A cat or a dog? If you have both....

curlypearlcurlypearl Posts: 12,227Registered Users Curl Connoisseur
I'm considering getting a pet for the first time in my life. As some of you know, I had serious surgery a while back and I'm still recovering. On top of that, a relationship I've had for 20 years is in trouble. I'm wondering if having a pet would bring some happiness and companionship into my life as I am still restricted from going out much.

I know a dog needs to be walked and although I can take a short daily walk I'm still somewhat weak and can't do a lot of traipsing around. I'm more familiar with cats as pets since my sister has one and my mother (she's dead) had one but I wouldn't want a standoffish pet. Some cats have that reputation - I would prefer an affectionate pet. Cat lovers - don't hate me.

I'm not even sure I will go ahead with the plan to get a pet, but I was looking at the cute pictures and wondering. Soooo, those of you who have a cat and a dog, or who have had both experiences, what are your thoughts? Also, I live in an apt. with nice furniture and I wouldn't want it destroyed. Input appreciated - thanks in advance!
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  • EilonwyEilonwy Posts: 12,391Registered Users Curl Connoisseur
    I'd get a cat. I've had both a cat and a dog, and cats are definitely much easier to take care of. And they're very affectionate, too!
  • likethegumlikethegum Posts: 494Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    If you get a cat from a rescue you can get a lot of info on it's personality from the foster home. They can tell you if it scratches furniture or not, if it's snuggly, etc. The same goes for a dog. It sounds like you'd be best with an adult cat or dog, so you don't have to deal with all the baby stuff... which can be hard on your furniture with either species! If you call the rescues in your area and tell them your situation and concerns, I'm sure they can find the perfect pet for you, and often you can take the pet home for a trial period to make sure it's a good match.

    Good luck, and remember to share pictures! :)
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  • VTmomVTmom Posts: 2,487Registered Users Curl Connoisseur
    Even though I'm more of a dog lover, if I were in your situation I'd get a cat. I've had a few cats and they really are sweet. The only thing I'm not sure of is whether or not it would tear up your good furniture. Our cats were always outdoor cats. I hope your recovery is going well.
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  • EilonwyEilonwy Posts: 12,391Registered Users Curl Connoisseur
    If you get a kitten, you can teach it pretty easily to use a scratching post, and stuff like that. Adult cats are very hard to train.
  • irociroc Posts: 7,890Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    I'm a cat person all the way, so of course I'm going to say cat.

    You really have to be a dog person to have a dog. And you have to be understanding, and patient, and not totally neurotic about your carpets, furniture, etc.

    Dogs smell like dog. They are messy and needy and they require a lot of time, and energy and work. You have to be very dedicated. I know some people are die hard dog people, they love them so they don't mind the work.

    Cats aren't perfect of course. They do have the possibility of getting mad at you and messing on your carpets. They can be vindictive. But it's not always a common occurrence. If you give them some big climbing scratching posts, they will probably use them most. But they are not completely above using your couch or carpet. You can train them not to. You show them where the litter box is, and they'll use it. Period. They come and visit you, or sleep cuddled next to you, but they're not in your face every second for attention.

    I wuvs me some kitties. If you get one, PLEASE check a shelter, or Craigslist. I see so many unwanted cats on there and it's heartbreaking. I have 3 and I'm trying to talk my husband into more and he is not having it. If it wasn't for him I'd have like 10 cats.

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  • roseannadanaroseannadana Posts: 5,633Registered Users Curl Connoisseur
    I think a cat would be a great companion for you. From my personal experience, my male cats have been the most affectionate (almost annoyingly so!) and the females have been a bit more independent.

    Here's a list of the ten friendliest cat breeds. I'm sure you can find a sweet, friendly kitten or younger cat from a rescue group.

    Good luck and if you get one, be sure to let us help pick the name! :wave:

    ETA: I don't know why but I've never had a cat that destroyed furniture. I think it was because I always kept scratching posts near their favorite sleeping spots because clawing and stretching is what they often do when they first wake up.

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  • curlypearlcurlypearl Posts: 12,227Registered Users Curl Connoisseur
    Thank you. This is all very helpful, including the very informative list of the ten friendliest cat breeds. I was tending toward cat, given my circumstances, and if I decide to get one, I will definitely get a shelter animal.
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  • NessyNessy Posts: 788Registered Users
    Curlypearl, I think it's a great idea. Pets are so wonderful and they bring so much joy to your life.

