The pros and cons of having cats and dogs

Pets make a great addition to any family. If you’re considering getting a new pet, but are unsure of whether to choose a cat or a dog, here are some basic pros and cons to helping you choose the right pet for you.
Both animals make great companions, but everyone has different wants and needs when looking for the perfect pet.

For example, a cat might be suitable for busy city people with limited space, whereas a dog may be better suited for people with families and backyards. Here we look at some of the pros and cons of each pet to help you decide upon the best option for you.


Cats make great pets, as they can be kept inside, clean up after themselves, are often already housetrained as kittens, and they love a knee to curl up on in the winter.

Cats are also great communicators as they can use different pitches in their meows to get their message across, this can be “I’m hungry” or “hey look at me!”. A cat will use different tones for each feeling to speak with their owner.

Cats are also more independent than dogs and don’t require as much attention, such as the need to be taken out for daily walks. It also can be relaxing for both cat and owner to pet a cat.

Below are some pros and cons of keeping a cat:


  • Easily house trained with a litter box.
  • A self-cleaning unit: cats are constantly bathing themselves.
  • Cat food is cheaper than dog food.
  • Independent and able to entertain themselves.
  • Less expensive to take to the vet and for boarding.
  • Cats are very calming and can relieve anxiety.


  • A little harder to train to obey commands.
  • Can be a bit aloof.
  • Tend to enjoy scratching furniture.
  • Can give some people allergies.
  • Don’t cope well with travelling or moving house.


Dogs make wonderful companions, as they are full of energy, love their owner unconditionally, and are great with kids. They can also help keep you active with daily walk down the street or to the park for a run.

Some scientists have found that when a dog is with their owner, the feel good hormone dopamine is released in the brain, showing that dogs can feel love for their owners. They do however require a lot of maintenance as they cannot be kept inside all the time need daily walks and can be more expensive to feed than cats.
Below are pros and cons for keeping a dog:


  • A dog can be trained easily to obey basic commands such as ‘sit’, ‘down’ and ‘heel’.
  • Dogs are very sociable and can get along with other dogs easily.
  • They make excellent companions – “man’s best friend”.
  • Dogs love their owner unconditionally.


  • Need daily exercise and a lot of their owner’s attention.
  • Good quality dog food can be expensive, particularly for large dogs that need to eat a lot.
  • Some breeds can shed a lot of hair.
  • Dogs can be more difficult to house train than cats, and it can be a lengthy project from beginning to end.

It can be a great idea to adopt a dog or cat and give an abandoned animal a new home. There are many shelters in Australia where you can adopt a dog or a cat, Petfinder has a directory of adoption groups within the country, or you could look up your local RSPCA for a new best friend.

If you are looking for a new pet you may be interested in knowing what vets really think about pet insurance. Your pet is a part of the family so you want to be sure they will be looked after if they were to become sick or injured.

These articles are provided as reference material to allow more informed decision making, but are not intended as being a complete source of information on any topic. All readers should make their own independent analysis on the topic to make sure they have considered the aspects that are important to them.