All right, pick your side: Dog or cat?

cats-vs-dogs-1I’ve never owned a pet.  I wanted to when I was younger, but my mother said, “Sure, as long as you take care of it.” At which point I thought about it, and realized, no, I don’t really want to get a dog. So I tried fish, which didn’t work because the one snail we had (to eat the algae) turned into over 500 – I counted.

Then I went to New Zealand, where everyone I knew had an animal. Cats, dogs, horses, cows, sheep – okay, the latter weren’t pets (really), but in a rural farming community animals abound. And for a few months I lived in a household that had a cat named Cypher, and a dog named Dante.

I think I wanted to be a cat person. I liked the idea of unobtrusively luring in those fussy, snobbish, independent creatures, of being the one to tame them, and Cypher was absolutely gorgeous, a sleek black with green eyes and white mittens. Unfortunately, he treated me no better and no worse than any other humanoid who could refill his cat bowl. One night he decided to crawl onto my bed, and I thought, This is it! I’m in! Then I got four hours of intermittent sleep because a 15-inch feline took up two-thirds of a double bed, and I, afraid to crush him, kept waking up. Cypher would not be shoved. Ever. He was like a bloody brick, and I was just a hot water bottle who kept shoving him aside, disturbing his little nap. After that, I went back to cat-feeding biped.

Dante, on the other hand, was part Rhodesian Ridgeback, part Lab, and all love. He more or less confirmed my penchant as a dog lover. I know people put down dogs as undiscriminating slaves to their instincts (uh, the squirrels in “Up”?), but their greatest weakness is also their greatest draw – how can you not return the unconditional love? And Dante was it. He smelled (man, did he ever), but I love that dog.

So it became more or less official: I’m a dog person. I still hesitate to get one while I live in the city (one reason to go for cats – give them food and nine times out of ten, you can leave them alone), but I know that some day, I’m getting a dog.

So tell us: Dogs or cats for you?

– Jean AAR

16 thoughts on “All right, pick your side: Dog or cat?

  1. Leigh

    Dog, dog, dog, dog as in my four cocker spaniels. . . Lily, Lyla, Lola and Lucas.
    I know I did the cute name thing, especially when you add my name. It is only the cost that keeps me from adding a Lucy and Liam. Not that I planned on four dogs, but I made the mistake of discovering rescue groups. Can I put a plug in for So many pets waiting for a home.

    My neighbor has two cats (she is a dog lover too). One of them loves to attack my toes, stick her head in my shoes (she acts like my shoes are like catnip. I guess I must have smelly feet) and rub against my hair. If I couldn’t have dogs, I would have cats in a heartbeat.

  2. AAR Sandy

    I grew up with a dog and I have loved others very, very much. But I am a cat person. There is something about the wooing that appeals to me. I’ve only ever had two cats (one lived to be over 21), but my relationships with them are more intense than those I had with dogs. When a cat loves you, you’ve EARNED it. That appeals to me.

  3. Tee

    I’m a true dog person and absolutely love them. But my daughter has two cats and they sort of won me over to their side, especially the male, who’s playful and as lovey as a cat can be. They tolerate me, but they absolutely adore my daughter. I think cats must be one-owner animals and then become loyal to them. I understand what Sandy says when she says you earn the love of a cat.

    So be it. If I had to choose again, though, it would be a dog, not that we’d ever get another one…sure. LOL

  4. Jean

    Leigh – PetFinder looks like a good resource too, for potential owners. I’m definitely keeping it at the back of my head.

    Sandy – The wooing definitely appeals to me too, but dogs are just so friendly, I can’t resist them!

    Tee – I’ve never thought of cats as one-owner animals, but one of the most vivid scenes in the Anne of Green Gables series is in the last book, Rilla of Ingleside, when a dog in PEI howls the night his master dies in France, and never lifted his head again. Makes me cry all the time.

  5. Missie

    I can’t choose. I don’t have a favorite — I love them both, and I love and admire them equally for their differences. When I don’t have both in my life, I feel off-balance.

    Our current canine in residence is part (or all) Rhodesian Ridgeback. She shares her abode with a feisty, spirited 14-year old partially blind calico named Ally (after Ally McBeal) and a sleek, elegant 3 (or so) year old black, panther-looking kitty with fluorescent green eyes we’ve dubbed “LBK” (Little Black Kitty) who showed up on our property during Hurricane Ike.

  6. LinnieGayl AAR

    I’ve felt close to many of my friends dogs. They’re loyal, lovable, and sweet characters. But for myself, I’m definitely a cat person. My dear, sweet, haughty Princess rules our home, and me :) Despite her general aloofness, when I’m sick or sad, she’s right there crying along with me. When I came home from the hospital after being away for two weeks she cried and cried, and then wouldn’t leave my side for several days as I healed.

  7. Lynn M

    I always thought I was a dog person, but I’m actually a cat person. We have a dog who is sweet as can be. But she’s a lot of work – very high maintenance. She thinks I’m the only one in the house who knows how to operate the back door, thus every trip outside to do her business falls to me. Also, she’s like a toddler who needs to be fed on schedule – starting at 6:00 she wakes up and won’t relax until someone (read: me) gets up to feed her.

    We also have two cats, and like Tee above said, they are truly one-person animals. They tolerate everyone in the house but they love me. And there is nothing better than a cat who shows you its affection. You truly feel honored by it. Yet they don’t need the constant reassurance that you love them back, which is nice. Going forward, I can see always having a cat in the house. But once our sweet dog is gone, I’m done with dogs.

  8. Blythe

    I was terrified of dogs growing up – I always thought they were going to bite me. But I have two pugs now. So I guess that makes me a dog person. I have no problem with cats, but four out of my six family members can’t breathe in their presence, so it just isn’t an option.

  9. xina

    I have 2 dogs and a cat. I have had dogs most of my life, and only 1 cat. I think that I understand dogs more than cats because I have been around them so much, and really love dogs, but my cat has a lovely personality. It is true, I think a cat picks one person to focus on, and that person is me. I also think dogs pick their favorite too, and again…me. I’m an animal lover all around, so I enjoy both dogs and cats. Deep down, I am probably a dog person, but I really enjoy my Millie. She has been a joy to me.

  10. terry

    Dog person. I have 2 Scottish Terriers. My husband says they are not dogs but they are our fur kids. We have had a lot of cats too. Both of our daughters are grown and married and they both have cats.

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