Cats make the purr-fect partners


DeVos’s two cats: Rodeo (right) and Kitty (left) love to cuddle all day long.

An age-old debate has been dividing the human race for thousands of years – tearing apart families and turning best friends into enemies.

It always starts with one simple question: Are you a cat person or a dog person? While I’m happy to say that I am truly an all-around animal lover, as a cat owner, I felt like it was time I defended my furry feline companions to all those die-hard dog people out there. There are several reasons why cats make purrr-fect pets.

First, cats are typically much cheaper to own than dogs. According to the ASPCA, cat owners save a minimum of $300 to $800 per year compared to dog owners. As dogs are generally larger than cats, they often consume much larger amounts of food. They also tend to require more toys, supplies and services than cats, including crates, leashes, collars and training classes. Routine veterinary costs also tend to be higher for dogs than for cats. And the ASPCA tally doesn’t even factor in expenses such as boarding or dog-walking when the pet owners are away, expenses which are often much more for dogs than for cats.

Second, cats are better for the environment. In 2009, The New Scientist reported on a book by Robert and Brenda Vale titled “Time to Eat the Dog: The Real Guide to Sustainable Living,” in which the authors estimated the carbon footprint of various common household pets. They argued that a medium-sized dog has a carbon footprint twice that of your standard SUV, while a cat has a carbon footprint equal to that of a small Volkswagen. This was based solely on the amount of meat each pet consumes in an average year. Meat requires a notoriously large amount of both land and energy resources to produce. Cats, being smaller and therefore eating less, are a much more sustainable pet. 

Third, cats are neater than dogs, and in more ways than one. According to a study conducted by researchers at Princeton University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, cats are much more efficient at drinking than dogs. Dogs violently plunge their tongues into the water’s surface with a force up to eight times that of gravity, splashing and creating a mess. Cats, on the other paw, delicately dip their tongues into water with a force up to twice that of gravity, neatly lifting up a column of liquid to swallow. Cats also use those tongues to clean themselves, saving their owners both time and money on bathing. And as cats don’t require much housetraining, their owners also save time in both training and cleaning up accidents. All any cool cat needs is a clean litterbox in a place they feel safe.

Finally, owning a cat can be good for your health. It has been suggested that cat’s purrs are therapeutic to the human body. A cat’s purr ranges between 20-140 Hz, a frequency range which has been suggested to be medically beneficial.  In a study conducted by the National Institute of Health, previous cat owners were also found less likely to have a heart attack than those who never owned a feline friend.

So the next time you’re on the hunt for a cuddly addition to your home, consider a cat. Because I’m not kitten around, they really are the cat’s meow!