couch for more than 2 minutes without one of our cats plopping in your lap and relax. Often, multiple cats will sprawl out on you, and they are content to lay there for hours if you will allow them. There are few things as relaxing and peaceful as being curled up under a blanket, watching a good movie, with a kitty on your lap to pet.
They are clean
Cats usually do not require much grooming beyond periodic brushing. They usually do not stink because of their instinctual dedication for self-grooming. They naturally take to litter box use with virtually no training, so there is no messy house training period. Modern litter options prevent the emanating of offensive odor if scooped out daily and changed out weekly.
They are low maintenance pets
Cats are very content to entertain themselves, make their own fun, but are just as happy to play with their owner when engaged with laser pointers, toys and catnip. If you are going away on a short trip for a couple of days, you can usually leave out a couple of days’ worth of food and water, and they will fend for themselves just fine. For longer trips, rather than have to board them, in most cases, you can have a friend come over to refill their bowls and scoop out their litter every couple of days. If you don’t like the idea of leaving your kitty unsupervised, since cat boarding requires minimal work for boarding kennels, cat boarding is usually quite inexpensive.
They tend to have long life spans
It is not uncommon for cats to live beyond 15 years of age, meaning that you likely will have your beloved companion for a good portion of your life. My oldest living feline patient is a cat name Tigger, 24 years of age and still living with a good quality of life.
As much as in my youth I could not picture a household with dogs in it, I now cannot picture a home without cats in it. For me, cats fill a completely different area of my heart than my dogs do. I enjoy both species for different reasons and love them equally. If you are considering being a first time cat owner, keep your mind open, do not expect them to be little dogs, and really pay attention to the feline traits that make them both quirky and unique as a species, and your will open your life to a joy you have never known.
They may not always come when called, they may act independently and aloof at times, but make no mistake, your cat loves you in his own way – differently than your dog does, but no less.