Until recently, many Americans preferred dogs to cats. However, cats have recently surpassed dogs as many Americans’ preferred pet. Although each individual cat lover offers a unique rationale explaining why he or she prefers cats more than dogs, several common reasons have emerged. For example, many cat lovers admire cats’ self sufficiency, their ability to survive without people, because it creates less work for the pet owners, who do not need to walk or play with their cats as frequently as dog owners must walk and play with their dogs. Consequently, many cat owners have few qualms about leaving their pets unattended for hours or even days at a time because they know that the cats can feed themselves. (Of course, this scenario assumes that the cat owners have left their cats enough food, water, and clean litter to survive without people!) Furthermore, many cat owners appreciate cats because they are much cleaner than dogs. In fact, many cats clean themselves three or four times a day, whereas many dogs never clean themselves, which means that the dog owners must periodically take an hour or two out of their days in order to bathe their pets.
However, despite cats’ and cat owners’ best efforts to maintain a clean and healthy environment, cats are occasionally afflicted with common cat diseases, such as feline leukemia, feline AIDS, and the feline equivalent of the flu and common colds. Furthermore, cats are sometimes afflicted with cat skin diseases such as fungi which elicit cat disease symptoms such as raised body temperatures, inflamed glands, and hair loss. Because cats are more likely to acquire these cat diseases from other cats and dirty outdoor environments, most veterinarians encourage cat owners to keep their cats inside. Although some cat owners believe that locking cats inside is tantamount to imprisoning animals who need open spaces in which to roam, many others comply with veterinarians’ request on the grounds that the best medicine is preventative. In other words, these cat owners would rather prevent cat diseases than try to cure them after the fact, which can be expensive and time consuming. These cat owners also recognize that some cat diseases, such as fetal feline diseases, can be fatal, and they keep their cats inside to prevent them from developing cat diseases which will cause premature death.