If you’ve been a cat parent all your life, switching to a dog can be quite the culture shock! Even if you’re considering adopting a dog in addition to your cat, you need to remember the most important rule:
Taking care of a dog is not the same as raising a cat!
This may seem obvious, but if you’ve been raising a kitty for a while, you may have to drop a few habits or make a few considerations if you’re considering adopting a pup. Here are a few things to think about:
Dogs are Not Low-Maintenance
This is not too much of a secret, but some former cat owners underestimate how high-maintenance a cat is when compared to a dog. Most cats can take care of themselves. Cats can exercise on their own, find entertainment, and won’t be too upset if you’re gone for long.
Fido, on the other hand, needs constant walks, and may suffer from separation anxiety whenever you’re gone for too long. A dog will want to lick you all over, while a cat may nuzzle you for a few seconds and have its social quota for the day.
Once again, this may be common sense, but if you struggled to take care of your cat, a dog may not be for you.
Dogs Are More Social
Like the last point, this seems like common sense. We all know cats tend to take care of themselves, and usually show their affection through subtle ways like hopping on your lap or rubbing against your leg. Dogs, on the other hand, will be all over you until you train them. Granted, there are some less sociable dogs out there, but they’re in the minority. If you’re not into that much attention, it may be a culture shock.
Also, your dog may jump over guests, too. So if you don’t want to ruin the mood whenever your date comes over, keep the dog in another room as you answer the door.
Teach Puppy to Go Potty is a Little More Difficult
As any cat owner should know, your cat has a natural instinct to bury its waste, so cats are naturally attracted to the litterbox. However, a dog does not bury its waste, and training it can be a bit more difficult. You’ll have to teach it to do its business in a certain spot every time, and there will more than likely be a few accidents here and there while you’re training.
Prepare for the Barking!
Odds are, you probably didn’t wake up, or disturb the neighbors, because your cat was constantly meowing. Cats are generally quiet animals, but a dog can start barking at the sight of its own shadow! The slightest disturbance can send Fido into a barking spree, and you’ll have to train it to be quiet. There are breeds that bark less, but even the quieter ones can still have the occasional barking fit.
Expect Socialization from People!
It’s no secret that cat owners tend to be antisocial compared to dog owners. Maybe this doesn’t apply to you, but no matter how comfortable you are with people, you should prepare for talking to other dog owners!
Whenever you take your dog out for a walk, you’ll run into other people walking their dogs, who will more than likely want to make small talk about their pets. Sometimes, your dog may socialize with the other owner’s dog, leading to conversation. Even non-dog owners may stop to ask if they can pet your dog. If you’re not a people person, owning a dog may not be the best for you.
When you take your dog home, do not expect it to warm up to your house right away. A pup may become anxious because it’s in a new place, and may end up destroying the house. Cats aren’t innocent about destruction; Fluffy can knock over a vase if she jumps on the table, and cats can scratch walls and floors.
But a cat can’t tear into a pillow like a dog can, or send the garbage flying everywhere. During your pup’s first month or so before they’re trained, keep them supervised, put barriers around the house, and put fragile items away from the dog’s reach.
Finally, Expect a Great Companion
If you’re getting a dog to leave behind the hole you have after getting rid of or losing your cat, that hole will be filled up. While owning a dog is a whole new ballgame, it’ll be an experience you won’t forget. So if you think you’re ready, adopt a dog today, think about what kind of dog you want, and expect to have a great time with your new canine companion. You won’t regret it!
Emily Watson is the Chief Creative Cat at Catological.com a cat information website. She’s the proud cat parent of two loving kitties. Find out what she’s up to next at catological.com!