Cats and dogs are the most popular pets in the world. Cats are more independent and are generally cheaper and less demanding pets. Dogs are loyal and obedient but require more attention and exercise, including regular walks.

Comparison chart

Cat versus Dog comparison chart
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Kingdom Animalia Animalia
Class Mammalia Mammalia
Order Carnivora Carnivora
Phylum Chordata Chordata
Grooming Less frequent if short-haired – no baths, if long-haired, frequent brushing. Short-haired still requires brushing, but not as often. Brush at least once a month.
Genus Felis Canis
Species Felis catus Canis lupus familiaris
Family Felidae Canidae
Speed 30 mph 20-45 mph
Life Expectancy 12-25 years 12-18
Hunting ability House cats who have access to good food 24/7 will not hunt. But if there is a mouse in the house and your pet has a schedule you better believe it. All dogs have the ability to hunt, but they probably will not if you feed them.
Loneliness Cats are typically solitary animals and don't mind being left at home alone. Dogs are pack animals and are fine together. They will wait for you at the door all day.
Space Cats are small, thus being prey to larger preditors. They like small spaces and don't mind apartments. Dogs are not bad in apartments if you train them right, but it depends on the breed. Don't shove your pet into anything extremely small.
Affection Cats will love you on their own, if a cat notes you it could just be a "you are dominant over me" thing. Dogs will love you if you treat them well.
Protection They will protect you if they love you. They will protect you.
Good with children Most cats are not good with small children, (babies to 3 yrs). Or tweens (5-7 yrs). But ages 8-11 do very well with them. It depends on the dog.
Energy Generally lazy; can sleep for 16 hours a day. Some cats are very active and healthy. ABOUT 50% ACTUALLY. It depends on the dog but most dogs have lots of energy
Walks Some cats like being walked. House dogs should be walked 3 times a day.
Physical Characteristics Most have four legs, some have more than four toes. They weigh 5-20 pounds and most are covered in fur. They have scent glands on the dock of the or tales, the bottom of the ears, and the noses. They vary in color. Dogs have pointed, flopped, or pricked ears. They typically have four legs and four toes. Most are furry, they vary in color.
House training Easily trained to use a litter box Easily trained to tell you when they need to go potty (e.g., by scratching the door). Also easy to train to do tricks or exhibit certain behaviors.
Human language Some learn their name, respond to a pleasant high-pitched voice. They hiss at one another and save meows for humans. They can be trained. They learn their name and can be trained easily. They bark, growl and make other vocalizations, some can say the words "no" and " yes".
Should I get one? Great for small homes and apartments, they have to keep there claws sharp so maybe not in your living room. Do not declaw unless they will never go outside again. Dogs are great pets for people who love going outside. They chew furniture though, but if you train them they wont.

How to choose

When choosing between a cat or a dog, you should consider how much time you can dedicate to the pet (dogs require more time than cats, and don’t like to be left home alone), how much you can afford to spend (dogs are more expensive than cats), and what temperament of pet you would before (dogs are more needy and affectionate than independent cats).

A dog petting a cat
A dog petting a cat

When choosing a cat, consider whether you want to get a purebred cat from a breeder, or rescue a cat from an animal shelter. If you are not getting a kitten, consider whether you want an indoor or an outdoor cat and choose accordingly, as certain cats will be trained for different situations. Different breeds have different temperaments, but they vary less than dogs. For example, Siamese cats are intelligent and playful, but can be very noisy, while long-haired cats are laid back and short haired cats are usually affectionate and even-tempered. Individual cats also have different personalities, so interact with them before taking them home. Consider the hair length you can handle, as longer fur, such as the fur of a Maine Coon, Persian or Ragdoll, will require daily brushing.

When choosing a dog, consider its size. Larger dogs, such as a German Shepherd or a Labrador, need more space and cost more to feed and care for. Some breeds, such as Labradors, Corgis and Spaniels, are also easier to train than others, and have more friendly temperaments. Take into account the length of the dog’s fur, as those with longer coats will need more regular grooming. Although purebreds are popular, they can suffer from greater temperament and health problems. Mixed breed dogs usually have fewer health problems and can be adopted more cheaply from shelters.



Cats require a food and water bowl, a litter box, a few toys and scratching posts, and a brush for grooming.

Dogs require a food and water bowl, a leash and collar, a dog bed, toys and chews and treats.


The amount a cat needs to eat varies depending on its size, but cats require less food than most all dogs. Cat food comes in dry or canned wet form. Adult cats require between 250 and 300 calories per day.

The amount a dog eats depends on its size. Commercial dog food comes in both dry and wet forms, and most dogs need between 25 and 30 calories per pound per day.


Cats do not need bathing, but they should be brushed regularly if they have long hair.

Dogs –especially those with long hair – need grooming and bathing frequently.

Both cats and dogs can get infected with ticks, lice, fleas and other pests. When this happens, disinfectants like Frontline or Advantix are required to rid the pets of the infection. Some of these chemicals contain harmful pesticides. Care must also be taken to ensure Advantix is used only on dogs because it is very dangerous for cats.


The average life expectancy of cats is around 12 to 14 years, but they can live into their 20s or even their 30s. Medical costs for cats are around $160 per year.

The life expectancy of dogs — usually 7 to 14 years — varies depending on the breed, with larger breeds tending to have shorter lives, akin to the lifespan of wolves. The oldest dog was 29 years old. Medical costs for dogs vary depending on size and existing health conditions but will usually be at least $200 for dental cleanings and vaccines.

House Training

Cats usually already know how to use a litterbox or can easily be trained to use their litterbox. This requires cleaning once a day.

Dogs need to be trained, socialized and housebroken. Training usually takes around 2 months.


Dogs can function as watchdogs or guard dogs, protecting their owner and the house.


Cats can live in smaller areas, while dogs generally need more space to run around. Cats can be kept indoors, but dogs need to be taken for regular walks – at least twice a day.


Although some cats will learn to do tricks, they do them to please themselves, not their owners, and so are more difficult to train.

Most dogs can be trained to do some tricks with patience.

Your Work

As dogs need more personal attention than cats, they are less well suited to people who travel a lot or work long hours. Dogs should preferably not be left home alone all day, while cats will cope.


According to the ASPCA, a typical cat costs $670 per year, including food, litter and medical costs.

A small dog cost approximately $580, while a medium sized dog costs $695 and a large dog costs $875.

The most popular cat breeds in the US are the Persian, the Maine Coon, the Exotic and the Siamese.

The most popular breeds of dog in the US are Labrador Retriever (with over 123,000 registered individuals), Yorkshire Terrier (48,346), German Shepherd (43,629) and Golden Retriever (42,962).


According to US census data, there are around 86.4 million pet cats in the US. 33% of households in the US own at least one cat. On average, cat owners have two cats. [1]

There are approximately 78.2 million pet dogs in the US. 39% of US households own at least one dog. On average, dog owners have one dog.[2]

AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association ) statistics are slightly different — about 74 million cats and 70 million dogs. Dogs are found in more American households than cats but cat-owners tend to own a larger number of cats on average and so the over all population is larger for cats than dogs.

Common Games

Cats enjoy simple games that allow them to stalk and pounce. Popular games include bouncing a ping-pong ball on the floor for the cat to jump after, rolling a crumpled ball of paper along the floor, dragging ribbon along the floor, or playing hide and seek.

Dogs enjoy games that allow them to run and chase. As well as playing “fetch,” dogs enjoy playing tug-of-war, hide and seek, find the treat, and running races.


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