by Lindsay Mullins ’24
As many people have different opinions and thoughts about this question, there is no true answer. It really depends on your personal preference. In my house, we like dogs more than cats, but our neighbors like cats more. There are many benefits to owning a dog, cat, or any other sort of pet.
According to Sherry Haynes, from Pethelpful.com, cats make a more suitable companion than dogs. First, cats are easier to take care of. “Cats can be indoor or outdoor and there is no need for walks. Cats do not constantly ask for human attention. But when you need it, the cat will provide it. Cats require less time and energy of their owners.” She strengthens her argument by telling us that cats can take care of themselves, are not noisy, and do not need much space. Mrs. Latta, one of the teachers in the math department here at AMHS, likes cats better, since “they are easier to take care of”.
However, Dr. David H. Rahm, the founder and medical director of The Wellness Center, a medical clinic located in Long Beach, thinks that dogs make better pets. Cheung says that dogs are more attentive; they respond to their name when they are called. Many cats will just ignore you. She also says that dogs are more adventurous, protective of their owners, and more active. According to VitaMedica.com, “A study by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) found that dog owners who regularly walk their dogs are more physically active and less obese than those who neglect to walk their dogs or don’t own dogs. Another three year study of older dog owners found that dog walkers walked faster and longer every week compared to those who didn’t walk regularly.” Dogs are also able to help monitor blood sugar levels, predict seizures, and benefit cardiovascular health.
Ms. Schmidt, a social studies teacher, gives us a perfect example about how both dogs and cats are beneficial to our daily lives. Ms. Schmidt grew up with huskies, but got a cat in her sophomore year of college. The cat, named Meow, didn’t need to be walked, ate whenever she wanted, and she slept a lot. “The best part about having Meow is that she is super low maintenance,” says Ms. Schmidt. “She does her thing and I do mine, and we both like each other’s company, so it’s really low stress.” However, in June, Ms. Schmidt rescued Penny, a timid and nervous pup. Penny likes to be around Ms. Schmidt all the time, which made “a lonely Covid life bearable”. The two of them walk at least 2-3 miles daily, rain or shine. Penny also has very high energy, and loves to play. Ms. Schmidt is not sure which is better, a dog or a cat. “Both Meow and Penny occupy different parts of my life,” she says. “and I think I contribute to theirs in different ways… I honestly don’t know what I’d do without either of them!”
While the debate between dogs and cats may never end, many studies have shown that having a pet of any sort leads to multiple health benefits overall. According to VitaHealth.com, “Simply watching a pet – a fish swimming, a cat pouncing, or a dog chasing a ball – can elevate your mood. Physical changes occur in the bodies when mood improves. Cortisol, the stress hormone, is reduced, and serotonin, the ‘feel good’ hormone, is increased.” Pets can provide therapy and emotional support. According to CNN.com, “A 2015 study found children with ADHD who read to real animals showed more improvements in sharing, cooperation, volunteering and behavioral problems than ADHD children who read to a stuffed animal. Another study found autistic children were calmer and interacted more when in the presence of guinea pigs than toys.” Whether you like dogs, cats, birds, fish, lizards, or hamsters, many pets will serve to soothe and provide companionship.
Haynes, S. (2020, June 16). 15 Reasons Why Cats Are Better Pets Than Dogs – PetHelpful – By fellow animal lovers and experts. Retrieved November 16, 2020, from https://pethelpful.com/cats/why-cats-are-better-than-dogs
15 Nov, 2., & 14 Nov, 2. (n.d.). 13 Reasons Why Dogs are Better Than Cats. Retrieved November 17, 2020, from https://www.scmp.com/yp/discover/lifestyle/features/article/3067180/13-reasons-why-dogs-are-better-cats
Admin. (2012, September 28). 11 Health Benefits of Having Pets. Retrieved November 17, 2020, from https://vitamedica.com/wellness-blog/11-health-benefits-of-having-pets/
LaMotte, S. (2020, February 21). Benefits (and some surprising science) about owning a pet. Retrieved November 17, 2020, from https://www.cnn.com/2020/02/20/health/benefits-of-having-a-pet-wellness/index.html