    I don't have a cat, but I do have a dog, and they are a lot of work. No matter if I'm tired or sick or whatever, he has to be walked (but wouldn't trade it for the world!). A cat might be a better option for you b/c they require less work and they're still so cute!

    I'm sure you can find a cuddly, affectionate cat. Good luck. If you get one, you must post pics!!
  • curlypearlcurlypearl Posts: 12,227Registered Users Curl Connoisseur
    I promise. Will do!
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  • PartyHairPartyHair Posts: 7,713Registered Users
    curlypearl, I'm a cat person, and I can tell you that none of my cats have been standoffish. I honestly and truly think that it's because I held and cuddled and played with each of my cats A LOT when they were kittens. I really think it helped them to be sociable creatures.

    I'm typing this around my Simon as we speak - he's on my lap, where he is most the time I'm sitting down. We just lost my sweet Schuster girl on Feb. 9 so Simon is still feeling the loss. He needs to cuddle so I never put him off my lap.

    My cats also all come when I call them by name - I've taught all my cats that little skill. Just start when they're kittens, use their names a lot, and of course a nice little treatsy for a reward helps them remember. :)

    I vote for a sweet kitty! They're so fun and such good company. :love10:
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  • KikapooKikapoo Posts: 1,087Registered Users
    I vote for a kitty too! I've had both, and cats are SOOOOOO much easier, and just as lovable AND loving (as everyone here has pointed out)!

    My cats are both affectionate and independent. They run to greet me at the door when I come home, they follow me around the house sometimes, and they sit next to me any time I'm sitting on the couch. I usually fall asleep and wake up with one or both of them in the bed. One of them has a very cute habit of watching my face until I open my eyes, and THEN starting to headbutt me and walk around on me. I love that she waits until I'm awake! She's so smart (and polite)!

    Also, like everyone else said, they are just easier. They use their litter boxes. They don't need to be walked. They don't require constant attention. They don't smell bad (as long as you clean out the box regularly). Really all you have to buy for then is food, litter, and a few toys, and they're happy.

    Good luck!
  • EilonwyEilonwy Posts: 12,391Registered Users Curl Connoisseur
    Also... Kitties have more ways of expressing affection than dogs do. Cats purr, kneed, and head-butt, and even attempt to suckle from your hand :love7:
  • CynaminbearCynaminbear Posts: 4,476Registered Users Curl Connoisseur
    I vote for cat, too. We have a dog and 4 cats.
    I'd also like to suggest 2 guinea pigs, if you'd like to keep your pets more contained. You can make cool cages (see www.cavycages.com) but let them roam in contained areas, too. They can't be litter trained, but bunnies can be!
    And if you'd really like to be different, how about a capybara! It's a giant guinea pig!
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  • KikapooKikapoo Posts: 1,087Registered Users
    Eilonwy wrote: »
    Also... Kitties have more ways of expressing affection than dogs do. Cats purr, kneed, and head-butt, and even attempt to suckle from your hand :love7:

    Oh yeah! When one of my cats was a kitten she used to sit in my lap and knead my leg, and suck on my pants or shirt at the same time. I found it bizarre, but kind of cute.

    She still goes all out with the kneading...just that now there's less drool involved, ha ha.

    My other cat "pets" my face when I pick her up. That is, I pick her up and scratch her head, and she puts her paw on the side of my cheek as if she's petting me back. Sure, she's got dirty little feet...but still cute!!!
  • popcornpopcorn Posts: 212Registered Users
    I have 2 cats and 4 dogs. Dogs definitely require more work. I can't just take off and go away for a weekend without finding a petsitter. Dogs need to be let out, or taken out, exercised and trained. I adore my dogs, but they are work.

    My cats? Easygoing. One is somewhat standoffish, and always has been. The other is a huge lovemuffin. He's annoying as all get out when he isn't getting enough attention (he knocks stuff over just for the reaction), but he's a great companion.

    I'd totally go to a shelter - tell them what you're looking for, and they probably know exactly who they'd recommend.

    Good luck!
  • MichelleBFTMichelleBFT Posts: 4,812Registered Users
    I've had both my whole life. For you, I think you should get a cat. They're pretty low maintenance for the most part. Clean the box, food in the bowl, skritch on the head. Well, behind the ears.

