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Do People Take Better Care of their Dogs than their Cats?

Do you think people value their dogs more than their cats?

If you’re honest, do YOU provide the same level of care to both types of pets?

For me, it’s safe to say my dog Ace does receive better care than my two cats Beamer and Scout.

Why is this?

I don’t know, but I thought I’d go over the two main differences, veterinary care and diet.

Basic veterinary care – dog vs. cats

My dog sees a vet annually for a wellness exam. He also sees a vet several times a year for various issues that never fail to come up, so we’re in there about every other month (and blessed with a $250 bill each time). He also gets vaccinations every few years and an annual heartworm test.

On the other hand, I don’t bring my cats to the vet unless there’s an obvious problem. Since there never seems to be a problem, we don’t go, not even for wellness exams.

Tan tabby cat and gray tabby cat

Scout (the little gray one) hasn’t seen a vet since 2009. Beamer (the tan one) was there in 2014 to have his teeth examined.

I’m not saying this is right or wrong. I’m just telling it like it is.

My cats don’t venture into the world much. They are indoor cats. I don’t board them. I’m not fostering any other cats, so I just don’t see the need to vaccinate mine. They are 10 and 12 years old and have had multiple rounds of vaccines in their earlier years, trust me.

I know I should take them in for wellness exams, but all that really happens during these exams is they get their (racing!) hearts listened to and their ears looked at. I’m sorry, but it’s a joke.

Major veterinary expenses – dog vs. cats

Thankfully neither of my cats have needed any major medical procedures.

And then there’s our dog …We spent $1,800 on Ace one time (ER visit for pneumonia). I’m not sure we’d spend that much on a cat. I think we probably would, but there would be much longer discussions about it first.

With Ace, I pretty much just handed over my card without batting an eye, even though I didn’t have the money and had to pay with credit. (And that is not an option for everyone.)

We are planning some dental work for our cat Beamer, a cleaning, x-rays and I assume multiple extractions. I just assume we’ll be spending at least $700 there (welcome to Solana Beach where everything is 20% more expensive!), but we know it needs to be done and we’ve put it off too long.

We love him.

Diet – dog vs. cats

I feed my dog a variety of natural dry and raw brands. I spend a small fortune on his food, usually around $100 per month.

My cats, on the other hand … Sometimes I buy them a cheap, corn-based dry food. Sometimes I buy them a higher-quality brand, along with a natural brand of canned.

I know I should feed my cats the same quality of food Ace gets, and it’s something I am working on.

Gray tabby cat on the patio

Frankly, they love the cheap stuff and Scout sometimes refuses to eat the expensive foods. What I usually end up doing is mixing the two brands together. So I guess that’s progress.

So vet care and food are the main differences between the care my dog and my cats receive.

Do people value dogs more than cats?

I think they do, in general.

Is this because cats are a dime a dozen and you can barely even give them away for free? Maybe.

Is it because dogs cost more (in many aspects) so we value what we spend money on?

Is it because dogs are more loyal and protective? Is it because we bring them out and about into our lives?

I don’t know.

Tan tabby cat on his back

I love my cats very much. I love playing games with them. Scout and I play a chasing and wrestling game almost every evening. I like buying them toys and beds and food because it makes me feel good.

Beamer and I cuddle together with a blanket every single evening while we watch TV. He lets me hold him at any moment and he purrs and purrs.

Scout puts his paws to my face gently as if to say, “Hey, I’m here for you.”

They look me in the eyes, follow me from room to room. They gather wherever my husband and I are lounging. They want to be near us.

We love them. We are a family.

Do you value your dog more than your cat? Do you provide better care to one vs. the other?

Kimberly Gauthier

Wednesday 18th of November 2015

I’ll admit that I do take better care of my dogs than my cats. It started, because I have a blog about dog nutrition and the more I learned, the better I fed our dogs. Our dogs also demand more attention than our cats – we have to walk them, bathe them, their diet is more involved, and the dogs are on the lower level, where we spend most of our time.

Our cats, on the other hand, are simple. They refused to eat raw, but love Stella & Chewy’s freeze dried, so they get that, Petcurean NOW, and canned food. I clean their litter box daily, swap it out 2x a week, and I bring them new toys every month or so.

When I try to give them love, they tolerate me for all of 5 minutes (if that) and then go along their way. Our cats are seniors, set in their ways, and low maintenance. I love that about them. But our dogs do get more of me.

Lindsay Stordahl

Wednesday 18th of November 2015

So interesting! I've enjoyed hearing about everyone's relationships with their cats. Do your cats like to spend time with each other? My cats are always together but I know some people's cats can't stand each other. Ha.


Tuesday 17th of November 2015

That's certainly true for me. But I can pinpoint key contributing factors: I have been a dog lover since I was a little girl, but I only grew into my love of cats when I met my husband (who is a cat person turned dog person). The relationship with a dog is qualitatively different from a relationship with a cat: my dog goes many places with me, my dog and I can learn and compete together in multiple sports, and if we pursue and pass certifications we can volunteer together. It's so much more of an active partnership. My cats have a high standard of living and receive excellent care, but I definitely love and value my dog on a different level from my cats.

Lindsay Stordahl

Wednesday 18th of November 2015

You've summed it up so well. It's just that we have different relationships with each type of animal.


Tuesday 17th of November 2015

This is great. My dogs definitely get more attention than my cats.

My girls (cats) are both 10 years old. I was just thinking about their age earlier. Are they considered seniors? I like to think they are middle aged. Neither has been to the vet since they were spayed at 6 and 9 months old. So no vaccines, HW preventative, or flea meds in 9 years. My dogs go to the vet yearly.

My dogs eat raw. I have attempted to get the girls to eat raw, but they won't eat it. They eat grain-free dry food each morning, and various canned foods each night.

So...technically I take better care of my dogs. But my cats are healthy, happy, and loved.

Lindsay Stordahl

Tuesday 17th of November 2015

I'm so relieved to hear others saying they don't bring their cats to the vet.


Tuesday 17th of November 2015

I'm wincing a little at typing this, but I do have to agree I value my dog more than the cats. I'd also say I, terrible mother that I am, value one cat over the other. "Is it because we bring them out and about into our lives?" For me, I think this is the reason. Our dog goes everywhere with us. My husband and I's idea of a wild Friday night is staying out 'til 9pm at the dog park (WOOHOO!!!). Dogs are the closest thing one can have to a child in a non-human because you can bring them to parks, some restaurants, on roadtrips, even put them in cute costumes if you want. Cats, on the other hand, are more like the weird, reclusive, slightly disabled uncle you let move into your spare room when Mother died. They're family, and you love them, but you REALLY wish you could type ONE comment on a blog without stopping to confiscate a bag of silicon beads they were trying to eat! (can you guess what I was just doing?!)


Tuesday 17th of November 2015

Mom was a true cat person for many, many years. Finally she got a dog and it changed her. She is now a total dog person and the cats come second. She feels bad about it, but we dogs can do so many things with her, and the cats can't. So at my house, dogs are top. The kitties don't suffer, and they are spoiled, but they are second chair.