Which makes a better pet: A dog or a cat? – Part 58

When you think about all the reasons humans keep pets in the first place, the answer is clear: dogs win, paws down! There is a dog to fit every potential dog owner. There are huge dogs and tiny dogs, active dogs and quiet dogs, gentle dogs and commanding dogs, gorgeous dogs and homely dogs, gangley-loping-drooling-all-ov er you-dogs, and prim-and-proper dogs, farm dogs and apartment dogs, and on and on. There are virtually as many types of dogs in the world as there are people.

Cats, on the other hand, are all essentially the same. Sweet or sour, felines come jam packed with attitude. They can enjoy company when it suits them, but they are quite capable of managing alone, thank you. The point is they live life on their own terms and you can’t really “own” a cat because they own you. Dogs, by contrast, are pack animals and crave companionship. Most dogs will try to please you while the cat is swishing her tail and thinking, “Yeah, but what have you done for me lately?”

No doubt a cat’s regal bearing and cool composure can be awe-inspiring. So much so that they were worshipped in ancient Egypt as the reincarnation of long dead kings and queens. We admire their pride and their prowess. If you want a pet to worship, go with the cat. But after a hard day’s work if you want to come home to a pet who will worship you, take the dog.

My mother was a “cat person” so we always had a cat if not several cats in the house when I was growing up. They were beautiful and they would nuzzle you and purr contentedly in your ear. They would also climb up the drapes, jump off the china cabinet, and kick their kitty litter out of their box. Is it politically correct to say they were probably bipolar?

Dogs were never an option. Once I brought a stray in who padded across the floor with muddy feet and that was the end of that. Her bias toward cats was based on two things: relative cleanliness and degree of self sufficiency. To the first I say, can you spell “bath”? and to the second, why bother with a pet at all if you want as little to do with it as possible?

She, however, was aloof and liked the cat’s aloofness. Also she didn’t want the bother of having to take a dog out to relieve itself. Yet, I really must ask, which is more hygenic: a nice green lawn perpetually fertilized by our canine friend or a fetid cat box putrefying in a lonely corner of our living space?

Today I have two dogs, a female Scottie and a male Chihuahua. They are very different but get along well. They eat, nap, play and potty at fairly predictable times and are no trouble to me whatsoever. Over the summer I ran a doggy day care and had five dogs of all different breeds and sizes. At first there wre a few minor skirmishes over dominance but soon they all settled into the household routine because each dog was trying to please me and fit in. No pretense, no pomposity. Cats may love you, but dogs are in love with you and therein lies all the difference.

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