Dogs vs. Cats: Which is the Superior Household Pet?


Photo courtesy of Drew Kaplan ’20

Kaplan’s dog, Claire.

Drew Kaplan ‘20, Opinion Columnist

I feel as if there is a debate in this country over which pet is superior in households; cats or dogs. I see this debate instead as tiny tigers or loyal companions. I have had both a dog and two cats in my time, for both of which my mother was the main caretaker. I may have been young when we had these animals, but that is irrelevant. The cats, first Zoe and then The Countess of Gumber, were both at best apathetic to everyone in the house. I had the personal pleasure of cleaning the litter box, and Zoe also had a habit of biting people. On the other hand, during my senior year of high school, my mother decided to adopt a terrier mix named Claire. Now, the cats were a distant memory by this time, but Claire exhibited a personality beyond that of a solitary stalker. She loves to go on walks, running around, and licking people, especially myself. Zoe and Gumber never licked anyone but themselves.

Also, whenever anyone tries to interact with Claire, she will at least act as if she is trying to understand, and will offer a response by licking, whereas the cats would simply stare with a look of “I am restraining the urge to kill you right now.” This is subjective, but I am also of the belief that Claire is better looking than either Zoe or Gumber. There is something endearing about watching Claire, or any dog, chewing on a bone or tennis ball, while the only thing either cat would chew on would be a mouse, and Zoe seemed to prefer watching instead of chasing. The cats would also look weird walking around on a leash.

In defense of cats, they are more independent than dogs. A cat can be left outside and kept with minimal effort, but that removes the fun from having it. A dog can be a loyal companion, whereas a cat is a tiny tiger that lives with you. A dog will form a bond with a human, while I feel as if a cat is just as likely to be indifferent as it is to try to eat you in your sleep.

Another observation I’ve had is that whenever someone knocks at the door, Claire is always quick to run to the door barking. She will always bark at whoever knocked until she has at least sniffed them, and sometimes she won’t stop until she is taken into a different room. Neither Zoe nor Gumber would show any emotion towards any visitors. A dog will exhibit a wide range of emotions when dealing with someone.

They love to interact, play and are inquisitive. Cats are lurkers, watchers. Emotions are not their strong suit. I prefer a companion that exhibits emotions. Zoe and Gumber were never more than apathetic, and Zoe could be downright hostile, whereas Claire may get sad or protective, but she is largely happy, and always ready to lick people for hours. I know this is a small sample size to create my judgement, but I have made my decision.