For as long as I can remember, I’ve always had pets in my house. I have no idea what it’s like to get up from my couch without a few stray pet hairs clinging to the back of my shirt; or come home and not have something furry to trip over.
I consider myself a ‘dog person’ but since moving out of my mom’s house nearly twenty years ago, I have only owned cats. I currently own two, which hardly puts me in the realm of crazy…. slightly unbalanced, perhaps. But just to make sure the scales of sanity don’t tip the other way, there is a one cat rule I live by – there should never be more cats than humans living inside a house. And by that rule, I’m still two under my limit.
I think the reason behind my decision to own cats instead of dogs is one of sheer laziness. Cats are low maintenance and nearly self-sufficient. When you bring a kitten into your home, you only need to show them once where the litter box is for them to understand its use. No training tricks, books, or wee-wee pads required. You’ve accomplished in five seconds what it takes most dog owners months to do – your cat is house broken.
If I want to go on vacation for a week it’s fine by them, as long as I find a suitable replacement to keep their food bowl full and their litter box empty. And since they sleep eighteen hours a day, chances are pretty good that not only won’t they miss me while I’m gone, they won’t even notice my absence.
Cats appreciate the occasional snuggle or scratch on the head, but I get the feeling that it isn’t required. I’ve seen my cat rub its head on the corner of the bookcase and purr just as loudly as if a person had been doing the scratching. And any physical affection they do permit will be on their terms, and they’ll let you know when your services are no longer required. Forcing a cat to snuggle usually results in bloodshed – I’ve had to learn that lesson the hard way. While I certainly don’t appreciate my hand being shredded into ribbons, part of me has to respect a cat’s ability to make a person understand that “No means no!” without ever saying a word.
Even though I find their self-sufficiency both admirable and convenient, I have dreams of one day owning a pet who actually cares whether I live or die. I already have enough self-esteem issues without a ten-pound hairball reminding me everyday just how expendable I am.
Which may be part of the reason I’ve always gravitated towards dogs – they make you feel adored rather than ignored. There is no other creature alive that reacts to your presence with more unabashed enthusiasm than a dog. How many people do you know practically pee themselves with excitement when you walk into the room? Thankfully not too many, but what an ego boost that would be – causing people to become frantically incontinent at the mere sight of you…. probably what the cast of Twilight goes through everyday.
A dog senses your mood, and if you’re distressed or depressed they will do everything in their canine powers (which usually involves excessive licking and tail wagging) to try and make you feel better. A cat senses your mood too; they just don’t care. They might come over to investigate why you’re bawling your eyes out, but a cat is much more likely to play with your snotty tissues than to try and cheer you up.
But I don’t want just any dog. The ones that make me squeal with delight are the big dogs, often mistaken for furry horses that like to play fetch (German Shepherds, Newfies, Leonbergers, Mastiffs, etc). I want a dog that even on my most bloated day makes me feel small by comparison. Like this guy….
In my opinion, the pocket-sized pooches Hollywood starlets enjoy toting around aren’t real dogs – they’re fashion accessories that poop. Nothing is more pathetic than watching a five-pound dog try to do normal dog things, like play fetch. When the dog is smaller than the Frisbee, either give up the dog dream and get yourself a cat, or give up the fetch dream and put your doglet back in your purse where it belongs.
I want my dog to have the ability to protect me if someone breaks into my home, but what chance would a Chihuahua have against a burglar? I’m sure the only thing a burglar thinks when he hears high-pitched yapping coming from a house is, “oh good, they don’t have a real dog.” But there isn’t a burglar alive who would break into a home with a dog the size of a Buick guarding it…. or if they did, I’ll guaranteed you they wouldn’t stay in the home for long.
I also want a dog big enough to really cuddle with, like one of those giant teddy bears you win at a carnival. I’ve spent the last two decades trying to cuddle with cats, and it’s just not the same. I had one cat who loved to curl up next to me whenever I laid down anywhere in the house, which was very sweet, but also kind of lacking.
Now here’s some serious cuddling material – this lady’s Irish Wolfhounds act more like Afghans…. get it? Afghan hounds? Afghan blankets? C’mon, that was funny! Thinking up dog puns is harder than it looks, ya know….
Hell, even the cat can’t resist cuddling with a big, fluffy doggie….
But until the day comes when I have the money to feed and care for my gentle giant, and the energy to devote to its training and daily exercise, I guess I’ll just stick with cats. Maybe if I can find a cat with dog-like proportions it will help to ease my puppy jones….