Joe McElveen / The Daily Gamecock

Opinion: Cats are better pets for college students than dogs

For some strange reason, dogs are often argued to be better pets than cats. Every time I have argued that cats are actually superior to dogs, it is accompanied by strange looks, utter astonishment and pure disbelief. However, cats are the better of the two when it comes to many factors, making the choice between the two simple.

Perhaps the most resounding reason as to why cats are better than dogs is the low maintenance that they require, especially compared to their dog counterparts. Cats frequently clean themselves, or self-groom, which demonstrates self-sufficiency as well as the bonus of reducing their odor. Dogs require their owners to give them baths far more often than cats, who rarely require their owners to take charge and bathe them. 

Similarly, cats maintain cleaner lifestyles than dogs do. In a study conducted by researchers at Princeton University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2010, they discovered that cats are able to drink water more efficiently than dogs. The cats were shown to touch the surface of the water with their tongues and “pull” it up, subsequently closing their mouths over the water to trap it. They could drink the water using the tip of their tongues without penetrating the surface. On the other hand, dogs were shown to be sloppy, smashing through the water with a large section of their tongues. The inferior method that dogs use to drink water creates a lot of splashing and slobbering, creating bigger messes which further puts them at a disadvantage against cats.

Cats are also more independent than dogs, requiring less attention and time consumption. In research conducted by Daniel Mills, professor of veterinary behavioral medicine at the University of Lincoln's School of Life Sciences, it was found that the relationship between cats and their owners differ from those with dogs. Dogs were shown to have a demanding and needy relationship with their owners, where the owner provided a familiar “base” and safety for the dogs. However, cats had a different relationship, in which they require less protection and constant attention from their owners.

For this reason, cats take another win over dogs when it comes to the better pet. As college students, a big part of our time is consumed with classes, studying and socializing. Dogs require a level of attention and care that is difficult to adequately provide as a student with many responsibilities. Cats are more fitting to the lifestyle we live and suffer less from in the periods of time we are away. 

Finally, another instance in which students can heavily benefit from choosing cats over dogs is that they are cheaper to own and maintain than dogs. Dogs are generally bigger than cats, which results in a need for more food, increasing the recurring cost of maintaining them as pets. Even small dogs often require more food than cats, who, if allowed outside, are fine hunters and relatively self-sufficient. 

Dogs also need additional items, such as leashes, that cats do not. On top of that dogs require more toys than cats do, as well as replacing them more since dogs frequently rip up their toys. As far as veterinary bills go, cats have also been found to be cheaper on average than dogs. 

For all these reasons, and many more, I firmly believe that cats are far better pets than smelly, expensive dogs. 

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