Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Can dog lovers be cat lovers too?

According to some of our Twitter followers (naming no names @billhilton), no way no how. We know that dogs and cats can be friends, so why not the people who love them?

It's time to 'fess: I've never had a dog. My parents preferred tortoises, stick insects, canaries, guinea pigs and, finally, cats - mostly because none of them required walking - but we cared for a friend's Cavalier King Charles and I grew up spending half my time at my best friend's house with her soppy Rottweiler and stately Lab Cross. So now that I commute to work and live in a house that only allows cats, there was an obvious choice: cats.

And, if I'm honest, I really love cats in their own right. But I love dogs, too! I think they have individual and marvellous merits. For example:

Dogs: Show complete love and loyalty all the time, even if you haven't asked for it.
Cats: Really don't. But when you get the unexpected snuggle, you do appreciate it more.

Dogs: Can be trained to come when called.
Cats: Can be trained to come when called, and ignore it when visitors are there.

Dogs: Will always great you with enthusiasm.
Cats: Will greet you with enthusiasm and a pointed look at an empty bowl.

Dogs: Can be very exuberant and active, making you fitter and getting you out of the house.
Cats: Save all the exuberant and active for the middle of the night.

It's really a win-win situation. If I had the appropriate lifestyle, I'd have both, and get the benefits of the enormous loyalty and enthusiasm of the dog alongside the elegant beauty and simmering megalomania of the typical cat (there are exceptions, of course). Surely an animal lover is an animal lover no matter what that animal might be? I draw the line at cockroaches, spiders and anything that stings or whose bite can kill, but other than that all companion animals seem like good news to me.

You just have to check out today's Twitter feed on the topic to find out that not everyone agrees, but that there are many examples of people who love and live with both cats and dogs. Are you one of them?

By the way, the image is my husband's Opie-esque rendering of our younger kitten, seven-month-old Casper. Not that we're cat bores or anything.

Oh, and, of course, a quick reminder. If you are thinking of getting a pet for your household, cat or dog, please consider rehoming. There are thousands of animals out there just looking for the perfect home.


Anonymous said...

I think I heard it best stated that cats and dogs tap into separate parts of our being: Dogs are the emotional and cats are the intellectual. :)

To be well-rounded people, I believe that we need both! I, personally, wouldn't have it any other way. :)

Anonymous said...

My daughter wrote an interesting blog on her college-age question: is it hopeless for dog people to date cat people? She's leaning towards yes.

Anonymous said...

I love dogs and cat: though dogs are easier to form a deeper relationship with, cats have an admirable sense of independence that we could all learn from. However I no longer own cats because I cannot square it with encouraging birds into my garden.

Linda Ward said...

Since I've been dog walking I've also catsat a few times. I've never been a 'cat person' but I like to think I've always been civil, but the cats I've sat for do earn a place in my heart.

I don't think I'd want to share my home with one, because I like the long walks and social aspect of owning a dog very much, but I do sometimes miss the cats and hope the owners have to go on more business trips so I can see them! I also keep wondering if it would hurt if I took a clicker round and had a go...

I think I'd always want a cat to be like a dog. Can you train a cat to fetch?

Anonymous said...

The answer is definitely - yes!

My husband's family preferred cats, so they were his first love. My mother didn't like cats, so we always had dogs. However, he's always bonded with the dogs we've had since we married, and has even been heard mumbling sweet nothings to Dixie, one of our adopted Oldies. He'd do the same for Missy, our other Oldie - but she's deaf. :(
We'll probably get another cat as well, when our now 17 year old passes on.
And yes, you can teach a cat to play 'fetch'. Ours used to play fetch a lot in her younger days, using screwed up balls of paper instead of a ball. She'd also fetch pencils as well, odd little cat that she is!