    Dogs not only need a lot of attention, but they do need to be walked and that doesn't change when you're not feeling up to it. Cats don't need you to do anything the way dogs do-- they'll just curl up in your lap an purr. I've got the living proof in my lap right now.

    Cats do have the reputation for being aloof, but it's not as deserved as some would have you believe. My Moe likes to pretend he's aloof, and then you turn around and he's snoring in your ear. Or rubbing his head up against your feet. Or curled up on your chest making breathing sort of a challenge. You can't read his every emotion the way you can my dog's, but "aloof" sure ain't the word. Reserved, perhaps. He even plays with the dog. They're BFFs. Well, that's not totally true, because they compete with each other-- I'm not joking-- for our attention. If you pet the cat, be warned the dog will try to shang hi you from behind. If you play with the dog, the cat will saunter over all, "What, you're plaing with the dog? How lame. You could play with me, I suppose." He tried to play it cool but I know what's up.

    He's my little man. Found him as a stray, and when he laid eyes on me, he said, "Yo, lady, you're my mom now." and while I'd had no intention of taking him home, there wasn't a thing I could do. I was immediately in love with him.

    Anyhow. Given your circumstances, with the surgery and all, I vote cat. Find yourself a shelter and have a look around. Hear some stories. My Moe was dumped, and he's just the sweetest thing in the world, so I'm 100% certain there are other cats out there who've been treated poorly who will love you.
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  • KurlyKaeKurlyKae Posts: 3,413Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    I think it's a great idea for you to get a pet. They offer unconditional love, support and companionship. I agree with most posters that a cat is probably your best bet. Although they are known to be aloof, the cats I've had have been just the opposite. A Siamese will talk you to death! The one we had when I was little was a stinker, who slept on my pillow, knew when I was sick before my mother, and insisted on sitting right next to a neighbor when she visited, even though, or more likely, because, she was afraid of cats! Now, the cats I've had since weren't quite so...much, but they are very loyal to their people, and often attach particularly to one person (the one in charge of the food?) and so they are great for some one who lives alone.

    If you find you really want a dog, though, there are many small breeds or breed mixes who do not need long walks. You can even get little artificial turf type pads for a litte guy to use when you can't get outside. Kind of like a litter box, but more like the grassy welcome mats some people have. (I've seen them, but not used, Heidi is toooo big.)

    Shelters and rescues are so full these days, you are sure to find a wonderful companion. Keep us posted on what you decide!
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  • Curls=BeautyCurls=Beauty Posts: 1,781Registered Users
    As most others have said, I definitely vote for a cat.

    Dogs need a lot of attention and most get bored quite easily. They have to be walked, need to play, need taken out to the bathroom, trained etc. You have to be very patient, understanding and firm. And it can get frustrating.

    Cats aren't anywhere near as much work. Scoop the litter box and feed them daily. Change the litter every one to two weeks. Throw in some grooming and that is basically it. As well as petting and cuddling and playing with them, of course. ;)


    I definitely prefer cats, though I love both.
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  • KikapooKikapoo Posts: 1,087Registered Users
    KurlyKae wrote: »
    I think it's a great idea for you to get a pet. They offer unconditional love, support and companionship. I agree with most posters that a cat is probably your best bet. Although they are known to be aloof, the cats I've had have been just the opposite. A Siamese will talk you to death! The one we had when I was little was a stinker, who slept on my pillow, knew when I was sick before my mother, and insisted on sitting right next to a neighbor when she visited, even though, or more likely, because, she was afraid of cats! Now, the cats I've had since weren't quite so...much, but they are very loyal to their people, and often attach particularly to one person (the one in charge of the food?) and so they are great for some one who lives alone.

    If you find you really want a dog, though, there are many small breeds or breed mixes who do not need long walks. You can even get little artificial turf type pads for a litte guy to use when you can't get outside. Kind of like a litter box, but more like the grassy welcome mats some people have. (I've seen them, but not used, Heidi is toooo big.)

    Shelters and rescues are so full these days, you are sure to find a wonderful companion. Keep us posted on what you decide!


    I feel like cats get the "aloof" reputation because they are so loyal to their own people. My cats' personalities change completely when there are strangers around. They're not worried about impressing visitors, just me :-). Also, since I've known them for years, I know what things bother them and what doesn't. Each has a unique personality and their own preferences. One loves to be picked up, so everyone assumes she's "the nice one." The other hates to be picked up, but if you sit down and leave her alone, she's all over you!

