Cats V. Dogs

I feel like I’ve already written this. Something feels familiar, but I was out and about the other night and I overheard a conversation that got my blood to boiling.
“I love dogs, but I can’t stand cats.” was said by some old man. He went on the expand that kittens were okay, but in a warning tone reminded that they grow up to become cats. He also mentioned that cats are high maintenance, unlike dogs? He said that dogs have masters, and cats have staff. He said cats have no personality. Now this is where I begin to push back. First, you want to be something’s master? Sounds like you want a slave, not a pet. Cats do not have staff, they, like most pets, become family. I am speaking as someone who loves both animals and have grown up with both. I pick no sides in this age old debate, but seek rather to hopefully enlighten any out there who hold some irrational disdain of a particular animal.
First, cats really do have personalities. If you think that they don’t all that says is you haven’t taken the time to get to know a cat. They aren’t like dogs, who will jump in your lap and lick you right out of the box. They have to get to know and trust you, just as you should get to know them. Yes, the affection of a cat must be earned and there are those out there who think since you board and feed the animal, the love must be automatic, but that’s not the case at all. To earn the trust of any living creature takes time and patience. One of the best feelings in the world is when that cat comes right up to you, jumps up and curls up in your lap. It is showing it trusts you. That is a gift not to be taken lightly. When you spend time with the cat, you’ll find it isn’t a pet, but under the right conditions, it is a friend. They listen to you when you talk. No joke. Watch a cat as you speak. They will look at you. They are listening. They don’t understand, but they are listening. Sometimes they even talk back, but you won’t understand, but you can return the favor and listen.
High maintenance? Not even. With cats, all you need to do is pour a bowl of food and water and they’re good. When I was growing up, the bowls would stay full for a couple days or more. With dogs, you have to pour out their food every day in single servings. They can’t be trusted with an always ready food supply or else they’ll eat themselves to death. Cats go out on their own to do their business or they do it in the litter box, which only needs changing once every couple weeks. Maybe more if you have multiple cats, and these days they have self cleaning boxes. With dogs, you have to pick up their droppings every day. When you get home, cats don’t come running and jumping up on you begging for attention. This depends on your own preference. I consider this a plus since if I had a bad day, I prefer to be left alone for a bit. Cats come to you in their time, maybe because they sense something in your demeanor that tells them to keep clear. Dogs won’t leave you alone, which you may like so that would be a pro, but for me it isn’t. I need my space at certain times and sometimes dogs can intrude upon that.
When taking your cat to the vet, just pop them in a pet carrier and that’s that. May be some fighting, but how would you react if some giant was trying to shove you in a box? Dogs going to the vet, depends on the breed. Small dogs are not a problem, same as cats, but your larger breeds increase difficulties. I can’t imagine taking a Mastiff for its shots. Or a St. Bernard. I remember what a struggle it was getting the larger dogs in my family to their vet visits. It was a production.
Some would argue also that dogs offer some protection, and I won’t argue that point, but I will raise a point that cats have been proven just as heroic and loyal as dogs. That cat in Russia that saved that baby from freezing to death. I also read a story about a cat in PA that traveled across county lines to get back to her owner who had been put in an assisted living center. Keep in mind, the cat went to her owner, not where she had lived previously. These are just a couple of examples. I’ve seen cats rescue babies, dogs and many other animals. I’ve seen them defend against snakes, wolves and crocodiles. You still don’t like cats? Well, you’re missing out on one of the most enigmatic, beautiful and loving animals put on this Earth, and I’ve seen plenty of cats that could kick your dog’s ass, hands down.

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Cats V. Dogs

The eternal question. Cats or dogs? It’s a personal choice between one person and their God, but  let’s take a look at this issue.</p><p>For the record, I’m a dog and cat person. I’m an animal person. I love the warm loyalty of dogs and the cool enigmatic nature of cats. And both creatures are so damn cute!</p><p>Let’s start with cats. Predominantly looked upon as a feminine animal (owned mostly by girls) cats are independent and sometimes emotionally distant. Unlike dogs, the affection of a cat is usually earned rather than given freely. They are also highly unpredictable as some will leave home for days or weeks at a time and then wander back through the door as if nothing was wrong. Some of these traits can play hell with the owner’s emotions. Many people complain that cats won’t come when you call or they’re aggressive and are  prone to unsolicited attacks, although in my experience I have never encountered this. I grew up in a house where we usually had 3-4 cats at any time. A few I remember being mean and rather unpleasant, most of them were loving and affectionate. A few even did learn their names and came when asked. From the complaints I’ve heard from others about cats, and my experience with them, I can see that this is an issue where the cat only reacts based on the treatment it receives. If you abuse your cat or frighten it,  it’s going to be a problem. It will defend itself from your onslaughts as best it can with the tools it was give. (i.e. claws) but is that a surprise? I mean, if you were abused or mistreated by someone bigger than you, wouldn’t you defend yourself? Don’t you think you’d have a right to protect yourself from bodily harm? Throw in the fact you wouldn’t be able to understand the language of your tormentor. If you have a cat who claws at you or hides from you, examine how you treat it. When properly treated, the love of a cat can be a special and magical thing. There is no greater thrill than when that aloof creature curls up in your lap and starts purring like a race car engine. Yes, the cat makes you work for it, but when you get there and win the animals trust and affection, it’s a great feeling and you’ve earned a friend for life.

