Do you consider yourself a cat person? Do you have friends who say dogs make the best pets? Maybe you know people who have other types of pets, like ferrets, snakes or even fish.
There a many different kinds of animals people keep as pets, and many might argue their species of pet is the best.
As this video shows, one debate in particular, cats vs. dogs is one that isn’t going to go away anytime soon:
While few would argue that cats are at not at least one of the top two of animals chosen as pets throughout human history, what, specifically, makes cats good pets?
In this article we’ll cover the following;
Domesticated cats have been with us for a long time. In ancient Egypt, tomb paintings from 3,500 years ago show daily life that includes house cats, and recently, in Crete, graves dating from 9,500 years ago have been found that contain both human and cat remains, possibly those of a beloved pet. By comparison, it is thought that dogs were domesticated some 15,000 years ago.
Though the topic is subject to debate, many scientists believe that cats became domesticated simply by their choosing to associate themselves with human settlements.
While some people still think cats may have been initially used to control rodent populations, cats do not seem particularly amenable to performing any specific tasks for humans. This makes them distinct from virtually all of the other animals people have domesticated either to perform services for people or that are fated to become food.
Interestingly though, they usually stare at you to show affection, which isn’t all too common.
If you are a cat lover, no one has to explain to you what makes your cat so great. Compared to dogs, most cats show they still have a touch of the wild in them. They are graceful (most of the time), curious, and are interesting to watch as they explore their domain. Plus, how can you resist the cuteness of a cat wearing clothes?
In fact, more cats are kept as pets in the U.S. than any other species of animal. While not every cat is a snuggle monster, many just love to be held and cuddled. My cat just has to sleep in my lap whenever I’m working on my computer.
Cats help us to relieve stress and give us a sense of peace and contentment. A study by the University of Minnesota’s Stroke Institute in Minneapolis found that owning a cat can decrease the risk of dying from heart disease and could reduce the chance of having a heart attack by nearly one-third.
Numerous studies have shown that when humans and dogs interact, especially through petting, oxytocin is released. Oxytocin is often referred to as the love hormone because it is essential in the first interactions with a human mother and her baby, creating bonding feelings and helping mom to release milk for baby’s first meal.
A recent, non-academic, experiment has now shown that cats, too, experience a release of oxytocin when petted by their owner. While the level of oxytocin did not, on the average, spike as high in cats as dogs, it still proved that cats do respond to human contact. Cats do love us, even if apparently not quite as much as dogs.
Cats, as compared with dogs, are relatively independent animals. With their litter box, they don’t bug you multiple times a day to go outside to pee or poop. Given adequate food and water, cats can be left alone for a longer period of time than our canine companions.
On the other hand, you do have to clean that litter box.
A cat, being smaller than most dogs, usually doesn’t eat as much. According to an ASPCA study, the total cost of keeping a cat is significantly less than a dog.
Cats, and their claws, can be destructive, especially to furniture and drapes. You should also be aware that cats that are let outside do significant damage to native bird populations.
So, you’ve decided you want to have a pet cat, great! But first, there are a number of things you should consider before picking out your pet:
So, it’s pretty clear, cats do make great pets for many people.
Scientific studies even show that having a cat makes a person happier and healthier. Who can argue with that?!
Just watch how happy this cat makes this baby:
Remember, if you are getting a new cat or kitten, or even if your cat has been a member of the family for a long time, a few simple steps, such as reading a good book about raising a happy cat and getting some fun toys can help you be successful in having a great relationship with your cat.
Do you have a pet cat that makes you really happy? Do you have a story you’d like to share about why your cat is a great pet? Tell us about you special feline friend or share any questions you may have in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you!
Phil’s lifelong love of animals began as a young boy growing up with three pet dogs. As a teenager and young adult, Phil spent six years working as a veterinary technician, later earning a B.S. in Animal Science. After college, Phil continued working as a vet tech part-time while caring for a private collection of mountain lions used in wildlife educational programs. During this time, Phil volunteered at the Dallas Zoo and was eventually offered a position as a zookeeper in the zoo’s naturalistic Wilds of Africa area. Phil became the primary keeper for a black leopard named “Grady” and a caracal named “Tut” in the predator/prey exhibit.