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  • SystemSystem Posts: 39,060 Administrator
    Cats are great pets. Just make sure to have a scratching post and other toys that draw their attention and scratching tendencies. You could even look into getting a self-cleaning litterbox.
  • curlypearlcurlypearl Posts: 12,227Registered Users Curl Connoisseur
    I'm reading and re-reading all the posts. Thank you everyone. I got a lot out of what you wrote. I could use a little purring today!
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  • SystemSystem Posts: 39,060 Administrator
    PPPPPPPPUUUUUUUURRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR! :mrgreen:
  • curlypearlcurlypearl Posts: 12,227Registered Users Curl Connoisseur
    Ohhhh, Speckla. You are too much. :love1:
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  • EilonwyEilonwy Posts: 12,391Registered Users Curl Connoisseur
    Up until the age of five months, kittens need a lot of mental and physical stimulation. Older cats still play, but usually less intensely and less frequently. So especially if you get a kitten, be sure to get some toys, too! I think a good assortment would be 1) a wand from which feathers dangle on a string; 2) a crinkly ball or toy mouse; and 3) a circular track with a ball or toy mouse inside. The first toy requires your participation, the second toy can involve your participation, and the third toy is something the can can do by itself.
  • SystemSystem Posts: 39,060 Administrator
    This is a great toy. I just suction it to a smooth surfaces and my kitties will entertain themselves for hours.

    http://www.madcats.co.uk/Images/stpics/fs-cat-toy-dangler1.jpg

    A catcity is also good. It has play areas, scratching posts, and hammicks for sleeping....it comes in separate sections so you can buy and build it however you like. $9.99-$14.99 and they sell them at walmart.

    This is right after my son put it together. The cats were trying to get in it as he was assembling it..

    100_0167-vi.jpg

    They also have this long nylon tube with holes on each end and one in the middle. They love to climb through it and pop out of the hole or take naps in it. Can find a pix online and can't finger my camera but they're easy to find at the pet section of the grocery store or Walmart. Like $7.99.

    Cats need a lot of stimulating toys to keep them active and happy. Getting two cats would be good if you can handle them. That way they're not lonely and have company if you do have to leave for a while.
  • SystemSystem Posts: 39,060 Administrator
    Found one...it's sorta like this only there's a cat in it and there's a whole in the top center..

    http://www.rud.dk/ferrets/jpegs/pix-tube.jpg
  • CurlyHairedFarmerCurlyHairedFarmer Posts: 3,079Registered Users Curl Connoisseur
    I would get a kitten. Adult cats can be great, but they are very hard to train if they already have bad habits. I actually think a kitten would be less work for you.

    When you get them at a young age it is very easy to train them to use scratching posts exclusively and litterbox training is a breeze.
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  • EilonwyEilonwy Posts: 12,391Registered Users Curl Connoisseur
    Bonus toy: flashlight! Just aim it at the floor and move it around. Cats adore trying to capture the light! And you can easily play this game while lying in bed or on a couch.

    Also, my cat loved microfiber blankets. I'm sure other cats do, too!
  • cymprenicympreni Posts: 9,609Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    I too recommend a cat. Dogs are a lot like having a small child.

    Cat toys: you don't have to buy anything fancy. I've had cats who go nuts over boxes, paper balls, milk rings (those safety seal things), papers on the floor, strings, those bouncy balls you get in quarter machines.

    I recommend clumping litter, it's a lot easier to keep clean and oder free and it lasts longer.
  • KikapooKikapoo Posts: 1,087Registered Users
    Eilonwy wrote: »
    Bonus toy: flashlight! Just aim it at the floor and move it around. Cats adore trying to capture the light! And you can easily play this game while lying in bed or on a couch.

    Also, my cat loved microfiber blankets. I'm sure other cats do, too!

    Oh man, my cats love laser pointers, and FREAK OUT over these microfiber blankets I got at Marshall's for 7.99. I can't figure it out--they can only really feel it with their paw pads, right? But as soon as they get on the blanket they go into this apparent drug-induced daze...

    One of my cats also loves my new duvet cover. As soon as I had that thing on she was bouncing straight up and down in the middle of it. And that one has no special texture....still can't figure that one out.

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