Others complain that cats don’t contribute or are aloof. What the hell do you expect a pet to contribute? There are watchdogs, granted, but the dogs I’ve known are more fierce with their barking than their actions. Cats are hunters and they can eliminate any intruders of the rodent variety you may have. If you don’t have any though, that’s good and maybe you should give the cat a break. For all you know, you did have mice, but the cat settled the issue before you even knew about it. The unsung hero.

I’d also like to address the issue of people who just hate cats. My first question would be ‘why?’ What did this animal do to you to incur your wrath? As I write this, I get the feeling I spoke about this in a previous blog, so I apologize for the redundancy, but it really ticks me off when I hear someone say that they hate an animal. Animals are innocent, malice free creatures with no agenda or ulterior motives. They live by instinct and seek only to live. They aren’t out to foil you or destroy your life. If you have a shitty life, blame the person you see in the mirror, because that’s who is really responsible. Another nugget to think on, the way you treat an animal, of any kind, says more about the kind of person you are at your core.

Okay. Dogs. Let’s talk about dogs. Loyal and cheerful. Always jumping up with excitement when you walk in the door. It’s little wonder they’ve been dubbed ‘man’s best friend’. They are cute and fun and actually make great activity partners. I’m more into medium to big dogs. Labs, retrievers, like that. The little dogs are great too, though. Shih Tzu’s are irresistible. Dogs definitely fill a void if you don’t have children because they are almost as dependent on you as an infant. My friends who  have dogs speak of them as tho they were their children and they act in kind. They buy them toys and little outfits and accessories. They’ve even put them through (obedience)school. I can see that the dogs are serving to fill a part of their lives that may have been lacking before. We all need someone or something to focus our attention on and care for. Some choose their job or a significant other, but I think the real top two choices for this are children and then pets. Dogs fit the bill better than most because of their child-like temperament. My parents’ lab always wants to go out and play in the backyard. ALWAYS.

Now while I love dogs and all their charms, there are less charming things about them. For one, I am not a big fan of the dependent nature. I mean, I can deal, but there are days I just want to be left alone and I don’t want them jumping all over me. I’m also not so craze about when they get super amped and they won’t leave you alone until the get what they want. I don’t respond to tantrums in any form. I also hate the clean up. Cats are at least very clean and you don’t have to deal with much in that department. I spent over ten years cleaning up after an endless parade of dogs when I was growing up and I saw things that haunt me to this day. The sights. The smells. Oh. The smells. <shiver> I also didn’t much like bathing them either. You had to struggle to get them in the tub and then after you managed that, you had to touch places that you would rather not touch ever. I tried to call dibs on the front end as much as possible, but when you get stuck scrubbing the hind quarters, dog ownership isn’t quite as fun.

So, I guess in the final analysis, dogs and cats are cool depending on your needs and likes, but I would like to remind all that both are living creatures that feel emotionally and physically. If one animal isn’t you ‘thing’ that’s fine, but don’t go out of your way to do harm to one or the other. If you don’t like them, fine, but there’s no reason to punish them for the sin of being what they are. Just try and put yourself in their paws. See the world from their eyes, and remember that you have the ability to speak. Imagine if you were  unable to speak to the outside world. You wouldn’t know how to tell someone you’re hurt or to plead for mercy. All living things deserve respect and dignity and If you can’t extend that to the lowliest of creatures, don’t expect it from others yourself.

Random Thought Of The Day

I was nosing around the web last night and discovered a comment on a page where the writer stated that she hated cats. As a cat lover myself, this disease of ‘cat-hate’ has always infuriated me. Most of the reason cat haters give for their opinion is because cats are aloof or anti-social or won’t come when they call. All I can say is that the cat’s behavior must be reacting to how it’s being treated by you because all the cats I’ve ever encountered have been affectionate, happy and extremely social. Animals are not mindless objects that obey your every command. They have minds and opinions and they will defend themselves from larger animals if they feel threatened. That includes human animals. Are you suggesting a cat has no right to fend off unwanted physical contact? That a simple, innocent living creature is on this Earth only to serve your needs? Sorry. Not the case.

This also brings me to another issue with cat-haters. How do you hate an animal? Animals are innocent and free of malice. They have no agenda, other than eating and sleeping. What did that animal do to you to earn your scorn? Did a cat steal your job? Did a cat foreclose on your home? Did a cat do anything to harm you on purpose purely out of spite? The answer would be no. If you hate an animal, cat or otherwise, you’ve got more of an issue going on in your head than dislike of that animal. I just never  have understood how someone could look upon a simple, innocent animal and feel hatred for it. Yeah, if a cat clawed me, I’d be angry, but I would never harm the poor thing. It doesn’t know what it’s doing. It’s just defending itself. What if there were a form of life bigger than humans on Earth? What would you do if one of them started poking and prodding on you? Would you roll over and take it or would you assert yourself?

If you don’t like cats, that’s your thing. Don’t adopt one and don’t deal with them, but don’t go out of your way to hurt them. No living thing should be subject to punishment simply for what it is. If you’re the kind who does abuse or enjoy harming animals, get your ass to a psychiatrist ASAP. The issue isn’t with the animal, it’s within your skull.