Cat Vs Dog – Which is the Best Pet for a Neat Freak?

When most people debate over cats and dogs, it’s usually about which animal is better.

Cats are better – they’re independent.

Dogs are better –they’re loyal.

But to a neat freak, neither of these arguments really mean much.

We all know pets are messy. It’s just a question of which one is less messy. Which of these two animals – cats vs dogs – is the best choice for a neat freak?

Cats, Dogs and the Inevitable Messes

Cats and dogs are just like people – some are messier than others. But generally, pets prefer to live in a clean environment.

Cats won’t use dirty litter boxes. Dogs won’t sleep in their own filth.

Still, animals are animals. They will make messes from time to time. It’s important to know and understand this if you’re a neat freak considering bringing an animal into your home.

Cats sometimes drag litter throughout the house or jump up on the counters when you aren’t looking. Dogs will sometimes have accidents in the house, rummage through the garbage or track mud through the house.

A cat laying on the floor

A Word of Caution

If you have zero tolerance for messes, it may not be a good idea to adopt a dog or a cat.

But if you know, understand and can tolerate the fact that your new pet will make some messes from time to time, then welcoming a cat or dog into your home can be a rewarding experience.

The Argument for Cats

Cats are independent by nature, but they also happen to be very neat creatures. Cats generally prefer a clean litter box and they groom (or clean) themselves several times per day.

Most cats will only rummage through garbage if it’s easily accessible, and most prefer not to be out in the rain.

But cats have their own messy habits, too.

  • They can drag litter through the house
  • They can jump on counters and furniture
  • They shed – a lot

Unless you adopt a hairless cat, you expect to find cat hair on just about everything in your home.

That said, there are ways to keep these “messy” habits under control.

Invest in a good vacuum that can pick up both hair and cat litter. If you’re a neat freak, a daily vacuuming should keep litter and hair at bay.

Some cat breeds also shed less than others, according to These breeds include:

  • Bengal
  • Bombay
  • Russian blue
  • Siberian
  • Burmese
  • Cornish rex
  • Devon rex
  • Siamese
  • Spyhnx

If you prefer to keep your cat off of furniture and counters, a little training can help you reach your goal. One simple – and effective – trick is to spray your cat with water every time she jumps somewhere you don’t want her to go. The water won’t hurt her, but the unpleasantness of the spray will deter her from jumping onto these areas.

The Spruce also suggests shaking a noisy can or using specialty training products to keep your cat’s behavior in check.

In many ways, cats are cleaner than dogs. And if you can manage to keep the litter, hair and jumping in check, guests may not even know you have a pet in your home.

The Argument for Dogs

Dogs are loyal companions – there’s no question about that. Their loyalty and companionship are what attract most people to dogs. Although they can be messy creatures, some breeds are naturally easier for neat freaks to deal with.

Hair will be the biggest issue for neat freaks who want a dog. Many breeds shed a lot. Larger breeds that shed can be overwhelming to clean up after. Vacuuming may be a daily affair – or happen multiple times per day.

Along with shedding, dogs can be mischievous. They’ll jump on counters to get food, rummage through your garbage, and won’t think twice about dragging mud through the entire house.

Again, there are ways to overcome these issues.

If hair is the biggest deterrent for you, consider breeds that shed very little or not at all. According to, the following breeds shed the least:

  • Basenji
  • Dachshund
  • Maltese
  • Poodle
  • Greyhound
  • Welsh Terrier
  • Yorkshire Terrier
  • Airedale Terrier
  • Giant Schnauzer
  • Tibetan Terrier

While you can still expect to find hair here and there throughout the house, these particular breeds shed very little and will make it much easier to keep your home clean.

As for those other bad behaviors, training is – once again – the solution. With patience, diligence and the right training routine, your dog will learn that human food is not their food and that rummaging through the garbage is not okay.

It’s even possible to train your dog not to track in mud, according to Paw Culture.

Watch the video below to learn how to train your dog to wipe his paws:

A Matter of Personal Preference

Ultimately, dogs and cats can both be great pets for neat freaks. The right choice for you is really a matter of personal preference and your willingness to nurture a clean-living routine. Dogs and cats can both be trained to avoid certain behaviors or do things a certain way.

Still, we believe cats tend to be the better option for neat freaks. They usually keep to themselves and most are actually quite picky about the cleanliness of their living space.