By Alicia Kort
Lucas Ottone / Stocksy
Cats are highly underrated pets. Yes, we know that there aren’t that many options out there for animal companionship, but felines seem to be stuck in second place — after all, they aren’t called “man’s best friend” — though we think that they make the best pets. But after this, you’ll be completely won over and officially join #teamcat.
Why? Well, you don’t have to put your cat on a leash and walk them around until they go to the bathroom (though you can walk them on a leash if you want!). They take care of that themselves, and that alone makes them so much more low-maintenance than dogs. You also have to earn their love, and they give affection on their own terms. You can’t pick up most cats, plop them on your lap, and expect them to settle in; the moment you set them down, they immediately resume whatever they were doing. When a cat chooses to crawl into your lap for the first time, you’ll feel like you’ve won the lottery.
Reasons why cats make good pets.
Cats are good companions: They are easy to care for, lower maintenance than dogs, good family pets, and in some cases, they can even reduce your stress levels.
1. Cats provide companionship
The myth that cats aren’t happy to see their pet parents when they get home is just simply not true. One study found that cats form similar bonds to humans as babies and dogs, showing that there isn’t any difference between how cats and dogs love their people. Cats enjoy spending time with their loved ones — even if they aren’t quite as cuddly as some dogs, they still snuggle, hang out nearby, beg for attention, and play.
2. Cats are happy on their own
Cats don’t need a whole lot to be happy and beyond their feeding time (if they have one — some cats graze), they aren’t on a schedule the way that dogs are. Cats also sleep from 12 to 18 hours a day, so you don’t have to feel as guilty leaving them alone during the day, because they’re likely snoozing anyway and will be active when you return home. It’s easier for friends and family to pop in and check in on cats while you’re away, whereas dogs need to be boarded, taken to the sitter’s house, or have the sitter stay at the cat parent’s home.
3. Most cats are low-maintenance
While pet parenthood is always going to have its individual challenges, cats are undoubtedly easier to care for than dogs. Cats are litter box-trained, so you don’t have to take them outside every few hours on a rigid schedule like you do with a dog. All dogs have exercise requirements and most of the time, those require going outside on long walks or involve games of fetch. Cats, on the other hand, get all of their energy out by running around your home and playing (some cats even play fetch). They generally also require less grooming than dogs (except maybe the Sphynx).
4. Cats are easy to make happy
Dogs, especially large dogs, can rip through a new toy in hours. Cats don’t go through toys like that — they can have the same toys for nearly a decade. And some cats prefer to bat around certain household objects like hair ties, bags, and even your phone (though this might not be a good thing).
5. Cats help reduce allergies in kids
Research shows that newborns who are raised in a home with a cat are less likely to develop a food allergy. This large study analyzed 65,000 children from Japan, according to CNN, and determined that newborns who grew up with cats were 13 percent less likely to end up with egg, wheat, or soybean allergies.
6. Cats are good for your health
Cats have been shown to reduce the risk of their pet parents dying of a heart attack and other cardiovascular diseases, including stroke, even taking risk factors into consideration according to one study that monitored over 4,000 people for 13 years. People who don’t have cats and have never had cats are more likely to die of the above than cat parents. On top of this great news, cats also keep away rodents,, which carry diseases.
7. Cats can help with mental health, too
If you’ve ever come home to a cat and felt immediately more at ease, there is some science behind that. Cats can lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol in the body, reduce negative thoughts and loneliness, as well as help their human parents recover faster from stressful situations. We still aren’t exactly sure why all of this occurs, but these small, furry companions do have a way of putting the human body at ease. It’s nearly impossible to not feel more relaxed when there’s a cat on your lap, in my opinion.
8. Cats help reduce blood pressure
Cat parents have also been shown to have lower blood pressure and a lower resting heart rate than non-parents, according to a study. Married couples were put through several rounds of stressful tests in their homes — sometimes their pet was present, sometimes their spouse, and sometimes both. Cat parents made the fewest errors and had the lowest resting heart rate when their pets were present. If that doesn’t make the perfect argument to work from home with your cat on your lap all day, I don’t know what will.
Are cats better than dogs?
Ultimately, it’s not so much as a cat versus dog in terms of abilities, it’s more about the potential pet parent’s lifestyle. Cats are better than dogs for people who live in smaller spaces, who work in an office and can’t run home and take a dog out, and people who want a more low-maintenance pet (though every pet does require a great level of commitment). Dogs require more attention and care, and they often need to follow a strict routine that can’t really be deviated from.
Consider adopting a cat
Every year, there are around 3.2 million cats in shelters in the United States, according to ASPCA, and 530,000 are euthanized. There are about 100,000 more cats than dogs in shelters. No matter what breed of cat you want, you will be able to find them without trying to seek out a breeder. If you’re ready to adopt a cat, you can start by searching on Adopt A Pet.
FAQs (People also ask):
Are cats good pets for kids?
Yes, cats make great companions for children. Cats who are sociable, friendly, and are trying to get all of the pets in the shelter will make great additions to families with kids. When adopting a cat, you will need to find one that has the right temperament. Cats who are skittish and anxious will be stressed in a home with young kids. They will hide and shy away from them — they might even try to defend themselves if the child doesn’t interact with them in the proper manner. It is also important to note that young children should be taught how to respectfully interact with cats and learn the cat’s cues.
Are cats good pets for seniors?
Cats are the perfect pet for seniors. Cats are much more low-maintenance than dogs, so they don’t require as much from their senior pet parents. They don’t need any out-of-home exercise and are independent, though they will be a boon to their person’s life. Cat parents have lower resting heart rates and a reduced level of loneliness, which can plague senior citizens. Cats can help seniors be more active, reduce stress, and be a very loving companion. And they generally cost less than dogs, too.
Are cats good pets for apartments?
Yes, cats can thrive in small spaces like apartments. Unlike dogs who often have both indoor and outdoor space requirements, cats have neither. Sure, they will get the 5 a.m. zoomies around whatever sized space you have, and if you have a single-room apartment, you might be directly involved in that nighttime workout whether you want to be or not, but overall, cats will make the most out of the spaces that they’re in.
Why are cats good companion pets?
Cats are good companion pets because they offer a variety of physical and mental health benefits and feel love for their pet parents the same way that a baby does. Cats reduce allergies in children, lower cortisol levels, reduce loneliness, and encourage pet parents to move around a bit more. And we haven’t even gotten into how relaxing it feels to have a kitten curled up next to you at night. That is priceless for your health.
Alicia Kort is a writer and editor living in Brooklyn. She’s currently the senior commerce editor at Apartment Therapy. She’s been published in StyleCaster, Electric Literature, Newsweek, Interview, Brooklyn magazine and more. In her free time, she runs, reads, and spends time with her dog-nieces, Maya and Lady, and her cat-niece, Pepper.