Back in the day, I loved dogs. I’ve had dogs throughout my entire life. I had some male, some female, all of different breeds. Dogs served as my outfielder in Little League, my hunting companion during squirrel season (yes, the Squirrel Wipe book wasn’t my first squirrel exposure), and my running partner when I first dabbled in the hobby. The most useful thing I did with my psychology degree was dog training.
Cats… they were a different story. Cats were old lady pets. Before the Internet, cats were the pets you got when you gave up on real social interaction. No self-respecting male would admit to being a cat lover.
Fast forward to today.
I was talking to a neighbor as he was planning a vacation (yes, people actually leave San Diego.) His dog was creating logistical problems. It’s some sort of lab-ish mutt and requires a ton of exercise. If it doesn’t get enough, it chews it’s own fur. As we were talking, the dog was running n circles around us.
The experience made me reflect on my own thoughts about cats and dogs. Specifically, when exactly did I start enjoying cats A LOT more than dogs?
As t turns out, the answer was pretty simple- when had kids.
The root of the issue is the animal’s personalities. Dogs are needy as fuck. They require constant attention. Gotta take them for walks. Gotta give them baths. Gotta pet them. Gotta clean up their shit. Don’t give them the required attention? They’ll destroy your shit. Or chew all their fur off. It’s like having a toddler with sharp teeth.
Cats, on the other hand, are solitary. They take care of themselves. Walks? Bathing? There’s no need. Clean up their shit? They bury it! And attention? Just try paying attention to a cat. No leg humping, no crotch sniffing. No worries about the cat maiming the mail man. Cats are like teenagers that don’t plug up toilets.
Back in the day, I could tolerate the neediness of dogs because I didn’t have anyone else that required constant attention. Now I have three needy organisms that demand constant attention. Why would I want to add a fourth?
We currently own a cat and he’s the perfect compliment to the house full of kids. And yes, “house” is figurative. We see that cat once or twice on a typical day. He’ll pop in, make an appearance, maybe eat a little kibble, then he’s off doing whatever it is he does all day and all night. If we forget to feed him, he kills his own food. Going away for the night and he’s inside? Make sure the cat litter isn’t a sold clump of clay. In the unlikely event we want to pet him or other such foolishness, we just beat him at his own game and pretend he doesn’t exist and he magically appears.
I now see people own cats not because they’ve given up on life, but rather because they’re sick of needy people.