Which makes a better pet: A dog or a cat? – Part 7

“I’m gonna buy me a dog / ’cause I need a friend now

I’m gonna buy me a dog / my girl, my girl, don’t love me no how”

All the best pet songs, including the above Monkees tune, are about dogs. You’ve never heard a singer ask: “How much is that kitty in the window?” In fact, at this moment I can think of just one hit song that mentions a feline: “I’m going to Cat-mandu,” by Bob Seager. OK, that was just a joke to bolster my point. We all know the place is Katmandu. But try to list as many songs about pets as you can off the top of your head, and you’ll see which critter wins paws-down.

In the 1970s, Henry Gross sent an entire Top-40 world into doggie depression with “Shannon.”

“Shannon is gone / I hope she’s drifting out to sea

She always loved to swim away/

I’m not sure how wise it was to want that pet swimming out to sea alone, but the emotion in the singer’s voice was genuine. I’m still waiting to hear the same type of crooning for a pet cat.

Dogs are called man’s best friend for a reason. That will never change. They are more interactive. They, mostly, come when they are called. They are expressive, what with all that tail-wagging and licking. They are clearly more trainable. Yes, we’ve all heard the stories about cats’ amazing feats, but those are exceptions, not the rule. Dogs hear those stories and say: “Big deal. Done that.”

Dogs go for walks with you and help you clear your head. I don’t even want to hear about cats on leashes. Please!

Cats have their place. And that’s second to dogs as far as give-and-take companionship. I like cats. We have two. They get props for that litter box thing. They are cool to have around the house, but in a more subtle way. Sometimes I truly appreciate that they keep their distance much of the time. It’s better than having them walking across my keyboard as I try to type. My dogs stay happily at my feet. They are glad to serve there, snoozing and dreaming of the next doggie treat.

A dog will help keep you safe in your home. The only effective guard cats that I know of work for Ringling Bros. Your 10-pound Fluffy is never going to growl real loudly when it notices an unusual sound outside. And, should an intruder enter your house, well, it would be the dogs rushing to the front lines while the cats cut and run.

Dogs were domesticated to help man thousands of years ago. Cats were domesticated to intrigue man. Dogs help farmers tend their flocks. I would enjoy seeing the first herding cat, but that’s not going to happen. When we talk to our dogs, there seems to be a genuine semantic connection. He or she pricks up their ears, cocks their heads, opens their mouths, widens their eyes. (My Australian shepherd is the most expressive canine I have ever witnessed.) This heightens the companionship aspect. When you talk to a cat, you’re never quite sure whether there’s a there there. And they have attitude. It’s true. Real or perceived, that ‘tude holds cats back in the popularity contest.

Me: “Hey, Shadow.”

Shadow, instantly alert: “Yeah, Dad, do you need something? Anything? Are we going somewhere? A walk? The ball? What? What? Oh, what joy are you wanting to share with me at this moment in time. Please, oh, please, just let me be with you when you go, even if it’s just into the other room! You rock my world!”

Me: “Here, Kitty, Kitty.”

Kitty: “What this time? Can’t you see I’m washing?”

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