I spent the majority of my life living with cats. Only recently have I been forced by my wife to integrate a dog into my world. Since then we’ve seemed more at odds with things than ever. The dog and I constantly find ourselves at odds as he doesn’t like me getting attention from my wife and I don’t like him existing. But we manage to get along just fine otherwise. My cat and I, however, have a far different relationship of perfect co-existence. This is because I am a cat person whereas my wife is a dog person. From this I’ve come to understand a few core differences about the two, whether anecdotal or otherwise. Here are some of those differences.
Dogs Are About Dominance; Cats Are About Co-Existing
One of the first thing I learned about my dog when he was still a puppy is how very much dogs need someone to be in charge. They crave a leader. They demand it even. And sometimes, when they see an opportunity, they make a power grab. It’s just in their nature to let things revolve around dominance. Cats, however, care far less about this whole “who’s in charge” business and worry more about just finding a way to live and let live. Cats are territorial, but not in the same way. A dog needs a pack. A cat can learn to function however. A pet dog will become unhappy if you don’t take charge of their life and may become ill from stress, whereas your kitty just goes about its business and lets you go about yours. One needs structure, the other’s like The Dude, and if you give some head scratches now and then, The Dude abides.
Dogs Are Needy; Cats Are Gracious
I all ways found it odd how much dogs are forced to rely on humans. There’s no specific area in the house where a dog can use the restroom, even when they’re outside. If a dog is cooped up and needs to go, but no owner is around, oh man, that’s going to suck. Plus, it needs to be walked frequently. And bathed, nearly as frequently. And trained, sometimes even more frequently. Plus, as previously stated, they require you to take charge every step of the way. They are totally reliant on us taking pity on them and doing things for them, and that’s perfectly fine if you’re a giving sort of person. I am not. My cat realizes this and while she abides, she also does her own thing. I can call her and she’ll come if she’s not busy, but if she’s in the middle of something important, like say a nap, she’ll ignore me. Still, she rarely needs her litter box changed as it uses litter crystals and her food bowl only needs to be refilled about once every two days. When it comes down to it, my wife’s dog is glued to her side while screaming “Frick! I need you! Please never leave me!” My cat will sit casually in my lap and purr, “I don’t need you. I choose to be here and you should be honored.” And you know what? I am.
Dogs Are Great For Athletes; Cats Are Great For Writers
My wife noticed an interesting trend between myself and some of my friends: All of us preferred cats over dogs. It seems to make a lot of sense here on a basic level as people who are out and about typically enjoy the company of dogs because they are encouraged to go outside and exercise, whereas with someone like a writer, a cat makes a lot more sense. With a small, quiet kitty, a writer is able to just sit at their computer and write whenever they want, no distractions. If the cat does cover over and demand attention, a simple shooing tends to work just fine. No loud barking, no serious repercussions if the cat isn’t attended to immediately. With a dog, ignoring its needs to result in a mess on the carpet. Ignoring a cat is just giving it a taste of its own medicine.
Dogs Change Your Social Life; Cats Are Just a Hobby
The biggest shift in my life when my wife adopted her puppy was immediate and large: We now had a constant time limit for any out-of-the-house activities. We had become those people that’d have to inevitably say, “We better get home; we have a dog that probably needs to be let out.” I swore that I’d never become “that guy” but it was no longer my choice when a dog entered my life. Every event requires some thought now about what to do with the dog. If a day trip is involved, does that mean that he must come with us or should we leave him with a sitter? What do we do when taking him with us to the beach on a hot day but then wanting to go eat in a restaurant? Some of the simplest activities suddenly become a chore. Cats, as you’ve probably figured, aren’t like this at all. I’m perfectly capable of going on a three-day trip and just leaving an extra bowl of food out for my cat. No need to make arrangements with a sitter. No need to plan ahead beyond “set out extra food and don’t block the litter box.” That simple. Dogs, again, are a project, a constant need. Cats are more an accessory.
Again, a lot of this is just some things I’ve noticed. There’s nothing wrong with being a dog person as opposed to a cat person of course. We just have different wants and needs when it comes to pets. That’s the beauty of owning an animal: There’s something for everyone!
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