As long as I can remember there have been pets in my life. As a child our family unit always included a dog. Some of my fondest memories revolve around a black and white, wire-haired, fox terrier named Bingo. She was my friend and confidant. She was someone I could always count on to be there – her leash left her little choice – and I knew my secrets were always safe with her. I swore that when I grew up I would have a house full of dogs. So, why then, as an adult, has my humble abode been lacking in the canine department? Want made me choose cats over dogs?
I got my first cat shortly after I got my first apartment. I was young and liked my freedom and I figured that if I got a cat, for the most part, it could take care of itself. I could be sure that, if I didn’t get home at a decent hour, I wouldn’t have to worry about the poor thing busting to get out to relieve itself, whereas, a dog would have to be walked at regular intervals during the day. Who had time for that? The bottom line is that I thought cats were less of a hassle. Ah, but my logic was flawed. It only appeared that way on the surface.
When you first get a pet, be it puppy or kitten, you fall all over yourself to cater to that cute little ball of fur. Puppies require a lot of attention in the beginning. They have to be housebroken and trained, which takes up much of your time, but after that has been accomplished a routine is easily established. It’s just a matter of being there to keep the schedule.
Kittens on the other hand already know how to use the litter box by the time you get them home. I concluded, therefore, that that meant cats were less of a hassle and, being a workingwoman, I appreciated the simplicity. As far as training is concerned, don’t hold your breath, it will never happen. Okay, there are no absolutes. Some cats can be trained…to a degree. Cleo would stay off the kitchen table and counter, and she would sit on her hind legs and beg for treats. But more often than not you’re the one going the extra mile to please her. Actually, training is possible. The problem is that you are the one being trained. Her Royal Highness soon has her minion right where she wants.
In my opinion, some part of your personality is revealed by your choice of pet. First, let’s take a look at dogs. Dogs are loyal. Dogs are man’s best friend. There are few things more welcoming than a wagging tail. Dogs will sit, heel, fetch, and come when you call. The dog owner is looking to lead, to teach, to be alpha. As long as the dog does as it’s told the dog owner feels a sense of pride and accomplishment at his skilful instruction. Even if some dogs are not so quick to learn the dog owner can still feel superior for the mere fact that the dog is just an animal and can’t be blamed for not immediately comprehending. And even if you have the most learning challenged dog, it is still dependent on its master and perhaps this fulfills the dog owner’s nurturing side. No matter how much the dog understands, its love is unconditional and that is very appealing.
As for cat owners, I believe they must have low self-esteem. How else would you explain why they put up with the feline attitude? Cat’s demand to be fed and don’t let up until they get what they want. They are affectionate, but on their terms. You are expected to read their minds and know exactly what they want. “Do you want to play with the string? Does your litter box need cleaning?” The later being the least favorite of Her Majesty’s bidding, and the former being the most degrading. Nothing looks sillier than a grown person dragging a string around the house begging the animal to “Get the string!” when the cat has completely lost interest. . And they rarely acknowledge you when you call. If this were a relationship, the advice columnists would tell you to drop this person like a hot potato.
More complicated are the people who own both dogs and cats. Do they have duel personalities, domineering and submissive? Okay, maybe I’m just blowing smoke. But no matter which pet is your preference, there is no denying the hold they have on us. They become a part of our family and we accept and love them, regardless of their temperaments and quirks. Of course it’s a good thing they were designed, by God or nature to be cute, otherwise they might never have been domesticated.
I had better let you go now, as I’m sure Fido needs to go out, and Her Royal Highness is waiting impatiently to be fed. Ah, pets…they all rule.
*In memory of my furry friend. R.I.P. Cleo.