When Size Matters: Why We Like Our Dogs Small and Our Cats Big

Like a lot of places, much of the Space Coast population can be divided into three groups (or combinations) of people: those who work a lot of hours; those who are over age 50; and those who live in apartments. With the limitations of time, energy, and space, you have to choose your pet wisely. While you could settle for a goldfish, most people want the furry companionship of another mammal in the house.

Sometimes size matters; will it be a small dog or a big cat?

The Case for Small Dogs

Goldendoodles and labs, while wonderful animals, aren’t the only game in town. And if you fit into one of the categories listed above, then downsizing your dog plans might have many benefits. Lots of people have small dogs these days, for good reasons:

  1. Living space: Let’s look at one of the most obvious concerns. If your home only has a few tiny rooms, then how much of the couch are you really willing to give up? What about that little strip of grass the rental agent called a “yard”? Small dogs can get their exercise in a long hallway, rain or shine, heat or less heat.
  2. Cost: Literally everything costs less when the dog is smaller — crates, beds, collars, food, grooming, services like pet sitting or doggie daycare, medicine, toys, etc. All these things are based on weight and height, so you’re kind of paying by the pound.
  3. Lifespan: Small dogs live around 15 years on average, while big dogs tend to live only about 10 years, more or less. There are always exceptions, but statistically, there is a difference.
  4. Travel: Not only can you fit a small dog on board most planes, but Amtrak allows very small dogs (and cats) to travel, with some restrictions. Small dogs are also more likely to be welcomed in hotels. Always plan carefully before setting out, of course, as policies can change or vary by locale.
  5. Personality: Small dogs were bred to be companions; it’s their whole reason for being, and no doubt your main reason for having a pet. Popular small dog breeds include French bulldogs, Chihuahuas, Maltese, Pomeranians, Yorkies, and Miniature Schnauzers. These breeds all offer unconditional love in a small package.

The Case for Cats, Part 1: The Gentle Giants

The trend in cats lately seems to be: go big or go huge. Whether pound kitties just aren’t exotic enough or big cats are substituting for dogs isn’t clear, but breeds such as the Maine Coon, Ragdoll, Abyssinian, and Bengal have become very popular. Many of these cats will play fetch and walk on a leash. Some are talkative. Some will even swim!

The Maine Coon is one of the biggest and most popular breeds of domesticated cats. Barivel, for example, is the Guinness Book World Record Holder for longest Maine Coon cat. Described as “longer than a baseball bat”, he measures 47” from the tip of his nose to the end of his tail. WOW! Ordinary Maine Coons weigh 13 – 20 pounds.

According to their animal planet cat profile, Ragdoll cats are “up for just about anything, from a game of fetch to a cross-country road trip, as long as they can do it with you.” They’re smart, calm, and great with kids, not to mention beautiful — especially those stunning blue eyes. Ragdolls weigh generally between 12 and 21 pounds. Check out our breed spotlight on Ragdolls! 

The Case for Cats, Part 2: Exotic Cats

Abyssinians, or “Abys,” are curious, athletic cats that can easily leap to the top of just about anything in your house. With their short hair and lithe, wiry bodies, Abys look more wild than domesticated. Some people find them on the wild side as a pet, too, so be sure you’re up for handling this breed. They can learn tricks and walk on a leash if training begins early. And they will impress your friends and family, who thought you would have taken the goldfish.

Finally, you have to know about the Bengal cat. For people who really want a leopard but don’t want the hassle, someone else did the hard work by accidentally mating a leopard cat with a domestic cat. (Note that leopard cats are not the same as leopards. While they share some characteristics, leopard cats are about one-tenth the size of leopards.) Five generations later, you too can have a high-energy but affectionate house cat with leopard spots and nearly round eyes. Need more? Some Bengals have been toilet trained; others have been known to jump into the shower (or pool!) with their families. They’re also talkative, a plus for anyone who lives alone.

Consider Your Options

You have so many good options when adopting pets into your family.  Consider your lifestyle, do some research, and talk to us! We work with pet families every day, so we know what makes a good fit and what might not. Even if you decide on a goldfish or one of these other 7 small pets.




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