So yesterday Josie mentioned that she had a chance to take in a dog who needed a home (BTW, before we go any further: anyone able to take in a chihuahua? Leave a comment, I'll leave it private if you wish). Well, she's much more a cat person than a dog person, so that's a no-go, but like every small detail of her life that she sees fit to make public, the floodgates of comment opened up and everybody and their Aunt Fanny* had an opinion on the matter.
Including a new-ish pal of mine, Grrouchie. He likes dogs but thinks that cats are the Devil's own spawn, and dem's fightin' woids here in the realm of the Crafty Southpaw.
How, he asks, could one appreciate a pet that is independent, that doesn't protect the house, that at times will put its own self-interest before yours?
My response, after a string of expletives that would embarrass a sailor, is this: How can you not? I think it's cool as hell that the cat is an animal who thinks for itself, who will not come at call if it has something better to do. And by the way, it's not like I've never been dissed by cat, but in the time since I left my parents' house, I've been the happy companion of Berk and Buster, of Sarsaparilla and Bailey, of Romeo, and the current brood of Maya, Rusty, and Pearl, who loves me more than life itself, and not one of them would ignore me if I called them. Not out of fear of violence or withholding food or anything else, but simply the love that a pet has for their humans. So this notion of cats ignoring you is largely jive.
As a matter of fact, right this very second, as I sit on the couch typing this, Pearl is lying beside me, and purrs like ten cats when my hand strays to her and I start absently petting her side or stomach.
They know when I've had a day and I could use a little kitty attention. They know when it's best to stay the hell away from me. They keep themselves cleaner than dogs do (or can). They can be left home for days at a time, provided you keep their bowls full. The Grrouchy one says that having a cat is like having a teenager. That may be so, but having a dog is like having a drunken toddler with a tail.
A dog will eat until he sicks up the contents of his stomach, and then will start in on his own sick. A dog will lick the hand that beats it and keeps it outside during the Winter. That's not love, that's Stockholm syndrome.
Now I don't want this to become a polemic against dogs; I like dogs. There are times I wish I had one, maybe a golden retriever or a Rotty (the single most misunderstood breed in the canine universe), but Toots feels the same way Josie does about dogs (and about me; they both fucking hate me, but no matter, no matter). But cats are quiet, they are fun, they are clean, and they develop bonds with humans that are as strong as steel. Cats are an absolutely necessary element of any household I live in, and will be so until the shadows come.
Grrouchie: cats rock. Sorry you're allergic but hey, I'm allergic to chlorine, that doesn't mean I hate swimming pools. OK, I do hate swimming pools, but you get the picture.
* I actually had an Aunt Fanny; she was one of a very few relatives my Dad had. Towards the end of her life she got a little pooky, and would send me a birthday present four or five times a year. To what extent she though a 10-year old would enjoy a coffee-table book about orange orchards in Israel remains the stuff of mystery; she took the answer to that riddle with her to the other side.