Dogs have the well-earned reputation of being a human’s best friend. But what about cats? When given the chance, felines can make equally wonderful buddies. National Geographic Kids continues to identify a few of the qualities you look for in a pal and then compare the two animals. So keep reading and see what you think.

A Friend Saves Your Life

In Defense of Dogs
Zion, a Labrador retriever, reacted fast. He was paddling after a stick in Colorado’s Roaring Fork River, when Ryan Rambo, 8, floated by. Ryan’s life jacket made him look like one of the summer people who float down the river for fun. Only this was early May. The river was full of melted snow, and Ryan was so cold he could barely whisper. His body temperature was dropping dangerously low. Ryan had been kayaking with an adult when their boat flipped. The adult swam to shore, but Ryan got whisked downstream to where Chelsea Bennett, 13, of Glenwood Springs, was playing with her dog, Zion.

“Zion knew the boy was in trouble and needed help,” says Chelsea. “Ryan grabbed onto the dog’s collar, and Zion just turned around and came straight back in to shore.” Friends for life, Ryan visits Zion whenever he can.

In Favor of Felines
Normally, Joey is a quiet lap-sitter. But last summer, the kitty created a ruckus. “I was napping in my bedroom, and I woke up to Joey screeching and running back and forth,” says Bernice McDowall, of McKenzie, North Dakota. Opening her eyes, McDowall found herself in a smoky haze. With Joey running alongside, she made her way through the living room, kitchen, and then out the door. By then, flames were shooting from the basement. As McDowall and Joey watched from the safety of the sheriff’s car, the firefighters who responded to her 911 call managed to quench the blaze.

McDowall had found Joey abandoned as a kitten—stuffed into a mailbox. She saved him and he’s lived with her ever since. “I feel very fortunate,” says McDowall. “Without him I’d have probably died in the smoke. Joey saved me and the house.”

Check in next week for round three of the Cat Versus Dog faceoff: Protective pets!