By ANAHI VIDOVICH
It is the age-old debate. The rivals are bigger than the Red Sox and the Yankees, Pepsi vs. Coke and NSYNC vs. The Backstreet Boys. It is cats vs. dogs: college edition. I interviewed two UMW students to see which animal is the better college pet. Some say cats are mean and aloof, while others do not enjoy the strict schedule that comes with walking a dog.
Hold onto your pants, Eagles. I first interviewed senior Sarah Heisey, biochemistry major and cat lover. Heisey owns one cat, Frijolito.
“His name is Frijolito, because he’s all black except for a white spot, and so he looks like a small black bean,” Heisey said. “The pros of having my cat are that I always have someone who’s happy to see me when I come home.”
Senior Eliza May, a business major and dog enthusiast feels the same way about her dog, Sandra.
“We do everything together. Primary activities include daily runs and play time, snug sessions and we sleep together every night,” May said.
The pros of owning a dog for May are that, “she’s my best friend, amazing company and makes me feel safe, sort of.”
Although both pets provide companionship, it was time to get down to the numbers. How much money did Heisey and May spend on their pets each month?
As college students we have limited incomes, most of us survive off of ramen and oatmeal. An important factor when deciding on which pet to take care of is the cost.
When asked how much she spends on her cat monthly Heisey answered “probably between 20- 30 bucks? I don’t know exactly how much I spend but I do know I buy my cat better food than I buy myself.”
May answered that she spends approximately 200 dollars a month on Sandra. “Grooming is most of it the rest is food and treats and toys.” For the average college student this is not affordable. May admits, “She costs a lot of money and I worry about her always, but I wouldn’t change a thing.”
In college we all need quiet time to focus on our studies and catch up on sleep. Depending on your pet this may or may not be difficult.
When it comes to Frijolito, Heisey said, “He’s not noisy, he just sometimes spends a lot of time running around ‘talking.’” At night, some cats like run around the house, but in Heisey’s experience, “If he doesn’t sleep through the night I don’t notice.”
Likewise, May says “She isn’t noisy unless she needs something or wants attention. Or if she sees something out the window she doesn’t like.”
Another factor to take into consideration is the time spent cleaning up after your pet. No matter which pet you get, there will be a certain amount of shedding.
For May, cleaning up after Sandra is a daily occurrence. “I also have to swiffer pretty much daily and there’s dog hair everywhere,” May said.
Heisey on the other hand has a more lenient cleaning schedule. Cleaning Frijolito’s litter takes her at most ten to fifteen minutes. When asked how often she vacuums Heisey jokingly responded, “Umm, once a week?”
My next question was how the different pets react to guests. When it comes to Sandra, May said “she likes people unless she feels like you’re taking me away from her.” One argument taken by dog people on why dogs are the preferable pet is that dogs are highly sociable and can even do tricks. “She can give you her paw if she feels like it,” May said.
When asked if Frijolito could do tricks, Heisey responded, “He doesn’t know tricks, he’s a cat.” Score one for dogs. However, Frijolito is not the cold and aloof stereotype some people make cats out to be. “When people get down to his level he’s very very friendly,” Heisey said. “He loves asking to be pet, head-butting, rubbing his face on my face, crawling into my arms and asking to be picked up.”
Why are dogs the better pet? According to May, “Sandra is the best decision I’ve ever made. Cats smell and are mean.”
Why are cats the better pet? Heisey explained why adopting Frijolito was such an important decision. “He had no one, he was alone on the streets. I had the means to give him a home, and so I did, and he has repaid me with unconditional love and affection,” she said.
While May is clearly pro-dog, she emphasizes, “I am not a traditional college student and I do not recommend college students getting a dog because most don't fully understand or want the responsibility, and that’s okay. This is the time in our lives when we are supposed to have minimal responsibility.”