Sunday, June 19, 2011

Being Multi-Lingual

Many people like dogs, but don't care for cats.  Many cat-lovers don't care for dogs.  I'm sure that there are just as many of us in between - that love both of them.  They speak both dog and cat.   I'm not even sure that I could make a choice between them - both species are dear to my heart, and I have a lifetime of my happiest memories attached to both of them.

Whether it was Snowball, a white kitten turned tomcat that I adopted when I was five, Harley, a little black stray that I rescued from McDonalds, Wickett, my childhood best friend who happened to be a Pekingese, and the only reason I stayed sane in a school where no one wanted me, or of course any of my current furry loves.  I can no more imagine deciding to get rid of any of them than I can imagine cutting off one of my toes.

What is it that draws us to each?

I think, and this is my opinion only, that there are personality tendencies that draw us to one or the other or both.

Cats can be independent, though I have a couple that defy that stereotype by being a bit clingy.  I think that independent spirit attracts some of us and yet annoys others to no end.  I'm sure that independence is why you don't hear about cat obedience classes; unless you have a truly unusual kitty, it just is not going to happen.  I can coax my cats into doing what I want - but only because they get something out of it, whether it's food or attention.   It's certainly not out of obedience.  When I'm trying to coax Charlotte out of the basement for the umpteenth time for the afternoon, I can see her sitting back in the dark corner, and I can SEE the wheels in her brain turning as she thinks about whether she should come out to greet me or if she is going to skulk in the shadows and make me come get her.   I greatly admire their independence and sense of dignity, and try really hard to help my kitties maintain that even if they are, in reality, completely dependent upon me for everything.

Dogs tend to want to please you, so are usually more biddable than cats.  (Though there are tons of exceptions, so maybe they're more free-thinking than we give them credit for.)  For example, if Argos was for some reason in the basement, and I wanted him to come back upstairs, all I would have to do would be to snap my fingers and call his name.  That would be it... no consideration, no bribery.  I call, he comes to me. They are pack-oriented, and really, really want to spend time with you and just hang out.  They are loyal, and devoted, and some of them are protective.  It's been a great comfort to me to know that no matter what is going on, if I call Argos, he will come to me.  He will sleep beside me on the couch all day long if that's what I want for him to do, or go out into the yard to help me with my gardening if I feel a little more active.  He never complains.  His obedience and his devotion are a balm sometimes, when I am reeling with whatever life has chosen to throw at me that day.  I can't always rely on the cats to show me the same devotion - thought they might, if they feel like it.   Some people don't like how dependent dogs are, compared to your average cat.  And in a way, they're right: it takes a lot more work to get Argos ready for his day or for bed than it does the cats.  But it's a chore that I've never regretted taking on...  the work is well worth it when he looks into my eyes and wags his tail in greeting.  My dog is always happy to see me.

I think that dogs and cats give us different things, maybe affirm different parts of our souls.  There are things to admire in each, and yes, let's face it, things that annoy the crap out of us in each.  But it's all good.


  1. Well said. Although my dogs are all quite independent thinkers and I let them express their independence. I think that is why I'm drawn to them. Other dogs I have had in the past were more dependent and I enjoyed them just as much.

    Now my cats on the other hand are clingier than the dogs, when they are finally able to get a moment with me without a dog around, but obviously that is due more 6 dogs than their personalities. :)

    Interesting thoughts. I think I will always see myself as a dog person, but thanks to some very unique cats in my life, I can say I love them too.

    Hope you are doing well. We are thinking of you. <3

  2. I have to agree! I've enjoyed having both in my life, even though we're not able to have cats now. I suppose there will be another one someday, though.

  3. I like them both, but just feel more connected emotionally to cats. I don't really know why. But I think if I were to get a dog, I would feel equally connected.

  4. I'm the same as you, I like both dogs and cats. I think it helps when your childhood is filled with memories of both. A male friend of mine is "uneasy" around dogs and unfortunately his 3 small children have picked up on his feelings - so they just see a dog and cry! Even cute mini schnauzers!!! I feel sorry for them as me, at the same age, was "all over" dogs and cats like a rash.

    Now that I have a mini schnauzer (a non shedding breed) - there is one benefit that is HUGE - no cat or dog hair/fur all over the house anymore!! THIS is BLISS!

    Rubie's mum.