Having had multiple cat and very big dog over the years, I must say that I prefer dogs. The reasons are this: dogs can be trained to do just about anything you want them to.
My dog lived in perfect harmony with all our other animals, even protecting them from both real and imaginary threats and nurse-maided rabbits, donkeys, chickens, ducklings – even the kittens – and could be left alone with them for hours on end with no “accidents”.
If you know what you are doing, a puppy can be house-trained within a week (a kitten has to be shown the litter box only once, though) and taught that the other creatures are to be protected, not molested, within a month. The cats will attack any small creature that moves and will soon denude your garden of all the birds, lizards and other welcome (to us, anyway) visitors. Look, we love all creatures, so that when spiders and other creepy crawlies and toads, shrews and even non-venomous snakes come into the house, we capture them and carry them outside. The dogs will treat them amiably, whereas the cats murder them without compunction. You can deduce from the foregoing that we do not use insecticides or any other toxins in our home. A pair of swallows made a nest in our kitchen and returned to it year after year. If one of the nestlings fell out and landed on the floor, if a dog arrived there first, it would pick it up in its mouth and come looking for my wife or me and deposit it, completely unscathed, into our hands so that we could return it to its safe haven. If a cat got there first, it was bye-bye birdie.
We would go hiking in the countryside and even when in a game preserve, our dogs regarded the wild animals with equanimity. When some of the more boisterous blue wildebeest charged at us, they would stay back to protect “mommy” while I attended to the threat. Even when the wild animals accept us as part of the “moving scenery” and approach within twenty or so metres of us, the dogs will look on with interest, especially if there are babies about.
They know that they can’t go and play with the babies, much as they’d love to do so, so they just relax and behave themselves. A word of warning: don’t YOU try this. Wild animals are extremely dangerous: while we were living in the game reserve, one of our friends was told that a neighbour and his son had been killed by the very blue wildebeeste we encountered almost every day on our walks.
As I have lived alone in the bush, observing how the animals react to – and interact with – other animals, having learned to “tune in” with the bush and blend in with it, I know how to handle such situations and will defuse them quickly … an almost impossible feat if my dogs had insisted on “helping” and so gotten in the way.
Your voice must be calm and low-pitched when speaking to your dogs: then they will remain calm. Scream and shout and they will think that there is trouble and will immediately go in for the kill. If your dog goes in to attack anyone or anything, “bark” at it: in a deep tone shout its name once and if you have taught it the meaning of the word “NO!” it should desist immediately.
Cats will not come to your rescue when you are in trouble, but your dogs will face down any threat and even sacrifice life and limb to help you. Yes, I have heard of cats doing so on the odd occasion, but such events are few and far between and they cannot be relied on as a dog can.
No robber or burglar will take much notice of a cat, but will not risk an encounter with one or more dogs.
Just by the way: you will save yourself a lot of trouble if you have more than one dog: they keep one another company and won’t demand as much attention as Akanksha’s Labby did. As we have always lived on large properties in rural areas, we did not have to take the dogs for walks, as they got plenty of exercise playing with each other and attending to the other animals.
Dogs can be taught that the furniture is not for them, but for the people of the house and they will then never damage anything. Cats are a different kettle of fish: they own EVERYTHING and they scratch wherever they feel like it at any particular time and this can be both costly and unsightly.
Cats are ‘up’ creatures and can often be found up the curtains, ontop of doors; cupboards and pelmets, in the bookshelves … and don’t leave your cupboard or wardrobe doors open if you don’t want hair in and on everything. They will walk all over the computer keyboard and chase your pen or pencil across the paper when you are trying to get some work or drawing done – I’ve even seen them hanging off the washing on the line, for heaven’s sake!
Cats cannot be contained: we lost many to passing traffic, as we lived on a main route between towns, whereas dogs will stay behind your fences if they (the fences) are in good repair.
Thus, a dog is my personal choice, but if you lpetive in a city and you want a companion, a cat may be your best