I used to be strictly a dog person. We always had dogs or puppies running around our house when I was a kid. We never had any cats or kittens. So as an adult out on my own, I just naturally preferred having a dog. I knew dogs.
Dogs are fun because they treat you as if you are the most important thing or person in the universe. They worship you. They instinctively know when you are hurting and will come and whimper at you and want to sit in your lap to comfort you, or lay beside you on the bed as you weep or moan.
Cats, in my opinion, anyway, are haughtier. The looks they give seem to communicate that they truly believe that you were put upon this earth to take care of them, in their time and in the manor they choose. Cats, I think, were put upon the earth to humble us and to make us realize that we are not always the smartest creatures.
Having had a female Shi-Tzu probably prepared me for having a cat around the house. Pebbles was also haughty and proud. Although she could certainly cuddle and whimper like any other dog, it would be under her terms. Even while going about her business in the yard, she stuck her nose in the air and looked at the Heavens, as if doing so would separate her from that messy business going on behind her.
Almost two years ago, my new husband and I inherited a cat from his father, who was moving from a huge house into a smaller apartment. Piewacket was certainly a haughty cat. But I have come to believe that much of her behavior was a result of the treatment to which she was accustomed.
Hubby’s dad would allow said cat to sit in his lap, but he never touched her or petted her. His girlfriend did get cozier with the cat, though. So, when Pie arrived at our house she expected to be loved by the females of the household and ignored or tolerated by the males. She was most likely surprised to discover that my son and husband could love her as well.
In her other household, she lived with retired senior citizens. In our house, she was in the midst of baby boomers, 20-somethings and sometimes a ten-year-old and her friends. What a different world that was for her, especially when they were all animal lovers.
Having spent some time getting used to all of us, she loosened up and suddenly was actually playing. She discovered that her scratching post was more fun than just for working out. And when she discovered how much fun it was to play with yarn, she spent the entire night (or so it seemed to us) tracking it underneath tables and around chair legs. What a mess we had to clean up. But what fun she had re-doing her yarn art.
When Piewacket started exhibiting such behaviors, we considered that getting a kitten would be a wise addition to our family. The kitten we got came from a no-kill shelter that I just loved. Where the animals were housed looked more like rooms than cages and the cats (or dogs in the dog rooms) socialized, played together, shared food bowls, and even learned to use kitty (or doggie) doors to go outside. Our choice – Opera – was a five-month-old kitten.
Opera arrived on the scene just before Christmas and claimed the Christmas tree as her own. Thankfully, I had placed only unbreakable ornaments at swatting range. She also began teaching Pie how to really play.
Pie, on the other hand (or paw), helped us parent Opera by hissing at her when she did something really rowdy or foolish – like when she jumped on the table, dumped our mail on the floor and started playing hockey with it.
Having two cats in the house now means that when hubby and I are watching TV at night, each one is blessed with having a purring fur ball on our laps.
It means that when the older cat wakes in the middle of the night and wants company as she checks out the food and water bowls, she no longer meows and howls for human company. Instead, she nudges the kitten and asks her to be her nighttime companion. Opera is game, since she would eat 24/7 if sleeping and playing didn’t get in the way.
We are thinking about getting a bigger house and property, though. Being looked down upon by the cats has made hubby and me really want some of those people-worshipping dogs around too. We need a bit of balance. We need to feel that we are in charge. We are, aren’t we?
Ahhhh, pets. Gotta love ’em.
This article was submitted by Marilyn Mackenzie in affiliation with PetLovers.Com, an online forum for pet lovers wanting to discuss their pets and get answers and recommendations from other pet lovers.