Dogs versus Cats

I just read an article on yahoo about “Cat People” and thought it was a good read. (You can read it here http://shine.yahoo.com/pets/defense-cat-people-dog-people-just-dont-understand-134000275.html)

I consider myself a dog person, though I became very well-aquainted with cats for the 15 years I was married to my first husband. Being born in the Chinese year of the Cat (yes, I know, on many Chinese restaurant place mats it is referred to as the “hare/rabbit” but I do have a book about Chinese and Western astrology that prefers using Cat), my ex was very much a cat person. I learned to appreciate the feline personality in ways I had not previously, having never really been around cats ever.

Jennifer was my indoctrination kitty. Reportedly, she had been abused before the ex found her at a shelter. He said he’d gone there looking for a kitten but seeing this beautiful long-haired black and white cat, and hearing her very loud engine roaring…er, purring, he became intrigued and adopted her instead. She apparently had such a fear of people in general that she hid behind the washer/dryer for the first 2 weeks in her new home, coming out to eat only when her new master was gone or asleep. Eventually, she learned to trust in him and by the time I entered the picture, she was the type of cat who would sleep on his chest purring loudly.

I never got used to the purring. Drove me crazy and I couldn’t sleep. Never understood how he could claim it was so “soothing.”

But, I learned to accept that just as surely as Jennifer accepted me, and later our kids, into her home. She ran and hid from other company, especially of the pediatric variety, but our kids could literally crawl on top of her and she’d just glare at me and rumble under her breath. I knew she was telling me to get the kid off of her, or to shut him up (if he happened to be crying at the time). I was amused.

Jennifer wasn’t at all thrilled when we added a new kitten to the family. Tympani was stone cold deaf. She was a white cat with one blue eye and one amber eye. She careened off walls like a skateboarder on an x-games course. She climbed up everywhere and, unlike the claim about the cat in the yahoo article who maneuvered around Limoges boxes without creating as much as a tinkle, Tympani knocked stuff off shelves all the time. It was my belief that, never hearing the crash, she was never startled into being more careful. And after jumping up and hanging on door jambs, only to slide down while digging her rear claws into the paint, she ended up with all four paws declawed.

I recall the period of time when she first went to the vet to be spayed and declawed. Jennifer saw her master leave with the kitten then first I, then the ex return home later that day empty-handed. Jennifer remained cautiously optimistic at this point. Tympani ended up getting surgery late the next day, so the vet opted to keep her overnight again. Again, Jennifer watches as we leave and come home sans kitten. On the third day, I come home and Jennifer is quite the pleased pussy, strutting around the house like she owned the place. And then, it happened. Her devoted master returned WITH IT! Jennifer was so mad at him she wouldn’t sleep with him for days!

Again, I was amused. Cats certainly are entertaining!

We went through several more cats through our lives together, but in the tenth year I demanded my dog that I’d been wanting since the start. At that time we had one cat, a Siamese named Sapphire who was about 1 year old. We went to the local shelter and I adopted Mandy, a 20-pound terrier-mix who turned out to be quite the lucky find. A year after that, we added another cat to the household – Amber, a fluffy and personable tortoiseshell who had a secret desire to be top cat in our home. Amber would chase Sapphire around the house in an attempt to exert some authority over her, but Mandy would break it up and then ignore the cats completely any other time.

When the separation came, Mandy and I left, and Amber reportedly stepped up her efforts at domination. Once the ex moved, it was new territory and “game on” for Amber. She succeeded in becoming the queen of her house until she allegedly drew blood. My ex was most fond of Sapphire and called me in a tizzy that Amber hurt her and he needed to get rid of her (Amber). Of course, I wasn’t going to let Amber be tossed aside so welcomed her into my home. She wasn’t thrilled to see Mandy again, but they never really bothered each other so I thought all was good.

Then poor Mandy passed away. I finally became frightfully aware that I was not a cat person after all. Amusing as they can be, friendly and loving though Amber was, she quickly got on my last nerve. Being over 8 or 9 years old, I couldn’t find a suitable home for her so, sadly opted to take her back to the shelter. She knew what was happening. That very morning I awoke to a huge cat turd on my coffee table. It helped dampen my guilt in packing her up and dropping her off at the shelter. But I’m not completely heartless. I bawled like a baby all the way home, fearing she would not find another home before her time was up.

I later met and married a dog person and life is completely different.

Unlike the author of the yahoo article claims, we neither of us demand attention from each other all the time. But we are extremely loyal and devoted to each other. Like our dogs, we like communal play time where everyone is having a ball and no one is being ignored or being aloof.

Sure, you have to get up to let the dogs out, no matter how crappy the weather, and you can’t just put out a ton of food and leave for the weekend and expect everything to be relatively unscathed when you return, but most cats I’ve known don’t greet me with the enthusiasm that my dogs do when I come home. I don’t feel like the dogs invade my space just because they can, but rather because they genuinely want to be with me, a member of the pack.

Just as the cat-person author doesn’t think we dog people “get” cat people, neither will they “get” us.

Thankfully, our pets get us, and that, at the end of the day, is what truly matters. Cat or dog, when they’ve chosen to love us, it is unconditional and everlasting. God blessed us with these creatures so that we never have to be alone, no matter our nature.

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