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.