Dog or cat? Single or married?

dog and catI used to be what you would call a cat person. As a single mom raising a child alone, a cat was the perfect pet. Cats don't ask much of their owners. Give them a bowl of food and water, some occasional head-scratching and a clean litter box and they are good. Dogs, on the other hand, are a lot of work. They demand attention, must be bathed regularly, need lots of exercise and can't be left alone for long periods of time. In other words, they are like children.

These differences in cats and dogs probably explain the findings in a new study of dog and cat owners. The study, conducted by American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) finds that single people prefer cats while those who are married with children prefer dogs.

Dogs and cats may appeal to people at different places in their lives, but they have one big thing in common: the need for regular veterinary care. Unfortunately, the study finds that cat owners are less likely to take their furry friends to the vet than dog owners. Last year, 82.7 percent of dog owners visited their veterinarian at least once, while only 63.7 of cat owners did. I don't know why there is such a disparity in dog and cat owners and veterinary care, but I suspect it has something to do with money.

I am now married and raising a child and a few years ago became a dog owner for the first time. I still have the cats, but now I see what I was missing and consider myself more of a dog person. What about you? Did settling down and starting a family change your idea of the perfect pet?

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.