For this issue, I would like to address a very interesting question that came in from a reader a week or so ago. She asked which made the best pet - a dog or a cat?
Great question, Brigida! Did you know you just sent me one of the most frequently asked questions in the history of keeping pets? For as long as humans have had animals for companionship, the question of which one is best comes up again and again. And so far, no one has really definitively worked that out.
Why? Because it's like asking which is the best dessert - ice cream or sherbet? Cake or pie? Chocolate or strawberry? Well, chocolate lovers are going to insist that it's chocolate, of course. Ice cream fans will be absolutely certain that sherbet may be OK, but nothing is better than the "real thing."
So, the short, easy answer is, "Whichever one you prefer."
But let's take a quick look at the differences anyway.
Dogs bark; cats do not. They are relatively quiet, although we all know they can yowl about things now and then. A cat in heat can be quite annoying, but we can avoid that by getting her spayed. While a dog barking can be useful to let you know someone is at the door, I prefer the doorbell.
However, a barking dog alerting to a prowler at night can do two things: alert you, and most likely scare a potential intruder away. (And then there's the story about the cat that attacked a burglar and sent him screaming out of the house.)
Dogs have to be let outside to do their business. Cats simply use their litter boxes and you don't have to go with them. This is handy for those of us who need to leave the house for extended times and can't find someone to "let the dog out" every 8 hours. Of course, the advantage with a dog is that there is no litter box to clean. However, they sure can ruin a nice lawn.
If you enjoy having your pets in bed with you at night, then you might prefer a smaller animal that takes up less room. The large dogs take up so much space, you could be the one using the little rug on the floor!
Dogs enjoy playing in the dirt and the mud and may clomp into the house with muddy feet, and you'll have to mop the floor (again). Cats rarely track mud into the house, as they hate getting their feet wet. But even if they did, the footprints are much smaller!
So, as you can see, a dog fits perfectly with someone who prefers or doesn't mind the characteristics of dogs. The same applies to cats. Some people like them all and keep both dogs AND cats as pets.
Thanks for the great question, Brigida!
There is a new Internet project some of you might be interested in, too. It's at http://www.allinfoadollar.com and is the latest place to look for articles on many subjects, including pets. I've even submitted a few about cats! I expect this site to grow by leaps and bounds this year as they collect more and more articles. Check 'em out.
Does your cat watch TV? Send me an email about it, if you do. Watch for upcoming stories on "TV Cats" here.