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 help 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, they clean up after themselves, are often already house-trained as kittens, and they love a knee to curl up on in 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.

Below are some pros and cons of keeping a cat:


  • Easily house trained with a litter box.
  • A self-cleaning pet: cats are constantly bathing themselves.
  • Cat food is generally cheaper than dog food.
  • Independent and able to entertain themselves.
  • Less expensive to take to the vet and for boarding at a cattery if you're going away.
  • 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're full of energy, love their owner unconditionally, and are great with kids. They can also help keep you active with a 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 can't be kept inside all the time! They need daily walks and they 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 – hence the phrase “man’s best friend”.
  • Dogs love their owner unconditionally.


  • Dogs need daily exercise (this can also be a pro) 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’re looking for a new pet, you may be aware that vet bills can be very expensive. It may worth looking into pet insurance, which can help cover a portion of eligible vet bills for a specified accidental injury or illness. Find out more about pet insurance.